Saturday, September 29, 2012

The first year with triplets and two big boys

I am back.  My computer was broken for almost 6 months.  There has been a lot of growing and learning in that time.

River when she was born

River Now



Brielle when she was born

Brielle now



Liam when he was born

Liam now


Our little ones turned one and Kian turned 4!


Birthday

This past year has been amazing, the hardest in my life and also the most rewarding.  I am so happy I pulled so many  all nighters during college and my "fun" years.  They prepared me for the sleepless nights. 

I have made gallons of homemade goat formula, I still breastfeed Brielle and no matter how many doctors I saw (8) I could not make enough milk for all three.  It is still so difficult to admit that and deal with that.  Never would I have imagined I would not have enough milk. 

I have washed over 365 loads of cloth diapers.  We usually do one load a day, but sometimes two. On average we do 4 loads of laundry a day.

We have gone to the zoo or other local attraction most weeks.  Somtimes we venture out to places twice a week. 



We have tried every sleeping arrangement and the only one that works is co-sleeping.  Everyone wants to be able to touch Mommy at night.  It makes sleep a little harder for me, but the babies sleep so much better.

 Bedtime stories. (yes their is a refrigerator in our family room, we have a lot of mouths to feed)



We moved in July.  We packed everything ourselves with the help of my Mom.  My brother was in town too and helped Sidney.  Sidney did so many loads on his own with a u-haul and his truck.  It was long and exhausting, we are still unpacking and organizing.  Those people who hire movers and packers and say how hard it is really have no idea.  But I guess we all have different ways to measure things.

Taking the babies out it public is interesting.  I have never been one who likes attention from strangers.  I like going places with my children and focusing on them and being close to them.  We are stopped so often.  We get some nice compliments, but some really bad comments and crazy questions.  I think every parent of multiples knows exactly what I mean.

Here is the rundown from their 12 month checkup last week:

Brielle:
30.75 inches tall
25 pounds 6.5 ounces
47cm head

River:
30.5 inches tall
25pounds 14 ounces
47cm head

Liam:
30.25 inches tall
22 pounds 7.5 ounces
50cm head.

Brielle can walk, she is still learning and walks about 30% of the time. She is our serious girl.  A fantastic smile and so so sweet.

River is cruising and prefers to crawl.  She extends on to her tippy toes and with some more physical therapy I think she will be there in a few weeks. River is quite the climber and so funny.  She has a beautiful boisterous laugh.  She loves to smile and make everyone laugh. 

Liam learned to crawl last month.  He just learned to pull up to a stand. He is wobbly, but what a great accomplishment.   He is getting physical therapy two times a week.  He is still pretty weak, but getting better.  He has had a lot of tests with his neurologist they all came back negative, which is a good thing.  The thought is birth injury.  Something must have happened when he was born that caused whatever this is.  The MRI is ok, genetic tests are negative, metabolic are pending.  We do not know why he is so week.  He has a fantastic physical therapist. She is truly wonderful.  We are lucky to have her come see him twice a week.  Maybe Liam will need a walker to help him learn to walk, but he will get there.  The hope is that he can blend in with typical kids and if not we will work with all that is Liam. We just started water therapy and it seems to be helping too.  We love him.  He is funny and so smart.



That is all for now.  A fantastic year with so much fun. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Advice for Mommas pregnant with Triplets.

It was 369 days ago that we found out that our surprise pregnancy was three not one. Wow what a wonderful year it has been. I wish I could send a letter to myself to prepare for the road ahead. I have learned so much this year. This is a long post, but I hope it helps Mommas who are pregnant with triplets. My disclaimer: I have two previous sons and raising my children with an attachment parenting philosophy is/was very important. Attachment parenting triplets is a lot of work, but so worth it. Keep in mind there might be a lot of extras in here, but these things were so important to us.

First buy three books. "When your expecting twins, triplets and quads", by Barbara Luke. This book was great for outlining a diet. Protein is so important when you are pregnant with multiples. I added 2 tablespoons of fish oil as well as a probiotics. The nurses were so surprised at how large the babies umbilical cords were. I attribute it to this book and all Barbara Luke wrote. The other two are "Mothering Multiples" by Karen Gromada and "Making more milk". Karen Gromada has a great website at karengromada.com. She has a wonderful outline for a birth plan too.

Watch these two videos from Stanford about hand expression and pumping. They are fantastic!

Write an extensive birth plan and a baby care plan. I have both if anyone is interested. There were many things that were important to me. I was willing to sign waivers at the hospital to ensure certain things happened. I delivered at a fantastic hospital with exceptional staff and they did a great job. The baby care plan was important. I wanted the babies to be put to the breast in the OR and for the cords to be cut only after the cord stopped pulsing. They were able to do both. The babies had to go to the NICU, but they spent time with me first. Remember if you have a baby or two stuck up under your ribs it may be uncomfortable as they are taking them out. Take deep breaths through the discomfort. I told them I could feel pain. It was pretty uncomfortable. The anesthesiologist whispered that if he gave me additional medicine I would not remember much. I declined and the pain went away once they got Liam out. He was wedged up in my ribs. Have a breastpump in your room and start pumping immediately. Have the nurse help you. You will be tried, I was shaking so bad, but start right away. Keep on the nurse and tell them you want to see your babies. The anesthesia wore off pretty quickly and I was in their room less than three hours after they were born it seemed like eternity. As soon as you can feel your legs start moving them and do not stop it helps the feeling come back quicker. It is a time to get up and get to your babies do not relax and take your time. I feel to start that attachment you must be with your babies. Buy some cotton flannel and cut them into 10 by 10 pieces. Then wear them inside your bra and place them under the babies head. They can lay on them. I would squirt breastmilk on these cloths every time I left as well as on their pacifiers. The AAP now says co-bedding is not safe. The babies are always on monitors in the NICU I insisted that the babies co-bed once they were stable enough to be in an open crib. It was wonderful to see them back together. Insist on Kangaroo care as long as babies are healthy. Ask to hold all three. Do not be afraid they are your babies. Hold them, kiss them, smell them and gently talk to them. Offer them the breast as often as possible even if they cannot transfer milk. Feel free to write signs and post them all over the babies NICU room. I did! Spend as much time as you can in the babies room. Walk as quickly as they will let you. Walk to and from the babies room, push for it. I was told to rest and stay in the wheelchair, I disagree I walked that night. I had to push for it, but the sooner you do the better.

I really never imagined my babies would be in the NICU. I did not prepare for it. I really thought after a day of two they would be home with me. The girls were in for 15 days to learn to eat and for heart and breathing issues that are pretty typical for premature babies. Liam was in for 40 days and that was so hard. Remember to take a lot of pictures it is hard when they are in the hospital, but take photos. Ask if you can bring a dark blanket to put over their incubators. The babies did so much better when it was dark. Also ask that they turn the volume down on the monitors and only turn on necessary lights. Go to weekly rounds and do all your babies cares and ask questions if you have any. Change their diapers, take their temperature, give them their baths and feed them. Learn how to breast or bottle feed two or more at the same time and feed them.

There was a lot of gear we needed. Rent or buy a hospital grade Medela pump. We had three swings which were great. Buy a Moby wrap or a Mei Tai. When Liam was still in the hospital I would put both girls in a Moby or Mei tai and leave their car seats in the car. I was able to keep them close to me and when we got to the room I would transfer them to a bassinet. My husband went back to work so I went to rounds alone and that way I could take the girls everywhere without those clunky car seats. Buy more blankets than you think you could ever use, we go through so many of those thin flannel blankets. Buy tons of cloth diapers to wipe things up. We use cloth diapers and bought enough to have a day and a half supply. Bring clothes from home for babies, we brought "swaddle me" wraps for each and they worked perfectly.

Start saving money as soon as you find out you are pregnant with triplets. I wish we would have. I thought I could handle it all on my own. I am very independent. It has been so hard. Fantastic and beautiful, but very hard. I wish we had money to hire help. We have a large family and I thought we would get help. Well I was very wrong. We have not had one extended family member help and even very close family has not helped. Though two very generous family members have given us money to help. Wow it was great! Do not rely on family or friends. We found some great volunteer doulas. Look for those that are working on their certification, they need to work with families to get certified and will do so for free. Contact your local post partum doula groups including PALS and NAPS. Have a list of what you need help with. Tell them exactly what to do or they will just come and hold babies. You need help not baby holders. We had strangers and acquaintances do much more for us than family. There were people who never met us that brought us meals and several came and folded clothes. I will always remember the generosity of those who helped us. My Mom was able to help some and both her and my brother helped tremendously when the babies were in the hospital. They watched my older boys if it wasn't for them we would not have been able to spend all that time at the NICU. Make sure you have care for your older children so you can spend time in the NICU.

Remember that it may be a lot of work and it is really hard, but it is so beautiful The hard work pays off. I am so blessed and happy to have experienced my five little ones. The time goes by so quickly. Even on the hardest days I remember that it can be worse. There are babies that stay in the ICU for months, it can always be worse. I always try to keep things in perspective.

Finally hold your babies and spend as much time with them as possible. Remember the housework can wait. Our house is always a mess now, but our kids are loved. Your children will remember that you read to them, snuggled with them and talked to them. Not that they ate eggs or almond butter and jelly sandwiches all the time. They will not remember the dust bunnies or piles of clothes waiting to be folded. Enjoy this beautiful time and your wondrous gifts. I am so thankful.

Friday, March 9, 2012

6 Months



The babies don't sleep for long, but usually this is what it looks like. During the day we stay upstairs and they sleep in the little "baby town" area.
River
Liam
Brielle
All seven of us at the park

Here we are at 6 months. These past months have been amazing. We have a full house and everyone is growing and learning new things each day. I will update with the exact measurements next time, but Brielle is just over 17 pounds, River just made it to 19 pounds and Liam is 15+. They are all within a 1/4 inch of each other in height.

The babies had their first cold. It lasted about two weeks and they handled it pretty well. Mostly runny noses with a bit of coughing.

We are hoping to move in the next month or so. The place we are renting is too small so we need to find something with more room and a better layout.

Brielle and River are rolling over. River says "da da" and loves to blow raspberries all day long. Liam is making huge improvements. He can hold his head up and sit unassisted for a few seconds. He is getting stronger and is much more present. The therapist said some babies that spend a lot of time in the NICU then go to louder situations ( our house is very loud with the babies two happy active brothers) almost hide or take longer to do things because they have to adjust and process everything that is going on around them.

The babies are now eating homemade goat milk formula. I am still nursing Brielle and offer the breast to Liam and River everyday. I am still hoping that they will latch and my supply will increase. The babies are eating solid foods a few times a day. They love avocados, sweet potatoes, carrots with peaches and spinach cooked in coconut oil. We add prunes everyday to keep their bellies happy too.

Kai and Kian are doing well. They are tired of being home bound. They keep telling me they want to do more and go to more places. I am learning how to do it all on my own while Sidney works. It just takes so long to get everyone ready and load them in the van. We do it and have fun. We even took everyone to Dino day at the museum last weekend. It was great.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Breastfeeding Journey


Here I am nursing Liam and Brielle. River is getting a bottle next to me. I really thought this would be the image 8 times a day...

My breastfeeding journey is nothing like I had imagined. If you are pregnant with triplets please do not let my story sway you or think it will reflect your experience. I know so many triplet Mamas who successfully breastfed/breastfeed their babies.

I have done everything right. I had Brielle at the breast in the OR, pumped within 30 minutes of being in my room. Pumped every 2-3 hours after the babies were born. I have used the prescription domperidone and the herbs fenugreek, goats rue, shatavari, mulliggnay, milk thistle, blessed thistle, fennel, dandelion, nettle, red clover, red raspberry leaf, hops, oatstraw and several hoppy beers. I am beginning to realize and trying to accept a different nursing life than I thought I would have. It is so hard and sad for me. I am pretty tough and crying for me is uncommon, but every time I stop and think about my lack of milk I cry and get so very sad. But, I must accept what is life. I breastfed Kai for almost 3 years and throughout my pregnancy with Kian and Kian for 2 and 1/2. I was even nursing until 12 weeks into the triplet pregnancy. I never imagined I would not have enough milk. I did everything right.

Tonight is the first night that my exclusively nursing daughter lost weight. Now that is serious. She has not been gaining as fast as River, but Brielle lost 3 ounces in the last 2 days. Now nursing is a gamble. I will still nurse my little gal, but will start supplementing. I nurse Liam recreationally, he is still having strength issues and cannot draw much milk and what is there does not flow enough to keep him interested. River I try everyday, but the flow is too low and she has an aversion to nursing.

It saddens me so that I do not have enough breastmilk for my three little ones. I am so sad that they will miss out on the benefits of breastmilk and all the positive aspects of nursing. I write this to try to deal with the sadness. Brielle, River and Liam will be 6 months old on Sunday. I have kept hope that one day my breasts would turn on. Well it has not happened and most likely will not.

I feel sad for all the time I spent with the breastpump, time I could have been playing with Kai and Kian. That is wasted time that I will never get back. I just kept working thinking the milk would finally come through. For whatever reason my body is/has not cooperated.

Here I am realizing that there will have to be a new normal and with each day I will have to accept the fact that there are so many positives to life with these three little ones and the years of nursing while so important will eventually lead to growing little ones and these early years while always remembered will have details that fade.

I hope that the formula they receive will give them all they need. I add a lot of fish oil and probiotics. River and Brielle are eating avocados and bananas and I hope to use less formula. My poor little ones have the worst eczema all over there body and I know it is because of the formula. We did make our own formula for a week, but after talking with the pediatrician we will wait for a month and start again.

I think I am writing this more for me and as a way to feel better.

I wish it was different, but it is the way it is. I am so thankful for my five little ones, they teach me something new everyday.

Last night we went somewhere and stayed out late. I thought Sidney would sleep better in the other room since he would only get a few hours of sleep before work. I had all of my little ones in the same room. Kai, Kian, River and Brielle were in bed with me. Liam was in the crib that is attached to the bed. All five of my sweet little ones were next to me and one time I was touching all of them. It is amazing that I am a mother to all of them. They are so special and I truly love each of them entirely and wholeheartedly.

I am off to go read the chapter I never knew I would need. The chapter in attachment parenting about bottle feeding. I can still be an attached Mommy.

Some may read this and think it is frivolous and wonder why it bothers me so much. Well unless you have nursed a toddler going through the stomach flu, nursed a toddler after he got hurt and fractured his teeth and nursed a little one all night as you co-slept in the hospital you may not understand. The deep relationship a little nursling has with his/her Momma cannot be equaled or compared to anything else. It is amazing and I am so thankful I lived it with my two older boys. I will keep nursing and occasionally pump. I will keep the supply that I have up and also hope that one day I wake up engorged and ready for a new nursing adventure.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

How to take triplets out without a stroller





We are a family that never used strollers. I would always carry Kai and Kian in a baby carrier, an Ergo or Mei Tai. It just felt great to have them close by where they could see what we saw and be in our conversations. When I found out we were having triplets I often wondered how we would maintain our baby carrying ways? Well we found a solution. Sidney and I found an easy backpack carrier and I use a front pack to carry Liam. Liam is still working on his head control so the Mei Tai is perfect for him. I still put him in the Moby wrap too. We recently went to the zoo and Sidney had River in the Kokopax backpack and I had Liam in a Mei Tai and Brielle in another Kokopax. It was so nice to be mobile and not need a stroller. I felt like a pack mule and looked a bit funny, but I loved having my little ones close.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Update

Liam at the aquarium
Here the babies are in their baby swings. We try to make sure they are not in them too long, but it is a great place when I cannot hold them.
Here is River and her sweet smile.
Here is Miss Brielle
Brielle and River


Kai, Brielle, Liam, River, "baby dolls", and Kian

Today the babies are 5 months old. These last five months have been amazing, there has been an intense amount of work, everyone growing, and fun.

The boys are growing a bit more independent and are able
to play more together. Legos have brought them together. Every night I give the babies a bath in the sink in the bathroom. It gets a little crazy. Babies are screaming and I scramble to tend to them. During baths Kai and Kian make great lego creations. Once the babies are clean Sidney and I feed them as Kian and Kai bring the parade of legos in. It is a great time of day.

The babies are growing here is a video of Liam. It was the first time he touched his sister and interacted with her.

video

Liam weighs 13.03 pounds and is getting stronger every week. Liam was born with a lower tone and has had problems feeding and still can't really cry, cough or sneeze well. The muscles in his trunk are low and will get stronger. I still cannot wait to hear a real cry and not a wimper. He is getting stronger and able to support his head a bit. He has physical therapy a few times a month and I know that will help. He was the first to laugh out loud and loves being played with. He has a huge smile and it is so sweet. We are still working on nursing. He is not very strong and may not transfer much, but we are working on it.

Brielle is 15.03 pounds. She loves to laugh and must be in constant contact with Mommy. She loves to breastfeed all night long. She is the only one who can nurse. She receives almost 100% breastmilk. She is so sweet.

River is the strongest and has been smiling for awhile. She always meets us with a smile. She weighs 16.03 pounds. River is so happy and loves to play.

The boys are so gentle with the babies. They hug them and snuggle them all day. They love to make them smile and laugh.

We have had so much snow and the boys have been having so much fun. They built a great snowman with Sidney

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I miss my Dad


I have thought about my Dad often, less as the years go by. I don't know what it was about tonight, maybe that I had a slow half an hour and my mind began to calm from the busy day. It was the first time I had thought about my Dad and how his relationship would be with the big boys and the babies. It would be amazing.

My Dad did the best he could and raised me and my older brother since I was seven. Not an ideal childhood, but he would be so much in my little ones lives. Kai and Kian do not get all the attention they once did. My Dad's favorite pastime was to lay in bed and watch tv, he loved it. I can see him laying in bed inviting Kai and Kian with a nickname like "boy boy" or something else that was intended to be special for each. As a side note he would have asked when they were born, "why can't you give them normal names". He would have always made sure each one felt on top of the world after spending time with them. He always had a way of making whoever he was talking to feel special. The boys have a void from Sidney and I being so busy, my Dad would have filled that. He also would have filled them with a ton off candy, soda and tv. He would have told them to hide it from me. This past New Years Eve I told them we would have a party like my Dad use to have. We made sodas with cherries and their juice (not the healthy ones, but the sugary red ones), ice cream sundays and part favors. It was their first sodas and they loved them. The only thing I forgot to do was pull out the pots and pans to bang at midnight.

My Dad would love these babies so much, but never fawn over them in front of the boys as he would know the boys need attention first. He would think the girls were the most beautiful babies to ever be born and would see no problem with Liam. If I mentioned his tone or weakness he would say "he looks good to me I don't know what you're worried about". That would be his way of saying go with it and he will be fine.

If he were here he would send me out of the house to the salon so Sidney and him could give me a break. And so they could have time without me hovering around.

I really wish my Dad was still alive. I know my children would be better with him in their lives. I will remember him and keep him alive in the stories I tell my little ones. If my Dad would have had a colonoscopy he would be alive today. If anyone is reading this make sure everyone you love 50 and over has had a colonoscopy, it would have caught my father's cancer. It has been 8 years sine he died and it would be so nice to have him here.