Wednesday 25th January
In my previous blog post, I reminded myself to ‘Expect the Unexpected’, however, of course I didn’t listen to my own advice! There was still a blood flow issue to the smallest triplet but it hadn’t worsened since the 11th January. My husband John was home from London, working from home and attended daily scans with me until Monday 23rd January and when things were still looking good, we agreed that he would go back to London to attend his meetings. He was flying back on Thursday evening anyway and I was feeling perfectly well.
I attended Tuesday’s scan alone and all still looked well but Wednesday morning, the 25th of January at 8.45am, I was told that the blood flow had reversed and today was the day we would meet our three children. Before we even looked at the Doppler scan for the other two, I told my consultant Aisling that I needed to call John, she knew the story at this stage and was happy for me to get my phone out. John at this stage was on the tube to work so I dropped him a text, nothing alarming, just ‘Book a flight immediately John, they are coming today’
Aisling explained that I needed to take some magnesium sulphate on a drip for an hour or two and that it was looking like they would schedule the c section for 2pm.
I surprised myself by how I remained calm on the outside, my heart was racing and my stomach turning but I needed to deal with the situation. Next call, my mother!
My Mother is probably my best friend but I would never in a million years have wanted her anywhere near me at a time like this but my options were limited at this point!! I had visions of her racing through the hospital in a flurry of anticipation, shouting at staff to clear the way and was convinced that she would either pass out or break down completely at the sight of a new born baby.
Once again this week, I was wrong, she arrived, cool as a cucumber and between her and the midwives, I had a nice relaxing morning in a bright, airy room next to the operating theatre in the delivery suite. We all had a laugh and discussed the trio whose heartbeat we were monitoring closely and I got my dose of magnesium sulphate which assists in the brain development of preterm babies (this wasn’t the most pleasant but just for ten minutes until I adjusted)
Nothing felt real, John had booked a flight from City airport and it was looking like he might get to the hospital for 1pm until the London fog decided, for the craic, to mess with Johnnie’s plans! He was running around London looking for an alternative plan and at this stage I had to accept that he wasn’t going to be there, and Mother Dearest was the woman for the job!!
Just before 2pm, as scheduled I was changed into my gown and headed into the theatre… and theatre is exactly what it felt like, there were over 30 people in the room and I was taking centre stage. Three incubators and work stations were set up with their own teams around the room.
It all happened very quickly and two of the lovely midwives who had been with me held my hand during the spinal anaesthetic and talked me through it every step of the way. My Mum came in then for the main act and held my hand. I was so surprised by how quickly it all happened. Within about 5 minutes, Aisling announced that our first daughter had entered the world (I barely felt a thing), she held her up and I heard the glorious sound of Hannah Grace McNamara’s first cry.
1 minute later Harry John McNamara graced us with his presence, shortly followed by the lady who had dictated the course of events, the smallest of the three, Pippa Mary McNamara, weighing a mere 2lbs 2 oz.
They all cried and they all breathed alone and each had their own team to take care of them before being whisked away to Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU). I did have a look at them on their way out with their little hats and perfect tiny faces and it was only then that my first tear fell and there is no doubt that it was the best feeling in the world.
Daddy John arrived about an hour later and it was amazing to see him knowing that the 2 of us were now 5.
Meeting them in Intensive Care later that night was fabulous, very difficult to see them with all their tubes but just wonderful to examine them more closely. As far as I can see, they all bear a striking resemblance to their Dad.
One week later…
The C Section recovery was more difficult than I had anticipated. Day 2 and 3 were so tough as I struggled to walk too far and I was so eager to get moving so I could go down to visit them and stand over their incubators for a good look.
The painkillers which are absolutely essential also left me a little out of it and the hormones racing around your body don’t help. I really did feel more exhausted than I ever have in my life. That mixture of exhaustion and elation is a cocktail for disaster really especially when the number 1 priority for me was to express breast milk. With the three in intensive care, the only benefit I could provide for them was my milk and in the first days when I was only getting a few drops, I was so disappointed. However, with the help of midwives, I slowly got better and now I am actually managing to feed the 3 of them with a little help from donor milk. We rented the Modena Symphony pump which is seemingly the Rolls Royce of pumps!
Top tips so far for expressing so far
– Hot flannels before expressing
– Massage the breast beforehand
– Try to express every 3 hours (yes even throughout the night, for the first 4 nights I skipped one night feed though as I needed to recover but now I am battling through it, it is a taste of what is to come I suppose!)
– Stay hydrated
– Snack often
Yesterday evening I came home and with some tender loving care and good rest, I am feeling so much better and the milk supply reflects that. We now have to ship it up to the coombe and try to keep up with demand which is increasing daily.
I am taking today off and focusing on recovery but will head up again tomorrow to see the three.
They are doing very well for 28 week babies, Hannah is particularly thriving so far. Harry has had a few setbacks with his lungs and is on a ventilator but will hopefully come off it in the next few days. Pippa is also doing well and steadily gaining weight.
Their official due date is April 16th and we have a long journey ahead to get them to a point where we can bring them home but I have huge faith in the doctors and nurses assisting them and with the help from our wonderful family and friends, I feel like we will get there day by day, step by step. The most important thing is that Harry, Hannah and Pippa are here now and we are willing them on every step of the way.