Thursday, May 28, 2009

Drum Roll, Please... (4 months)

Today the babies had their 4 month dr. appt. Here are their updated stats:

Ellery - 9 pounds 11 ounces (2.1 gain since last month), 21 ½ inches
Gianna -9 pounds 14.5 ounces (2.2 gain), 21 inches
Easton – 9 pounds 2.5 ounces (2.2 gain), 20 ¾ inches

A big thank you to my wonderful friend Meagon who again helped me out at the doctor’s office - I couldn’t do it alone! Overall, the dr. is very happy with their growth! The babies are almost on the charts – seems a little strange that I can’t even give them a growth percentage yet. I know many people have newborns their size, but I am so happy that they are close to ten pounds!

They each had four shots, which made for three VERY cranky babies this afternoon. I don’t know if they have ever cried as much as they did this afternoon. Thank goodness Meagon was here – again, couldn’t have done it alone. Unfortunately, it was also confirmed that all three babies have had a reoccurrence of thrush and have been put on a stronger medicine. Easton has had some hoarseness and Ellery has been increasingly more cranky, as well as spitting up whole bottles at a time – sometime projectile style. Always a good time :{ Our doctor feels that both of these things are happening either because of thrush spreading to their throat or because of reflux. Hopefully this new med will help clear up the thrush for good, and both Easton and Ellery will be back to their usual selves.

I also wanted to say how thankful I am for Jason. He has been out of town for the past few days. I don’t realize how much he helps me until he is gone! My dad came to help me for the day yesterday and Meagon helped me out today which was a huge help. Not sure I could have made it through three days on my own!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

So Big

I love looking at the picture of Easton next to Howie. I am absolutely amazed at how much each baby has grown, but I don't think I realize the extent until I look at pictures. I started looking through pictures of the girls to see how they have grown in the last four months. It is truly unbelievable to me!

Out For a Stroll:
Ellery was so teeny when we brought her home that I couldn't resist testing her out in Quin's toy stroller. Of course I did so after Quin went to bed - I didn't need to give her any more ideas :) The angle on the pictures are different, but you can still tell how much Ellery has grown both in height and in weight! When we took the second picture yesterday, I was afraid the fabric might not hold her.
If the Hat Fits, Wear It:
I loved this hat. It was one of my favorite 'finds' when the nurses let me dig through the hat bins. Gianna was known in the NIM for it. Most of the hats that volunteers make, while nicely made, don't compare in detail to this hat. I was surprised it never 'disappeared'. I tried it on Howie, and his head is shaped quite funny so it doesn't give you a good idea of how small the hat is. Between Jason's hand in the first picture and seeing the underside of the hat in the second picture hopefully you get the idea!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Wayr Howie?

This is a question that Quin asks many, many, many times a day!
When I first found out I was pregnant Jason and I tried to peak Quin’s interest in baby dolls, stuffed animals, blankets… To no avail, all she wanted to play with were ‘hard’ toys (blocks, plastic animals, balls…). In the fall she finally became attached to a mini ‘Melmo’ (Elmo) – the softer side was finally showing! After the babies were born she was given a few dolls and actually began playing with them. She still plays with all of them (lines them up, pats them all on their backs, feeds two at a time – I see a reflection of my actions often!). She is overly attached to a small Cabbage Patch doll that was given to her by the Lowe family, our friends and neighbors. The doll came with a name, I think it was Francine, but it never stuck. She always called it Baby until my sister, Abbey, came over to visit and casually called it Howie (as in Howie Long). Jason and I joked a few times about the name, but never thought Quin heard us. All of a sudden, her sweet baby was now called Howie. It is a hoot to hear her talk about Howie!

Shortly after getting Howie, his/her clothes disappeared. Nothing like a naked cabbage patch with all of its sewn joints :) While cleaning out the babies preemie clothes Quin chose one of Easton’s outfits that he wore in the NICU to put on Howie. Coincidentally, Erin Lowe who gave Quin the doll also made the outfit. Erin made some amazing clothes for all three babies that fit them perfectly while allowing for all of their cords. Below is a picture of Easton wearing the outfit in the NICU – I think he was about 3 weeks old. Then there is a current picture of Easton lying next to Howie. For being the smallest of the three triplets, Easton has still made really good gains with growth!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

But Are They Really Sleeping?

Now that you have seen the triplet’s bedroom, you are probably wondering if there is any actual sleeping going on!?!?! My answer is: some, and we wish it were more :)

Since all three babies have been home, I have tried to gently nudge them towards an eat/be active/sleep pattern during the day and an eat/sleep pattern at night. After Quin was born I read every sleep training type of book that I could find. The two that hit closest to home with us were Babywise and The Baby Whisperer. Personally, I think it would be really hard to follow any one theory word for word. I took bits and pieces from each theory and used what worked for us. Quin is a wonderful sleeper, so I have been frantically trying to remember what I did with her. I have given myself a catch-up class with both of the above books, as well as skimmed another book that was recommended (Weissbluth method).

Our current schedule is:
7:00am – At least one baby is already up, so we feed all three and then bring them downstairs. They usually ‘play’ in their bouncy seats. Once they start to get drowsy I put them in their spots to sleep (I have a bassinet and pack n’ play on our main floor). I have to admit that I am sometimes guilty of letting them sleep in the bouncies and putting them in/near the bathroom if I need to shower.

10:00am – We go through the same ‘eat/play/sleep’ cycle as earlier. They usually sit in their boppy pillows under the play mat as their ‘activity’. They then again nap in their bassinet/pack n’ play areas.

1:00pm – Eat/Play/Sleep. I try to bring them upstairs to their room for their active time and then put them in their cribs for their naps.

4:00pm – Eat/Play/Sleep. We usually do tummy time on pillows in the living room. They are usually awake a lot longer now. If they do fall asleep, it isn’t for terribly long.

7:00pm – We start to get them ready for bed and do our nighttime routine. If it is bath night, that is included. We then put them in their cribs for the ‘night’.

We go in and feed them before we go to bed, which is usually around 10:30. We feed them again when they wake in the middle of the night, which has been around 3:00, and then they sleep until about 7:00.

They have done really well with this so far! I am getting two good three hour blocks of sleep – which I consider wonderful after having to feed them every three hours for the first month or so that they were home. I try to make sure everything is set for the next day before I go to bed (any bottles that need to be made, dishes done…) and it is much easier if I can wake up to shower before they wake up. Unfortunately, some mornings I would rather just stay in bed!

I have to remind myself often that even though they are almost 4 months old, they are developmentally closer to 6 weeks. I am hoping that over the next few weeks we can stretch the night hours just a little bit longer. The hardest thing about the feeding and sleeping is that I have to take all three babies into account. As the saying goes - We are only as strong as our weakest link. I think Gianna could eat more and go longer in between feedings and sleep for longer amounts of time, but Ellery and Easton need shorter amounts of time. I refuse to have them on different schedules – I would be so sleep deprived and then I am no good to anyone!!!

I am positive that this schedule will change – probably before I hit publish. It is a process that I will be happy to be finished with. When I did all of the initial reading with Quin, one of the authors considered sleeping through the night as a period of five hours in a row – what?!?!? I am shooting for a full 12 hours! :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Needing an Escape Plan

Jason gives me a wonderful gift each weekend - time away with Quin. She and I go to Kindermusick each Saturday morning. This past Saturday we did not have class, so Quin and I were able to head to the mall so I could spend my Mother's Day gift card on a pair of shoes that I have had my eye on for quite awhile (because I am wearing them where?!?! Still not sure about that). We were gone for a little longer than usual and by Saturday night Jason was itching to get out of the house. See, the gift of time away is two fold - yes, it is time with Quin but it also demonstrates to Jason how sometimes it is difficult to be home with the babies and have no interaction with the outside world :) I know he completely understands this, but a gentle reminder every so often is nice!

Our cheap solution was to go to Grand Haven for the kite show on Sunday. When we leave it has to be planned out to the minute. We got everything completely ready before the 10:00am feeding, so all we had to do was put the babies in their carseats and take off. It was windy and very chilly, so I sat in the mini with the babies while Jason and Quin watched the kite show. Win/Win: I read the entire Sunday paper in peace and quiet, and Quin saw kites synchronized to music. Jason said it was pretty cool. Quin of course loved it!
After Quin and Jason came back I wanted to get a picture of Quin with the kites in the background. Within seconds she was off, trying to catch up with the kites. At least she looked back to see if I was going to join her.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sleeping Arrangements

We get a ton of questions about the triplets bedroom. (By the way, I like it when people ask questions like this, because then I know what others are also wondering.) Yes, we have them all in the same room. No, they do not sleep together. We are very firm on our feelings that they should sleep alone in their own beds (although we do think everyone has the right to decide whatever they want for their own child). Quin has only slept in her crib, or a pack n' play when we have been away from home.

Below are a few pictures of their bedroom. When we started planning their room, I was afraid that three cribs in a row would look too sterile, so we added door headboards and then pushed the cribs up against them. Yes, the cribs are close together. There is just enough room for one of us to change them and get them in and out of their crib. The bedding is the Alphabet Soup bedding from Pottery Barn. This was the same bedding we used in Quin's room. I was able to find the exact bedding that I already had, so we placed that on the girls beds. Also on Ebay I found bedding from the same line, a little more boyish, so that is what we put on Easton's bed. I am sure the designing experts would give me a thumbs down because all of the furniture is placed along the walls, but I wanted to maximize the floor space. I spend quite a bit of time with them in their room, on the floor. We could definitely use more room, but it works!

The view from the doorway:
Taken from the closet opening:
Taken from the corner with the chair:
While taking the bedroom pictures, I realized that I never posted pictures of our bathroom re-do. I am very happy with the way it turned out. As we were painting the stripes I think Jason was a bit peeved, but that's what he gets when I lay in a bed for 50 days and dream about decorating :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and Jason’s mom!!! Thank you for all that you have done for us!

As much as I believe that mothers should be celebrated each day of the year, a designated day gives a nice reminder to thank the moms who do a wonderful job! I have the amazing luck of knowing a multitude of awesome mothers. Some are close to me in my everyday life – my family and friends. Others I work with through school. I was inspired daily through the interactions with my students – they demonstrate the foundations that are laid at home, often times set by mothers. When I found out that we were having triplets, I drew strength from all of the four children families that I have been so lucky to work with. I am sure many parents do not know how much I learn from them each year. I am so thankful to have so many amazing mothers surrounding me. I am the mother I am because of all of you! Thank you!

I have cut and pasted the following from an email that many of you sent to me – thank you. There are more moms then I can count (or have email addresses for) that I would like to send it to. I know it is long, but it is so well written.

Have a wonderful day! Cheers to all of you wonderful mothers!

Before I was a Mom,
I never tripped over toys
or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not
my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never been puked on.
Pooped on. Chewed on. Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind
and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child
so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night
watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby just because
I didn't want to put her down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small
could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn't know the feeling of
having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel
to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond
between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small
could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night
every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth,
the joy,
the love,
the heartache,
the wonderment
or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mom .

Thursday, May 7, 2009

2 Divas and a Dude

The babies are 14 weeks today!

Over the past few days I have been (slowly) working on a scrapbook page to display on both the neonatal floor and the OB Special Care floor. I am far from a scrapbooker! I can’t take the pressure (from myself) that it has to be cute and perfect. Much too time consuming for me. I came across a pretty cool online digital scrapbooking store:
I know that there are many commercial sites similar to this, but this site seemed to have a different look/feel to their pages. They have a ton of templates to choose from. All you have to do is choose your template, type your text and drop in your photos. Perfect for me! I can put together one page, and order three or four of that page – one for each baby to call their own.

Any who… Here are two of the better pictures that I took to add to the scrapbook page. It is extremely difficult to get a good picture of all three of them :)
Ellery, Easton, Gianna

Monday, May 4, 2009

Medicine x3

Giving medicine to one infant, not fun. Giving medicine to three infants can be torture at times.

Because Ellery’s thrush wasn’t clearing up as fast as our pediatrician would have liked, he up-ed her dose when he diagnosed Easton and Gianna’s thrush. I now have to give them each 4 ml’s of medicine, four times a day (initially I was giving Ellery 2 ml’s two times a day). The medicine is yellow, and the babies don’t love the taste so they spit it out. After the initial swab, they clench their lips tight together making it hard to get the swab into their mouth. Oh, what joys - and it is only the beginning!

(Ellery is on the top left and Gianna is on the top right)

They have also joined the ranks of disliking each other at times. If I put them too close together, they will start to push and kick each other (when awake). So, I have had to separate them. :) I am just waiting for the first black eye! It is amazing to me how big they are getting. I know they are teeny-tiny for their actual age, but to me they are growing like weeds!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tip Toe Through the Tulips

Today we took our very first trip as a family of six (Jason’s first time driving the mini-van since he drove it home from the dealership). It was a lot of work, but it was well worth it. We introduced the triplets to our yearly Tulip Time tradition – the food! I think I gained back any weight that I have lost since the babies were born :) Who doesn’t love an elephant ear!!!

We just had to shake our heads at Quin. With a table of yummy greasy food (onion rings, corn dog, steak sandwich, pizza, elephant ear…), what did she want to eat? The bag of fruit snacks that we grabbed from our cupboard moments before leaving. She dipped her finger in the cinnamon/sugar mixture on the elephant ear, but that was about as adventurous as she got. I envy her ability to resist all of the yummies!

I wanted to get a picture of her in front of the tulips. By the time we finished eating, her level of patience was running on low. This was the best we got:
I also thought I would share a picture from last year. What a difference a year makes. She couldn’t walk yet, so it was a struggle to get her in the picture alone. I forgot about those cheeks, and wow has her hair grown!

While walking around, I thought we looked pretty inconspicuous. I put Gianna in the sling, Easton and Ellery were in the single stroller that reclines (with a blanket draped over them) and Quin was in her stroller. It is amazing how people flock to a baby, and then hang around after they realize that there are three babies. At times I feel like we are a circus of sorts. I try very hard to smile and answer the same questions over and over! Again though – well worth the time out as a family and eating the greasy food.