Glenn and Cayce Adcock wrote -
When physicians realized I was pregnant with triplets, I was immediately labeled as "high risk". I was healthy and took advantage of all of the prenatal care that was offered. I had routine ultrasounds with my OB, but I also had ultrasounds at Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM). Through those, multiple screenings were completed, even in the first and second trimester. Doctors were able to screen my babies for signs of Down Syndrome, heart defects, organ development, and a myriad of other screenings. They also regularly checked my cervix length.
At 21 weeks, a scheduled appointment at MFM indicated that my cervix was rapidly shortening. I was given a steroid shot to induce the creation of surfactant in the babies' lungs in case I delivered within the following 48 hrs. The next day, I returned, and my cervix had shortened more and could potentially begin to dilate. I had a cerclage surgically done that day, which is a procedure in which the doctor sews the cervix back together.
The MFM physician told Glenn and I that not only was my cervix shortened, it had dilated 1cm, and he could see Elizabeth's head. Although, scary, I recovered and was put on bedrest at home for the remainder of my pregnancy. Weekly MFM appointments ensued, as well as steroid shots to aid in continued fetal lung development. After all, no one knew how long the cerclage would delay labor and delivery. All we knew was that survival rates increased with each passing week and day that the babies continued to be in utero. Our main goal was to make it to 28 weeks, at least.
At 27 weeks, 5 days of pregnancy, that Thursday began like the 7 previous Thursdays. Glenn and I went to my weekly appointment at Maternal Fetal Medicine at 7:30am. MFM are the doctors who monitor babies in high-risk pregnancies. On the morning of March 31, they did a growth scan where they measured fluids, heads, and looked at heartbeats, bladders, kidneys, etc. That day, they looked at the umbilical cord flow for each baby. This is something they had checked earlier in the pregnancy, but this day was the start of a weekly monitoring of cord flow. Baby A (Elizabeth Lucille) checked out fine, Baby B (Sterling James) checked out fine, but Baby C (Sawyer Vaughn) was moving and making things difficult for the Ultrasound Tech to get a good reading. After fifteen minutes, said that she wanted to get another Tech’s opinion because she thought she saw “sporadic flow”. The other Tech agreed, and soon the doctor came in. He said, “I don’t see an obstruction and the baby doesn’t show signs of distress or sickness. So, let’s put you on the monitor (to monitor Sawyer’s heart) just to be safe. What we will probably do is just have you come back in the morning to see if it has fixed itself, or if we need to take further precautions.” Glenn had to get to work, so he left since things sounded fine.
The nurse put Sawyer on the monitor for a total of 30 minutes. During that time, she came in twice to check the readings and everything was normal. Glenn had left his cell phone at work, so I was sending him emails to update him on what was going on. I told him I would call him at work when I left the office. When the nurse came back the third time to take me off the monitor, I told her that I had noticed the heart rate number go from 170s down to 50s and back up right before she came back in. She looked at the paper of results, picked up the phone, and called the doctor to the room. She asked me where my husband was. I told her at work, “Why? Do I need to call him?” She told me yes. The doctor told me to come back to the patient room, so they could put the ultrasound probe on me to make sure they were getting an accurate reading.. Within two minutes of lying on the table, I heard the Ultrasound Tech and Dr. talking about what they were seeing, but I couldn’t listen closely because the nurse was telling me to give her Glenn’s number, so she could call him asap. I looked up at the doctor as he was telling another nurse to call the Operating Room and the NICU. He quickly told me that they needed to prepare me for a c-section, but that he wanted to check the baby one more time on the operating table.
Before I could process what was happening, I was in a wheelchair, and the nurses were sprinting me through the hallways at Spartanburg Regional. My mind was telling me not to panic, but all I kept thinking was that no one knew what was going on, not my sister, not my parents, not even Glenn. I thought, “This can’t be happening; it’s not supposed to happen this way.” As we went through the doors of the Operating Room, five people welcomed me, already dressed in surgical masks, hats, gowns, etc. And they told me to get on the operating table. Literally, within two minutes of getting on the table, I had about ten people telling me their name and their job title, and what was about to be done. I looked up and saw my OB at my side. No “Hellos” or greetings were swapped between anyone. My OB asked my MFM doctor, “What’s your decision?”, and I heard him answer, “We need to deliver these babies now!”
The Anesthesiologist told me I was about to be put to sleep. I asked, “All the way to sleep?!?” He said, “Yes, we don’t have time…” and in a split second several things flashed through my mind: Did Glenn know where I was? Was I going to be all the way asleep before they started the procedure? Are my babies going to be okay? My last words I spoke through tears, to the nurse, before they gave me the anesthesia was, “Tell my husband I love him.” As I took slow deep breaths through the oxygen mask, my mortality and my babies’ mortality became the most tangible it had ever been. I asked God, “Please take care of my babies,” and, “Please, God, let me wake up from this. Let your will be done.”......
Then I woke up a mother, with Glenn by my side in Recovery.
It was that evening before I could see the babies in person, once they were stabilized in the NICU. After scrubbing our hands and entered the NICU, the Neonatologist spoke with us. He was positive about the babies' condition and the short-term prognosis. The long-term prognosis was to be determined in the coming days and, more than likely, months. After speaking with the doctor, Glenn wheeled me to each of the Isolettes to see the babies. It was in the moment that I first saw them that I finally understood pure innocence, and the world outside became harsh and unforgiving. It’s amazing how seeing my newborn babies made me feel so small and insignificant. I couldn’t believe that God had chosen me to be their mother. I felt as if I didn’t deserve these true miracles.
That night, the MFM doctor came to my hospital room to check on us. It was when he rehashed the timeline from that morning that I was told of the details before delivery that I didn't know during the chaos.
When the nurse was trying to get my phone from me to call Glenn, I didn’t hear the Ultrasound Tech say that she didn’t think Sawyer had a heartbeat. The doctor said that as he ran to the OR, he called the other doctors in his group to ask if they thought we should risk Elizabeth’s and Sterling’s lives by delivering for Sawyer, who wasn’t expected to be alive by the time they started the c-section. I immediately began crying...I still cry when I think about that. But he made a decision to proceed, and had he explained all of that beforehand, I would still have proceeded with the delivery in order to try to save Sawyer’s life.
I was discharged from the hospital on Sunday at 5:00pm, after holding Elizabeth for the first time, and we were sent home without our babies. The raw emotions Glenn and I felt were beyond anything we could have been prepared for. “Empty” is the best word I can find to describe that feeling. I walked into my house with all of the things that had become part of my daily routine on bedrest during the pregnancy, and a finished nursery with clothes, diapers, hats, and cribs. Yet, there was not one item in my house that I could use. I hated looking at the body pillow that I had slept with for months; the tums sitting by the bed made me cringe. My core was empty because my purpose in life was to take care of my children, and I couldn’t. Glenn and I both cried throughout the night, even after we drove back to the hospital to see the babies before going to bed.
Looking back, had Sawyer’s “activity” that day been delayed by 10 minutes or even had it happened the day before, I would have been sent home, unable to notice any signs without technology, and returned the following Thursday for my weekly appointment. Glenn and I would have lost Sawyer, and more than likely Sterling, as well. God truly had me in the right place at the right time. Glenn and I discuss the fact that we have no doubt that God intended for us to have these three babies and that he has a magnificent plan for them. My babies are children of prayer. All of you, our family, and our friends are to thank for that.
The entire pregnancy, I told many of you, “God’s plan is bigger than our plan.” That still holds true. Candidly, I tell you that there is some anxiety when I pray to God that His will be done. I pray that the Will of God be that my children have a purpose that is lifelong and suprasses even my last breath. But I know that in that same thought, I have no say-so.
Each day the babies became a little stronger. We were told that the babies would be in the NICU, at least, until the end of June if all went well. We were prepared by doctors and nurses to understand that there would be good days and bad days. There would be milestones along the way that we would celebrate. For example, when all of the babies are were getting feedings of breast milk through their feeding tubes and tolerated them well, we rejoiced! With the top-notch NICU Staff, our babies were able to come home at the end of May.
Since I gave birth to my children, I feel as if I am seeing the world for the first time.
“On the night you were born, the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered, “Life will never be the same." -On The Night You Were Born
Born at 27 weeks, 5 days, our triplets survived and are thriving because of work the March of Dimes has funded. Our family is pledging to raise money to continue the progress of medical research and practices that will aid in preventing premature births. Please support us in this effort. No donation amount is too small. Our family views it as celebrating our babies' success story and the ultimate support to help others.