Names, & The Birth Story

They are sending me home today. I’m just waiting for a Rhogam shot (yes, because in addition to everything else, we also have the matter of Rh incompatibility to contend with). I am very excited to hug the dog and cat and to sleep in my own bed.

We had been weighing it, and we are naming the babies. Since we hadn’t finalized them before this week, particularly not middle names, but just had a list we had been working on – they didn’t really have names in place and we initially didn’t feel it was right to force things to fit when they just hadn’t quite done so. Even though we were close to settling on the final cut, those favorites never made it to being their names. Their entire lives, we knew them as “Baby A,” “Baby B,” “Baby C.” To us, those were their identities, much more so than anything on our short list. That’s how we had known them. Still, ultimately we weren’t satisfied with their leaving their birth certificates, nor their memories, at basically anonymity. They are people. They are our children. So, we decided on a different route for names than what we had been planning.


I wanted to write out their birth story before leaving the hospital, and capture it while the details are still fresh. Somehow the delivery isn’t a difficult thing for me to relive. It felt good, natural and in control, and strangely allowed me to feel like my body had done something well even at the end, in spite of the rest of the disaster.

I declined pain medication, against the advice of the nurses, and I did not regret it. The labor pain was bearable, and I didn’t want to feel disconnected for even a second. The focused physicality of it was a welcome relief from the profound grasping helplessness of the emotions we’ve faced both before and after. The actual moments of delivery of each baby, because they were so small, were so easy that two of the three caught me by surprise.

Archer arrived at 8:25 pm. He was always the trouble maker. We knew it when he evaded the NT scan, again with the shared placenta scare, and I will always remember how silly it seemed when he was standing on his head for one entire ultrasound. Of course, he proved over and over throughout this terrible week just what kind of trouble he could cause. We were told that it usually took at least the second dose of medication before labor began to progress, so we were expecting a four hour lull after the first dose was administered at 6:15. Even though cramps became contractions by 7:30 and were coming less than two minutes apart by 8:00, I was trying to rest at that point for what I thought would be a whole-night ordeal, and beside me my husband was trying to get a bit of sleep, too. The nurses were still going in and out of the room. During one of the times we had been left alone in the dimness, I had one contraction that started just like all the ones before it. I tensed up against the pain, and without any further warning – all within a matter of seconds – I experienced a heavy pressure, then the sensation of a foreign object, and Archer slipped out, quiet. I couldn’t bring myself to look, but I knew, and I pressed the call button to have the flurry of nurses cut his cord and whisk our trouble maker away.

Beatrice arrived at 9:53. She was the stubborn, shy one of the three. In ultrasounds she often turned away from the spotlight and tended to not let the techs get her heart rate very easily. She had hidden as well as she could while we easily determined the sex of her brothers. Hers was the longest labor. The contractions in between Archer and Beatrice were less regular than the first set. I did a lot of changing position, trying to find something a little more comfortable, which would only last a little while. I tried pushing early on, but then gave up until she decided to let me know it was time. The doctor had pierced her sac just after they had taken Archer out of the room, but it was about a full hour before the gush of her fluid washed out. It didn’t take long after that, though she was still the most hesitant and took a small bit of effort to coax out.

Collin arrived at 10:01. He was so easygoing. So cooperative. He was amiable during every ultrasound, happy to be measured and admired. He always seemed comfortable, though he did have the most room to stretch out, being at the top. Right after Beatrice had been removed from our sight, the nurses came back and told us she was alive and that we could hold her if we would like to. I had a moment with her, and handed her to her father just as I felt the first contraction with Collin. It only took about one or two more contractions and then he made his appearance about as unexpectedly as Archer had. Collin did choose to come while there was plenty of medical staff around, though. He was very considerate. I did actually look when he came out, the only one of the three that I could bring myself to do so. He was on his side and had come head first, and I noticed the smooth hairlessness of his scalp and his perfect miniature ear. Then, the same as Beatrice, they took him away to clean him up, but brought him back to us while he was still alive. They brought Archer out to us last, so that we could hold all three together. We stayed with them until almost midnight.

Hubs was terrific the whole time. He was pretty shocked at Archer’s suddenness and was shaken for a few moments, but he stayed beside me constantly, holding my hands and looking into my eyes. He of course didn’t have the physical goal to focus on as an escape from the night’s immense grief. I deeply appreciate that he was able to be so completely present for whatever I needed, in spite of everything he was going through, too.


Thanks to everyone who has offered their generous love and support throughout this whole thing. While it’s true that no words can heal the damage, the overwhelming expression of sympathy truly has been comforting. And thank you for allowing me to say what I’ve needed to say.


16 thoughts on “Names, & The Birth Story

  1. Thank you for sharing this story. I really like their names. Even though I only knew your children from this story and others you have shared, it seems to me that their names fit their personalities very well.

    Get some rest and know that I am thinking of you.

  2. Archer, Beatrice, and Collin. A, B, and C. They are beautiful names. Beautiful babies. They knew nothing but the love of their parents. Thank you for allowing us to know them, too.

  3. So glad you and your husband had a moment with your little ones. Although I am heartbroken for you, I am hopeful that you will heal from this in time. My prayers are with you.

  4. Dear Chloe,

    Before anything, let me say this…you ARE a mother…and your hubby IS a father.

    When I read your news in LFCA, I just could not help come over and read it. I am so sorry.

    I am myself reeling from neonatal loss that I suffered in January this year…and the loss of my girl altered me permanently.

    The magnitude of your loss is astounding. The hardest days are yet to come. I hope and pray for you to be able to find a good way to cope.

    You chose beautiful names. And even in the time they spent with you guys, your children bared their personalities for you.

  5. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you find some peace and comfort in your own home. These first few days are the hardest. Allow yourself space from anything that seems overwhelming. You deserve it.

    Take care.


  6. Chloe,
    There’s nothing I can say that feels “enough”. I’m just so sorry for your loss. I’ve been thinking about you and your husband and praying for you every day since reading what happened. The names you chose for your children are beautiful and seem very fitting with how you describe them. You honored them and loved them and cared for them in every way in their short time on this earth.
    Love and peace to you and your husband.

  7. I am so very sorry for your earth-shattering loss. You and your husband chose the most beautiful, triplety names I’ve seen thus far. Congratulations on your three beautiful creations. I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  8. I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story, and all about your three little ones. Sending you, your husband, and Archer, Beatrice and Collin prayers.

  9. I found you through LFCA and wanted to send you hugs and comfort. I know words said can’t heal the broken heart you have, but know you have a community of women here that will help you in any way possible. You are strong and as the days pass, you will find more peace and happiness. Those three little angels will forever e apart of you and always there by your side.

  10. My heart goes out to you, your husband, and your sweet babies. Our triplets were born at just past 20 weeks in 2008, and the hurt of their too early arrival in this world was so intense I thought I might never recover. We found a support group for parents who had faced similar losses in our area (ours is run through the hospital where we delivered the boys), and through that group I made some amazing and vital friendships that carried me through the toughest times. May you find all the support you need here, with your family, and with friends. I’m glad you’re writing about Archer, Beatrice and Collin — I’ll be thinking about them and about you, too. Wishing you healing and peace. xxoo

  11. I’m so so sorry Chloe. You picked lovely names for your children. Thank you for sharing your (and their) story. Thinking about you and them.

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