I've had too much going on to ever catch up on everything I want to say, but here are some of the highlights:
First, The triplets' 12 month appointment went very well. They are developing quite well, and accounting for their prematurity, they are right where we'd like to see them developmentally. They're not doing everything you'd expect a 12 month to be doing, but they're doing most of the things you'd expect a 10 month old to be doing. Their gross motor skills are just where you'd expect a 12 month old to be, though, so they're right on the curve in that respect. The doctor is really pleased with how far they've come.
The best part is I asked about how vigilant I need to be this year during flu and RSV season and he said that none of my kids has ever shown any sign of respiratory problems (except J) or asthma, and that it's impossible to quarantine a baby, particularly with a school-aged kid in the house. He said we should lead normal lives this winter and not quarantine ourselves again. He told us what to look out for if the kids do get a cold and seem to be laboring more than they should be or seem to be in distress, but otherwise said to start acting like normal parents - or at least as normal as we can be with triplets. That being said, I think we WILL limit trips to the mall and such (not that we make any of those), but we won't limit trips to synagogue (not that we make so many of those) and while we'll ask people who come into the house to wash their hands, last year we wouldn't let anyone in the house who had so much as a sniffle - this year we're not going to such great lengths. The threat of three very sick babies was much scarier than the vague possibility of three moderately ill toddlers.
The only thing I mentioned to the doctor (and I prefaced it with a strong warning of "I'm NOT worried") that I wondered if I should be taking note of was the fact that Abby really isn't babbling much particularly in comparison to Sam and Ellie. Frankly, none of the babies babble much compared to other one year olds, but Abby is by far the quietest of the bunch. He actually took more note of it than I expected he would, but said it was something he would just keep an eye on for now. But he wants to be reminded of it if we still see her lagging behind by her 15 month appointment. On an unrelated topic, he also noted that Abby has a heart murmur, which we'd never picked up on before. He thinks it's just a normal murmur, but wanted us to know about it anyway, in case we were ever asked about it. Also it's a good thing to keep track of. While I know that this is a perfectly normal thing to pick up on, I admit to being somewhat alarmed - I have a heart murmur myself, but mine is s pecifically related to the patent foramen ovale that I have. While a PFO is generally innocuous, it does lead to a higher risk of stroke (I had a TIA when I was 23) and an increased risk of chronic migraines (hello? that's me!). So I'm trying to remember that lots of people have boring normal murmurs, but my heart did skip a beat when he told me he was hearing a murmur listening to Abby's heart.
The other bit of news is that on Sunday we went out and bought a bunch of new sippy cups. That doesn't sound like news, does it? The triplets have been drinking water out of sippy cups for a month or so, but on Sunday, they also drank their very last bottle, and moved on to sippy cups. This has meant they've been far less interested in drinking milk all together, but the doctor had said that the 10-15 ounces of milk that they'd been drinking each day was way more than enough anyway, and that it was totally fine if they drank less than that. Their calories should really be coming from solid food for the most part anyway. I thought this was interesting since I've seen elsewhere that babies this age should be drinking 16-24 ounces of milk, and I was freaking out because I knew my kids weren't coming close to that, but he was discouraging me from giving them even as much as I was. So we're good. No more bottles. Sam and Ellie are still nursing. I'm still pumping once a day on average for Abby, but I'm about to stop that. Mostly I'm doing it for my own comfort's sake - I get too engorged otherwise, but I'm going to have to just stop and deal with a few days of discomfort at some point, I think. How do people actually deal with the discomfort of weaning? I'm assuming dropping the pumping is just the same as if I were dropping a feeding, so it must be the same principle.
Sunday was all about the milestones, because not only did we buy sippy cups and rid ourselves of bottles - we also did another monumental thing... We took the babies out for lunch. Seriously! We went to a local pizza restaurant and they were little champs! They ate pizza and pasta and mozzarella sticks. They made a big huge mess, but they didn't melt down. We were lucky that when we pulled up to the restaurant, friends of ours coincidentally pulled up to the restaurant at the same time, so we had an extra couple of sets of hands to help us. Poor suckers didn't know what they were getting into! :) Don't worry, we cleaned up our mess before we left.
Finally, Rosh Hashana was lovely and probably deserves a post unto itself, not because there was anything so notable about it, but because of the comparison to last year. Last year Rosh Hashana was spent in the hospital trying to keep my babies in. Last year, I spent Rosh Hashana in the hospital, lucky to be in a hospital within walking distance of my house and community and lucky to have people in my community willing to walk the mile or so to come visit me. Last year, I had a nun come into my room to bring Yeshiva students to blow shofar for me, just feet from the NICU in a Catholic Hospital. Last year, the Catholic Hospital Pastoral Care Services was kind enough to put apples and honey on my lunch and dinner trays each day of Rosh Hashana. Last year, on Rosh Hashana, my doctor was setting up my c-section against my wishes for the following week and I threw a fit. She scheduled it for erev Yom Kippur which was flat out unacceptable (never mind that I frankly did NOT want a c -section). It became a moot point by my next ultrasound, though, because baby C had stopped growing and needed to come out, pronto, so my c-section happened the next morning. This year, on Rosh Hashana, I was surrounded by my four beautiful children. This year, I did not need apples and honey to remind me to have a Sweet New Year. This year is filled with the sweetness of baby giggles, the joy of a five year old's discovery of legos and bionicles, of new words and new skills. This year is filled with the light and happiness of milestones and love and the overabundance of family that I never expected to be blessed with. This year was so markedly different from last year. Last year I didn't make it to synagogue because I was strapped to monitors, IVs and terbutaline pumps. This year, I made it, but only briefly because I was laden with children, but my prayers were heartfelt and my eyes brimmed with tears of gratitude. I know that I've not been perfect, I know that I'm not worthy, but I'm grateful for every second that I have with my family.