3 beats: A wave of emotion

A dad's perspective on expecting triplets

Written by Simon Wood, dad to Ava, Blakely and Lacey (2 mths) and Frankie (9), published in the AMBA Magazine
October 2017

A mix of emotions hits most of us when we're told that we're having multiples. From fear to excitement, and feeling completely overwhelmed. It's a rollercoaster ride. Simon shares his story of learning that his wife and he were expecting triplets and the emotions that surfaced during pregnancy.

On the morning of our second wedding anniversary my wife finally took a pregnancy test. All the signs were there that she was pregnant but after three false positives that year there was fear it would be another disappointment. I have never had children and my wife, although having a nine-year old daughter, has polycystic ovaries so our chances seemed fewer. It turned out very clearly positive. We were due to start fertility treatment the following month. We were both absolutely over the moon and got a dating scan booked for the coming week. I was on a high like no other I’d experienced and, as a recovered alcoholic and addict, that’s quite a statement.

At the scan we had already guessed my wife was maybe 12 weeks as she was beginning to show. What followed was without a doubt one of the most surreal moments of my life. The nurse after a good look, said to us “Are you ready for this?”. My heart sunk as I immediately thought the worst. “Three”, she smiled. We looked at each other happy at our accurate guess of 12 weeks, as in three months. She said, “no, there’s three heartbeats”. My wife’s reaction and mine could not have been any more opposite. I burst out laughing in absolute amazement. When I looked at my wife I saw a fear I’d never seen in her. She was shaking on the bed demanding the nurse check again. 

The next week was incredibly difficult, there was no question she wanted to reduce, the prospect and risk of carrying three babies was too overwhelming. We had moved into our first house a month before and factored in everything from finances to room, not to mention the emotional strain on our little family. She didn’t leave the bedroom. We saw two very different situations. I could see three gifts that would never have arrived if we were unable to deal with them. Friends and family were buzzing for us, which pushed the pressure on my wife even harder.

I was ready to support whatever decision she made; my only advice was that she not make the decision to reduce based on fear. At the first meeting with the specialist the risks were explained. We had mono twins, which were high risk in themselves, plus the singleton. He also explained the safest option for all was to reduce. We left the hospital and all the waves of fear hit again. I was beginning to feel like maybe I was pressuring her to go ahead with it all. These were after all my first biological children. It was fast becoming a dark time in our relationship. The one thing I knew was that I had to be strong, and let her see the confidence I felt through my consistency. The father of her daughter had taken his own life when my stepdaughter was three. My wife was also carrying the fear that something serious may happen to her and our nine-year-old would lose her only biological parent.

The one thing I knew was that I had to be
strong, and let her see the confidence
I felt through my consistency.

The whole pregnancy was a strain. Over the seven months that followed I saw my wife go through every single negative emotion possible. She was full of anger towards me, was hiding depression, she would pretend she was happy to others while under the surface struggling to hold it together. I was constantly taking swipes, being bated with nasty remarks while working full-time and taking care of everything else under our roof. She was on the defensive 24/7.

It would have been easy to let my pride get the better of me and walk out the door, or jump on the ‘women are nothing but bitches’ train with the lads and put her down to make myself feel justified in the anger that was rising in me. There were times I was tempted. Instead I bit my tongue, practiced patience, and endured. She was a woman suffering. The woman I married was in pain and I could see it. She has been failed by every man in her life and she was terrified I’d be next to leave her with a daughter and three more girls on the way.

On the fourth of July, Ava, Blakely and Lacey joined us into the world. Medically the pregnancy went without fault. The specialist at the end described our pregnancy as remarkable. All are healthy and thriving. Also, they all sleep through the night (so far). To see my wife with our triplets is a beautiful thing. She’s in love and calm as they come. All that fear and anger left the day she held them in her arms. I will never forget that moment. 

I’m glad I kept out of anger and retaliation with her, I’m glad she cooled easier without my reacting when she was overwhelmed in moments with our situation. I’m glad I found what it took to man up and endure her suffering patiently enough to meet her at the other end without judgment. To hold my family together as I was supposed to. What she has been through is immense. More than I will ever understand.

You can follow Simon’s story on his blog at tripletdad.blog