We did it! A year ago, three little tiny lives entered this world. When I was waiting for the delivery to begin, I kept telling myself to remember what the neonatologist told me when I was first admitted to the hospital: they like it if the babies cry when they’re first born, but it’s okay if they don’t; it doesn’t mean something’s wrong. It’s okay if they don’t cry. I just kept repeating that to myself. There was so much noise in the delivery room, with so many people bustling around. But all I could hear was the deafening silence waiting for my babies to be born. It’s okay if they don’t cry. It doesn’t mean something’s wrong. What would I do if they didn’t cry? Would I panic? Would I be okay? And then, suddenly, the doctor said, “Baby Boy!” I held my breath. It’s okay if he doesn’t cry. It doesn’t mean something’s wrong. 9:43am. And then, a tiny cry, a flurry of activity. Baby Boy was whisked off to another room to be assessed and stabilized. There wasn’t enough room in my delivery room for three babies, you see. Seconds later, the next baby came out. “Hi Baby!” said the doctor. Baby What? ”Baby Girl!” It’s okay if she doesn’t cry. It doesn’t mean something’s wrong. A tiny cry. 9:44am. A flurry of activity. Time for Baby C’s arrival – It’s okay if the baby doesn’t cry. It doesn’t mean something’s wrong. “Baby Girl!” Before I could even think it again, the tiniest of cries, to match the tiniest of babies. 9:44am. Three healthy babies. Three beautiful tiny cries. One grateful mommy.
A year has passed. A year in which I’ve pumped 91 gallons of milk for my babies. A year in which we’ve changed over 6500 diapers. A year in which we’ve lost hundreds of hours of sleep that we’ll never re-claim. A year has passed in which we’ve learned just how huge our capacity to love our children is. A year in which we’ve discovered that it IS possible to juggle three babies, a four year old, two full time jobs (one for each of us) and still come out happy on the other side. Also a year in which we’ve discovered that yes, you can actually fall asleep standing up. Seth discovered that it IS possible to triple your caffeine intake. I discovered that there’s only so long that I can handle sleep deprivation, but the good news is that all the babies DID learn to sleep through the night about halfway through their first year.
I’m not sure how we got through those early weeks, to be honest. It’s a bit of a blur. Once the babies came home from the NICU, it was a lot of feed-a-baby, change-a-baby, feed-a-baby, change-a-baby, feed-a-baby, change-a-baby, pump, lather-rinse-repeat. But we did it! We did it together. People ask me if I think that our marriage has suffered from the strain of having higher order multiples, but I think our marriage is much stronger because of it. Having triplets has just taught us that we are a team and we can make anything work together. It’s an amazing journey we’ve taken together.
These babies are absolute little miracles – all of them. There was a time that I didn’t know if I would ever have a baby to hold in my arms and today, when I sit down on the living room floor, my babies swarm over to me to be held. They fight to be the first one in my arms to get their hugs and kisses. They have come so far in the last year and I just can’t believe it.
A year ago Sam and Ellie were 3 pounds, 12 ounces each. They each dropped below 3.5 pounds and were just over 4 pounds when they were discharged from the NICU 24 days after they were born. Ellie struggled fro months with a failure to thrive diagnosis, refusing to eat, unable to gain any weight, worrying us all sick, until finally she started growing again. Today, they are both just about 20 pounds. A year ago, Abby was a mere 2 pounds, 11 ounces and she dropped to 2 pounds 4 ounces in the NICU. When she was discharged from the NICU, she was still under 4 pounds. Today, she's over 17 pounds.
A year ago my babies had to be taught how to eat; they didn't have the "suck/swallow/breathe" reflex that full-term babies have, so they received a good deal of their nutrition via a TPN, and later, via gavage tubes, as they slowly learned how to bottle and breastfeed. Today, they eat all the same things that we eat and they gobble them right up. Ellie and Abby have really good pincer grasps, and Sam just rakes everything right up into his mouth. They are all showing signs that they might like to try using a spoon all by themselves at some point, but Mommy isn't quite brave enough to try that out just yet.
A year ago they never cried and the only sounds they ever made sounded like tiny mewing kittens. Now they babble and giggle, though less than most babies I hear. I'm told that multiples babble and talk later than singletons and that this is totally normal development. Ellie is the most interested in exploring the world of syllables and definitely is trying out her vocal chords. Abby is the most quiet and reserved of the bunch, but is definitely giggly and happy. Sam seems finally to be letting go of his enormously loud happy screech, which, while endearing, was quite ear-piercing.
A year ago, the babies barely had the energy to move their tiny hands and feet. Now they are crawling everywhere and our house is filled with baby gates and baby corrals. They are all cruising, and Ellie has even taken a few steps. Seth spotted Sam taking one step, but Abby has no interest whatsoever in walking. I think she thinks that if she walks, she won't get picked up as often.
P.S. I couldn't get the slideshow to embed, but here's slideshow of a bunch of trio shots we've got over the last year (don't worry, there's only 11 of them, it's not long): http://www.slide.com/r/TmQuuYch4D_LMLdYPM7KgJpwn1upz6Oi?previous_view=lt_embedded_url