A couple days ago was my 33rd birthday. Gill thought she was maybe going into labour at the end of the night. Told her that she’ll have to keep them in, because no way am I sharing my birthday with three kids. No. Way.
We spent the morning having an ultrasound done, though I think we could probably do it ourselves at this point. It went well, as per usual. For the first time, Dr. Schneider admitted that baby C needs some extra monitoring - she's plugged into a different part of the placenta than the other two, and her umbilical artery is working a bit harder than we’d like. Still no cause for alarm, though. She’s better in there than she would be out here.
Yet a bad mood has been hovering over us. Gill's getting nervous. I'm getting irritable. As we cogitate on life over the next little while, as it looms ever closer, it looks thrilling, sure, but also... boring.
Thrilling because this shit is obviously special, and we want to meet the little ladies. Boring because, well, every other aspect of our lives suddenly evaporates at that moment. Suddenly it's night after night at home. Changing diapers, feeding, lack of sleep. Laundry. Grocery shopping. Routine, routine, and nothing but.
And that's if everything goes absolutely perfectly, which sadly still can't be assumed.
Tried fighting it with a little birthday recording - possibly my favourite thing. Went horribly at first, then inertia slowly, groaningly took over and things started to happen. I grabbed a lo-fi cellphone recording of a guitar line from a couple weeks ago (can hear my brother and Oz gabbing underneath it), threw a bunch of synths on top of it, added Kevin’s drumming from a random live recording of 'Happiness is a Warm Gun'. And now it's a neat little tune that should fit in nicely as a transition piece on the record. (Editor’s Note: This became track 4, ‘The Floating Car Crash’).
Finally got me out of the funk. Still need that creative release, and probably always will. Can't just go and change one's stripes entirely, I suppose.
So to celebrate the mood shift, I went and read a book about parallel universes at The Grove and had some Old Fashioneds. Happy birthday to meeeee.
The next day, yesterday, we suddenly find ourselves spending 3 hours in triage at the Women’s Clinic.
Gill went into a sort of soft labour in the evening. Strange-feeling, random contractions that slowly became regular over a couple of hours. Nervous, we drove to the clinic. The girls are only at 31 weeks. Not bad, but definitely not ideal.
We met a nice doctor ('Call me Scott!') and he gave Gill a painful dose of betamethasone to strengthen babies' respiratory systems in case they're coming early. We waited. But the contractions started to cool down, and soon we were discharged.
Except now it’s high noon, September 30, and we’re back at the clinic.
Gill called me at the office today around 11AM to tell me that the contractions had started again. Panicked, I quickly emailed off a zip file full of half-finished training documents for my replacement, and off I sprinted.
And here we are. She is thoroughly hooked up to a monitoring machine, the only one in the hospital programmed for triplets. (A piece of orange tape with 'TRIPLETS' and a bunch of stars to help distinguish). The triple machine isn't used very often.
And it's a damn serious ordeal getting all four of these women monitored correctly. Finding the pulse of three tiny babies who are all packed together in the same suitcase. The nurses find one little hummingbird heart, then on to the next, and as they get that one the first pad slips off or the baby twists around, so start again. (There's a contraction pad, too.) Every time Gill has to use the washroom, which is often, the whole disconnecting and reconnecting takes about 15 minutes.
My lady positively glistens with moon jelly.
The fine and wise Dr. Dhaliwal is now staying with us for a while, and she's the best resident yet. There was a thought that the water broke, but maybe not? Either way, contractions have been consistently at two minutes, and Gill reports they're increasing in intensity. The monitor is printing out long sine waves.
Ohhhh my goodness, I think these ladies are going to join us today.
It's an odd sensation being in the thick of something you know will be life-altering. Just your same old dumb brain, with its strange fixations and quirks, but thrown into a wild scenario. And you're aware dimly that this is A Moment, one that you'll be coming back to again and again for as long as you live.
Okay, she's actually feeling good for now, humour is up. Just finished a huge contraction and she's in the trough between the crests. I tell the nurse that Gill is getting her tubes tied tight after this, and I’m getting the entire lower half of my body cut off to make sure it never happens again.
It is so deeply surreal that my wife will soon be undergoing abdominal surgery to forcibly remove three daughters. Can't really process it. But every individual moment is fairly normal and manageable, so will just stay there.