Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Miss Personality x 3

Over these past 6 months, I've learned to distinguish my babies' cries from one another, to pick up on their tired and hungry cues before it reaches epic proportions, and to be in the moment with them.

They're acting more like little girls these days rather than fragile preemie infants and it's wonderful to see.

Ada has started cooing more frequently and with a larger repertoire of sounds. She laughs out loud more often and giggles in reaction to the games we play with her. She can go from frowning and looking very serious to the widest, happiest, beaming smile. She's such a joy and was first to laugh out loud. Ada is more content during the day than at night. Her fussy periods are thankfully shorter than they used to be. She still doesn't settle herself, though. When she gets overstimulated or overtired, it's really hard to calm her down. She has the saddest sob ever and it takes a long time to calm her down after she cried. Sometimes I can't soothe her at all regardless of trying all "The Happiest Baby on the Block" techniques and it just breaks my heart when she cries uncontrollably like that. I don't want to rush this precious stage she's in right now, but I can't wait for her to outgrow the GERD (reflux) and colic.

She loves eating solids and we have progressed from rice cereal to veggies and rice cereal with fruit. So far, she's tried carrots, peaches, green beans, pears and apples. She made the FUNNIEST "What are you doing to me?!" face when we offered her the carrots and peaches, but ate it anyway. She waves her arms and kicks her legs when I approach her with the bowl and spoon and then proceeds to smack her lips once she tastes the food. It's a riot watching her eat as she's now taken to blowing raspberries and "speaking" with her mouth full of food. I've also been sneezed upon with a mouth full of sticky cereal!

Ada is not that into her toys yet and struggles with gross motor movements. She is pretty sturdy in the sitting department, but movement? Not so much. She can hold her head up and push up, but is not interested in aeroplaning or rolling.

Julia is grasping toys with both hands and studying them. She coos and blows bubbles and makes lots of different sounds. Unlike most babies, she decided to make consonant sounds before attempting the vowels. She likes to say, "rrrr" like the Spanish would pronounce it. She had a few fussy days recently and the drooling has increased a million fold, so we figured teething was imminent. We were right. Two days ago, we noticed her first bottom tooth, and today she's sporting another. She's cutting them fast and furious.

Julia was the last to come home from the NICU, but first to roll over from stomach to back, and she's first in the teething department. She was first to push up when lying on her tummy. Now that she knows how to coo, giggle, push up and roll, it takes some effort on our part to get her to keep doing it. She seems to bore easily. As soon as she acquires a new skill, she wants to move on to the next big thing. Her latest maneuver is lying on her back and lifting both legs up. Once she realizes she can sway her body to the side by doing that, she'll be rolling to her tummy in no time.

She has a slightly more serious disposition than her sisters. She finds my games amusing and will laugh out loud when I persist, but I have to earn it. Tough crowd. Sometimes I'll only get half a smile. She does this almost teenager-like expression where just the corner of her mouth is turned upward, like she's throwing me a bone. "Here, mom, here's your consolation prize for trying so hard."

Julia has tasted all of the same foods as Ada, but isn't as keen on solids at this point.

Emma is our tiniest pixie (we call her "Pixel" sometimes because she's so small). She has struggled the most with reflux. Despite that, she is such a content baby. She soothes herself to sleep by sucking her thumb and is by far our champion sleeper.

Emma has such a sweet, calm disposition. She rarely cries and fusses and now that we have switched to Prevacid for GERD, she is eating much better. A few weeks ago, I struggled to get 22 oz in her per day, but now she is regularly eating 26oz+ and less symptomatic. She isn't into solids at all and gags easily, but we've been having her taste whatever Ada eats, just for practice.

Now that her cheeks are filling out, you can see her dimples!

Even though she's much smaller than her sisters, she is pretty darn strong. During tummy time she pushes herself up the farthest and was the first to figure out that she can extend an arm to reach toys when she pivots to one side. She stares at her hands, opens and closes them like they're the best thing since sliced bread, and has clearly figured out that they're useful appendages. Just yesterday she snagged a toy that her sisters were looking at and I thought, "Oh boy, here we go."

Nobody is aware of their feet yet. I'm sure it's just a matter of time before they realize they have feet and start chewing their toes. Tee hee.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Getting the giggles

The girls have been smiling and cooing for quite some time and every now and then we heard Ada giggle. Yesterday, suddenly, they all got the gigggles. What a delight to hear all 3 laughing out loud! It was more of a gasp-giggle sound, but I'll take it.

Now I know it's easy to entertain any baby with "tickle tickle," peekaboo, funny noises, face pulling and blowing raspberry games, but mine had been looking at me like I had two heads. Not that it deterred me (hee hee), but I was starting to wonder if our sense of humor gene had skipped a generation.

That's until yesterday. Close friends came over and their almost-teenage son helped to entertain the girls. It all started with a soft toy frog. He made, "doob de doob de doob" sounds as the frog slowly "jumped" toward their faces. They thought it was hilarious. Granted, the frog is pretty goofy looking with its tongue sticking out and it is one of their favorite toys, but something just clicked for them. Once they figured out they could laugh audibly, there was no stopping them.

Every game from that point on solicited chuckles and belly laughs. It is the most beautiful sound. Ever.

Saturday, April 03, 2010


This post has been brewing in my mind since the early days of infertility. I've often wondered how I would bond with my child(ren). Would it be an instantaneous feeling at some significant "safe" point during pregnancy, a progressive realization culminating in birth, or a combination of experiences and interactions prior to and post birth?

I felt an instant connection when I first saw 3 little flickers on the ultrasound. I knew they were my babies, but it didn't feel real for many many months. I went ahead with a CVS procedure to help ease my mind or help prepare me for a child (or children) with special needs. There was never any doubt that I loved these peanuts who were growing inside me. Even though I was thrilled, scared, intrigued and mesmerized by them on every ultrasound, it still felt strangely unreal. It just wasn't sinking in that I could actually have children - let alone three.live.babies.

I guess it was self-preservation in the event I miscarried one or all, sheer overwhelmedness at the prospect of raising triplets, and continued disbelief that I was fortunate enough to be pregnant at all.

Now that I'm on the other side of the birth, have had the life changing experience of meeting my children, and have had the benefit of a mere 5 months of perspective, I'm still not entirely sure. But somehow, in the past few weeks, I've felt more bonded to these babies than I did during the pregnancy, their birth and shortly thereafter.

Anyone who has had a C-Section can understand how robbed one feels after the birthing experience. If having children is one's singular focus for so many years, it's hard not to feel a little cheated by the way the actual birth happens. You are shielded from seeing your children's first breath, censored from the full experience. It is bizarre. After having carried them for so long, there is no moment of recognition, no skin-to-skin snuggle, no meet and greet. Just a frenetic, sterile OR with babies briskly whisked away by NICU staff.

You are left pondering the biggest moment in your life while being stitched up, sedated and unable to move. There is no post-birth bliss, no time to exhale and just breathe, no moment untainted with fear over their well being. I heard their cries in surround sound as they were born, and listened as it faded down the hallway when they were being wheeled to the NICU.

The NICU ritual is even more distancing. You sanitize your hands, cover your clothes, touch your babies through isolette port holes at designated times. It is regimented, structured, clinical... There is no privacy, nowhere to bond with your babies or flee when the fear and guilt at their premature birth and suffering overtake you.

It's no wonder then that our bonding has progressed slowly. With each glimpse of their personalities, each prolonged stretch-after-waking that resembles a slow thaw, each snuggle, each smile, each cry, their being is etched deeper onto my heart. I'm so in love with them. Even more profoundly, I am so fond of them.

I find myself staring at each of my babies in wordless wonderment, even when I'm exhausted beyond comprehension. I feel strangely empty when I'm away from them, like I'm missing an essential body part. I know I will never be whole again unless they are in my life.

They look at me knowingly, with the expectation that I will feed them, clean them, entertain them, ease their pain. Their cries are like shock waves of electricity to my soul, a visceral reaction requiring immediate attention.

They are barely five months old, but in this short period of time, they have made me a mother. Finally.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Strange encounters of the third kind

Today a year ago I took a home pregnancy test and well, the rest is history. I can hardly believe our babies are five months old already. As I was packing away their 0-3 month clothes, it just hit me how fast they're growing.

Ada is 16 lbs, Julia 12 and Emma 11. Ada is in size 3 diapers - rapidly approaching size 4 - and wearing 6-9 month clothes. Julia and Emma are wearing size 2 diapers and 3-6 month clothes.

Although their newborn phase is a blur of NICU visits, sleepless nights, refluxing and horror feedings, I'm sad that it has gone by as fast as it did. If infertility has taught me anything, it's to enjoy every moment, but I feel like I've barely blinked and they're almost halfway to toddlerhood.

Our time is even more precious now as I am planning to return to work. I don't know how on earth I'm going to manage it. I'm excited to be back at work, even just part time, as I love my job, the place where I work, and my colleagues. However, I'm filled with trepidation about the level of juggling it will entail. I don't want to be spread so thin that I'm both a bad mother and a bad employee. I guess time will tell. Perhaps being forced to lower my standards will be a good life lesson to learn. Gmph!

It's been a loooong winter of being cooped up and quarantined. I'm looking forward to getting out more often with the trio, and introducing the babies to the big, wide world. Fortunately, our cocooning efforts have paid off during the RSV season as we have managed to avoid illnesses so far.

In recent weeks, whenever the weather has allowed, we've been getting out of the house for walks using the Triple Decker stroller (we affectionately call it the "limo"). Today, as cars were driving by, I noticed how many people were rubbernecking. It was rather entertaining to watch drivers go, "What the hell was *that*?!" as they whip their heads around and then continue to stare from their rear view mirrors. I was afraid we were going to cause an accident.

Once we start heading out more frequently, I'm sure we'll get all sorts of "wonderful" questions and comments...

The girls received their last Synagis shots for the season today. Afterwards, to calm them down, we went for a stroll in a nearby park. There's no being inconspicuous with the "limo," but fortunately people were very friendly and respectful. I was braced for the stares and comments when a woman piped up from a minivan, "Excuse me! Are those triplets?!" I thought, "Ha! Here we go." I smiled politely and nodded affirmatively. She absolutely floored me when she responded with, "Because I have 5-year old triplets here in the car with me! Did you want to meet them?"

What are the chances of THAT happening on our first outing to a public park?! And so we met the most adorable, delightful, freckle-nosed 5-year old GGB trips who made me so excited for our future. We asked them who was born first, and they pointed to their sister. When I asked the little boy, he claimed he was the 2nd born, but then his other sister vehemently disputed that fact. It was so cute to watch them duke out their birth order.

They were with a friend of the family and therefore we didn't get to meet their parents, but hopefully they wouldn't mind being in touch with us.

All in all, a successful trip to the park was had by all.