May 17th, 2010 – How I lived the time up to it and the 364 days after.

The days are long but the years are short.  Never have I understood this saying until I became a mother.  There have been countless days where the minutes until Tommy gets home to “rescue” me from under a pile of drool, poop, bottles, and crying babies have passed by slower than a turtle in mud.  However, there is not a single part of me that can believe that an entire year has passed since our family went from two to five in less than 3 minutes.

Tommy and I have decided to re-live that day here on our blog and I also want to share some reflections on the year that followed.

When I found out I was having triplets, I was determined to make it to 35 weeks gestation.  You see, any baby born under 35 weeks is automatically taken to the NICU and I wanted to give the girls a fighting chance to get to stay with me and in the normal baby nursery.  I still had high hope of this happening when I was admitted to the hospital on May 13th after a routine weekly ultrasound and exam diagnosed me with preeclampsia.  It became obvious over the first 48 hours in the hospital that I wasn’t going to be released with babies still inside of me.  But I still held out hope that we would make it to the magical pre-set date of May 26th ( which was later moved to the 19th).

As soon as I was placed in one of the largest rooms in the maternity ward, we welcomed guests and I was calm and on my left side ( anyone else ever have to do that while preggo?) for most of the time and was excited about the fact that I didn’t have to have an I.V. as long as my contractions remained low and the protein in my urine (sorry squeamish ones.) didn’t go up.

Feeling fine one minute...

Everything went fine until Sunday night.  I have a horrible memory, but I remember this night very clearly.  Now, as any good doctor would do, mine had talked over the risks and complications of having preeclampsia and I already knew every risk about having triplets.  However, not once did I process the information about my life being in danger.  I feel like when it came to info about the risks to the babies, I was sitting in the front row of a lecture hall and leaning forward to gather knowledge, but when it came to my own health, I think it sounded more like Charlie Brown’s teacher because I used that time to process more about the babies.  I do remember telling Tommy that if something awful happened and it came down to saving me or the babies that they should obviously save the babies.  Tommy did not want to talk about this, but it was important to me that he took me seriously.  Other than that, I wasn’t ever scared for myself and didn’t THINK anyone else was because they obviously weren’t going to say it to me if they were.

Sunday night kind of brought that all to the surface.  I was feeling fine around supper, but about two hours later as I was settling in for the night and Tommy was about to get cozy in his hospital cot I started to feel a little funny.  I hate crying wolf, so I just said my stomach hurt a bit and brushed it off until I couldn’t anymore and told Tommy that something was wrong.  We paged the nurse and I told her my heart-felt like it was going to pound out of my chest, I felt dizzy and I was having contractions.  She calmly took my blood pressure, but this time she didn’t tell me what it was like she had literally every three hours for the last four days.  She just said, “Okay, well I’m going to call your doctor and I’ll be right back.”  Well that can’t be good, I thought.  For about five minutes Tommy held my hand and practically climbed in bed with me to try to make me feel better.  Suddenly there was a flow of about 6-7 nurses and technicians in my room taking multiple viles of blood, trying to start an I.V. in every place imaginable, checking contractions, checking each baby’s heartbeat, and starting a drip of liquid hell also known as Magnesium Sulfate.  It went from calm to chaos in 10 minute flat.  Tommy was trying to hold my hand as all of these people were “working” on me without really knowing what was going on, but had to let go in order for them to work.  I peeked between the nurses to see him untying and tying his shoes, which I thought was odd until I realized he was trying to hide his fearful tears from me.  That is still one of my most vivid memories of any moment I spent at the hospital.  I know how hard it was to be the one being worked on, but I really do think it would be harder to see someone else I love be in pain and panic.  Now I could really tell that family and medical staff were a little more than worried.

It was decided that we would wait until morning to have the doctor come in to examine me because I was on the Mag Sulfate drip.   I would like to pause here and voice my hatred for this substance. According to Web MD Magnesium Sulfate is used to treat pre-term labor and preeclampsia.  I was diagnosed with both of those.  It also states the following side effects:

  • Muscle weakness.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Low blood pressure (rare).
  • Headache.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Stuffy nose.
  • Chest pain.
  • Buildup of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) and slowed or difficult breathing.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Flushing.

I had all of those except low blood pressure and fluid in the lungs.  On top of being pregnant with triplets.  I realize it was done as a safety precaution for the babies and I, but it was awful.  I could not open my eyes without help from my fingers.  I would rather have my finger nails cut down to nubs with a dull spoon than have a drip of that torture ever again.

...and it can get pretty ugly the next.

I basically wanted to tell about the night before birth day just to warn others of the words magnesium and sulfate ever being used together.  Yesterday Tommy wrote about the shock of finding out we would have babies in 4 hours instead of 3 days.  And he did a great job.  I have already written about how I felt during the surgery, and I do not want to repeat myself too much, so if you want to read more about that part and more, you can here.  I just want to add that because my body was in so much shock and on a lot of meds, I do not remember much after the surgery that day.  I was in and out of sleep almost constantly until the next day.  So, if you stopped by to visit me and I was a zombie, my apologies.  I really do appreciate you coming to visit us.

I have a million things I want to say about the 364 days that followed, but I have about 40 minutes a day to myself, and therefore have no time to write all of them out, so I will do my best to summarize in how things have changed over the course of a year.

Sleep

In the beginning, Tommy, Shannon, or I would either lay awake all night or “sleep” next to the girls swaddled tightly and placed in bouncy seats.  I was the epitome of a nervous mom worried that her three premie daughters might stop breathing or choke on their own spit up during the night.  Now… They sleep in cribs with a blanket and small stuffed animal for comfort and we have a specific alarm clock for “crying it out” before we go to check on them.  Enough said.

Food

I really wanted to nurse the girls until they were one (pause for laughter).  I know it doesn’t add up. There was three of them and I was one vessel short of being able to feed them all at the same time.  I pumped like it was my job but never got to feed the babies unless it was their “turn” to nurse because I was busy washing the pump or bottles to feed the other babies.  It lasted 6 weeks.  Formula is expensive and not what I originally wanted for our girls, but it was worth the energy and happiness that I got back because I was actually getting to spend time with them instead of a milking machine or a sink filled with soapy water.

Now, they eat almost anything.  Except baby food with chunks.  Weird, I know.  They love pulled pork, spinach, yogurt, and anything they can find on the floor.

Activity

Tommy used to say, “I can’t wait until they can ‘do things.'”  Now we barely ever sit on a couch for more than 5 minutes without 6 little hands touching and pulling us onto the floor to play.  We are constantly covered in bruises.  Rowan is practically running, Sienna is almost walking and Jovie is crawling at her own sweet pace.  We wonder if that pattern will ever change; Rowan first, Sienna second, and Jovie whenever she decides to.

Personality

Rowan was a tough baby.  She was always crying and had a very hard time sleeping.  She was the first one we “sleep trained” and now she is our best sleeper by FAR.  We often find ourselves waking her up 45 minutes after the other two have risen too early just to keep them on the same schedule.  Because everyone who has multiples will tell you that you either live of die by your schedule, and it is soooooo true.  Rowan is a Mommy’s girl and wants me to never leave the room.  She is fearless, busy, and will let you know when she wants something she doesn’t have with a very loud cry/whine combo while wrinkling her cute little nose.  She loves the bath and the pool and she loves to snuggle with anything soft and fluffy.

Jovie is pure sweetness.  She always has been.  She was our easy baby in every aspect.  She was a good eater, a good sleeper, and she had more of a lion roar than a cry when she was an infant.  Now she doesn’t like to sleep as much and often finds herself living in the “cry it out cave”.  She loves to give hugs and has a tiny voice which she can melt hearts with.  Her pudgy cheeks get kissed over 100 times a day.  With all that sweetness comes a bit of mischievousness.  She knows how strong she is and can steal a toy away from a rottweiler, let alone her two smaller and more mobile sisters.  She loves her “Da-da.” and loves to check everyone’s neck and ears for “pretties”(which sounds more like ‘pity’).  She likes to show off her patty-cake skills and can now can say the word ‘bubble’ every time we blow thousands of them, which is at least 5 times a day.

Sienna was and still is our most independent child.  From the beginning she took her own sweet time drinking her bottles, and nothing has changed in that aspect.  She was our best sleeper for a long time, but is currently spending her own fair share of time in the cry-it-out-cave because she would like to be out of her crib at 4:45AM sharp and take no afternoon nap.  A true Florer.  She rarely ever cries, outside of “come get me” whines from the crib.  She would sit and listen to me read books all day if she could.  The cutest thing I have ever seen is when she flips the pages of the book and babbles in different intonations and even giggles at the pictures as though she is reading it to herself.  So then we thought it to be very appropriate that her first word was ‘book’.  We were worried that she was saying ‘butt’ for awhile but figured out that it was indeed something much better when she brought a ‘butt’ to us to read to her.  She will play alone for hours and will stand right under the T.V. rocking back and forth for the entirety of a Baby Einstein video. Everyone always comments on her bright blue eyes and they can already change hearts with just one sad glance from them.

So there it is.  A summary of how each girl has changed from their tiny 3-4 pound snuggly wiggle blobs to 20 pound balls of energy.  We still have a schedule and try to stick to it as much as we can, but we get out a lot more.  We go to the store, the park, the zoo, and they make rare appearances at church.  But for the most part we just hang out at home and see what trouble we can get into for the day.  If you stay at home too and ever want to do a playdate, just let us know!  You can come here (18ft pool coming in a few weeks) or we can travel too!  It isn’t as hard for us anymore!  Anything “off routine” in a day helps keep them occupied, even if it is just for an hour.

Finally, I just wanted to say that the girls had an awesome time at their birthday party (they told me). We wanted to thank everyone for coming and for the very generous gifts that people brought.  We feel so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing, supportive people!

(Blog on the party to come later 😉 )

Can you believe it has been a year?!  Remember how tiny they were?!! Slow down time.  Slow down.

{This is the second post of a two-part “his & her” series recounting the birth of our baby girls (and our journey since then).  If you missed Part 1, click here.}

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4 thoughts on “May 17th, 2010 – How I lived the time up to it and the 364 days after.

  1. Excellent post, babe. I forgot about the “tying my shoes” part, but remember it clearly now. Also, I LOVE the picture you posted of Jovie in your sunglasses…I think it’s one of my new all-time faves!

  2. I heart this post, Missy! Great job writing it and letting all of us out-of-towners feel a part of the day. And I loved reading the re-cap of the girls. I almost feel like I know them now. 😉 I’m still not satisfied though and hope one day we will see them face to face. We love you guys and are so proud of you for making it one year with THREE girls!!!

    • I’m glad that you all are able to keep in touch…thanks for following along! You and the fam NEED to come visit. You know, the Memphis Redbirds play the Iowa Cubs (Des Moines’ AAA Baseball Team) quite frequently, so you can see “Uncle Shane” when you’re out here too… just sayin’ 😉

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