Tuesday, March 09, 2010


Today, a year ago, I woke up in the depths of despair. The first self-pay cycle had failed and I just couldn't see us continuing to throw money down the drain for a shot at parenthood. I was lost, sad, angry, frustrated. I had spent months researching procedures, clinics and stats, reading forums and coming up with a plan, only for it to end in failure. Sure, my Endo surgery was successful and I had quality of life back, but still no baby.

I know one failed IVF/ICSI is nothing compared to what so many go through, yet I saw it as a sign that it would never work for us. I was thinking, "How do I pick up the pieces today only to be crushed by another failure a month or two from now?" What would be the point of torturing ourselves with failed cycle after failed cycle?

It all felt hopeless. I just couldn't see a way forward. My Dh wasn't keen on using donor sperm, even though he had relented. Adoption is too expensive, and our age would count against us. Yet I couldn't imagine my future without children in it.

I listened to a lot of Annie Lennox, specifically, "Songs of Mass Destruction" while my husband traveled internationally. The time alone was a blessing. I could lose myself in the despair without him witnessing the downward spiral. I could sob and feel sorry for myself without increasing his guilt. My days were spent trying to come to terms with our childless future while trying to keep it together at work.

The frozen lake near our house, the weeping willows surrounding it, and the stillness of late winter mirrored my state of mind. I was stuck in a perpetual winter.

Then my clinic offered to enroll us in a grant program. I couldn't believe we qualified to get a portion of the next IVF/ICSI cycle covered, but we did. The grant covered enough of the cycle to enable us to try one more time. Just one.more.time, with feeling. I was in a daze. Cycle #2 started just two days after the previous BFN. My husband was still out of the country. I just jumped in, blindly, as soon as my progestorone level normalized.

I was still numb when I went to buy the second cycle's meds. I didn't think it would work, but there was no other viable option on the road to parenthood. One foot in front of the other: inject Lupron and Gonal-F, ultrasound, repeat. I tried not to think too much, and just do.

And then I peed on a stick and was dumbstruck. I POAS again and again and again until there was no denying the second line. It was so early, I thought it was the trigger showing up, but then it got darker and darker instead of disappearing. Disbelief. Even after beta number one, two and three, I didn't dare hope that I could actually end up with a real, live, perfect baby of our own. The ultrasound showed three sacs, and later three heartbeats. Triplets.

It scared me. High risk. So many things could go wrong. The more I read about the risks, the more petrified I became.

Yet, here I am, with three real.live.healthy.babies. Despite the odds, despite my disbelief, despite the risks, despite preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome, despite their prematurity. I know I played roulette and won.

I'm incredibly thankful they made it, I made it, we made it. I know how rare it is to have a happy ending (or in our case, this happy beginning), to have this abundance, this instant family. I cherish my children. Always.

Although I do not wish a high risk pregnancy on anyone - and know of too many tragic outcomes - I do wish for everyone struggling with infertility to have the family they dream of.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Survival guide: things I couldn't live without

Expecting parents ask this question on Triplet Connection all the time. I hope this post helps parents-to-be, specifically those with multiples. When I was pregnant, I fashioned my own list of things to register for based on the information I found on blogs and forums, but I wished that someone could have done this legwork for me.

I'll be adding to this post as I think of more can't-live-without items.


Triple Decker stroller. We use the Graco Safeseat infant carriers that click into the frame and it's worked very well to not load/unload 3 babies in and out of the car seats in cold weather.

3 Boppy pillows

3 Boppy covers

12+ Dr Brown's bottles (we bought the glass version and they've worked beautifully). We initially used Munchkin's glass bottles and love them too, but with 3 reflux babies, it was more important to switch to bottles with an internal vent. Read the post about glass bottles.

Bottle brush (we use Munchkin brand)

3 Munchkin drying racks

Crockpot or electric kettle to always have hot water on hand to warm bottles

24+ burp cloths. A friend bought more than two dozen "old style" cloth diapers for us to use as burp cloths since they're more absorbent than the commercially available muslin burp cloths. They're like hand towels, but square, and work beautifully. We go through *all* of them! It's handy to have enough to not do laundry every day, and to keep 3 in a diaper bag. We always have a clean one on the changing pad as an easily removable "cover" in the event that a baby pees while we're in the midst of a diaper change. It prevents urine from reaching their clothes in an "accident."

Bibs. We go through dozens of bibs with our refluxers. I like the Koala Baby bibs from Babies R Us as they're more absorbent than others we've tried.

3 Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe Blankets. I've heard good things about Miracle Blankets too. Alternatively, buy any 60x60 blanket large enough to swaddle securely. At 4 months, we do not swaddle the babies for naps and nighttime sleeping anymore, but it still works wonders when they're fussy. I know of many parents who swaddle their babies until 9+ months of age.

Swing(s). We have 3, but have only used 2. You could get away with 1.

Baby Björn or Moby Wrap. We have 3 Baby Björns, but only use 1.

3 Bouncy seats. We have used all 3, all the time, from the time that they could hold their heads up.

3 Cribs. Initially, you could get away with 1, or a Pack 'n Play. Our babies have slept in separate cribs at night from day 1, but we had them co-sleep in one crib for naps until they were about 3 months actual.

3 Bumbo seats. Our babies will start using these in the next few weeks. We've tried them, but at 4 months (2 months adjusted), the babies still tire easily.

Playmat(s). Get different mats with different toys to prevent them from getting bored.

Crib sheets. We have 6, but I'm going to buy more. We have crib sheet savers, but haven't used them yet.

Sleep & play suits with zippers. One caveat, these won't work if your babies come home on monitors. Fortunately, ours didn't use monitors and LIVE in these outfits. It's faster for diaper changes, especially the middle-of-the-night ones. Refluxing babies hate wearing anything with a waist band, so even though they have tons of cute outfits, they hardly get to wear them. Constantly chasing down 6 little socks gets old fast too.

Gripe water. This has made a HUGE difference. Even though the babies are on prescription meds for reflux, I see a marked difference every time I stop giving them gripe water.


Hospital-grade breast pump. I've used Medela Pump in Style Advanced (portable) and Medela Symphony (at the NICU) and both are very efficient. Unfortunately, my first Medela PISA broke after a month, which is the absolute worst fear of anyone who is exclusively pumping. Fortunately, Medela has terrific customer service and replaced it immediately by overnighting it to me. No problems since.

3 sets of breast shields so you don't have to wash pumping parts in the middle of the night. Many moms just rinse them and place them in a container in the fridge and wash them once daily. I prefer to wash them after each use, but that's just me. Having 3 sets allows me to toss them in the hot, soapy water after use and deal with washing them when the babies are napping.

Extra 8 oz Medela collection bottles (you could use a different brand too; anything with a standard opening fits on the Medela equipment). Glass is too heavy, though, but the glass bottles do fit if you've run out of clean collection bottles!

Hands-free pumping bra. You can buy one, or create one yourself by cutting holes in an old sports bra.