It's funny how life blindsides us from time to time. I haven't blogged since June 2009 and so much has happened since then. My most recent post (before this one) features a poem I wrote March 26, 2009 after learning I was to be the grandmother of triplets. The same day I received the news, Redoubt, a volcano located in upper Cook Inlet, part of an area near where we live in Homer, Alaska, had just erupted with ash emission 65,000 feet above sea level. Along with writing the poem, I collected enough volcano ash from our rain gutters to fill a jam jar.
One of my daughters, Jennifer, had been undergoing a struggle with fertility issues for several years prior to a successful IVF implant that, against the odds, resulted in that good news. The sucessful implantation (after three failed attempts) was only the beginning of what became one hell of a miracle rollercoaster ride. The eruption of Redoubt paled in comparison.
In August 2009, I traveled to Brooklyn, New York, where Jen lives, to hang out with her for the remainder of her pregnancy. I had originally planned to fly to NY around mid-October, my intuitive guess for when the babies would choose to arrive. However, by August, Jen had been hospitalized twice with pre-term labor concerns. My son-in-law, Karim, was out of the country on business and it became clear: my daughter needed me and needed me yesterday.
So, the months of August, September, and October 2009 were spent in my daughter's third floor one bedroom apartment cheering her on in her heroic and determined effort to keep three babies in one place: inside her womb. She was magnificent.
As big as a house and growing bigger by the moment, she religiously drank two gallons of water (she had been told that, in most cases of pre-term labor, the expectant mothers are dehydrated), ate nutritious foods, and swallowed a handful of pre-natal vitamins daily.
The babies' optimal chances for good health and survival grew exponentially with every day they stayed in the womb up until 36 weeks. Then, the doctors informed us, should they reach that magic number inutero, they would need to come out via C-section. Eventually, the C-section was scheduled for October 19, 2010, timed at 36 weeks gestation, although we were told repeatedly that, with triplets, the chances of making it to a scheduled birth are not good.
She made it. On October 19, 2009 she gave birth to three healthy babies, two boys and a girl. Hannah (Baby B) and Rayan (Baby A) weighed 4.5 and 4.7 lbs each. Yasin (Baby C) weighed 5.2 lbs. Three days after birth the triplets and their mom came home from Columbia University Hospital to that one-bedroom, third floor Brooklyn apartment and three of everything.
Jen, Karim, myself, and my husband Wayne (who joined us a week ahead of their birth) hence took turns feeding, burping, and changing three beautiful babies in a constant rotation that was exhausting, even with four of us on duty.
Did I say exhausting? Yes. Have you ever experienced the kind of exhaustion that comes with what is, perhaps, your greatest work, your best achievement? That kind of exhausting.
Wayne and I flew home to Alaska just short of ten days after the babies' arrival. I had been in NY for almost three months and needed to go home, but saying goodby to my new grandbabies was bittersweet. I had so little time with them. Their life-affirming baby smell, the silky feel of their newborn skin, the distinct note of each of their cries, and the long, treacherous journey my daughter undertook to get them safely born had soaked into my pores and filled my senses with an uncommon, crazy love. They had safely arrived and with them, that miraculous thing we call life.
It knocked me for a loop. It's not the first time life has stopped me in my tracks. It won't be the last. So, if anyone happened to notice that I haven't blogged a word since a year ago June, just know this: Life happens. Aren't we lucky?