When we went to see our doctor to see how many babies I was pregnant with from our in vitro cycle, we were told we had quadruplets! We were rushed to the ultrasound clinic to learn that no, it was only triplets! Whew! Upon our arrival at home, my husband Karolos immediately requested a scotch and took a nap. Me, I’d always wanted three children, but I never dreamed they’d come at the same time. We soon learned we were having identical twin boys and a fraternal girl (Karolos was so thankful there was a girl in the bunch!) I spent many frustrating months on bed rest, doing everything the doctor ordered and then some, trying my best to safely bring our three precious babies into this world. I’d been put on bed rest really as a precaution by our very cautious and experienced perinatologist. The pregnancy was going very well and we hadn’t had any complications other than the fact there were three babies, two of whom shared a placenta. Christmas Eve -- we were 25 weeks and had a good visit with our doctor – all three babies were doing great! They weighed in well at 1 pound 13 ounces, 1 pound 11 ounces and 1 pound 10 ounces! I finally allowed myself to be positive that everyone would be okay, and we would really take home three babies!
We were nearing the end of our triplet pregnancy journey (since most triplet pregnancies end much earlier than full term) and I was ready to count down the days! I finally felt confident enough to order the cribs and bought each baby a little preemie outfit. Karolos and I decided on their names - Alex, Ari, and Zoi. On New Year’s Eve we were full of hope for 2009 – we would soon have our little family here and I would be able to get out of bed! Surely 2009 and the experience of triplet parenthood would be more joyous than 2008’s stress of infertility followed by a high risk triplet pregnancy.
It was only 7 days later that we heard the words from our doctor that turned our world upside down: “We’ve lost Baby B.” These words flash through my mind every day and I wonder what it would be like if he hadn’t said those words, and our Ari was here with us. Would he wrestle with Alex and the two of them leave Zoi alone? Or would they gang up on her?? Would he have the same fabulous laugh as his identical twin, Alex? What would his personality be like? What would it be like to have all three of our babies here on earth? Our doctor wasn’t sure what had happened, but he thought it must have been a cord accident. To say the next 7 weeks were difficult would be an understatement. Before January 7th, I had thought the physical pains of a triplet pregnancy were difficult...I had no idea the pain of grief could be so great. I continued to carry little Ari along with his brother and sister. I hadn’t known that Ari had passed before our doctor discovered this, so I was constantly scared that something had happened to Alex and Zoi. I knew these weeks would be the last time I would physically have Ari with me, and I cherished every moment of this time with Ari. I knew I had to give birth to Alex and Zoi, but I wanted to keep Ari with me forever. I knew delivery would mean giving him up physically. I looked forward to delivery and I dreaded delivery. Such extreme joy and sorrow should not coexist.
First, Alex was delivered and we heard his screams! There were several moments of silence before Zoi and her screams emerged. I asked Karolos if something was wrong and he said, No, that was Ari. No one said anything when Ari was delivered. This brings more tears. I kept Ari with me the rest of the day but I had to finally say goodbye to Ari to go to his triplet brother in the NICU 3 who was awaiting a visit from his surgeon and his triplet sister in the NICU 2.
Not a day goes by that I do not think of Ari and what might have been. It brings some comfort knowing he is Alex and Zoi's guardian angel, but there is a void, the missing third baby of our trio, and it is painful every day for his family here on earth.
We miss you, Ari.
Drawing by my sweet niece Marit, when she first learned we were pregnant she drew "a girl for Heather and a boy for Karolos" but when she found out we were having triplets she drew a third baby to make it "perfect!"
Mommy and Ari
What you can do to remember Ari:
Please do something in Ari's honor today-- say his name aloud, light a candle, release a balloon, hug a baby or child, or do anything that is special to you with the intent of thinking of our angel Ari.