Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sleeping Arrangements

People frequently ask me about our nighttime routine, so I thought I'd share.  Ever since the second night home from the hospital, James and Amelia have slept in their cribs.  Madeline sleeps in the swing (turned off) because it helps with her reflux by keeping her inclined.  We always swaddle each baby before bed. 

For the past two weeks, the babies have nursed around 9 pm, then wake up again at midnight for their first nightly feed.  Jesse unswaddles them, changes their diaper, then hands the first two to me to nurse while a bottle of expressed milk is warming in the crock-pot.  He bottle feeds the third baby.  Then we swaddle each baby and place them back in the crib or swing.  This whole routine normally takes about 45 minutes.  Usually only one baby is fussing and hungry, but we always feed all three, even if they don't eat much.  (This is why we unswaddle and do a diaper change first to help wake the babies so they know it's time to eat.)

After midnight the babies wake every 2-3 hours and we continue the routine.  Of course, Jackson inevitably comes in our bed sometime in the middle of the night.  The whole family is up for good around 8:30 a.m.

Sister, Sister

If you had ever asked me how many kids I wanted, I would have never, ever said four. The more I think about it, though, the more blessed I feel to have four children, especially two sons and two daughters.  Each of my children will be able to have a brother and a sister.  No matter what happens to Jesse or I, they will have one another as siblings.

No other people in my life have shaped and supported me in the same way that my sisters do.  I can only hope that Madeline and Amelia will be able to experience the same bond!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Breastfeeding Triplets

After finding out I was pregnant with triplets, I went about breastfeeding with an open mind, knowing I may need to supplement with formula.  Since delivery, I've been astounded at how my body is capable of producing enough milk to feed all three. 
While in the recovery room the nurses immediately helped me tandem feed.  I was able to lie down and use receiving blankets to prop them up on each side in the football position.  Once I was able to use my abdominal muscles enough to sit up, I could use the amazing BreastFriend Twin pillow.  I LOVE feeding two at a time.  It's definitely the most time efficient.  My favorite aspect of tandem feeding is that I don't have to deal with let down or leaking from the opposite side, so no milk is wasted and I don't have to wear nursing pads.

After a few days home from the hospital, I was able to pump enough so that Jesse could bottle feed one baby while I breastfed the other two at the same time.  The best advice I was given was to feed all three at the same time, even if only one is awake and hungry.  Otherwise I could literally spend the entire day feeding babies.  We don't have any set rotation on who gets the bottle vs the breast, it's just whoever is alert and hungry first gets the breast.

Neither Jesse or I can truly complain about sleep.  While our sleep is definitely interrupted multiple times a night, we've got a pretty easy routine that normally takes 45 minutes or less.  We have both a recliner and glider in the nursery.  They are both so comfortable that we frequently doze off.  I tandem feed using my pillow in the recliner while Jesse bottle feeds another baby in the glider.  Here is where Jesse spends his nightly feedings:

Obviously I am in charge of nursing/pumping and Jesse is in charge of bottles.  Each night he divides the expressed milk into 2 ounce bottles, which is how much the babies are currently drinking.  We keep the bottles in a mini-fridge in the nursery.

More great advice I received was to use a crock-pot to warm up the milk rather than getting bottle warmers.  We keep the water turned on low heat and it only takes a minute to warm the milk.

Immediately after tandem nursing, I try to pump 2-3 times a day immediately after nursing.  I am normally able to pump twice during the day and once at night for exactly five minutes.  (After feeding the babies I don't have anything left after 5 minutes of pumping.)  Depending on what time of day it is and how much water I've consumed, I can pump anywhere from 4-8 ounces total per session.
While I prefer not to, I'm able to nurse two and bottle feed one all at the same time.  There have been several times where I've fed all three by myself, but I can normally rely on Jesse to take care of bottle feeds.  I realize I am spoiled in this area and dread having to do all feeds and diaper changes alone in a few weeks when Jesse goes back to work.
In regards to supplementing, our pediatrician gave us a 12 ounce can of Enfamil AR to try to help reduce spit up with Maddie and get her back to her birth weight.  She's had a few 2-oz bottles over the past week.  The Zantac eliminated most of the reflux so we've been able to offer all breastmilk.

Meet Madeline

Madeline Lucinda, better known as Maddie, is our smallest and neediest of the three.  She has the most medical concerns, albeit minor, including reflux and a heart murmur.  She experienced growth restriction in utero and was born well over a pound smaller than her brother.  She lost over 10% of her birth weight within a week and was prescribed Zantac twice daily to help with reflux.  Because of her reflux, Maddie sleeps upright in the swing and is the most held among her siblings.

For the most part, Maddie is very calm and quiet.  We recently discovered her love of bath time.  She was the only one totally peaceful in the warm water.

We call Maddie our little gremlin.  Her receding hairline and pointy ears remind me way too much of Gollum.  Strangely cute!


Meet James

James Presley is our resident heifer.  He is the oldest, biggest, and loudest of the trio.  When he is hungry, the whole house knows it! He can most often be spotted eating or in a milk induced comma.  The boy does not play around when it comes to feedings.  He latches like a piranha and guzzles so quickly (bottle or breast) that eating most always ends in hiccups.  Jesse and I frequently refer to him as a toad.

Due to James' size, he is always the big spoon.  He tends to gravitate towards his sister, Amelia, the most.  The two almost always find each other if they are placed in the same space.

James is the typical boy when it comes to bodily functions.  He burps like a grown man after every feed.  He frequently grunts, passes gas, and gets hiccups.  His sneezes are ridiculous and typically come in sets of 4-6.  And he poops nearly every two hours.  

Meet Amelia

Amelia Caroline is our bright-eyed, strong, cuddly middle child.  She is all or nothing in everything she does.  She's by far the most alert of the three and has long periods of time each day where she will interact, follow sounds, and look around.

Ms. Amelia is strangely strong for her young age of two weeks old.  Both Jesse and I have witnessed her rolling over from belly to back on more than once occasion.  She is also able to lift her head an impressive amount and tries to sit herself up when nursing.  She hates being swaddled but sleeps peacefully because it controls her flailing arms and stretching legs.

She gives the best smiles (even if they are due to gas) and conforms to your body while cuddling. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Your Birth Story

Dear James, Amelia, and Madeline
When I found out I was pregnant with three babies, I felt every emotion possible: fear, excitement, anticipation, wonder.  Each passing week that I was pregnant with you was another blessing full of good health.  In the weeks leading up to your delivery, I continued to feel an array of emotions, wondering if you would be healthy enough to go home with us and how much longer my body could physically support your growing bodies. 

the day before delivery
The night before my c-section, I stayed awake crying, terrified of change and unknown.  I didn’t know how I could open my heart to accept any more love than I already had for your brother.  The morning of the c-section, my nerves were focused on my own surgery and recovery, in addition to your well-being.

Uncle Jason and Aunt Chrissy took your brother on the day of delivery.  Your Daddy and I had to be at the hospital at 11 a.m.  We walked to a L&D room and nurses immediately began prepping me for an IV, drawing blood, shaving, and completing consent forms.   Your Aunt Katie and MeMe arrived later to check on us, followed by MiMi and PaPa.  Already before you were born, your family was waiting with love and anticipation for you. 
About to go back to the OR
Around 1:15 p.m. the nurses brought us back to the recovery room where we awaited to enter the operating room.  Leaving your Daddy to walk to the OR was one of the scariest feelings I’ve ever had.  The anesthesiologist came in to administer the spinal block.  He asked me to curl my back around in a ball, which was very hard with three babies!  He rubbed my back with what felt like wet sandpaper for what felt like eternity.  He then injected a numbing agent, which felt much more intense than just a “bee sting”.  Quickly, my bottom felt incredibly warm and panic set in.  I didn’t know what was happening to my body and I felt extremely out of control.  I was laid down on the gurney and given oxygen and a variety of medications.  The combination of lying completely flat on my back along with the medications made me instantly dizzy and nauseous.  The bright lights, glistening surgical tools, and commotion of people all became too much.  I closed my eyes and began shaking my head back and forth uttering “I don’t like this.  This doesn’t feel right.”  The catheter was inserted and initial cuts were made.  Unfortunately, this is the part of your story where the details get fuzzy. 

At some point, your Daddy walked in, though I only remember hearing his voice since I kept my eyes closed.  James was born at 1:47, Amelia at 1:48, and Madeline at 1:49.  The nurses showed each of you to us before taking you out to be checked by the NICU team.  Daddy was able to hold James and Amelia, though Madeline was having difficulty breathing.  (I later checked your medical notes, Maddie.  You had pink mucus in your lungs and were in respiratory distress for 6 minutes.  I was very worried about you during this time and kept asking for you.) 
Mommy holding James for the first time!
Daddy and Maddie in the recovery room
Once you were cleared by the NICU teams, you were bathed, dried, and swaddled.  Daddy wheeled your bassinet to the recovery room while Dr. Horne stapled me back up.  The nurses applied the dressing over the incision and lifted me onto another bed.  At this time I was rolled to the recovery room and reunited with Daddy and each of you.  Immediately I was able to nurse two of you at a time.  Despite feeling very lethargic, I vividly recall feeling a sense of pride and adoration.  All of my fears of not being able to equally love you instantly dissolved away.  You were my beautiful babies and I knew in that moment my heart would always be yours.

Love always,

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
James Presley-6 lbs, 12 oz, 20.5 inches long
Amelia Caroline-6 lbs, 2 oz, 20 inches long
Madeline Lucinda-5 lbs, 9 oz, 18 inches long

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Family of Three

I wanted to savor today, to linger in this final day as a family of three.  I wanted the day to be perfect and joyful to celebrate our only child before he becomes the oldest of four. 
Jackson was on my last nerves, Jesse yelled at me for being "too uptight", and then I finally let my nerves get the best of me and broke down and cried.  I haven't stopped since. 
How do you open your heart to invite love for more children?  Right now I don't want to.  Jackson won't even remember life before his siblings, and this makes me sad.  I know he'll grow to love them and Jesse and I will soon forget what life was like before we were a family of six.  But today, I want to stay a family of three.
I know the trio will make our family complete, but I just want to freeze time.  I want to be able to give every second of my time and energy to my boys.  I don't want Jackson to have to share his mother's love, and quite honestly, I don't want to share my time with anyone else. 


Friday, July 12, 2013

Silly Toddler Updates

This kid is convinced he is grown.  On more than one occasion, he has hopped in the regular seat and buckled his seat belt.  He just looks at me and says, "I'm ready!"  Then I get this face when I tell him he has to go to his carseat.

Jackson loves watching the rain, which is a good thing since it's a daily occurrence this summer.  He's not at all scared of thunder or lightening either.  Jack can almost always be spotted near a window or door if it is raining.

On Fourth of July we gave Jackson sparklers.  Between the wind and our six year old wedding matches, we struggled to get the sparklers lit.  It didn't matter to Jackson.  He was so proud of himself to watch the lights burn out.

A few weeks ago we went to Goodwill and let Jackson pick out a toy.  He picked this Elmo.  When we got home and put batteries inside Elmo, we discovered that he is a Spanish speaker.  While I have no clue what he says, Jackson enjoys watching him fall to the ground laughing.

Mini-Jesse likes to "shave" just like his Daddy.  Occasionally Jesse will lather up Jack's face with shaving cream and give Jackson a covered razor.  He is so serious about it!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Confessions from a Lover of Pregnancy

Here's the truth about why I love being pregnant:

I get to create life.  There is nothing more empowering and glorifying to God than knowing my body is doing what it was designed to do, and I am responsible for bringing humans into this world.

The babies are all mine!  Selfish, I know, but I don't have to share them.  I get to rub my belly with pride, feel the kicking sensations from the inside, and protect them all by myself.

Walking around a mall, vacuuming, and mopping count as exercise.  I don't feel any need or pressure to go to the gym or physically exert myself.  Of course, I try to stay active, but not to the point of pain.

It is 100% acceptable to gain weight and eat what I want without judgment.  It's the only time in my life where I can be enormous and feel beautiful at the same time. 

I get to take as many naps as I want, completely guilt-free.  I have always been one to enjoy an afternoon nap, but it is a necessity while pregnant.  I do not have one shred of guilt peacefully napping, knowing that I'm giving my body the essential rest it needs to keep my babies healthy.

As long as I'm pregnant, I don't have to deal with newborns.  I know I will love my babies, but that doesn't mean I enjoy the post partum hormones, sleep deprivation, exclusive responsibility of feedings, and recovery from delivery.  If I could just fast forward to 3 month old babies...

Jackson's Favorite Shows

Jackson still doesn't "watch" TV, but he loves to play with blocks or in his kitchen while his favorite shows are playing.  He'll go up to me and say, "I want Hot Dog".  Hooray for OnDemand and YouTube so we can just listen to the songs and dance.

The Good, Bad, and Ugly of a Triplet Pregnancy

My last pregnancy post!
The Good
  • Feeling three babies moving at one time
  • Ability for family and friends to feel and see babies move
  • Constant prayers and support from loved ones
  • Positive comments and blessings from strangers
  • Getting our girls, blessed with two daughters and another son
  • Avoiding pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, cervical shortening, bed rest...
  • The miracle of supporting three lives for 9+ months
  • Jackson saying, "Good night sisters" or "Give brother kisses"
  • The many, many donated items (furniture, clothing, diapers, toys, etc) we've received
  • The amazing ability of my uterus to stretch over 60 cm!
  • Ability to walk, drive, clean, etc. throughout the whole pregnancy
The Bad
  • Not being able to work full time the entire school year
  • Severe pain getting in and out of bed (to the point where I have to use a pillow in my face as a muzzle so Jesse doesn't wake from my shrieks)
  • Extremely hard time breathing/ suffocating feeling
  • Pelvic and hip pressure, which feels more like shattering of bones and ripping my legs apart like a Stretch Armstrong
  • Can't forget about those early symptoms of severe nausea and fatigue
  • Developing a claw hand each morning (aka carpal tunnel) which makes simple tasks like washing my hair, shaving my legs, and brushing my teeth painful
  • Not knowing if my babies will be in the NICU
  • Requiring a c-section (all the anxiety that accompanies surgery)
The Ugly
  • Edema in lower belly (My belly becomes cone shaped as soon as gravity sets in. The above photo was taken within 10 minutes of waking up so you can't see the belly sag.)
  • Stretch marks within stretch marks
  • Skin tags and odd skin discoloration
  • Unpainted toenails and swollen feet
  • Jackson's tantrums involving slapping and yelling at the babies (Ah, the life of a two year old.)
  • Random comments such as, "You're having triplets!?  I don't know if I should give you my congratulations or condolences."
  • Chiropractor, OB, and Maternal Fetal Medicine co-pays

Monday, July 8, 2013


Jackson is so fortunate to have cousins close in age that he can play with on both sides of the family.  Right now, Jackson and his cousin, Levi, are the only two kids on Jesse's side of the family.  They get plenty of attention and have the best time together.  Here are a few photos of their interactions, taken this weekend on Levi's slip and slide.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

9 Months Pregnant

How Far Along: 36 Weeks!

Symptoms:  carpal tunnel (waking up to a clenched fist every morning), miserable heartburn, severe difficulty breathing, swelling of hands and feet, painful swelling in lower stomach, stretch marks, extreme pressure in my pelvis (especially getting in and out of bed)

Please note how far down my belly button is.  I have always carried high.
All three babies have their heads in my ribs, making it so hard to breathe!
Energy: I still drive, shop, vacuum, mop, cook, and go out.  It's exhausting, though.  Just taking a shower and shaving my legs requires me to rest afterwards.  In the last week my walking has been severely limited as there is just so much pressure in my pelvis when I walk.

Mood: I stopped taking my Zoloft after a year because the family physician wouldn't refill my prescription without an appointment.  I called at the beginning of the month to schedule an appointment but she was on vacation for two weeks.  The next available appointment wasn't until late July!  Quitting Zoloft has greatly increased my irritability and anxiety.  After over two weeks without it, I expressed my concern with my OB and she wrote me a year-long prescription.  I suspect I will have a panic attack on the operating room table.

Cravings: crushed ice, everything causes heartburn

Movement:  The babies aren't as active each hour, but they definitely have certain times of the day where they are busy, busy!  Jesse can still watch my stomach roll and I can feel even stronger movements because of their tight living quarters.  I can't feel James as much because he is sandwiched in between the girls, but the ultrasound revealed he was just as busy as his sisters. 
Sleep: insomnia.  I'm fighting to keep the acid in my throat down.  Switching sides causes extreme physical pain.  It's as if my pelvis is literally going to shatter.  I have to get up every 1-2 hours because I have to pee and my hips hurt.  I'm wide awake at 4. 

Maternity Clothes:  I'm down to two pairs of pants that kind of fit and four shirts (aka dresses).
What I miss:'s been SO long, and it's going to be another two months at least.  I miss the physical intimacy with Jesse the most.  I miss feeling sexy and being able to move my body without huffing and puffing in pain.
Concerns: I am terrified of a C-section and the babies being in the NICU.  There's so much out of my control.  What if I have a bad reaction to the anesthesia?  What if the babies can't breathe on their own?  Will I be able to nurse?  How badly does recovery from a C-section hurt?

OB notes:  I have a C-section scheduled for Monday, July 15 at 1:30.  I am extremely nervous about having to fast from 10 pm the night before until the surgery. 
At 35 weeks, my fundal height was a whopping 58 cm and my cervix was still closed.  My blood pressure was slightly elevated (128/72) but I didn't have any protein in my urine and I still have significantly less swelling than I did with Jackson.  At 34 weeks, the babies were weighing just over 5 pounds each.
Best Moment this Month:  Reaching the 36 week mark.  This is such a huge milestone in the triplet world, so I'm pretty darn proud of my growing babies!

Friday, July 5, 2013

I ♥ My Boys

I always wanted to have a Momma's boy.  I guess there's still hope with James, because Jackson is 100% Jesse's.  I'm sure Jesse gets frustrated when it comes to Jackson's dependency on him for napping and rocking to sleep.  Jesse has taken over most everything I used to do with Jackson over the last few months as the pregnancy has become more physically demanding.  Despite the unequal level of care for Jackson, I know Jesse loves how much Jackson adores and needs his Daddy! 

Clean Freak: Lawn Mower Edition

Jackson has certain obsessive behaviors involving cleanliness.  He isn't a total clean freak.  He can leave a trail of watermelon juice in the kitchen, sprinkle shredded cheese on the floor, and leave dirty clothes on the floor.  Yet, if he spills something on himself, he will immediately take his clothes off and cry "dirty, Mommy".  He says "big mess" if he spills his blocks and starts singing the Clean Up song. 

His most anal obsession is his lawn mower.  Every Saturday morning, Jesse and Jack cut the grass together.  When they are finished, Jesse flips the mowers over and sprays them down with a hose to remove the grass clippings.

Since it has been so hot, we filled Jack's pool with water this morning so it would be a nice temperature after his nap.  Jackson insisted on dragging his lawn mower in the pool to clean it.

Before long, his pool was filled with grass clippings, but he certainly enjoyed himself!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Coming Home Outfits

I finally started packing my hospital bag.  I've got a few nursing gowns and tanks, along with plenty of maternity clothes and granny panties to wear.  If everything goes as planned (which life rarely does), I will have my last biophysical profile next Monday, July 8 and a scheduled C-section on Monday, July 15.  That's a pretty ambitious goal that I desperately hope to achieve, but I have learned during this pregnancy that I no longer have control over my body.

As far as the babies' clothes, we aren't sure if the babies will be in preemie or newborn clothes.  At my 34 week ultrasound, each baby was weighing over 5 pounds, so I would suspect they will weigh at least 6 pounds when they are born.  I packed both preemie and newborn clothes just in case.  I won't always make the girls match, but we have plenty of coordinating outfits.  Here are the newborn coming home outfits:

I guess we'll find out soon enough if they fit.

Yes, my stomach is large enough to hold all three outfits up without touching them.  And that is indeed how the babies have been positioned the past two weeks, with three heads in my ribs.