Saturday, January 30, 2010

3 Months

As I write this, the 3 little munchkins are lying in a half circle around me, cocooned in their swaddle blankets, secure in their Boppy pillows on my bed. It suddenly struck me that I should probably soak up this scene. I don't know how much longer they'll be content to be tightly swaddled, and safely stay where I put them.

Our swaddling days might be numbered given that our "oldest" - Ms Houdini - is already breaking out of her swaddle on a nightly basis. We routinely find her with both her arms stretched out above her head. Emma and Julia still flail and wake themselves up when we leave them unswaddled during a nap. They all fight when we swaddle them, but relax shortly after and sleep much more soundly when swaddled.

For the next hour or so, all will be calm in our household. And then, if I'm lucky, they will start to wriggle, squawk and grunt, fuss and fart, one by one. I've learned to stay ahead of the game by blissfully dreamfeeding them at night without as much as an eyelid flutter. If I'm unlucky, they'll all wake long before feeding time, and all at once - without warning - screaming in deafening surround sound that leaves me feeling as if I've just exited a rock concert, but without the feeling of elation.

My dh and I take care of them in shifts. Usually, I take the first half of the night while he sleeps, and then we switch. Caring for three infants with reflux often leaves me wishing I was an octopus. Even though I've learned to burp a baby on my lap while feeding another and praying for the third to not wake up yet, or to feed two who are lying down in their boppies and rock another, I inevitably need to "juggle" babies to get them all fed and settled, and always end up feeling like someone is getting the short end of the stick. It's hard to deal with these feelings of mothering inadequacy.

It's entirely manageable and joyful some days, and entirely, gutwrenchingly unmanageable and overwhelming on other days. If it wasn't for infertility and wanting these babies so badly and loving them as much as I do, I don't think I would have been able to find the joy in the little moments to the extent that I am. For that I am grateful as I know this too shall pass. Too quickly. Already, I've packed away the preemie and newborn clothes. Ada is leading the pack as she is outgrowing the 0-3 month clothes. She has moved on to size 2 diapers, but Julia and Emma are still in size 1. Yay girls.

I marvel at their development. Some days it all goes by way too fast, in a blur. In just these few short weeks, I have watched them become more alert. They are awake more frequently and their attention spans are lengthening. They have learned to hold their heads up and in recent days when we hold them upright, they have started to stiffen their legs and push back as if to jump. They now kick when they get excited (when their dad comes home from work) and we are seeing more deliberate smiles and facial expressions in reaction to our cues and hearing more coos and gagaga baby "talk." They are interacting with us, and it is the most amazing feeling to elicit a smile from one's baby.

Today, we had them facing one another in their bouncy seats and it was such a cool thing to watch their feet connect as they were softly "kicking" one another. They were definitely aiming and not just kicking randomly. I love that they're aware of one another.

Even though they sleep in separate cribs, I put them down in one crib every now and then for a nap. Julia was asleep when I placed her in the crib, but when her sister Emma, who was awake, joined her, Julia surfaced and just stared at her. They were quietly studying one another's faces when Ada joined the party. It was fun to watch Emma's head do a 180 degree so she could look at Ada. I imagine what they must be thinking.

They are tracking objects and us in a more focused manner than just last week. When they're laying in their boppy pillows on the couch and somebody walks by, their heads whip in that direction and their gaze follows whoever walked by. It's pretty cool. When I ask, "Where's grandma?" or "Where's daddy?" their eyes find the right person. I'm just amazed by them... daily... despite the exhaustion.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Reflux sux x 3

My poor babies have all been diagnosed with GERD and it's been a rather frustrating ride. Feeding time is supposed to be happy bonding time and instead it's turned into a torturous scream fest interspersed with episodes of projectile vomiting. Our living room is spitup central. Feeding time these days is painful for everyone involved.

Initially, the spitup was so bad it would frequently spurt out of the girls' nostrils, causing them to choke. We had a bulb syringe in every room and knew where it was at all times. Fortunately, they have never stopped breathing during one of these episodes, but it made my heart stop every time.

Now that they're a bit older, they "just" arch their back, gag, push the bottle out of their mouth with their tongue, turn their head from side to side to get rid of the bottle, or simply try to slap it away with their hands. They take about 50 ml of their bottle without too much protest and then the "fun" starts. One girl is hoarse and the others make these awful gargling sounds during and after feeds, like they're drowning in the breast milk. An hour or so after feeding, it looks like they're chewing on something. I feel so sorry for them.

It took me a while to figure out that they hated diaper changes not because of the diaper changing itself, but because they're laying flat.

They've all been on Za.ntac, but I suspect they'll need to move on to Pre.vacid soon since the Z.anta.c isn't helping as much as I had hoped. During the night, we're able to dreamfeed them and it's bliss. No choking, gagging or them fighting the bottle... and they drink a good amount.

We are feeding them an ounce or so at a time, burping them well between each ounce, and keeping them upright for at least 45 minutes after each feed. I've started feeding them smaller amounts more frequently, but with triplets that means there's absolutely no time between feeds. The girls are spending quite a bit of time in our arms, in their boppy pillows, swings and bouncy seats. Anything to keep them upright. Even though it's exhausting to the adults, it has helped the babies be more comfortable, so it's been worth it.

What has worked for us, is to lay them on their tummies across our legs to burp them. Babies with GERD love to be on their tummies and whenever I can keep an eye on them, I lay them down on their tummies next to me. It's amazing what a difference tummy time makes to a cranky reflux baby. I'm paranoid about SIDS, so I only put them down on their stomachs when I can watch them like a hawk.

If anyone has more tips on what we can try, please leave a comment.