Preface – this post is a little “train of thought” and mostly rambling, so please bear with me…
So, like everywhere we go, we cause a bit of a scene. Now, when there are two of us, we use the double strollers, so it’s a bit less obvious, but still. Two double strollers carting three children similarly sized, and a 4 year old running in circles around us? A bit of an eye-catcher. We had an interesting time in elevators (No, there is no room for you, family of 7 international tourists, we can barely squeeze in as it is!). We had a lot of fun going up and down the hills. We did fail to get a good picture of that, but the first day there we went up one hill where I believe if we had taken a horizontal picture it would have been greater than a 60 degree angle. Craziness.
But I digress.
In the course of the weekend, we got the normal comments. The “Boy, you have your hands full!” <— most obnoxious comment ever, especially when you have a parrot of a 4 year old who now, whenever he doesn’t want to help, claims, “but mom, my hands are full!”… “Wow, were they natural??” — No. They are made of inorganic material. Yes, I get what you are asking, but really, is it appropriate to ask that of a good friend, much less a complete stranger??…. “Better you than me!” — Yes, I completely agree.
But anyways, so we were at Hard Rock Cafe there by Pier 39 getting a few souvenirs (thankfully not one of which included a shirt!) and the gentleman who worked there started asking the normal questions.
“Are they… triplets?” “Two girls and one boy?” “Wow, was that a surprise?” etc etc. In the midst of this, I’m trying to keep Aiden from knocking over display stands and figure out what souvenirs we want for the babies, and getting a bit annoyed. I remember thinking, “JUST CHECK US OUT ALREADY!!!”
So at some point I walked away with Aiden to get these cute little things for the babies (of which we then had to go back and get an additional one for Aiden later… because AFTER we had left the store he decided he wanted one too), and Steven was talking with the guy who worked there. We’ll call him J. I guess J started asking less normal questions (How many weeks were they? Are they healthy now? And other questions normally only asked by other multiples families, or those with preemies themselves, or medical backgrounds). So when he finally asked the question of “Were they… natural?” Steven answered honestly. Normally we avoid it because explaining the IUI process is much more complicated than just saying “IVF” or “We used medicine.” Most people have never heard of it unless they’ve been there themselves. And again, is it really appropriate to get that intimate with a total stranger in the first place??
So he told him that we did IUI and paused, waiting for the “Uh, what’s that??” or the “Oh, is that the petri-dish thing?” (Yes, I have been asked that question in the past).
And J. told us that he was asking because they, too, had tried for years. And they, too, had been pregnant with triplets. And they, too, were going to have two girls and a boy. Only they didn’t get to be the proud parents of multiples. They don’t get to have a blog where they go online and complain about all the insensitive or naiive or plainly rude people in the world. They got to 12 weeks and were told “You’re in the clear!” They got to 18 weeks and had an ultrasound where the babies all looked fine. They found out the genders. Thought about names. How to organize the baby room. What to do if she ended up on bedrest. All the normal things that parents of triplets start to worry/wonder about. And then they lost them at around 6 months pregnant. Too early to save them and deliver preemies. Too late to not have bonded yet. I did everything in my power not to cry in the middle of the store. I’ll admit – I started bawling when we left. I hugged that man at least 3 times, but I might have lost count. That was a year ago.
So the point of this, is that the rest of the trip when we would get the looks or the questions, I definitely managed them better than I had earlier in the day. And the next time that someone said, “Better you than me,” I agreed with him more than I ever had before. And when someone was heard saying, “Wow, I cannot imagine…” all I could think of is that I cannot imagine what it would be to be J and wonder “what if.”
So I guess the point of this post is this: Hug your children tight. When someone asks questions, they may have a story behind it that they want to share, but don’t know how. And maybe say an extra prayer tonight for all those struggling with infertility and loss. I would take infertility for a million years over dealing with loss like that. And J., I doubt you’re reading this, but if you are… know that I meant every word that day. I will pray for you and your wife every night for the rest of our lives. For peace. For healing. For children. That some day you will be reunited with those three little angels in heaven. And hopefully you will have more children to give you happiness here on earth.