I’m finding out with that with three little itty-bitties, it sure is stinkin’ hard to blog!
The babies are 3 1/2 months old!! Although, with their adjusted age, they are referred more to as babies who should follow a developmental curve of a baby 6 weeks behind. However, after going to the pediatrician, the doctor was pleased to see the triplets acting like babies slightly ahead of their adjusted age. Wahoo! At their 3 months check up, everyone was hovering around the 10lb mark. All are napping during the day on their tummies and sleeping on their backs at night. All of them resist playing on their tummy, but we try many times a day, nonetheless. We’re getting better at developing a routine of eating, playing on the floor play gym for 20 minutes, swinging for 20 minutes, napping in the downstairs pack and plays. During the day, feedings are every 3 1/2 hours. Evening feeds are about every 3 hours. Night time feedings are about every 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 hours. Every evening I try to hold one baby for 30-45 minutes in either my Moby wrap or sling. It’s just my special time with them. Wish I could do it all day, but it’s critical I get them to learn to entertain and console themselves.
Night times are the most exhausting thing in the world. The babies are most fussy in the evenings when Doug comes home – (hopefully not a reflection on how they feel about their Daddy). It makes dinner, hearing about Daddy’s day, and family devotions very difficult. After everyone is in bed, I have to wait about 25 minutes and then pump for 15 minutes. Then, once I collapse in bed, the craziness of having triplets goes into full affect! Usually, someone will start crying and I lay there awake listening, wondering if they’ll be able to soothe themselves. Eventually, I get up to put in a pacifier, change a diaper, or pat a back for a random burp. Then I get back into bed and just drift off when I hear a different baby for a similar scenario. I get back to bed and hear either the third baby or the first one again. Eventually I get in bed and look at the clock and realize any or all of them could start fussing because mealtime is in 20 minutes or so. Some nights I choose to feed them all a little early instead of trying to soothe someone back to sleep and catch 15 minutes of sleep. It’s really easy to not ever get to sleep until about 3:45am, only to realize I should feed them around 4am. So then I nurse, burp and do diapers until 5:15 and get everyone back in their beds. Doug’s alarm goes off at 6:30 and there is no telling how many other cries I’ll hear off and on after that 4am feeding.
How everyone is doing!
She still really struggles with taking a paci. It’s just not her thing. To get her to do it, you have to put a dot of Mylicon on the end of it! She only wants things in her mouth with flavor! She smiles and coos, but not quite as much as the boys. She favors kicking her right foot only. My dad says she’s gonna be a real lead-foot someday when she drives! She still has a cry that is softer and more delicate than the boys. Most crying is preceded by the most pathetic sounding wining and poochy lip. So incredibly cute! She spends a little more time sleeping on her back than on her tummy, and has the small bald spot to prove it! She still has incredibly large eyes and enjoys watching everything around her. Her eyelashes are thicker and longer than Caleb’s and Charlie’s. And she is still the best little nurser! She is JUST like a little bird. When it comes time for feedings, her mouth starts sucking away soon as she sees me! She has a nice wide mouth like a tiny baby bird. She can eat considerably more than the boys and in a much shorter time! Alayna wakes so beautifully. It doesn’t take much to rouse her, and she’ll stretch, open her eyes nice and wide, and flash a little, ‘sweet’ smile. Our precious little ‘Cupcake’!
He has the most ‘beautiful’ smile! The corners of his upper lip absolutely melt my heart. His eyes are mostly brown now The other two have deep blue eyes (that I think will eventually turn brown). He enjoys kicking up a storm on the play gym. And he LOVES looking up at the fish mobile above his swing. He enjoys his swing more than the other two. He still has the most expressive eyebrows that make us chuckle each day. Caleb has definitely begun to show us a new angry side. Shrill screams and kicking his legs. He doesn’t particularly like getting his clothes changed and often chooses to show us this not-so-lovely side of himself. Caleb now laughs when you tickle him around his collar bone. It’s a subdued laugh, but a laugh, nonetheless. And yes, I’ll admit – my mom got his first laugh. And again, I’m willing to accept that. Maybe it’s their way of thanking grandma for helping so much! Caleb is getting really close at rolling over. He’s got the cutest little ears and loves to cuddle. Caleb looks more like Alayna than Charlie; however he is definitely the link between Alayna and Charlie. Caleb is doing well on Zantac 2x/day. His voice had been hoarse for many weeks, but has shown some improvement since being on the medicine.
He is still super full of personality! We’ve been having fun with his hair lately. It’s really growing! Sadly, it’s thinning out, though. I can’t help but mourn the loss of all the little black hairs left in his crib in the morning or on his side of the nursing pillow when he was done eating. Charlie definitely coos, squeals, and smiles the most. His smiles are large, open-mouthed ‘cute’ smiles. He still cries the most, but the smiles make up for it! Last week, Charlie gave me his first laugh! I was tickling him and I got 2 great giggles! Charlie has been the first to do everything – smile, coo, giggle, shimmy down the crib, etc. I think Charlie likes to cuddle with his siblings. Every time I put him in the pack and play or crib with Caleb and/or Alayna, I find him scootched over and up against someone else. Charlie’s reflux is being well-controlled with Prevacid. We spend time each day stretching his neck, since he highly favors looking only to his right side. I’m expecting Charlie to roll over any day now. He still is our little ‘zoo baby’ as he makes so many funny animal sounds – he sounds like a goose when he nurses, like a goat when he cries, he snorts like a pig, has a strange Velociraptor sound, as well!
Audrey has completed 11 days of homeschool! This year we decided to use Bob Jones Press Hard drive extended learning option for her. She’s very exited about this. The videos are ‘fun’ to her and very much captivate her attention. Doug let her have my old laptop and even let her decorate it with tons of stickers! She’s learned how to make her own backgrounds, email, start up her school, and use OneNote for following along with the lesson plans. Doug bought her a new desk, hooked her up with some speakers and pink head phones! She enjoys being a little techie. I think she enjoys getting into the same kind of things that excite her daddy!
Audrey continues to be a source of great joy to Doug and I. Ok, and to the babies as well! I think the babies give her just as many smiles and coos as they do to Momma and Daddy. They just love her. Audrey still volunteers to cuddle them, burp them, change diapers, get them dressed, move them into swings, etc. Some days she sits down on the play gym mat when they start to get fussy, and she uses toys as props to some elaborate story she concocts. I can’t help but well up with tears when I see all three of the babies’ eyes fixated on Audrey! The babies have woken her up just a couple times in the night, but I’m amazed not more. Not once since the babies came home has Audrey complained about anything! ANYTHING! I’m serious. She hasn’t complained about the crying, the dirty diapers, the time Momma and Daddy have to spend away from her and with the babies, etc.
Doug and I
Every week, at some point, Doug and I are overcome with emotion at our family. We still have moments that we can hardly believe we are the parents to a mature 8 year old and to 3month old triplets. We can’t get over the wisdom in God’s plan to space our children out as He did. For so many years throughout our infertility, we questioned how life would be with kids 8 years apart. But God, in His perfect grace sovereignly gave us what feels like such a perfect situation! And we are grateful to Him, also, that at this time in our marriage, mom and dad live within driving distance to help us. I can’t imagine what we would have done if the triplets had been born anytime in the last year, when they were so consumed with the care needed for Papa David in their home. We are thankful that the babies came in the summer and not during the school year.
Doug is still a great source of help to me. Mostly, he’s very encouraging and doting, always reminding me of the good job I’m doing. His late-night sense of humor sure keeps me hanging on some nights! I know he wishes he could spend more time with the babies and with Audrey, help me more, work at the office a bit more, and sleep a bit more. So, not being able to do any of those things as well as he wants, can be taxing to him. It’s all so different when you have your first child. And so different when baby number two, comes immediately with baby three and four! I’m so grateful that right now he is doing 95% of the school preparation, grading, lesson planning, etc. What a FABULOUS husband and daddy we all have!
I’m ok…Some days I’m able to completely relish in the fact that I have 4 kids when I so vividly recall the days I thought I’d never have any. And then some days I’m so incredibly fatigued, I seem incapable of complete thoughts, let alone joyful ones. I’ll admit to finding the celery in the plastic wrap/foil drawer and realizing their was a jar of Tabasco sauce in the knife drawer! I’ve been known to throw away the entire filter basket on the coffee maker when trying to dump out the grounds from the last pot. I’m so full of bizarre actions these days. I don’t ever recall being any where near this tired ever before in my life! I love breastfeeding the triplets, but it consumes all my energy, time, tears, and effort. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Even harder than the pregnancy! I wrestle with guilt that I can’t be super mom – that my all is just not good enough. I wish I had more time with Audrey, more time with Doug, and more time with the triplets on an individual basis. Instead, I’m out of touch with Audrey’s schooling, I have days when the only holding time with the babies has been because of nursing, and I have a husband that surely would love to see his wife with some makeup and to spend some time cuddling. I feel pulled in so many directions externally all the while dealing with so many physical problems. I am happy to report that I am now 18lbs less than when I even got pregnant! I will be going to the doctor this week to further investigate why my spine is still so sore at the spinal tap site. It’s been almost 4 months since the c-section! I struggle greatly with having time to read my Bible, and if and when I do read, I constantly fall asleep and don’t really digest or remember anything.
At times I really miss being pregnant. I KNOW! That makes no sense. Especially after such a rough pregnancy. But I miss the wonder and the way it felt to have all three babies inside me. I miss having them with me all the time. There is no way now I can hold all three babies on my lap now. I don’t have nearly enough time in my day for all of them. When I was pregnant, they were always with me. It’s a strange separation anxiety that I just can’t explain.
Some of struggles & basically, just TMI
*As a small disclaimer, all of this is probably ‘too much information’ for the average reader! But nevertheless, I make it part of our blog in order to record this as part of our journey and as a way to help fellow mommas who are struggling and stumble across the blog!
One of our biggest struggles is with the third eater at every nursing. Because the third baby has to work harder and gets less, most of the time the baby gets sleepy or angry. The boys are more prone to getting angry, especially Charlie! Right now, I’m using an SNS (supplemental nursing system) when the 3rd baby is just inconsolable. Basically, it’s just a little bottle that I fill with about 1oz of milk and works like a siphon . It has a small tube I attach to myself so that the baby is getting some milk slowly (to keep them happy) but is still sucking and stimulating me to make more let-downs.
We spent all last month weighing babies before and after each feeding to see how much they were getting. And we also did naked weight checks each or every other night to monitor overall weight gain. The weighing confirmed that the third eater is getting much less, however the babies weight gain has been between 3/4-1oz per day. So that is good. The theories behind why this is all still working it are either that the 3rd nurser is only getting fatty hindmilk and therefore doesn’t require as much. Or the babies’ metabolisms have come to adapt to the cycle of 2 large meals, 1 small, 2 large, 1 small, repeat….
I’m in my 8th week of dealing with a super wretched yeast infection that has permeated into the milk ducts. Let me tell you how wicked it is and how absolutely sick of it I am! I’m on my 4th round of diflucan treatments – something along the lines of 50+ pills. The concern is in the back of my mind that I’m hurting my liver, but I’m not sure what else to do. After each feeding, I’ve taken to washing off with vinegar/water solution, air drying, and alternating between APNO and lanolin. I’m taking grapefruit seed extract pills 3x/day. I take probiotics, garlic and Echinacea 3x/day as well. I’m swapping out nursing pads and bras left and right, washing everything we have in HOT water with vinegar or grapefruit seed extract in the rinse cycle. The babies are getting their mouths swabbed out with Nystatin after each feeding. And 3x/day they get a little probiotic powder on their tongues. And still….I’m hurting and hurting and hurting…..
So then last week, we turned to Gentian Violet. Every night I painted myself purple. Then we undress the babies, slather their entire face, neck, and chest with lanolin, and let them nurse. It’s the most intensely messy stuff. Their burp cloths, pacifiers, and jammies are stained purple. But most purple, are their mouths! Oh my goodness! The first night I did it, I was pretty stressed out. I just couldn’t relax knowing I had stained my precious little babies purple. My mom thinks it’s funny. She says it looks like they’ve been sucking on purple magic markers. However, to me – when I look at my little boys, I can’t help but think they either look like some punk/Goth babies or like drag queens in training. Here’s Alayna with some purple still remaining on her lips. It’s off her face, but her lips are still stained. She looks like a little doll here with painted lips!
Due to the stress of the yeast, my little sleep, and the lazy/angry 3rd eater, I’ve noticed a small decline in my milk production. So I’m taking Domperidone, Fenugreek & Blessed Thistle. YUP! I know – me. The girl who said hardly anyone legitimately has a milk production issue. The girl who said that if you ‘work the system, the system works’. It’s been a huge struggle for me emotionally to deal with this. Mostly it centers around pride, I think. I wanted to look like I could do it ALL! To admit even just a smidge of defeat is just unacceptable to me. But I took 2 nursing vacations with the babies and have added some pumping into my routine in order to boost production.
So, I will admit that there have been a FEW times that I’ve had to give the 3rd nurser an ounce of formula. But, hardly ever. And last week I had a strange 24 hour bug, so I let Doug and my mom give everyone a bottle of formula once in the night so that I could sleep (what’s that??). I’ve just about completely exhausted my stash of frozen milk. (teary -eyed moment) Right now, due to the yeast, I cannot really pump and store my milk. Since freezing doesn’t kill the yeast, I don’t want to use thawed milk down the road and reintroduce the yeast – assuming it’s every really gone. I do still have 1 pumping session each night, though, so that my body gets in the habit of producing a bit extra. About 20-30 minutes after the midnight feeding, I pump for about 10-15 minutes. This allows me to have milk for a bottle for everyone during the week (date or church – as if we ever really go on dates!) and milk for supplementing with the SNS.
As with Audrey, I have the problem of excess lipase in my milk. It’s an enzyme in milk responsible for breaking down fats in the milk. After about 24 hours of refrigeration and after being frozen, it takes on this nasty, soapy/metallic smell and flavor. It’s vile if you ask me. It sorta perturbs me, and I hate that there is nothing I can do to make it different. There isn’t anything ‘wrong’ with the milk, but most babies don’t like the flavor of this and will refuse a bottle of pumped milk. Audrey was this way. In fact with her, I had to pitch a huge stash of milk before I realized the problem. I tried to get her to take it numerous times, but it was always unsuccessful. I’m super grateful that the triplets are ok with the soapy-tasting milk! So for now, I’m not going to scald the milk after pumping, before it goes into the freezer. I don’t want to compromise any of the health benefits of the milk, so I’ll continue giving them the funky milk if they’ll have it. But I can’t help but hate that it’s not super sweet and yummy – like I wish I could make it for them.