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)