When you have heard your mother’s traumatic childbirth stories your entire life, you find yourself a bit afraid of the whole concept. Why is it that we feel the urge to pass these stories on? It’s very “right of passage” and there is usually no middle of the road story. There is the thirty-minute momma: the woman that those of us who felt any kind of pain dislike. The thirty-minute momma felt a twinge and the next thing she knew a sweet-faced baby with rosy cheeks was draped in a soft, pink blanket and lay in her arms. We don’t like you thirty-minute momma—your story makes us feel weak. Then, there is the “I thought I would die” momma. We don’t like you either because we do NOT want to be you. Your story of excruciating contractions, delirium, and threats frankly scares us.
When I found out I was having triplets, the excitement of becoming a mother soon turned to fear. And since I had been inundated with some very unpleasant tales from the women in my family who had only given birth to ONE child, naturally, I thought that I was certainly going to die trying to give birth to THREE! As my husband and I left the doctors office that day, one thing that I remember very vividly was that the office staff looked afraid. I couldn’t imagine why a “Fertility” clinic that dealt with this every day all of a sudden seemed concerned. Their sudden lack of confidence did not help matters, but we had a game to attend. We were headed to watch the World Series in Houston and we were going to enjoy it! Well, at least one of us was.
That night, concentrating on the game was a little difficult for me. The phrase, “I am going to die” was playing like a broken record over and over again in my head. See, God and I had chatted quite a bit about this day. I remember very vividly telling Him, “Lord I know the risks of fertility drugs and I don’t care if I get pregnant with eight children, no matter how scared I might be, You are simply going to have to help me!” But, that day, with the reality of carrying only three babies hovering over me, I was afraid. I could only think about all of the impossibilities. Where had all that strength and resolve gone? It had apparently vanished.
I remember waiting by the restroom at Minutemaid Park pondering all of these impossibles, when this guy walked past me and got in my face. He yelled, “Hey lady, cheer up it’s the world series!” I smiled and then gave him “the look.” You know the one. The look only a woman can give in her angriest Towanda moment. What I really wanted to do is grab him by the collar and scream, “YOU DIDN”T JUST FIND OUT YOU’RE AN INCUBATOR FOR NOT ONE, NOT TWO, BUT THREEEEEE HUMAN LIVES!” For a moment I was on the verge of a breakdown or an ugly fight with a strange man in his forties. Luckily, I spotted James Denton from Desperate Housewives and my rage shifted to paparazzi-like fascination.
All in all, our lives were about to drastically change and I was not sure, even after being a Christian for almost twenty years, how all of this was going to work out. We were so happy to finally become parents and have those dreams fulfilled, but so scared at what the next year and beyond would be like. The next week I went back to the doctor. It was an exciting day because I was going to actually see the heartbeats. There they were rhythmic, blinking, and alive. Four perfect little … FOUR!? Say what?