Monday, December 31, 2012

Home for the Holidays

Well, as usual, the holiday season for us was nothing less than exciting. The month of December started off pretty close to normal, company holiday parties, Christmas shopping and baking Christmas cookies and candy. It was a busy month for work so I was scrambling to get everything ready ahead of schedule so that I was not too stressed out right before Christmas and could just enjoy being with everyone and watching the babies. But as always, life is what happens when you are busy making other plans and Mickey got very sick. It was my first day off on vacation; I had just dropped off the gifts to the daycare teachers, when they called me back because they were concerned about Mickey’s breathing. Tommy and I picked him up, canceled our plans to take the babies to get their first pair of shoes and instead took Mickey to urgent care. They noticed his retractions and gave him a breathing treatment. No one there seemed to agree on the proper way to do it though, which was frustrating. They said he looked and sounded better and as long as we did those treatments every 4 hours, he would be ok. But I knew in my stomach something was still not right. Maybe it was the months I spent by his side in the NICU or maybe it was just the mommy instinct, but after we put him to bed he kept waking up crying and coughing and I knew I needed to take him to the ER.  I sat there watching Mickey be hooked back up to all these machines again and watching him work so hard just to breathe again, my stomach in knots. Tommy texted and asked if they were going to send him home with oxygen, I responded that I don’t think we are going home anytime soon.

I wasn’t quite sure what we would do on Christmas Eve if Mickey was still in the hospital. One of us would have to stay with him. In the NICU, he was so tiny, he would not have known if we were not there, but for sure now, if he woke up in the middle of the night and we were not there, he would know it. And on Christmas day, how would we divide our time between the babies at home, our families, and Mickey. Luckily we didn’t have to figure any of that out. Mickey bounced back sooner than expected and came home on Christmas Eve.

Mickey has been in “play” mode since we left the hospital. Suddenly, he has a one track mind, PLAYING. He does not want to drink his bottles anymore or take naps or go to bed at night, he would rather keep playing. He is like a little energizer bunny making up for lost time from being in the hospital I guess? He makes me dizzy sometimes! Jolynne is very clingy lately. She only wants to be held and does not really seem to want to play at all. On top of that, she has an ear infection, so I wish I could say we are all healthy but the babies still struggle with some kind of bug. We are still trying to keep up with runny noses and breathing treatments. It is the Christmas gift that keeps on giving unfortunately. And something we can only give back…to each other. I swear as many times I have washed the sheets, the toys, disinfected everything, you would think, we could get over it, but not yet. We are seriously contemplating going back to a nanny and taking the babies out of day care. It is much harder on us as it does not allow us as much flexibility. If the nanny is sick, there is little back up we can count on. If Tommy is traveling and he/she cant work late or come early, it affects my work schedule, but after Mickey being in the hospital again and as much money as we have spent on co pays for all of us for the last 6 months and now another hospital bill to pay for, and as many times as we have had to stay home with sick babies and cancel important plans with friends and family, I’m not sure day care is the right place for them anymore. It was a good option for us when we needed a quick solution, but is it the best thing for our children? Every time Mickey has a runny nose now, I start to panic and I can’t sleep at night because I am worried he is getting sick again. A lot of people told me the babies would be sick for a couple months right after starting day care and so we expected that and worked through it, but they have been sick almost non stop since July and I am not sure how much more of it any of us can handle. I think there are two differences between our babies and others. #1 – there are 3 of them, so they share everything and it goes back and forth. It is almost impossible to keep them from passing it back and forth. They are not in separate play areas in our house. We have to be able to watch all 3 of them at the same time, so keeping them separated is not possible. #2 They are preemies. There bodies went through a lot there first couple months of life and they are at higher risk for things like asthma. They are more likely to get really sick from a common cold than your average baby.  I know they will still get sick if they are not in day care, I cannot shelter them from everything, but I can surely minimize it while they are still so young.

Even though the babies have been sick, we still enjoyed the holidays and having everyone home. Mickey coming home right in time for Christmas was the only gift I needed. The babies may still be to young to understand Christmas, the meaning of it, the reason for it, and all the fun family traditions, but to have us all together under one roof, eating together and playing together, made my heart complete again. Although it was not the babies first Christmas, for Mickey and Jolynne, it was their first Christmas at home and so in some ways, this year was more special than the last.

We finally got to take our shoe shopping trip and even went to the Sea Life aquarium. My mom watched the babies for a bit so Tommy and I could go see Les Miz, which was incredible. I even got to go shopping for myself! Oh the things you take for granted before having kids! Tonight, to bring in the New Year, we will celebrate with my mom and keep things low key. I will try to stay up until midnight, but I admit, I might not make it. I am still trying to catch up on sleep from the last couple weeks or I’m just getting old…maybe both.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2013. 2012 was an adventure, challenging but the best we have had and I am so grateful for every minute of it. For us, each year just keeps getting better and better and although we look forward to what the future holds, we also try to focus on the present moment because no one can predict the future. 2012 was not a great year for everyone, especially the families and parents who lost their children and loved ones in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I hope they find peace in time and that in 2013, as a country we can come together and find a solution to the violence in America. At this point, I think we have to put aside our stubbornness and differences on gun control and mental health and just try something different, even if it is not our preference and see if it helps. If it doesnt, we try something else and we keep trying until something works! We have to do it, for our children, and for the ones we already lost.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Triplet Celebrityism

"Are they triplets", "You must have your hands full", "Are they all boys" "Are they natural"? I am sure these questions sound familiar to a few. Lately we have been able to take the triplets out in public more frequently. I swear their first year, we felt holed up in this house every weekend. It was challenging to take 3 babies anywhere, and it was REALLY hot in Arizona so, we choose to stay indoors. Since September, the babies have really started to become more interactive, more curious, able to move around more and it is much cooler, so we are taking them out into the world.

Since day 1, we started getting comments from strangers about the triplets. People that stop us in public or ask to take their picture. At first I really didn't mind it that much. I am so proud of them and the compliments were nice. I feel so lucky and so blessed and so who wouldn't want to stop and comment on my babies. The first time it became a bit overwhelming was the ALS walk. We were there to honor my dads memory, so although it was flattering, I really wanted the focus to be on my dad. I should have counted how many people asked to take their picture. What is it with that anyway? I understand you don't see triplets every day, and they are miracles, but why do you want to take a picture of someone elses kids? And what am I supposed to say? "OK" or "I'd rather you didn't"? I don't want to be rude but do you think its rude to ask to take a picture of someone else's children?

So, I have mixed feelings about all this attention. Sometimes, I wish we could go out somewhere with the babies unnoticed, but I think I have to come to terms that is not in the cards for us any time soon. We went to the zoo with some friends of ours on Sunday night. It was very crowded with people. We  thought since it was dark, we might get less attention but that was not the case. One little girl walked over and started touching Georgia's hand and face while we were waiting for Tommy. Her parents were off to the side a ways either oblivious to what she was doing or they didn't care she was touching someone elses babies. Thinking back I should have said something to their little girl like "please don't touch her" but again sometimes it seems harmless and at the same time its seems inappropriate. I don't know this little girl and she doesn't know us. Am I overreacting? Sometimes I think I am overly worried about being polite while other people are not worried about being polite at all.

In a way you kind of feel like the babies are little celebrities. People are staring and pointing and taking their picture in amazement and don't get me wrong, they ARE amazing but its all a little weird for me still and sometimes I wish we didn't get stopped every 2 minutes to answer more questions. I don't mind the sweet comments of course, like "they are adorable", or "you are so blessed", because they are and I am.

It is the people stating the obvious and the people asking the not so bright questions (to put it nicely) that gets old. Plus, because they are triplets, we are usually on a pretty tight schedule and in all honesty I would rather go about enjoying my time at the zoo or at the mall with my family and friends than answer the obvious questions below :

"Are they triplets?" - Well, they are all the same size, in a wagon, they look alike, in coordinating/matching outfits with the same parents, so that would be a yes! They are triplets! However, usually I just say "Yes" and smile.

"You must have your hands full"? - Well, ya, there is three of them and two of us, so we are a little outnumbered. Anyone with 3 kids, let alone 3 kids the same age has their hands full. Thank you for the reminder. However, usually I just say "Yes" and smile.

"Are they natural"? - Well, yes they are real babies. They are not robots. However, usually I just say "Yes" and smile.

"Do multiples run in your family"? - Is that the question you really want to ask me? Does it matter? I think its none of your business. However, usually I just say "No" and smile.

"Are they all boys"? - Well, two of them are wearing pink and have bows on their heads so no they are not all boys. However, usually I just say "No, 2 girls and 1 boy" and smile.

These are all kind of funny, but the comments that make us want to walk away, and I think my husband has a few times, are the people that insinuate that our lives are any thing less than wonderful. The people that say "I feel sorry for you" or "I'm glad I'm not you" or the comment "That does not look like fun". Are you people kidding me? Look at them! Don't bother feeling sorry for me, because I am happier now than I have EVER been thanks to these babies. I am glad you are not me either. I am happy being me and you probably couldn't handle it. Lastly we have so much fun with these babies, even when they are sick, even when they are cranky, they still make me laugh and make me smile. I have more fun every day than I have in a long time. My days are not always the same. I don't go to work and come home every day and see the same things and do the same things every night. I have adventures, and I learn something new from my babies all the time. I get to be silly, sing songs, dance and act like a lunatic all the time. It is endless fun! People  should not assume to know everything about your life, just by the fact that you have triplets, and they should not assume that just because they may experience something in a negative way , that you will experience it in the same way. Different things make different people happy.

All this being said, there is also positive attention that comes with the babies and it can be very rewarding to me. For example, at the ALS walk, a perfect stranger asked me if we had used fertility treatments or if multiples run in our family. In my head I was we go...and this is your business because why? I answered that "no, they didn't run in our family". However, she then went on to say that her and her husband were getting ready to start treatments and how hopeful they are and how scary it is. I was thrilled that I could share my story with her and hopefully give her hope. This perfect stranger and I, we happened to have at least two very personal things in common...ALS and Infertility, which is unfortunate that it was those two things but demonstrates that we are all a lot closer than we think. I didn't get the chance to get her number but I say a prayer for her and am thankful that something positive came out of our interaction.

I just wanted to share my mixed feelings on this attention. I post pictures of my babies frequently on facebook, mostly because I am in awe of them and I like to share their awesomeness and cuteness with my friends and family, so I don't mind some of the comments and attention we get. On the other hand, because we DO have our hands full and going into public is not always an easy process if would be nice to eliminate some of the more obvious or negative comments that keep us from going about our business or are quite frankly, pretty rude (not that it changes the way I view my situation in the least). Also, as anyone with toddlers or babies understands, usually you have a window of time to take them out and get them home before they lose their minds, and with 3, that is all the more important or there will be 3 screaming babies in the check out line in the grocery store, or sitting next to your table in the restaurant.

Most everything I have written here, I have seen something similar written by another multiples parent but thought I would share my take on it here as well. I don't expect anything to change, its just part of our life now, that I wanted to capture here and look back at someday with the babies when they are older :-). At that point I am sure they will have developed their own style of clothes, they will enjoy different music and may even have different friends, they surely won't always dress in matching outfits, as cute as they are in them. The simple truth about all of this is that my babies are a miracle and they are all three wonderful, but they are more wonderful for the ways that they are all different and unique than the ways that they are the same. That is what makes them so special to me.

The curious toy thief....


 The sweet girl with the funny hair...

Mr. "Multiple" Personalities (since he can cry and laugh at the time)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Infertility, Politics, Religon, and the Tough Stuff.

I have decided to write about something that I have never publicly discussed on my personal facebook and to many others. Only my closest friends and family know, although I am sure others have suspected. The reason I did not talk about this before is for fear of being judged by people I care about, however, I have come to point where I can no longer be silent and am feeling hurt by the words of others although not directed at me, in directly it affects me. I have come to a point where I am willing to risk your judgment and stand up for what I believe. My life is full and if after this blog post, you think I am evil or a moron, or whatever else, I don't need you in my life anyway.

Some of you might think I am taking the subject of politics and the comments that were made by others way too personal. But who you vote for is a very personal decision and so yes, I do take those negative remarks personally. If they were constructive and polite while expressing a different opinion, satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the results, that would be different, but the comments I read the days leading to the election and after the election were not. And I read them coming from both political parties. So, I start by telling you that I voted for Obama and I did so for several reasons, although I will not discuss all of them here. I really don't want to get into politics at all but it is the issues behind the politics that stings. I wish the two were not interconnected but they are and so I cannot discuss one without the other. I would also like to point out that in contrast with what most people believe about those that voted for Obama, I have a college education and have worked very hard most of my adult life to get to where I am today in my career. My husband is a doctoral candidate and is set to graduate this coming Spring. We both work full time to provide for our family. Honestly, neither presidential candidate was that appealing to me, and just like I am sure some of you voted for Romney because of all the reasons you didn't want to vote for Obama. I voted for Obama because of all the reasons I didn't want to vote for Romney and it is in part because of his Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan. You see, Ryan and Todd Aiken (known for his comments on rape) co sponsored a bill that essentially limits a persons ability to utilize InVetro Fertilization. It also bans various forms of birth control. I also do not believe the government should legislate the way people live, like when two people of the same sex decide to get married. I have many friends that are members of the gay community and they are some of the most loving, giving and selfless people I know. I am a christian (although after my previous statement some of you may disagree) and I go to church on Sunday and I try to do the right thing and decent thing every day. The mission statement of the United Methodist Church I go to is "To create disciples of Jesus Christ who touch and inspire people through an open an diverse community". We do not judge others based on their sexual orientation, nor is it our place to do so.

3 months before I got married I was diagnosed with Endometriosis, and underwent a pretty invasive surgery. I will not get into what Endometriosis is here, you can google it if you don't know. I was told at that time, the chances of me being able to have children was slim. Unfortunately, this does not only affect me, but my future husband at the time. Luckily, knowing this, he still chose to marry me. :-) Both of us dreamed of having children and what I would have done to just have one. It did not seem fair to me, why I could not be a mother but others could, others that beat and neglected their children, but not me, a productive member of society, a good person at heart. So to no fault of my own, I was told the only chance I could have kids was through in vetro fertilization and so that's what we did, in hopes we could have a child. Now, we transferred two embryos hoping that at least one would implant, but both of them did and one of them split which in turn led to our three beautiful babies that you see pictures of every day. If it were not for modern medicine and that procedure, you would not see me posting any cute and cuddly pictures that most of you "like" and comment on every day. Our babies are flesh and blood, they are not robots and they are not abominations. They were born out of love from two people who were married and wanted to start a family but for health reasons could not do so on their own. I believe my children are a gift from god and that God was with those doctors and nurses the day they were conceived. To me, the lord was working through the doctors and nurses.

So, you see I voted for the candidate that I believed would provide the most opportunity for my kids, I voted for the rights of my girls, so they are free to live their lives and make choices about their bodies, and not have someone make those choices for them. Endometriosis can be inherited and I want them to have a choice if they need it. I voted for my friends that are gay, because they are good people, just like you and me, a lot of whom go to church every week, and the government should not be able to tell them whether they can or cannot be married.

I realize there are other large issues at stake here, taxes, foreign policy, the economy, Obama care and I know that I could be wrong about a lot of things, including who I thought was the best person for the job of running our country, meaning I don't see my opinion as the only right one, but I don't think this is the beginning of the end for our country or for our world, I think it is only the end if we continue to tear each other apart. I would not have voted for someone if I felt they were a danger to my family or to our country. I would like to reiterate while although Romney may have been a good presidential candidate in some ways, his Vice President was not. As I mentioned before I am not going to get into all of the reasons for  my vote. Just as all of you did, I had to go with someone that shared some of the same values I do. I am not brainwashed by Obama and I do not worship him. I am not sharing this with you to try and tell you that you should agree with me, or think what I think, or believe what I do, I am not trying to push my beliefs on you, I am simply asking you to not judge me or anyone else because I have a different opinion than you, and for doing what I believe is the best for my children. Please don't insult our intelligence or call us stupid because of who we voted for. It hurts, especially coming from people I love and people I consider friends, I would think would at least respect a different opinion other than their own. Regardless who I voted for or who you voted for, we are all Americans and we need to stick together, especially if you really do believe our country is in trouble, lets not destroy our country with hate, but respect and embrace our differences. A team of people, whether at work, or in a family unit, or group of friends move forward by working together while each individual has something different to contribute from the others. All those different opinions and ideas are what creates progress. If everyone thought the same way, nothing would ever change. We are all a team in this country. Lets start to act like it.

Call me a dreamer, maybe I am, but I believe in people and in this country (despite the evil I have witnessed) and I believe we are capable of more than we are allowing ourselves to be.

Every year 60,000 babies are born via In Vitro Fertilization and 15% of couples struggle with infertility.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Jolynne Marie - Then and Now

Our tiniest baby (when she was born), Jolynne turned one year old on October 26th 2012. She was born exactly two minutes after her sister Georgia and 1 minute after her brother Mickey. All 3 of our babies are miracles in my eyes, but Jolynne beat the odds more than once. While I was pregnant, after we were told I had TTTS and the chances of her surviving were slim. Her and Georgia were sharing nutrients and Jolynne was not getting what she needed to grow. Then, 3 days after she was born, we were told she had a hole in her intestine and she needed surgery right away. They said given her tiny size, they did not know whether she would even be able to survive the surgery but it was her only chance. Without the surgery she would die. But not only did Jolynne survive that surgery, today she thrives. Here is how much she has grown:

Then: 2 pounds, 6 ounces
Now: 20 pounds, 3 ounces

Then: 14.5 inches long
Now: 27 inches long

She is in the 35th percentile for her weight and the 5th percentile for her height. Jolynne made it through that first surgery, the scariest day of our life I think, then she waited in the hospital and grew until her second surgery when they were able to put her belly back together. At one point she went without food for 10 days, she was starving for 10 days until we knew her stomach could handle food again (she was given IV fluids during this time). She continued to struggle gaining weight because her intestines were not able to absorb the nutrients properly from her food. It went in and out without the body having a chance to soak in the good stuff. This extended her hospital stay as they wont let her leave until they see she can gain weight on a consistent basis.  We also learned she had a milk protein allergy before she left the hospital so she had to have special formula by prescription only.

At 32 weeks gestation, she was almost 3 weeks old, but still should not have even been born yet, we were told by the therapists in the NICU she was the most alert 32 week baby they had every seen and that they could not believe she had already been through what she had. It was every impressive.

Today Jolynne weighs more than her brother. She eats anything and everything without any troubles. Her intestines have healed and recovered completely. She has also overcome her milk protein allergy and can even drink regular milk. Jolynne is our little explorer. She is very smart and inquisitive. She will watch and study everything and gets into everything she can. She tries to squeeze through tiny spaces and then gets stuck, but she does not like being held captive behind baby gates. She will often sit on the other side and just look out through the bars, like there is whole world out there being kept from her. Jo also likes to follow her brother Mickey everywhere. Those two seem to have baby races and chase each other and laugh at each other and make squeals at each other. Jo also likes to take her siblings toys. She is very good at it to. She is quick, was our first baby to crawl despite her size and she will take your stuff if you are not careful.

Jolynne is probably the happiest of all 3 babies. She is always smiling, like a ray of sunshine. She has the most trouble sleeping of the 3 and we will still occasionally have to get up at odd hours to console her at night, but during the day, she's all smiles! I love how incredibly smart she is, and I love her curiosity. But mostly I love how extremely positive she is even though she has already had two surgeries and spent the first 3 months of her life in the hospital. We could all learn something from her.

I love you baby girl! Thanks for fighting so hard and proving everyone wrong. We can't imagine our lives without you!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mickey Aaron - Then and Now

On October 26, 2012 Mickey turned one year old. He was born exactly one minute after his sister Georgia and 1 minute before his sister Jolynne. When he was born he was not a happy camper. I think he was comfortable where he was and I will never forget the look on his face the first time I saw him. Mickey had to stay the longest in the NICU and he was our last baby to come home. Here is how much he has grown:

Then: 2 pounds, 11 ounces
Now: 19 pounds, 3 ounces

Then: 15.5 inches long
Now: 28 and 1/4 inches long

Mickey weighs less than both his sisters but he is also the tallest. He is in the 5th percentile for his weight and the 10th percentile for his height. He could benefit by gaining a few pounds but the doctors think he looks healthy and they are not concerned at this point. Mickey has 8 teeth already. 4 on top and 4 on bottom. When he was born he had a lot of trouble breathing. He was on an breathing tube for weeks and then a C Pap machine for many more weeks. There were times the doctor would call us at 5 in the morning to tell us that he had stopped breathing on his own and we worried if he would ever be able to breathe without the help of machines. He struggled with eating and aspirated his food, meaning it would go into his lungs, so we had to feed him thickened formula and there were days he hardly kept anything down due to the severity of his reflux. You know what they say sometimes, boys are slower to develop than girls, and even though he was bigger than them, his lungs and his digestive system were just not ready to work on their own.

I am happy to say that Mickey is doing 100 times better. He no longer requires extra oxygen or any assistance breathing. He also does not aspirate or have any issues with acid reflux. He is not on any medications at all. Mickey is not only crawling but he is walking with assistance. He does not sit still for a second. From the beginning, he has had a bad temper. When he doesn't like something, he lets you know it. He probably has the loudest laugh of all 3 babies, its so stinking cute! But he also has the loudest cry. He definitely needs to be held and cuddled with the most. Mickey's smile will melt your heart though. As he was in the hospital, he is at day care, very popular with the ladies. They are like puddy in his little baby hands, just like his mom is too.

Watching Mickey is highly entertaining. He likes to act like he is an only child and crawl over his sisters like they aren't even there, or push them over and laugh like they are one of his many toys. I have a feeling that is going to come back to bite him in the you know what someday. His newest thing is that he likes to shake his head at us or after us. I guess he is already understanding the word no? Not exactly. He thinks its funny. Mickey also likes to talk a lot. The difference between him and Georgia is that while Georgia is quietly conversing to herself or to us, Mickey is yelling gibberish at us as if we might have a hearing problem. He also loves it when I sing to him and he just stares back at me with a huge grin and those big baby blue eyes. I could sing to him forever. Happy or sad, I love that he expresses himself so well.

I love you my son! Daddy and I are so proud of how far you have come.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Georgia Dawn - Then and Now

On October 26, 2012 Georgia turned one year old. She is our oldest born 1 minute apart from her brother and two minutes apart from her sister. Not only is she the oldest, she was the first one to come home from the hospital and always our best eater. While the other two took their time learning to eat, Georgia did not. She wanted to get big so she could come home as soon as possible. At least that's what I tell myself. Here is how much she has grown:

Then: 2 pounds, 9 ounces                
Now: 21 pounds, 6 ounces

Then: 15 inches long
Now:  27.5 inches long

At one year old, Georgia weighs more than both her siblings. She is now in the 50th percentile for her weight and the 10th percentile for her length which is great considering she was born 2 and 1/2 months early. She now has 5 teeth, 2 on bottom and 3 on top. She just recently started crawling a couple weeks before her first birthday. We think maybe her weight, weighed her down a little. Technically with an adjusted age of 9.5 months, since she was born early, she is right where she should be. Georgia is also our little chatter box, she has conversations with herself all the time, during dinner, during play time, during diaper changes, and in the car. I have no idea what she is saying but it sure sounds interesting. I'm sure she and I will have lots to talk about very soon.

Although we did not see this originally she is definitely a little more independent than the others. I guess it makes sense since she did not need much help even in the NICU. She is happy playing with her toys in a corner by herself. Really the only time she is upset is when she is hungry. She loves to peek at her sister through her crib. They laugh at each other and seem really close already. Her newest thing is that she loves to clap. I love her giggles and listening to her talk. Somewhere along the way she has also picked up a new name, Peaches!

I love you Peaches! Daddy and I are so proud of you!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

NICU Reunion - One Year Later

Saturday, October 27th, one year and one day after the babies were born there, we returned to Banner Desert Medical Center to attend our first NICU Reunion. The NICU reunion is a once a year event where alumni who have graduated from the NICU can come back and see the nurses and doctors and other staff that took such good care of them. It is something we have really been looking forward to for awhile.

Georgia was in the NICU for 5 weeks, but Jolynne and Mickey were there for almost 3 months. Dare I say there were times during those months, I did not know how things would turn out or if we would ever be able to bring all 3 of them home. While we were there, we got to know the nurses that cared for the babies on a daily basis. I spent every day and a lot of nights with them during that time, the babies spent every night with them. There is no way we will ever be able to re pay those doctors and nurses for not only caring for the babies, but saving their lives and keeping them alive when their tiny bodies were simply not ready to sustain themselves on their own.

I was excited for them to see how much the babies had grown and how well they were doing, without needing all of extra therapy or treatments which was our life for awhile even after the babies came home. When they came home, they were averaging about 3-4 doctor appointments per week between the three of them and all the specialists. I realize there are still some challenges and obstacles ahead but the fact that the babies are happy, healthy and they overcame what they did, what would have been impossible maybe even 20 years ago, is amazing and I have those doctors and nurses to thank for that.

We arrived in costume, Mickey as Winnie the Pooh, Jolynne as Tigger and Georgia as Piglet. They were the cutest babies there. I am not exaggerating. We immediately saw Nancy, one of our primary nurses, who came over and gave us a big hug. She was in awe with how much the babies had changed. We got to meet her son and it was so touching to see her reunited with the babies, especially Mickey who I think she had a soft spot for. But really Nancy has a soft spot for all babies. She is a wonderful person with a big heart! We saw one of the doctors, the one who gave us the news that Jolynne may not make it two days after she was born. She remembered all the babies but mostly Jo and was happy to see them doing so well. Towards the end we saw, Erin, another one of our primary nurses,  who said "Are you kidding me right now?" when she saw the babies. I almost cried. She just couldn't even believe they were the same babies. She said "where is your runt (Jo)" and we told her we didn't have a runt anymore. Of course, Jolynne will always be our runt in some ways even though she now weighs more than her brother. There were a few people missing, a couple of the nurse practitioners who were very involved in the babies care and another one of our primary nurses. We missed you Tammy!

It was a pretty special moment to walk into the place my babies were born one year later, after all the time they spent there and say we made it, and thank you to those that helped us through what were the most pivotal months of our lives. It could have gone either way, and we are very lucky, all three of our blessings are home with us now. I will be forever grateful to all those people and that place. We'll see you again next year!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Our Little Pumpkins 1st Birthday Party

Well, now that's is over, I can say all in all it was a success. The babies loved their cupcakes and they were in baby heaven when we got home and could play with all their new toys. I cannot say however that it all went smoothly, mostly thanks to me.

The party was at Schnepf farms, who every year hosts a pumpkin and chili party. There are rides, a petting zoo, a train, pumpkin patch, face painting, etc. What a perfect location for an October birthday party, especially when the theme is "Little Pumpkins". The plan was I would leave early and take all the decorations, cupcakes, etc. with me. Tommy would leave later and get there a half  hour before the party starts with the babies. I did leave early and got their on time. The place was already very busy though and I had to make several trips back and forth to the car to get everything unloaded and then go find parking. Once I got to our reserved area, I check my phone and it is 11am. 30 minutes before the babies are supposed to get here, and hour before the party starts at noon. I receive a text from Tommy saying that he cannot find the keys. I check my purse and sure enough, I have BOTH sets of keys, which means he has no way to get there with the babies and we live about 45 minutes away. OMG!!!

The next few minutes were sheer panic, I admit I was a tad stressed at this point and also VERY mad at myself. Luckily, my mom and Maureen and Dennis arrived  at the same time and they could drive Tommy the keys, of course, given the distance, the babies would still be late to their own party.

The babies finally arrived at 1pm, an hour after the party started. Good thing we were at a farm full of stuff for people to do so they did not all have to sit and wait for the guests of honor. In addition to their late arrival (thanks to me), Mickey got sick right when they pulled in and threw up all over his birthday pants. They were, unsavable, to say the least. In all the commotion, Tommy had forgotten a second set of clothes. Oops! So, Mickey arrived pant less. At least the birthday shirt was spared.

After that, it was just non stop fun for everyone. The babies were loving all the attention. The girls looked beautiful in their tutus. They all got lots of toys and clothes. All 3 babies helped unwrap the presents, but mostly Jolynne who never likes to miss a thing.

The cupcakes were the most fun to watch. Mickey started in before we had a chance to light the candles and sing happy birthday and then he knocked his first cupcake on the ground, so he tried to take his sisters, then we gave him a second one and he knocked that on the ground too. He was a complete mess but atleast he did not have a tutu on, because the girls had orange icing all over their tutus.

Mickey had one more vomiting episode and threw up all over James. He seemed a little tired but it had been a chaotic morning so I was not to worried at the time. We found out the next day when day care called, he was much sicker. Our poor boy had a stomach virus and an ear infection. But, like I said that did not stop him from enjoying 2 cupcakes.

Schnepf farms was a beautiful fall location. I had Caketini in Gilbert make the babies cupcakes and  the cake pops, and then I made all the other cupcakes myself, which for those of you that know me, know I don't bake. Anything for my babies! I was able to find a cute pumpkin design on Etsy where I could make the banner myself and the cupcake toppers. It all came together nicely, but next year, we may be at home. That way, I cant forget the keys and the babies cant be late to their own party.

Thank you so much to all our friends and family that came and helped us celebrate and showered the babies with love on their special day. Special thanks to Maureen for helping me decorate and not stress out, to my mom and Dennis for driving the keys back to Tommy, to Christie and Kendall and Holland for taking such great pictures and keeping the babies entertained, and to James for being such a good sport when Mickey threw up his lunch on you. But especially thanks to my wonderful husband. I am pretty sure I had a few momzilla moments while planning this party. Thank you honey for being so patient, keeping it real, and helping me think outside my detail oriented mind when things did not go as planned. After all, its not the details that made the day so special but the people we shared it with and the babies, who were the reason for it all.

Happy Birthday again to Georgia, Joylnne and Mickey. I love you more than anything.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Walk to Defeat ALS

Every year, we walk to defeat ALS in my dads memory. There is not to many times any more that I actually talk about what happened to him. I like to focus on the good memories and the good times with him, and all the wonderful things about my dad rather than the way in which he had to leave the world. And I could probably write a book about all of it really. There is too much to say that will not fit into a simple blog entry.

But I will say that as a child to watch their father suffer the way he did was almost unbearable and the last couple nights, watching this man who I thought was made of steal, slip away from us after only 4 months of being diagnosed with ALS, is something that I am still not completely over and probably never will be. You see, we don't know what causes ALS and we don't know why certain people get it. There is evidence that it could be from repeat trauma to the head, like from playing sports, which my dad did and he had many concussions when he was younger, but further research needs to be done. Once they find out what causes it, we can work on finding out how to cure it. But until then, it is a death sentence. If you get ALS, you will die. And I am being very blunt about it because it is reality and it was my dads reality and it was our families reality, and it always will be to some extent.

Raising money for ALS will not bring my dad back but he did say after the one walk that he participated in that it was the best day he had since being diagnosed. All those people walking and cheering, full of hope, full of determination, brought him hope. And so we do it every year because there are so many that are still suffering and every minute, more people are getting diagnosed. That being said, it is very hard on me emotionally because as I mentioned earlier, I would rather focus on the happy times, and the walk brings up a lot of not so happy memories from when my dad was sick. I am not sure if I will be able to continue doing it the future, but it was important to me that my babies were there this year.

We could not keep the people away and I should have counted how many people asked to take their picture. Definitely a first for me to get that much attention because of them. I mean we get it, but this was just crazy. The nice thing about it was though, the people would then ask my tie to ALS, and who was George and I get to tell them that he was my dad and that this little baby Georgia is his granddaughter and she is named after him. It really was special.

The babies did great as usual. There was no crying at all. They were all smiles. Then right towards the end of the walk, Georgia and Mickey fell asleep in the wagon. It was adorable!!! Jolynne was not tired at all, she was ready to play with everyone and no way was she going to miss out on anything!

Our team raised $445 and the total raised by all teams was $306,343.88 and they are still accepting donations. Thanks again to everyone that supported us this year and especially to those that donate and walk with us every year. To me that says you truly understand the importance of why we do it and it means the world to us.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Making Time For Each Other

I feel strong enough about this subject that I wanted to inject my thoughts into my wife’s blog. We have triplets – infant triplets, no less – and that makes our life like organized chaos at times. There are schedules and routines. The babies require a lot of attention. Georgia, Mickey, and Jolynne are absolute treasures and I love doing everything with them. One of the best feelings in the world is when I walk into the nursery in the morning and they are all awake (talking to each other and happy) when suddenly they realize Dad is there…and they all grin ear to ear. The babies do take a lot of energy out of you and there are times at night when I am so exhausted all I want to do is sit in a chair and not think/do/say anything. Honestly, the physical exhaustion reminds me of being at West Point and trying to find pockets of time when I didn’t have to go do anything. Those moments were crucial to staying sane. Those are the times, though, when I try to do things for my wife. I will often rub her feet (ok, sometimes she has to ask me); I try to ensure the house is cleaned up, dishes are put away, laundry done, and formula made so she doesn’t have to worry about it; and I try to make her feel attractive because she is so incredibly amazing in every way.

            We recently went across the country with everyone and had a ton of help. It was quite a bit of fun and we were able to create memories that will endure the rest of our lives. We were able to take the babies to the beach a few times and spend a lot of time together. However, there were also commitments for us without the babies. My wonderful mother-in-law was sweet enough to come to Florida with us and watched the babies so we could visit with the bride/groom at their house (we went there specifically for their wedding – Kara being the Matron of Honor). We were able to go on a dinner cruise for the rehearsal dinner. My parents came in that night to also help with the babies and spend time with us. Saturday night I went to the wedding with Linda (my mother-in-law) and we joined Kara who was already there. That’s three nights essentially without the babies. It isn’t easy and would not have been possible without three grandparents and my sister (Ryan) joining us. Yet, incredibly, I still get asked by people how we’re able to do those things. Really? I didn’t realize it was a secret but here goes…It takes planning and work, but I don’t believe our “To-Do” list is only the babies.

            It has become almost cliché for couples who become parents to suddenly stop doing all the things they used to do together before kids. To a large extent it is true. Kara and I used to go out to eat literally every Friday night. There are lots of little things we could do that are simply not an option when you have kids. We understood that going into this adventure and we firmly believe the babies are the absolute number one thing in the world to us. But do you know what #2 is? It is my wife…and our marriage. I believe our marriage is important enough that we need to still make time for each other. I enjoy having 20 minutes of uninterrupted conversation each day…I like having long conversations with her every week. With good planning and a solid support system, we like to occasionally have overnights by ourselves every few months. It is also part of our plan to have a few weekends to ourselves every year.

            I didn’t get married for just for heck of it…I didn’t get married because of any pressures to do so…I didn’t get married for any reason other than the fact that I think Kara is the most unbelievable woman I had ever met (and still is) and I couldn’t imagine my life without her. I plan to keep making her know that, any chance I can. And that is going to occasionally mean the babies will be with someone else so we can spend time together just the two of us. In the long-run, our marriage will be healthier and stronger…which will lead to happier times at home and happier babies/kids/teenagers. So I guess the short answer to the question of how do parents of infant triplets get out of the house and go do stuff together is this: we make it a priority and utilize the wonderful family/support network we are fortunate to have. No secret formula to it…planning and committing to it. So for everyone reading this blog, whether you have kids or not (or whether your kids are grown up and not there every day) – whatever the situation happens to be – make time for your significant other. I do…and will continue to do so.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Our 1st Family Vacation, Part 2: Babies first time at the beach

It is indescribable how wonderful it was to take the babies to the beach. I grew up living about 20 minutes from the ocean and it is something I miss a lot now that we live in the desert. There are things I love about Arizona as well, but nothing can match the beauty and calmness of the ocean, and the peacefulness of it all.

Getting to the beach, like the airport was a bit of a process. Luckily, it was walking distance down this sand trail behind the house. We decided again to bring the strollers because the sand was fairly firm on the trail, which was a mistake because we got sand all over the wheels and it was challenging to get the strollers through certain patches. We lathered the babies up in sun screen and cover ups and brought some toys for them to play with. We sat them on the sand and immediately they started crawling and rolling around in the sand. It was very difficult for them to stay put. The sand was like white powder, nothing like what I was used to in California. It reminded me of the Bahamas. The babies scooped the sand in their hands and crumbled it in between their fingers. Jolynne tried to eat it. For that reason we choose to take them closer to the water where it would be harder to pick up handfuls of sand because it was so wet. We sat all three babies right on the edge of the water and watched their little faces as the water came up around their feet and little baby butts. They blinked a few times and stared down in amazement. What is this stuff and where did it come from? They continued to play with their toys, splash the water and crawl around the sand like little explorers.

We were able to take them to the beach at least twice during our vacation and out to dinner a few times. It was so wonderful to be together as a family. Something I have dreamed of my whole life and I thought about frequently during my pregnancy. I can't wait to take the babies so many places and this is just the beginning.

We were in Florida for a wedding though and I had other responsibilities while I was there as the Matron of Honor, a role I take very seriously. I take most of the roles I have in life very seriously, including being a  mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister and a friend. The younger me, maybe not so much, but Ive loved and lost and learned a lot about life along the way. The babies are and always will be my number 1 priority (there should be no question about that but based on a few comments, I sense there might be) Luckily, with the help of our family, Tommy and I are able to balance other important relationships in our lives as well, including our closest friends once in a life time occasion and our own relationship.  The next blog on this subject will be written by my husband. I will let him explain but for now, a few pictures of the babies beach experience. It was such a beautiful day.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Our 1st Family Vacation, Part 1: Traveling with 10 month old triplets.

We just got back from an amazing vacation, our first as a family. This trip was a very special one for me because it was so that I could be the Matron of Honor in my best friends wedding. Well really,we are more like sisters. So I wanted more than anything to bring the babies to meet her family and her daughter and my mom to meet her mom. Luckily my mom was able to join us and go with , as well as, Tommy's parents and sister to help us with the babies and enjoy some time in the beautiful Siesta Key.

Getting there was easier than we imagined. We were a little terrified at the thought of a 4 and a half hour plane ride with 10 and a half month old triplets but the babies did so great. The biggest part of the process was getting through the airport with all of our stuff. We decided to bring 3 umbrella strollers instead of the long triplet stroller because we were not sure it would fit in our rental car and because it breaks apart into 4 separate pieces when you fold it up. We thought taking 3 little strollers with 3 of us would be easier, but looking back, I wish we had taken our chances with the triplet stroller. We also had a large cart to push carrying all our carry on bags and 3 car seats, so one of us was pushing 2 strollers. They moved pretty well but the problem more came on the way back, which I will explain later. You would think we might have gotten a little less attention with the 3 strollers instead of the triplet one but it didn't really make a difference. The babies received lots of oohs and aahs and my mom was loving every minute of it. It was fine actually, no one was rude and everyone was very helpful.

Going through security was fairly easy. My mom who is a principal at a local Charter School ran into someone that works in security whose kids used to attend her school, so we still had to have all our liquids checked but it was quick and easy. My mom is always running into people she knows. That's why we bring her with...ha ha. Just kidding mom! We did bring a cooler with 6 bottles, 3 for the take off and 3 for the landing. We also had one serving of baby food for each baby for the middle of the flight and all their medications. We used these ice blocks you can buy at target and freeze to keep everything cold since you cant bring ice through security.

Getting on the plane was pretty easy too. There were extra seats available so all the babies got to ride in their car seat. We had to sit in three separate rows because car seats have to be by a window and only 1 car seat per row. Jolynne was with me, Georgia with my mom and Mickey was with Tommy. The babies had their bottles during take off and Mickey and Jolynne fell asleep right away. Georgia decided she wanted to stay up and play for awhile with my mom but fell asleep mid flight. None of the babies cried and they behaved so well. The flight attendants were very helpful with helping us install the car seats and get situated.

When we got there Christina was waiting for us. There was little confusion and no cart to carry our stuff so we had a to use a wheel chair to carry the car seats, and though we did have some trouble installing them in the mini van we rented, it all worked out. We got the beach villa around 8:30pm. The babies were up until probably 10:30pm that night and I don't think ever fully adjusted to the time change or their new surroundings. Although they did well during the days, the nights were a little rough and they did not sleep well the entire trip. I think part of the problem was the cribs we rented were porta cribs, a little small, as the babies are borderline to big for them now compared to when I placed the order.

The house itself was very nice. 3 levels, a garage and entry level, and main floor with kitchen and living area and the 3rd level had 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The biggest concern was it was all tile so we had to be very careful carrying the babies up and down the stairs and making sure the floor was covered where they played. There was also a lot of big heavy furniture so we really had to keep a close eye on them. Mickey and Jo really like to crawl underneath things and they even tried to get into the fireplace so we blocked it off with pillows.

I cant wait to write about the babies first trip to the beach and other adventures. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog and Part 3 where I will talk about the difficulties of getting home from Tampa.

We had a ALOT of stuff!

Just got through security..

Mickey crawling to mommy!

And gazing out the window....

Jo sleeping on the plane...
Hanging around the house!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The joys, the pains, life with 10 month old triplets!

Its been awhile since I have posted. The older they get, the busier I get, which for the most part is amazing. I am in awe of them.Their silliness, their smiles, their laughter, their babbles, their funny faces and even their cries. I am complete mush and wrapped around everyone of their little fingers. Lately, as they have been hitting so many milestones, they have also been very sick, with lots of viruses and ear infections which makes it difficult for Tommy and I to take them out anywhere. The weekend of their baptism, we were planning on attending our friend Aly's 1st birthday but they were sick. There was also a Club Med family picnic that I attended on my own due to the babies being sick. So disappointing but I know there will be other opportunities to get them out and around in the future.

The constant ear infections and colds are really starting to take their toll. Its all part of the deal, I understand but so hard on them and us. When they are sick they are very clingy and when there is just one of us, and three clingy babies, well you can imagine the amount of tears...and broken ear drums. We are spending a large amount of money every week on doctor visits, seems like we are there at least twice a week with one or more babies, and it is taking us away from work as well which is frustrating. Did I mention we pay the day care even when they are not there for sick days and right now on average they are there 2-3 days a week, so we might as well be part time day care, but we pay for full time.

When the babies have fevers we have to make sure to keep their pain and fevers under control with Tylenol or Advil. Georgia's fever was103.7 one night. When they get high like that we give them baths even if it disrupts their sleep and they sleep in our room. We wake them every couple hours to check their temps. Lots of nights where sleep is just not an option. Then we try to go to work the next day and act like a normal functioning person. Ha Ha. Luckily, I think I am used to it at this point. If I can make it through the first few months they came home, I can make it through this. The worst part is seeing them so upset and in pain and not being able to help. I just want want my babies to feel better.

On a more positive note, Mickey is crawling now and he is all over the place.. I am terrified for what lies ahead. He has also started pushing his sisters over and laughing and crawling on top of them and growling like a bear. Oh boy are we in trouble! I think when they get older the girls are going to be pretty tough considering everything they went through in the NICU and having such a rambunctious brother.

Georgia is the only one not crawling yet but she is very close. Won't be long now. They have started eating some finger foods and drinking from sippy cups. I cant believe in a little over a month they will be a year. What a life changing, wonderful year it has been.

I will end this post with some pictures from the baptism on August 26th when they turned 10 months., A very special day for us. The minister was so honored to do their baptism and her first triplets. She almost couldn't talk she was so excited and in awe of the babies. The sermon was titled "grief works". How appropriate and really struck me. A very powerful message about how everyone grieves differently and because of love we feel loss. But grief works and even when we think we cant get through something, we do. She even quoted Simon and Garfunkel and I knew my dad was there. Just as I knew he was there when I brought all three babies home from the hospital. Anyway, my point is it was a perfect day. We are so very blessed!


Coming soon - More from Georgia, Jolynne and Mickey as they take their first plane ride, their first beach trip and their first trip to Sedona. Sure to be lots of fun times ahead and lots of great memories to blog about!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

9 Months Later

On July 26th, the triplets turned 9 months old. Its so hard to believe. They are growing and changing every day right before our eyes and a few short months from now they will be a year old. You would never guess they went through what they did. They are so cheerful and curious and full of life.

At 9 months, Georgia is 18 pounds 3 ounces. Her length is 25 and 3/4 inches and her head is 16 and 3/4 inches. Georgia has become the talker as of late. She is always chatting with us about something while she is eating, bathing and just hanging out. She is sitting very well and likes to roll around on the play mat. Recently she is learning how to hold the sippy cup and pick up pieces of food and bring it to her mouth. Georgia has two teeth on the bottom but we think more are on their way very soon. She's a very smart baby and we think her first word is ba ba (bottle). What a surprise!

Jolynne, our peanut, is 16 pounds 8 ounces. Her length is 25 inches and her head is 16 and 1/2 inches. Jolynne is the mover of the bunch. She scoots all over the house. She loves scooting up to the dog and the back door and staring out the window. She has also recently discovered the doggie door. Luckily we keep it covered and there is no way she can get through. I'm sure she would try if she could. Jo sits very well also and loves taking her sister and brothers toys. She can do this because she can move towards them and they have not figured out how to move away. The dog has though, she has to chase after him, scooting of course, I think Pepper is scared of her. Jo finally got her first tooth on bottom last week. At her last appointment with her surgeon, he was blown away by her progress and we were told she didn't have to come back for a year. We are slowly weaning her onto regular formula and all her tummy issues are almost behind her.

Mickey is 17 pounds, 10 ounces. He is 27 inches long and his head is also 17 inches. He is much longer than his sisters. Mickey likes to flail his arms and legs everywhere. He loves to stand on his legs, assisted of course. Sometimes I wonder if he will walk before he crawls. He gets frustrated because he wants to crawl but cant figure it out. He will get into position on his belly and then swing his arms and legs but not pushing himself anywhere, and then he puts his down and starts to cry. I feel so bad because he wants to move so badly! Mickey gets a kick out of watching his sisters. He has the most teeth. He has two on bottom and he just got two more on top on the side. Mickey's reflux has gotten so much better. We only have to give the prevacid every other day and it is half the dose. Sometimes I think the girls have worse reflux than he does at this point. My how the tables have turned!

Our triplets have adjusted well to day care. They start playing immediately when they get there. Its pretty awesome to see the smiles on their faces when we come in at the end of the day. They all got their first colds a couple of weeks ago and I joined them. Their daddy was spared somehow. Jolynne had it the worst and was teething at the same time so we had a few sleepless nights that week. We officially switched out their infant car seats for some convertible car seats a couple weeks ago. I was looking back at how tiny they were in those infants car seats when we brought them home from the hospital. its crazy that 7 months later they had really outgrown them. They were too heavy for me to carry and we had such a hard time squeezing them in and out. They are much more comfortable now. August and September we have lots of family activities planned. The babies will be baptized on August 26th and then in September, we have our first family vacation. Its a very special one to because we are going to Florida so that I can be the Matron of Honor in my best friends wedding. We have rented a house on the beach and it will be the babies first time (obviously). Then when we get back from Florida we are headed to Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. Lots of firsts coming up! Can't wait to share the wonderful memories we continue to create together as they grow.

How sweet - Mickey and Jo holding hands.

My girls!

Playing with their new balls