‘They thrived at the sacrifice of our identical baby girls.’: Mom’s anguish over losing quints pregnancy, gives birth to triplets

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“Our journey to start a family started back in August of 2013. The next 4 years were some of the most trying times for us, whether it be because of fertility or adoption issues that we faced.

We were started on Clomid for 6 months while we went through a whole array of testing. Eventually we found out that half of my husband’s sperm swim backwards and I have endometriosis. The doctor we started off seeing didn’t seem to want to do much to help out besides Clomid, even with the testing results, so we went to a Cleveland clinic fertility specialist. She decided I needed to undergo a laparoscope to remove the endometriosis and then do Clomid with IUI treatments. We did 4 rounds of IUI with Clomid in 6 months while we were there. My husband is in the Air Force Reserves so there were some months that didn’t line up with treatments.

While going through those 4 treatments we felt like the Lord was leading us to consider adoption. We were matched fairly quickly with a mom out in California who was pregnant with twin girls. Since it was twins, we decided to take a break with fertility treatments and just focus on these sweet girls. We were so excited, we started telling family and friends and preparing for these little girls. Once it came time to deliver, the birth mother started telling us to hold off and wait because she was having second thoughts. We eventually got a call telling us that she had actually picked two couples from two different agencies, and the other couple was already out there picking up the girls. We were devastated.

We took the next month off from looking at birth mothers to consider or treatments in order to recover and just be us. Once we were ready, the very first birth mother we decided to put our name in for picked us the next day, and 5 days later we were on our way to Louisiana to pick up this spunky little 6-month-old boy. This little man is now our awesome 2.5-year-old.

Husband and wife stand smiling in grass with their adopted son wrapped in blanket
Jenica Suppes

After having him for a few months, we decided to start going back to the fertility clinic. We decided to switch to Dr. Mooney at Reproductive Gynecology because he had great referrals along with all the doctors there. We did 4 rounds of IUI with Gonal-f injections, and on our last round before we were considering IVF, we found out that we were pregnant with Quints! My husband almost fainted and I just kept laughing. We were having 3 boys and identical twin girls.

Ultrasound of quints and five onesies
Nicole DeHoff Photography

The pregnancy was very hard with decisions such as ‘selective abortion,’ to which doctors to use and which hospital to deliver at, and how to handle being on bed rest or in the hospital for weeks on end, all the while still being the best mother I could be to my 2-year-old. I was not allowed to do too much from 12 weeks on as it is a very high-risk pregnancy. I went to Maternal Fetal Medicine Doctors at Canton Aultman who were amazing and worked together to make sure I had a successful pregnancy.

Woman pregnant with quints takes mirror selfie in bathroom
Jenica Suppes
Father holds adopted son to pregnant wife's stomach while he wraps his arms around her
Jenica Suppes

Everything was smooth sailing until a couple days before 24 weeks. I was leaking and wasn’t sure why. I went to the ER on a Saturday and everything looked ok and the babies all looked healthy, and so did their fluid. But when I went Monday for my weekly appointment, we had lost our twin girls. It was heartbreaking. We had now lost our second set of twins girls, and it was rough. I was so upset and didn’t know what to think. I felt like God teased me again and was taking away everything we had dreamed of one by one. I kept thinking the boys weren’t going make it either and it would be my fault. I had thoughts that I should have been more careful about what I did and how much I was on my feet. I should have forced myself to eat more so they had as much to nutrition as possible (quint moms have to eat around 5,000 calories a day).

From then on, I was paranoid about our boys and constantly worried. A week and a half later, the girls’ water broke and I was put on bed rest in the hospital as it can cause the boys to get sick. I was watched closely, I had non-stress tests 3 times a day that lasted an hour, plus an ultrasound every morning. My 2-year-old and husband had a hard time adjusting to me being in the hospital. Plus, we had been living with my parents while we remodeled to make room for the boys in our home. Around 27 weeks, Jaxton’s cord doppler showed that it was starting to become intermittent. The next couple days, Knox and Tucker’s also started to go intermittent. At 28 weeks and 4 days, at 8:40 a.m., Tucker’s cord reversed. The doctor came in and said we have to deliver now. At 10:04 a.m. we had delivered our 3 precious boys, plus or 2 little girls, who we got to hold and say goodbye to.

Close up of three triplet newborns sleeping in blue knit blanket with matching hats
Jenica Suppes
Woman who just gave birth holds triplets to bare chest
Jenica Suppes

NICU life is hard. You constantly hear beeping and alarms the first few weeks. Every time you go into their rooms, you hold your breath while the nurse or doctor tells you how they are doing. For the most part, they did great and thrived. We had a few scares with Knox and his oxygen levels and cysts in his brain due to lack of oxygen when he was born. Tucker had some scares that ended up being UTIs due to urinary reflux. Week after week, they improved slowly but surely. Right around 34 weeks gestation, they took their bottles and were able to come home a week later. Tucker was still very tiny, only 3.5 pounds. Knox was 4.5 pounds and Jaxton 5.5 pounds.

Newborn sleeping in NICU with wires attached to him
Jenica Suppes
Mother who just gave birth looks over at newborn sleeping in NICU
Jenica Suppes
Close up of newborn sleeping in NICU hooked up to oxygen
Jenica Suppes

Our biggest scare was their very first night home, Knox kept going apneatic on us and turning blue so we ended up taking him back in for a couple days to figure out what was going. Since then, we have had a TON of specialty doctor’s appointments for all the boys, including my crazy 2-year-old, but they are gradually getting better and better and growing out of some of the preemie issues they had.

Our 8-month-old little boys have grown so much they are about to pass their older brother in weight, and sure do love their cereal, big brother (most the time) and their bouncers and walkers.

Triplets swaddled in blanket sleeping in circle surrounded by wreath
Nicole DeHoff Photography

Still today I struggle with blaming myself for losing those precious baby girls of ours. I try to remind myself that the boys are healthier because of it and they made it to 28 weeks and grew like champs and came out as healthy as any preemie baby would at that gestation. They thrived at the sacrifice of our identical baby girls.

Triplets asleep in white blanket
Nicole DeHoff Photography

In the end, I wouldn’t trade a thing about our journey because it is what makes our family unique.”

Adopted son sleeping with arms around his head with triplets on either side of him swaddled in blanket
Nicole DeHoff Photography

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jenica Suppes of Ohio. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best love stories in our free newsletter here.

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