Friday, November 23, 2007

Some Days are Better than Others

The jury is still out on whether today will be one of the "other" days or one of the "better" days. But to prove my point about having some okay and some better days... Let us review the past week or so:

Thursday (11.15.07)
The triplets had their two month check up at the pediatrician's office. Can you believe they are eight weeks old?? (Actually at the time I'm writing this, they are 9 weeks, 2 days) Time flies when you're sleep-deprived. :) Anyway, the appointment went well, as expected. Everybody, including Ellie (thankfully) had grown. They were:

Sam: 6lb, 8oz!!
Ellie: 5lb, 15.8 oz
(they rounded up to 6lb even, but she had eaten recently, so I refuse to round up!)
Abby: 5lb, 15oz!!!
(can you believe she used to be a full pound smaller than the other two? I still refer to her as my little one and the other two as my bigger ones!)

The good news is that they all grew. Ellie especially. It's hard to say how much she'd grown though, since she'd just had a meal. The pediatrician was not seriously alarmed because she isn't losingweight, which is important. Also, her head circumference has continued to grow, which is a big deal as well. He said that she IS on a growth curve, just not nearly as steep as her siblings and that her growth seems entirely consistent with her eating pattern (which is to say, she goes on hunger strikes and then doesn't grow as well, and then she starts eating again and starts growing again.

Everyone got their vaccines, and Abby got her Synagis (RSV vaccine). I don't know if I ever wrote about it, but the triplets were denied coverage for the RSV vaccine from the insurance company, which is beyond ridiculous. It's about $1600 per shot and it's a monthly shot from October through April. They got their October dose in the NICU (that was covered), but were denied coverage for any outpatient coverage for Synagis. Several appeals later, Ellie and Sam were still denied, but Abby was approved, which is phenomenally stupid, because it means bringing the two non-vaccinated babies with me to get Abby in there to be vaccinated. It's so stupid. But they are in the office so often for weight checks anyway that it wasn't going to put the other two at too much greater a risk so we went ahead and agreed that Abby should still get the vaccine. I have a whole post brewing about RSV and preemies, but I haven't gotten to it yet. Anyway, the upside of the vaccines is that the babies slept ALL day Thursday and even through the night Thursday night!!

The only other thing of note is that all three babies have thrush, which I meant in an earlier post. So, of course, all four of us have thrush. Otherwise, the babies are all really healthy and doing incredibly well. I got them to the office all by myself again, this time using the double snap-n-go and wearing Ellie in the Moby Wrap. The only problem with the wrap is that it takes a while to get it on, so I have to put it on before I get in the car and wear it while driving and then it's easier to keep wearing it in the office once I'm there even once I take the baby out, but it gets kind of warm. I've since been given a baby bjorn, which is a bit easier and Sam prefers, but my back really hurts while wearing it. Thalia recommended the kangaroo korner, which I might try. We'll see. I tried a hot sling, but I hate it. Anyway, the point is, Thursday was a good day.

Friday (11.16.07)
An even better day, the babies all slept most of the night and woke up at 5am to be fed. We were finished feeding them around 6am, which left plenty of time to get J ready for school and the to get the triplets into the car, so that I could take J to school instead of making Seth do it. It adds about an hour to Seth's day to take J to school, so if I could get myself to a point of being able to drop J at school regularly, it would be really helpful. The triplets tend not to cooperate with their feeding schedule, though, as they tend to want to be fed around 7 which isn't the least bit convenient. So, anyway, we loaded everyone into the car and I dropped J at school and called a friend to gloat about my accomplishment (this was a huge deal for me!). She suggested I stop by her nearby office so she could see the triplets. Normally I would have said no, but she's the director of a small non-profit and the only person who works in her office. She has several kids of her own, so she knows what to do with babies also. So I actually left the babies with her for 15 minutes while I ran across the street to the grocery and then came back to find three still sleeping babies. I fed everyone there, and then came home. Once I was home, the babies stayed asleep long enough for me to actually get a little organizing and cooking done. It was a very, very good day. I almost even considered going and picking Julian up from school by myself that day, but decided that two outings in one day was asking a bit much, so Seth picked him up.

Saturday (11.17.07)
This was one of the "other" days. A not so good day, if you will. The day itself was okay, but the babies were a little on the needy side. The problem was that Seth and I were both pretty short on sleep. J was out with a friend most of the day, thankfully. I spent a good deal of the day planning to go out to Buy Buy Baby after Shabbos so that I could pick up one or two quick things that I needed. I talked about the logistics with Seth several times... how to make it happen without leaving him with four screaming kids. I wanted to make sure that I didn't leave him in the middle of a hunger cycle or with the triplets screaming and J needing to go to bed. The plan was that I would feed the triplets and then leave immediately. But close to the end of Shabbos, a friend stopped by and she didn't get the hint when I was trying to get her to scoot. So I fed all the babies as best I could, and eventually excused myself to go pump. But by the time I was done pumping, the babies needed to be fed again. I was getting them fed and Seth was getting J to bed... or so I thought. As it turned out, he was having J clean his room, which is all kinds of good, except that the room was a DISASTER and Seth wasn't giving him much help and four year olds aren't good at self-direction, so it was taking a long time.

By the time he was done... I was beyond frustrated and I felt like my window of opportunity was closing in on me. It wasn't pretty. I completely lost it. I yelled at Seth that he needed to hurry the frack up because I. NEEDED. TO. GO. Eventually he got Julian to bed and he came downstairs and I said that I felt like he had no regard for MY time, even though I knew in my heart that really wasn't what was going on. What I wasn't expecting was his response: "I didn't even realize you needed to go anywhere." WHAT? What what what? How many conversations did we have about this?? If I thought I'd lost it before, well, I was wrong. I completely lost it now. The problem was that Seth was so sleep-deprived that he just truly didn't register any of the conversations we had about this. And I burst into hysterical tears. The babies were crying, I was crying, Seth was standing there in disbelief not knowing WHAT to do. Little did I know that this was probably just the world's worst PMS attack. I probably still had time to run to Buy Buy Baby, but I felt like I would miss a feeding if I did that, and I was stressed out enough about my production level, so I didn't want Seth using pumped milk if I could help it... plus I was so upset, I didn't want to be out driving at that point.

And so, I got online and IM'd with Jessica for a while with tears streaming down my face. I just felt like I can't get anything done that does not revolve around feeding these babies. Well, the fact is that it's true... I can't get anything done that doesn't revolve around feeding the babies. That's my job. And on the days when I have absolutely no expectation of accomplishing anything more than that, I'm cool. But on the days where I have any belief that I can do more, I end up frustrated. That's not to say that I never get anything else done, but if I go into the day without the expectation of getting anything done, I'm much less frustrated through the day. Plus, I know that this will pass. Eventually the babies will get older and I'll miss their total dependence on me. Poor Jessica. I've never even met her in real life and she's seen more of me than any person should have to see!

Sunday (11.18.07)
A better day. Thank god. Seth took J out in the morning, ran my errand at Buy Buy Baby, the babies were calm, and in the afternoon I made it out to order Baby Announcements. Yes, my babies are over 2 months old and I'm just now getting around to ordering announcements, but better late than never, right? I ordered super cute announcements which should be in very soon and I'll send them out ASAP. You know, between feedings. I honestly cannot remember anything else about this day.

Monday and Tuesday (11.19-20.07)
I honestly remember nothing about these days. So they can't have been too bad, right? Oh right, on Monday, a friend stopped by which was lovely. Otherwise, I have no recollection about the days at all.

Wednesday (11.20.07)
This was both a better day and one of the "other" days. The babies were fussy all day and they were just clingy clingy clingy. Normally just one or two of them gets clingy, but all three of them wanted to be held ALL day long. This would not have been problematic except I was exhausted, plus I was expecting a lactation consultant to come in the evening, so it wasn't the best day to have three cranky babies. At any rate, we made it through the day and the lactation consultant came in the evening. She helped me get Abby latched on for the first time in a while, but Abby still wouldn't actually transfer any milk (no real sucking/swallowing). She weighed both girls, helped me fix Ellie's latch a bit, and weighed Ellie after she ate also. Ellie ate about three ounces in her feed, so there's no question that she is getting enough milk when she's eating...but she still goes on hunger strikes (but when she's on a hunger strike she won't eat at the breast OR from a bottle, so it's not just me that's the problem). So Abby now weighs more than Ellie! Abby was 6pounds 3 ounces and Ellie was 6 pounds 2 ounces on the lactation consultant's scale. Sheesh. At any rate, we'll keep in touch and probably have her come back at some point to keep helping. She gave me some good ideas with how to keep working with Abby. And she was super-supportive of all the work that I've done so far. She said that it's really great that I've done such a good job protecting my milk supply with all the pumping (go me!) and she was astounded that none of the babies get any formula. Frankly, I'm pretty proud of myself for that. I don't think there's anything wrong with mothers who feed their babies formula, so don't get me wrong here, but I'm really proud of myself for growing three babies for 7 months inside and still managing to be their sole source of nutrition on the outside.

Turkey Day!
And here's where I prove how unbelievably awesome I am! Wr had two friends and their two kids over and I actually cooked Thanksgiving dinner. Complete with turkey and all the sides. I do so rock. I even managed to make pumpkin bread for dessert. It was clearly one of the better days. Thankfully, all the babies cooperated. There's more, but if I don't post this soon, I never will, so suffice it to say, it was a good day, and I'm awesome. :)


Crystal R. said...

I've been saying for quite some time that my heroes include mothers who breastfeed triplets. I feel like it's a pretty big accomplishment to breastfeed one and I can't imagine the work it takes to breastfeed three, especially when you have a fourth kid, as well. You really, really rock!

Keep up the good work and if you haven't already, get some super concentrated acidophilus! And talk to your Lactation Consultant about gentian violet.

decemberbaby said...

You're definitely a hero in my books. I hope I'm able to cope as well with one as you can with three!

Rachel Inbar said...

You're unbelievable :-) and so honest about it too... I remember, at one point, when my twins were a few months old, realizing that neither of them had nursed for a full 90 minutes. I was suddenly struck with the thought that something must be wrong... (Of course everything was fine, it was just rare to have such a 'long' break during the day.)

In Search of Morning Sickness said...

I cannot believe you have b/f the triplets exclusively!!! I guess that didn't dawn on me until now. Super-mom material, for sure!

Great job on the Thankgiving. I guess I was reading fast, but what I saw was, "I even managed to make pumpkin breast for dessert." (Somehow between all the lactating and thinking of turkey breast, I guess I got that!)


Jody said...

You sound like you're doing AMAZING, Karen. Just amazing. And the breastmilk? YOU ROCK. (I didn't produce enough to feed only EBM, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that, but I do think it's a fantastic accomplishment if you can, and I wish I had.)

I was just thinking to myself, as I read, "it's the days when you expect more that screw with you" and then you wrote it, yourself. It's so true, too.

Trust me, these days are going to be gone in such a tiny blink of an eye. Treasure the good moments when you can. And have lots of non-migraine-triggering foods on hand for the other moments!

Shelby said...

Wow- major kudos to you!! I didn't even make it the first night in the hospital without pleading with the nurse to just feed my daughter and let me sleep for a few hours straight. I'm so impressed- definitely a huge accomplishment!

I'm glad you found a lactation consultant that you like. That makes such a huge difference. Way to go!! And I'm glad you had a nice Thanksgiving!

megan said...

Karen, you're amazing.
I loved reading the accounts of your days...

es said...

So glad to read the update! I am in awe of how you're managing. I can't believe the triplets are already 2 months old!

Jessica said...

Glad to read the update... And it's good to see that the good days FAR outweighed the bad ones :) You're rocking this motherhood thing, you make it look like a hobby! I love you to pieces, there will be a day in this millenium that we will hang together and talk over a medium that isn't technologically based :)

Chris said...

Thanks for the update! You ARE awesome. Those little ones are lucky to have you for a mom.

Jackie said...

You are incredibly, awesomely amazing! Glad to read that things are going mostly well. Sorry to hear about the rough days, I hope they are fewer and farther between as time goes on!

Meghan said...

WOW you are one amazing woman! Breastfeeding 3 babies, having a 4 year old. This could have been the one year you bailed on cooking a thanksgiving dinner and yet once again, you stepped up!

Anonymous said...

You are good.

Anonymous said...

wow karen, every time i read your updates I am just so happy for you. this is so exciting, and you are doing an amazing job...

batya said...

that was me

chicklet said...

Holy crap, you really ARE awesome!

Malky B. said...

Wow! That's all I can say. I'm glad your managing to get out of the house once in a while. That's important. Are you planning on going back to work? If so what are your plans for breastfeeding?