Wednesday, March 28, 2012
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
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.
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.