I was told I was pregnant with triplets 6 weeks into my pregnancy. My husband and I were scared but thrilled, as we’d been trying to start a family for a year and a half. My pregnancy was anything but easy. I was hospitalized for a month early on, with hyperemesis, and then I was back in hospital on bed rest at 23 weeks. Soon after, doctors noticed that baby ‘B’ was not growing as fast as the others. A couple of weeks went by, and his health became critical. If we didn’t deliver the babies, he would die. We had to make the decision to either deliver the boys to save baby ‘B’, or let him go, so that the other two could keep growing. We chose to deliver. The babies were born at 26 weeks and 3 days gestation. Babies ‘A’ and ‘C’ were each 2 pounds, and baby ‘B’ was 1 pound 7 ounces. All three were whisked away from me immediately, to receive life saving treatment in the NICU.
Charlie was our baby ‘A’, and the day after their birth, he had a massive grade IV hemorrhage in his brain. He came so close to dying. The doctors told us that if he lived, he could have severe disabilities, which included CP, blindness, and deafness. Despite several brushes with death, Charlie thrived. He developed hydrocephalus, and at two months of age, he underwent surgery to have a VP shunt placed.
After 3 months in the hospital, Charlie and one of his brothers Joseph, came home. Baby ‘B’ – Thomas – spent an extra month in hospital.
Charlie’s development was delayed, but he could see and hear, and didn’t have CP. He received physiotherapy – at first just to help him turn his big head from one side to the other. Eventually to learn to sit up, crawl and walk. He hit all of his physical milestones much later than his brothers, but he still hit them. When his brothers were crawling, Charlie would sit and laugh and clap for them. When they were walking, he’d crawl after them to chase them. We believe that having triplet brothers actually helped Charlie’s development – he had them to mimic and to play with, and to encourage him to reach his potential.
It hasn’t been easy for him. The boys are very sporty, and when you’re the same age, everything seems to be a competition. If it’s physical, Charlie will never win. But Charlie has developed other special gifts. He learned to read way before his brothers, and his memory is uncanny. He can rhyme off sports statistics like no one else, and does very well at school. He’s also the tallest of his brothers, which is a fact he’s pretty proud of!
He’s had to have two shunt revisions – one at 5 years old, and another this past summer – at 11. This last time, they actually put in a second shunt on the other side of his brain.
The decision to deliver our babies so prematurely was an agonizing one, and Charlie probably wouldn’t have suffered as much if he’d been allowed to grow bigger. But because of his sacrifice, his brother lived, and each of the boys is a great gift to us.
Today Charlie is in grade 7. He’s a kind, loving, clever boy, who loves playing video games and sports (almost as much as he loves his brothers!)
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