Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Wheelock Quads are Born (Part 1)

We thought we were prepared for this.

Saturday was a day that started like so many others since our stay at Woman's Hospital began. I was on my cot and Crissie on her bed. My "uniform" that day was my Mississippi State hooded sweatshirt, my Mississippi State shorts, and my Mississippi State fluffy slippers that look like clown shoes. Something about being in Baton Rouge makes me feel the need to exaggerate my "Maroon-ness." Plus, I'm kinda' known around the hospital for those ridiculous slippers and I have a reputation to uphold. Our plan was to watch movies, Law & Order, and mostly vegetate all day.

Crissie was feeling uncomfortable. Of course, her belly was big, she hadn't had a night of uninterrupted sleep in over a week, and the straps on the uterine and heart monitors were irritating to the point of exhaustion. She'd been off antibiotics since early Friday morning and all indications were that they had done their job. The constant worry about Garrison's leaking amniotic fluid hung like a dark cloud over our situation, but there wasn't much we could do about it beyond hope.

My brother came to visit late in the afternoon because he was in the area and we hung out for about an hour. He left because he could tell Crissie wasn't feeling well. Around 5:00, Crissie started to get really uncomfortable, so we took off the monitors. It was about this point that she started getting the chills. We were still on high-alert for fevers, so we immediately started doing temperature checks. She was running about 99.9 so we called in Rachel, our nurse who was assigned to us for the first time (bless her heart).

Crissie and I immediately assumed the same thing: An infection was taking hold. We'd heard how quickly infections could wipe out a pregnancy if left unchecked, but even we were surprised with the speed and ferocity of this illness. Within two hours of the onset of her symptoms, her fever was 102 degrees. The decision to get the babies out was made quickly. By the time Crissie was on the operating table, she had vomited, was convulsing, and shivering so hard it was painful to watch. I was truly scared for her life at that point. However, they got her on the table a little over 3 hours from the onset of symptoms--pretty impressive considering the complex issues in play.

At 8:38 pm on April 17th, Amelia Frances (Baby B) was born first at 1 pound, 7.5 ounces. At 8:39 came Elena Marie (Baby C) at 1 pound 15.8 ounces, followed by Garrison Thomas (Baby A) at 8:40 also weighing 1 pound 15.8 ounces. At 8:41, Lillian Brooks was born sleeping.

Drs. St. Amant and Diket performed the C-Section and were assisted by a myriad of neonatologists, respiratory therapists, NICU nurses, and surgical assistants. Three of our "Top 4" nurses were able to make it in time for the surgery. Jami, Tanyl, and Tracy raced to the hospital and pitched in on their own time for which we can't thank them enough. We wish that Jennifer J. would have been able to make it too, but she was out of town and couldn't be reached.

A special thank you is reserved for Dr. St. Amant who gave us a 'bat-signal' to be able to reach him in the event of emergency. We found him at the first sign of fever and he was at the hospital within an hour or so--even though he wasn't on call and it was a Saturday night.

Crissie got loaded up with antibiotics and pain meds, while three teams worked on intubating and stabilizing Amelia, Elena, and Garrison. Our families stood by in the waiting room--my dad and brother, and Crissie's parents and sister, along with various other friends and loved ones.

Nurse Tracy took care of Lillian. She had the difficult duty of bathing and dressing her. Once Crissie was stabilized, she and I had an opportunity to hold Lillian's hand and say our good-byes, despite knowing that she was already in heaven. It was an emotional end to an emotional day and we appreciated the nurses who took such loving care of us by looking after her.

We got moved from our room in Labor and Delivery up to the part of the hospital known as "Mother/Baby." It was a much smaller room, and after nearly a month, we'd accumulated a lot of stuff. Most of that stuff got sent home with Crissie's parents. Dr. St. Amant helped us get rid of some of our remaining foodstuffs. Since we deprived him of his dinner, his preoperative meal consisted of peanuts from our "snack table."

Once settled into the new room for the dénouement, we were left with a few visitors, but mostly left to ourselves. It had been a day filled with the most intense emotions we'd ever experienced--fear, love, sadness, hope--we were exhausted. Not long after our last visitor left, we collapsed into what we'd hoped would be long, well-earned sleep...

It was not to be.  


  1. So many prayers and tears for your family. Thinking of you...

  2. Praying and praying for you and hoping you feel the love and strength surround you.

  3. I'm so sorry for your losses. I pray the two other girls stay strong and get healthy quickly.

  4. Alex and Crissie,

    I can understand your FAITH being shaken....and I am so very sorry that you are enduring what I wish no parent ever had to go through. It's so unfair.

    I have a little boy in Heaven too and your words bring me to tears. I will pray for the safe keeping of your baby girls and I pray they continue to prosper and grow. For you and Crissie, I send love and strength, as this road is beyond difficult.

    Much Love and Many Prayers...

  5. I hope you guys don't mind, but I linked your blog to mine asking for much needed prayers for you and your baby girls.

    Love to you,

  6. All I can do for you is pray...and so I continue to. Take care of each other. Your children are beautiful and we pray for their strength and growth.

  7. here from lauren's blog...

    praying for your sweet family. i am so sorry for your loss. i will pray for your baby girls. (((hugs)))


  8. I am so sorry for your losses. We too feel your pain. We had triplets born at 27 weeks. One of our little girls joined the Lord at 3 weeks old. Unless you have gone through something like this it's hard for others to understand. I know that feeling of wanting to grieve w/o feeling like you can b/c the other two need you so much. I will tell you that time does help. Nothing will replace that hole in your heart but time does heal some of the pain. Our beautiful babies are now 18 months old and I see in my daughter what my angel would have looked like. Reading your blog at work was a mistake as I have had to hide my tears. I will pray for you. Sounds like my pregnancy and your wife's had very similar "complications". God Bless you and yours on your journey ahead.

  9. Sending up prayers for you and your girls. Thinking of you often and your beautiful family.

  10. Thinking of you guys. Just wanted you to know.

  11. you don't know me, but I am friends with heather cox (cox quads) she is how i started following you...My heart broke in half for you and your wife when i read your blog. My husband and I are having trouble conceiving ourselves, and can't imagine the pain and helplessness that i am sure you are feeling.
    I have some words of wisdom for you that I hope can bring some sort of peace and comfort to your family, my prayers are with you at this time.

    "To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did." When God takes something from your grasp, He's not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better. Concentrate on this sentence... 'The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you’

    god bless,
    sheridan johnson

  12. I just read your story about your precious little babies and being pregnant at 24 weeks myself, I cannot even imagine the emotions you are feeling. I pray that God is not only with you, but holding you all so tight. I pray that with time he will bring you all peace for the loss of your 2 sweet children and overflowing joy for your family's future.