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Katy England Katy England
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Three new Englands

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Starting a family with a bang

Having worked at this paper for going on five years, it's not unheard of for me to write a story about incredible adventures, whether it's riding down the raging rapids with Three Rivers Whitewater Rafting, leaping out of airplanes with Skydive New England and Central Maine Skydiving, deep sea fishing, ocean kayaking or ride alongs with various law enforcement agencies. So, this might dull the nepotistic edge of writing about my brand new family.

Of course, this probably wouldn't be front page news if I didn't work here. And even if things had been normal, I probably wouldn't have thought to write more than a brief blurb about it. But, as anyone who knows me will attest, I'm far from normal. Having triplets is just further proof in a long line of empirical evidence. Here's the journey.

Paul and the babiesTwinkle in my eye

My husband and I decided to start a family shortly after we finished construction on our new home. We had a beautiful house with two extra bedrooms in addition to our master bedroom. Having a good plan is fun.

This past January, I was working on a long-term story on seasonal policing. This involved riding along with officers from Old Orchard Beach and Bar Harbor Police Departments, once in the winter, with the plan to follow up again in the summer months. Aren't plans nice?

I rode with Officer Joshua Robbins of Old Orchard Beach in early January and that went off without a hitch. On Jan. 21, I rode with Officer Soren Sundberg of Bar Harbor Police - this is where the hitch comes in.

The evening had begun with promise, stopping a vehicle and learning the driver's license was suspended, a couple erratic vehicles, good stuff. We drove back to the police station to charge the flashlight battery. I met a couple of other officers inside, went out for a welfare check and came back. While chatting in the hallway of the police station, I suddenly felt nauseous. But that swiftly changed as it felt like all the blood in my head made a swift retreat to my feet (taking a quick detour to roll around in my stomach for a second). I managed to tell the officers that I was feeling light headed and needed to sit. They quickly scrambled to grab a chair, but the floor was looking mighty fine at that point, and I slid my butt down and stuck my head between my legs so I wouldn't pass out - and for the record, I didn't pass out. But it was close.

The officers kindly brought me a chair, some water and called the paramedics - all things considered, I had picked a really good place to have a fainting spell. Who needs street cred, right?

They asked me if I was sick, taking any medications (which I think was a very diplomatic way of asking if I was on drugs) or had eaten recently. Did I normally stay up this late (it was 11 p.m. at this point, and yes, I have stayed up past then on some occasions, though admittedly not as much as I used to). Sheepishly, I told them I was trying to get pregnant and asked if that could cause fainting spells. The lovely woman who was running dispatch - and the only other woman there - confirmed that fainting spells can be indicative of being pregnant. And so Bar Harbor PD was pretty much the first to know.

I took a test the next day which confirmed my suspicions. We told my family and my husband's family, but pretty much kept it on the down low, outside of them and one or two close friends.

Crowd Control

week 30In February, I went to the doctor to confirm and got a referral to Dr. Paul Smith at Bangor OB/GYN, who had delivered my sister-in-law's baby. We went in for our first ultrasound on Feb. 16.

Here is a paraphrase of what happened at the appointment:

Dr. Smith: Katy, you're pregnant-pregnant.

Me: What?

Husband: Cool! Twins!

Dr. Smith: Wait a minute...

Husband and Me [thinking]: Oh, it's not twins. Oh, well.

Dr. Smith: There's another one!

At this point, the first thought that crossed my mind was, "he's joking." Followed swiftly by, "he gets paid too much to joke about these things." Then I started laughing. My husband looked a little like he'd been hit with a hammer. Dr. Smith quickly measured all three of the babies, which were about the size and shape of a good amount of chewing gum. That made it fun to show people and watch them try to puzzle through the three, fuzzy black and white blurs that were my babies.

With the blessing from the doctor, we could tell people. Their reactions made our reactions seem normal. My parents and siblings were, of course, blown away. I made my mom pull over and told her that we were in possession of three ultrasound pictures and explained that we had seen three separate heartbeats, labeled Trip A, Trip B, and Trip C (this explanation got shorter and shorter with each subsequent telling).


Week 16

My Dad asked if I was trying to show up my brother, who had recently had a beautiful baby girl the previous year with his girlfriend. I told him it was sibling rivalry coupled with the fact that I was an English major and therefore bad at math.

My brother exclaimed "Shut up!" several times, before conference calling his girlfriend so I could simultaneously share the news with her.

My sister was floored and told everyone at her workplace.

We were able to tell my mom-in-law in person, driving to her work and showing her the pictures. We tried to let her sort it out, but it's not like you could tell much from the images themselves, outside of the tiny labels.

Brother-in-law ended up hearing it through his parents, and called them back three times expressing shock, awe, and touching concern for our need for a chest freezer.

To say that people were excited and blown away is an understatement.

When I told friends and co-workers or even people I worked with on a regular basis, reactions were those of shock and awe.

People asked us all manner of strange questions. And my answers:

Did we take fertility drugs? Nope, we are naturally awesome, or Nope, my husband does the work of three men.

Would I be having a Caesarian section or natural birth? This went from we'll see, to getting a C-section due to the position of one of the kiddos.

Would I breastfeed? Yes, if possible.

What kind of diapers would I use? A mix of cloth and disposable.

Would I be getting a minivan? We ended up buying an awesome Dodge Durango from Bangor Tire Company after they learned I was looking for a giant car with a third row back seat.

Would one of us be getting our tubes tied after? Um...

If I had a dollar for every time someone told us we would have our hands full, I would be able to eat out at a nice fancy restaurant once a week.

There were only a couple of really rude comments, but the majority of people were shocked and amazed and told us that we would be wonderful parents, how blessed we were, and of course hoped that we had help who lived nearby.

As it became more and more obvious that I was pregnant, it was kind of fun to answer the question "Do you know what you're having?" We did: two girls and boy.

Bumpy roads

The thing about being pregnant with multiples is that it automatically places you in the high-risk category of being pregnant. And not without good reason. Without going into the nitty-gritty details, we swiftly began dealing with issues that included possible twin to twin transfusion syndrome and a growth restriction in one of the twin girls. This meant going from OB visits once a month, to hitting the doctor every week and the possibility of having to run out of state to see specialists.

I ended up on bed rest around week 26 and strict bed rest by week 27, which meant no getting up for anything outside of bathroom breaks. And if this sounds like fun, it was for about two days. But you don't realize how much doing little things means until you aren't allowed to pour your own cereal.

But this also meant we got to see the incredible staff at Bangor OB/GYN frequently. I looked forward to the weekly excursions out to the doctor's office and talking with Lee and Brenda at reception and chatting with Gina, our ultrasound technician; Raylene and Kat; all the nurses at the office; and Dr. Smith on a regular basis. They were wonderful to deal with and made what was an emotional rollercoaster ride bearable and even fun.

The kindness of everyone

To say that people have been helpful isn't accurate. Family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances and complete strangers have literally come out of the woodwork to help us. Organizing food deliveries, donating gently used clothing, equipment and baby essentials.

Offers of baby-sitting, house cleaning and bargain hunting have abounded. I can't express enough thanks for all the wonderful people who have stepped up, unasked, to help us. I only hope I get a real chance to pay it forward.

In late July, it looked like our littlest bean was having some growth issues, and we decided to go forward with an early C-section a few days down the road. Literally, early the next morning, I went into preterm labor and started experiencing contractions. I told my husband, texted my doctor, and then went in to the office to learn that, yeah, today is the day. So on July 27, around 12 noon, I was wheeled into the operating room and delivered three beautiful babies via C-section.

12:06, Alice Charlotte weighed in at 3 pounds, 6 ounces;

12:07 Paul Raymond IV weighed 3 pounds, 6 ounces (and 5 grams);

12:09 Eleanor Stetson clocked in at 2 pounds, 11 ounces.

They are all doing very well, and will be coming home in short order from the Neonatal Intensive Care/Continuing Care Unit at EMMC. The nurses at the hospital have been incredible, and helped us prepare for life with three new babies.

To date, this has been the biggest adventure and best thing I have ever done in my life.

Last modified on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 14:11

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