Monday Ellie was sick all day – she had started throwing up Sunday night and threw up much of the day on Monday. She wouldn't drink anything and was screaming a lot, which is unusual for her, so I'd been on and off the phone with the doctor's office throughout the day. This should have been my first clue that Tuesday's "well-child visit" wouldn't be your standard, run-of-the-mill visit. Fortunately, by Tuesday, Ellie was totally fine – a completely happy, healthy baby.
My second clue should have come Tuesday morning when I took the J-man to school. Because my nanny had the day off from work (her father was flying in from Senegal), I packed the triplets into the car and we all took J to school. We traipsed all the way through the building, went down the elevator (have I mentioned that Abby is terrified of elevators? Sheesh!) and over to his classroom. J's teachers had never met the triplets, so they were really excited to meet them. Then we made the trek back out of the building, which took forever because of all the people who had to stop us to say, "OMGosh are those triplets??!?" Twenty minutes later I finally got to my van, loaded the babies in, climbed into the driver's seat and saw that I had just missed a call from J's teacher. I called her back and she said, "You're not going to believe this, but there's a water main break somewhere across the county, but they're shutting off the water in the building, so they're closing the school right now." Fortunately, she brought him out to me, rather than making me pack the babies back up and go back in to get him. So this meant taking all four kids to the pediatrician, like we're not enough of a three-ring-circus as it is. Oy. (To his credit, J was incredibly well behaved at the pediatrician, despite it being over an hour and a half there)
We got to the appointment and the first order of business was to get everyone undressed to be weighed and measured. The good news: Everyone's growing! J
Sam: 23 lbs. 14 oz. (40th percentile), 31" long (50th percentile), head circumference 48cm (80th percentile)
Ellie: 22 lbs. 4 oz. (40th percentile), 30.5" long (50th percentile), head circumference 48cm (85th percentile)
Abby: 21 lbs. 2 oz. (25th percentile), 30.5" long (50th percentile), head circumference 47 cm (80th percentile)
I noted that I'm really tiring of people telling me that my babies (Sam and Ellie, especially) are fat. People are downright mean about it sometimes. They tell me how huge these babies are. Dr. B. noted that people forget what a baby physique is supposed to look like and said that not only are the babies not fat, but he pointed out that each and every one of them has a weight percentile that is smaller than their length percentile, so they're doing just fine. He told me to stop listening to other people, and he also reminded me of how hard we worked to get these babies to grow, particularly Ellie. He's right, of course. J
He asked how Ellie was feeling, since we'd been on the phone so much the day before. "Oh she's great," I said, "It's like she was never sick at all. I don't know what I was ever worried abo…" and then Abby threw up. Cheese omelets everywhere. Hey, at least Dr. B. knows for sure I'm feeding them a nutritious breakfast, right? Sigh. The hard part was keeping Ellie and Sam from stepping in it, so Dr. B grabbed them, while I worked on cleaning up the mess and cleaning a screaming Abby up. At least she was only wearing a diaper. Once I got the mess somewhat under control, Dr. B. went off to get some wet paper towels and some Lysol to appease the J-man who was complaining about the stench. Dr. B. isn't fazed by much, and this was no exception. I was mortified, but he barely batted an eyelash. Once everything was cleaned up, we just continued on with the appointment.
Dr. B. asked me what things we needed to talk about and I talked with him about the fact that Abby doesn't sleep much – she wakes up a lot at night, doesn't nap much, and screams bloody murder at the sight of her crib. Only if she's visibly exhausted does she not put up serious protest. "You have to fix it!" I said. We talked about some various methods of working through it, but essentially, Dr. B. thinks that this is largely behavioral, not physical, and that it is likely her version of separation anxiety. He gave me some suggestions for how to approach it, but mostly said that what we are doing is the appropriate approach. So the good doctor doesn't have ALL the magic answers, but at least he had some validation for the approach we're already taking, and that's good enough for me for the moment.
We also talked about the triplets' language development. Their expressive language development is definitely delayed, but that's to be expected with multiples, and if you account for the multiple factor, plus factor in their prematurity, we're not too worried. Their receptive language skills, on the other hand, are much more delayed, which I knew but I hadn't been sure how much to worry. We already have Early Intervention services for the babies, and when they suggested I have a speech consult for the babies, I said, "Okay, sure, whatever" thinking it was nothing all that worthwhile, but that it couldn't hurt. They did, indeed, qualify for speech/language therapy, which will start next month, but I still sort of shrugged it off. I told Dr. B. that I let the Early Intervention folks do my worrying for me. I told him that none of what they evaluated the babies for was anything I would have called them for on my own had they not already been involved with the EI program. But, Dr. B. who is anything but an alarmist, and who nearly always prefers to sit back and let normal development happen at its own pace said that this is the point where he would be telling me to get intervention if I hadn't already. There are a lot of little things that when you put them all together are starting to raise eyebrows, but for now I'll just leave that all for another post on another day. For now, it sounds like we're doing the right thing by getting EI Speech Therapy involved and at least we know we're moving in the right direction.
Ellie and Sam are expert walkers, and though Abby isn't walking, we know she can walk, but she seems to lack the confidence to do so. Dr. B said that often with early walkers, they just sort of take off without looking back. Ellie and Sam weren't early per their actual age, but if you factor in their adjusted age, they were a little on the early side. Abby is starting to push the later side, and he said with later walkers, they're a little older and more aware of the dangers around them, so they're far more cautious because they're afraid of falling down if they start walking. He thinks they're a little delayed with fine motor skills also, but nothing that can't be accounted for by adjusting their age, so he's not worried.
He otherwise declared them healthy (puke aside) and asked me how everything was going in general. I said that we are really blessed. We have three easy babies, and the best big brother in the universe. If anyone had been able to adequately convey to me how great this was going to be, maybe I would have freaked out slightly less in the early weeks of my pregnancy. He said that's a variation on the theme that he hears from a lot of twin moms who say that getting through the first year is so terrible, but that the rewards after that make it all worth it. I don't feel that the first year was awful at all – I do credit Seth and myself for a lot of it, because I think we did a very good job keeping our lives sane and making sure our babies didn't overwhelm us, but mostly, we had very easy, perfect babies. Though they had their challenges (especially Ellie with her heart monitor and failure to thrive diagnosis), all in all, they were not the burdens we were prepared for, they have been a joy from the very beginning. And look at them now? Three healthy, beautiful babies toddlers. I reminded Dr. B. how close I came to losing them at 22 weeks. These babies – these babies could have not been here at all. So if my biggest concern today is that their receptive language skills are delayed? Well, then I declare that they are perfect. Dr. B. said that's a very healthy attitude to have. And on that note, we said goodbye for another three months. At least, I *hope* I don't see him for another three months!
While I was waiting for the nurse to come in with their vaccinations (just 2 this time), Abby threw up again. This time, she was wearing a shirt, which was ruined, but fortunately, she wasn't yet wearing pants or socks… I cleaned things up as well as I could. The nurse came in to give everyone their shots and J went out to the waiting room, preferring not to witness such barbaric treatment of his siblings. When the nurse left, I got everyone dressed and Abby threw up again just before I got her into her fleece coat. Sigh. I cleaned it up (AGAIN) and got her back into the stroller bundled up in her coat, and went out to check out and make their next appointment. While I was making the next appointment, Abby threw up again. Sigh. Finally, we got into the car for the 15 minute drive home. We were 12 minutes into the drive when she threw up again, not much this time, because, let's face it, there wasn't much left.
I put Abby straight to bed, and put Sam and Ellie into high chairs to feed them a very late lunch and then put them down for a nap also. My mother in law picked up the J-man to take him out of my hair for the afternoon. The babies slept until nearly 5pm when Seth came home. If I'd been more alert, I might have taken this as a clue that something was amiss, but I just figured it was that they'd missed most of their morning nap and gone down later than usual… I got the kids out of bed and we were in the living room when Sam started throwing up. I whisked him off to the bedroom to strip him down and change his diaper so that I could get him into a bath – poor thing, he looked so sad and scared in the bathtub. L I put Sammy into PJ's and brought him into the dining room where the girls were standing watching Seth work in the kitchen. Suddenly, Ellie threw up. Ellie who had been totally fine for nearly 24 hours! Then we realized that Abby's diaper smelled like sewage, literally, so I changed her and threw Ellie and Abby into the bathtub and got both of them into PJs and put everybody to bed.
Seth wasn't feeling great, so he went to lie down. Meanwhile, my mother in law and brother in law, returned the J-man to the house and came bearing presents for Chanukah. So I made Seth get out of bed to come greet everyone. The instant Seth walked into the living room, he turned and ran straight to the bathroom and started throwing up, which woke Ellie up. So I went in and took her out of bed because she was screaming, but I looked over and realized that Sam was sleeping in a pool of vomit, and for good measure, his diaper smelled to high heaven. I calmed Ellie down, took Sam out of his crib, cleaned him off, changed his PJ's and held him for a while until Seth was well enough to change Sam's crib. I apologized to my MIL and BIL a few times, and they eventually excused themselves. Clearly this just wasn't a good night for the Cohens. Sigh. Poor Sam was so tired and sad. J was crying because he was scared about all the throwing up, so I was trying to calm him down also. Finally, I was able to put Sam back in his crib, Ellie calmed down, J realized the world wasn't ending and I thought everything was fine, but then Abby started screaming – her diaper needed to be changed. Throughout the night, I had to keep checking on the babies, because Sam kept throwing up, but never woke up when he did, so I had to make sure he was okay. I also had to keep changing diapers throughout the night. Finally at 5am, I couldn't take the crying and I made Seth go up to deal with Abby's cries, but when I heard they weren't stopping, I went upstairs to help and realized that there was too much poop and puke for one person to handle. So I dealt with her, while he dealt with changing sheets again. And then I collapsed back into bed.
It was a long and horrific day. Sam got really dehydrated. Ellie kept throwing up. Abby got better and worse again. Ugh. Several phone calls to the doctor's office. The works. Seth thought he was okay to go to the office, but it turned out, not so much, so he came home early. Today, he had no choice but to go to work, because there was no one to cover his shift. And today, Mommy got sick.
The only one who's been spared in all this mess is the J-man. Now, here's an interesting factoid about Norovirus (which is most likely what we have)… people with blood Type A or AB have an inherent immunity to norovirus. Seth and I (and consequently the triplets) are Type O+. We don't know J's blood type – but I'm going to place a small wager that it's A or AB…