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Category Archives: Triplets

The Top 5 Things To Say To Moms of Multiples

top5thingstosaytomomsofmultiplesWelcome back to our series on Life with Multiples! Some of your favorite posts in this series have been If You Were Born With Your Siblings and Ahhh, Those Newborn Days…x 3!!!.

Being a mom of multiples (MoM), I am no stranger to embarrassing and, oftentimes, challenging questions while out with my family. It comes with the territory: I remember the day we first tried to go to our local Farmer’s Market when the babies were really little. There were three adults with me and we did not have enough fingers between us to count the stares, looks, points, questions and whispers. No joke. (I did get some free cheese for having triplets, though, so I guess it was all worth it. Ha!)

We are a spectacle wherever we go. As the babies have gotten older, we have learned some tricks for escaping some of the spotlight that seems to follow us everywhere. For example, my husband usually has one of the babies and I’ll have the other two (or vice versa). People don’t notice us quite as often this way.

We also include extra time to be able to accomplish an errand. Talking to people throughout the errand takes a lot of time. And thought. It’s like having 15 mini-conversations in 45 minutes while trying to shop for everything on your grocery list. It is unusual that I don’t discuss how the babies sleep, how we do it, how they were conceived, whether I used fertility assistance or not, no you cannot take their picture, when I found out, they were a surprise, that I have family in town to help, that we are actually blessed and our hearts are fuller than our hands, that they are triplets, yes this is a big stroller and no it doesn’t fit through doors/on sidewalks, that the girls are not identical, that we actually don’t know that we are done (we hope to adopt!), yes we do get stopped a lot, and that they do all sometimes cry at the exact same time. Etc.

This is every neighborhood walk, every trip to Target.

Most people, I believe, are well-meaning. Many don’t mean to say hurtful things like “I’d kill myself if I had triplets”. And most don’t set out to embarrass themselves – like the Customer Service gentleman who asked, “Wow, so did you, like, do that fertility thing?” Generally, the people who say, “Having three kids close in age like I did is just like having triplets” are just opening their mouths before thinking. And I’d venture the majority of them don’t realize they are the 13th person that day to stop me about the exact same thing.

I get that. It just doesn’t make it any easier, less exhausting or less hurtful.

And I’d like to say I take every opportunity to interact with people about the blessings God has given me and David. But I don’t. Sometimes I even avoid eye contact. But I’m learning to tell the difference between rude gawkers and sincere encouragers.

And when the sincere encourager comes along with a comment that is supportive? Well, it’s like a fresh, cool breeze. It’s encouraging to know that this person, in this moment, does not think I’m a freak for creating three persons at once. It’s refreshing to hear that they don’t want to hear about my sex life and how the babies were conceived. It’s a relief to see their joy at finding I have triplets and not disdain.

So what are these comments that can be so encouraging?

The Top 5 Things to Say to Moms of Multiples

  1. You’re doing a great job! (Ohmygoodness! What mother wouldn’t love to hear this? And a mother who’s handed three babies from the doctor with a parting “have a great life; call if you have questions”? She may kiss your face. And it’s especially meaningful if you say it even if all three are screaming and tantruming.)
  2. What a blessing! (Right? Because they are! And so much nicer to hear than “I’d kill myself if I had triplets.” Triplets are super-duper challenging. But they are blessings. They are little lives. Little people. Tiny souls. And we have the privilege of moulding, shaping and growing their hearts and minds. What about that isn’t a blessing?)
  3. So fun! (We know it’s lots of work. Trust us. We do. There’s no need to tell us that because we’re doing it: hard work is right now! But it’s a lot of fun and we love to talk about that. It also helps us focus on those things that are fun in a particularly challenging season of their lives.)
  4. Incredible! (Only one in 8,000 bodies creates triplets spontaneously. And however they were conceived, we had 30 fingers, 30 toes, 6 arms, 6 legs, 3 heads and 3 hearts being sustained by our one body. God is amazing!! He created our bodies to do a phenomenal thing. There’s nothing freak-ish about it!)
  5. Can I help you? (Yes. Oh, yes, please! Holding the door open for our mammoth strollers? Bless you! Pray that we all sleep tonight? Oh, for sure! Push the cart to the car while we push the stroller that weighs as much as a small elephant? It’s not likely we’ll turn away help.)

So the next time you see a mom with multiples, say something like the above and you will knock-her-socks-off bless her! Seriously!

I’ve found these comments can really open doors for some meaningful conversations. We’ve talked with complete strangers about battling infertility, struggles with raising children, experiences with a sibling/friend/co-worker who had multiples, high-risk pregnancies and the challenges of having special-care, preemie children. All intense, serious stuff!! …and in lines at Costco and by the swings at the park.

MoMs what would you add? Share your story of the nicest thing someone’s ever said to you!

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Family, Triplets

 

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The Back Porch

David and I let the M&Ms play on the back porch and eat their snack and I brought my camera. This is the result:

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Fighting for food frenzy.

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:rosy lips:

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:juicy fruit:

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:getting sticky, getting dirty:

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Dada is sooooooo cool!

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Love those wispies! ❤

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Sweet Girl in a whine-y moment.

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Baby Girl! So silly!

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Noah was determined to keep a grip on his snack while trying to get into the swing by himself.

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Letting brother push her on the swing.

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Snuggles with Dada.

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Very dirty feet.

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Lots of very dirty feet!

makennacollage

Makenna was being especially photogenic. =)

Happy Friday! =)

 

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Bon appétit, bébé! {Myth Busters}

Welcome back to our series on feeding Baby! If you missed the other posts, you can click to read the “intro” and “how and when to feed baby.” If you’re all caught up…read on! =)

making real food

The Munchies

When thinking through how you’ll begin feeding your baby, you may want to take a look at which produce is the “dirtiest.” The EWG has an excellent list of items ranging from the dirtiest to the cleanest. (If you’re unfamiliar with why organic is often super important, you may want to read my recent post documenting how our food has become a literal science experiment of nastiness!)

Once I knew what was in our food, I just couldn’t see how putting that into their bodies made any sense: chemicals, viruses, unknown DNA strands? Yeah, this is a recipe for disaster. A recipe spelling: ADHD, asthma, allergies, organ damage, autism, sterility, etc.

Of course, I can’t control everything about my children and certainly not every particle of their food, unless I grew it myself. So I simply did the best I could in making choices today that will affect their tomorrows. And I trust God to give me both wisdom and help me to walk in peace for decisions like these.

So there’s kinda a lot of food out there – what should I start with?

Glad you asked! Actually, I do hear this question a lot. There are so many contradicting voices, blogs, moms and books, aren’t there? Here is some of what I have learned:

Pass on the Grains

Many pediatricians recommend rice cereal or some other type of grain. But recent research has been shown that this is not necessarily the way to go. Babies actually don’t have the ability to digest grains until after they turn two!

What?

I know, right? I was shocked. I thought everybody fed their baby SOME type of cereal from the get-go. And baby formulas are chock-full of grains. The Weston A. Price Foundation (which I looooove!) explains why this shouldn’t be the case:

Babies have limited enzyme production, which is necessary for the digestion of foods. In fact, it takes up to 28 months, just around the time when molar teeth are fully developed, for the big-gun carbohydrate enzymes (namely amylase) to fully kick into gear. Foods like cereals, grains and breads are very challenging for little ones to digest. Thus, these foods should be some of the last to be introduced. (One carbohydrate enzyme a baby’s small intestine does produce is lactase, for the digestion of lactose in milk.)

Foods introduced too early can cause digestive troubles and increase the likelihood GMOsof allergies (particularly to those foods introduced). The baby’s immature digestive system allows large particles of food to be absorbed. If these particles reach the bloodstream, the immune system mounts a response that leads to an allergic reaction.

Can anyone say gluten-intolerant? Yup. This is often the result of feeding grains so early, albeit years down the road.

My babies got small amounts of formula during the months I was working to bring my supply up to breastfeed all three of them. And I’ve spent the past year protecting them from having to work overtime to digest something with which they don’t know what to do. And you know what? I don’t miss it! No need for goldfish crackers, Cheerios or toast! There are plenty of whole, real food options to feed babies, instead! Eventually I’ll start them on sprouted grains, but…that’s a topic for another time. =) Suffice it to say, grains are not only not necessary as first foods – they can be very harmful for babies!

The Chicken or the Egg

The most allergenic properties lie in the egg white. However, it is very, very, very beneficial for babies to eat egg yolks. If your family has a history of egg allergies, it would be wise to hold off till at least a year in giving your baby the complete egg.

The recent dismissal of eggs as a super-food due to high cholesterol levels is easily explained away: cholesterol is vital for babies’ development. Seriously. Studies also show that babies who eat egg yolks also have higher levels of iron! So there should be no need for nasty, hard-to-digest and bottled iron supplements

But, please consider farm-fresh, pasture-raised eggs over store-bought eggs. The difference is really quite massive. Eggs from the store are laid by hormone-shocked, grain-fed chickens who spend all day in a tiny crate laying more eggs per day than they were intended to. Sounds yummy, right? Eat up, baby!

The Better Butter

Our generation has been brain-washed to think that fats are bad. Well, this is partly true. The processed fats we typically consume on an, sometimes, hourly basis are bad. True. But there are several good fats that serve many purposes in a baby’s growth and development.

Coconut oil is one of these. It is personally my favorite because of its versatility (lotion, toothpaste ingredient, cooking oil, conditioner, etc.). It also is high in good fats and is a stable saturated fat. It is recommended to give small amounts to smaller babies to help them gain weight. And it helps with digestion, as well. If your baby is on formula it can be especially helpful. Add a ½ tsp of coconut oil to the bottle and you should soon see constipation disappear!

Spice of Life

saltThis one will really throw ya. Are you ready? Positive? Here goes:

Salt is good for babies.

No, really! However, don’t reach for the salt shaker on the table to season your baby’s food. Most likely you and I grew up similarly – eating chemically processed and super-refined salt. And this is where it gets a bad rap. There are virtually no health benefits from this kind of salt. The unrefined salt, though, provides our babies with much needed nutrients for brain development.

If it still makes you nervous to salt your baby’s egg yolk, stick with me and I’ll show you how. =)

And as far as other spices and seasonings? Go for it! As long as there’s no MSG or other fake ingredients, sprinkle away! My babies got a whopping amount of hot and spicy foods while I was pregnant and nursing – why stop when they are the ones eating the food? Herbs? Yes, please! A little cayenne? Why not?

Out with the Old

If it seems like everything you are reading here is new, it really isn’t. A generation or two ago, this was just a way of life! There were no baby cereals or Cheerios or mini hotdogs (gag) on shelves in the General Store. There was only real food. The kind we really do want to feed our babies – if we think about it.

Next week I’ll be discussing how I got the babies started and with which foods. Oh, and I’ll share how I skipped past having picky eaters!

photo credit: atmtx via photopin cc

 

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Triplets Want Real Food, Too!

It’s no secret that I’m big on no-GMO foods over here. Even the triplets don’t like GMOs. It’s true! This was their reaction when I showed them some GM corn:

Monsanto

Ok, so really they had no idea what I was telling them. But I do and it’s my job to protect them however I can until they do understand and can make decisions for themselves. Amen?

GMO stands for “Genetically Modified Organisms” and you will find GMOs in just about every item on the shelf in your grocery store.

What’s the big deal? Why should we care?

tomatoBasically, it’s like this. That tomato looks fresh and juicy and should hurry up and jump on your burger, right? Wrong. That tomato has been scientifically engineered in a lab. Way back when it was just a baby seed, it was genetically modified with genes from totally different plants, fungi, viruses or animals! What?! Why?!

To make rich people richer.

How? Well, scientists have modified seeds for many different crops to help them withstand many, many sprayings of pesticides, herbicides, etc. Essentially, the plant lives but the buggies die. This means a better crop for the farmer (or the company that “owns” the farm, but that’s a story for another day!).

Doesn’t sound that bad? Oh, just wait!

cowSee, these seeds – the ones that were injected and cloned with DNA from foreign sources like animals, humans and viruses! – are grown in massive quantities and turned into food that is fed to animals. Corn, for instance, is highly GM and is a big source of food for beef cows, chickens, pigs, etc. These animals eat food they were never intended to live off of (including candy sometimes!!!) and basically their digestive systems can’t handle the new “DNA” strains. Those that seem well enough are passed through to slaughter…and arrive at your dinner table. Yum. Who knows how that meat has been affected and what it will do to your family’s health?

Or take the produce section of your fave grocery store. Most of that pretty produce (unless USDA-certified organic) is GM. Which means that your body literally has no idea what to do with much of it!

And if you’ve ever read a food label, chances are you’re seeing ingredients like: canola oil, soybean oil, cane syrup, corn flour, corn starch, high fructose corn syrup, etc. Am I right? Quick – go check your pantry, fridge or freezer…I’ll wait for you.

Waiting…

Waiting…

You’re back? Ok! I’ll bet you anything there are GM ingredients in just about everything in your kitchen that is not in its original form. If it has to be packaged, and isn’t organic, you can bet there is something GM in it. Ugh!

Some of the highest GM food crops are corn, soybeans, canola, sugarbeets (from which HFCS is made). And lots of other foods are being tested – like a salmon that will grow four times faster than normal!

Getting Sicker

Ok, so we know that GM ingredients are bad and are found in produce, in conventional meats and in most packaged/processed food on shelves. So what does that mean for us? Our families? Well, since those GMOs aren’t recognized by our bodies, they create holes in our gut and leak food into our bloodstream. Yup. So gross. The result? We now have new diseases, and others that are skyrocketing each year, like celiac disease, infertility, food allergies and diabetes. What we eat is making us sick.

We have become a scientific experiment – unable to process the food correctly.

The Big Guns

Who benefits? Companies like Monsanto. They benefit greatly. They hide behind labels like “all natural.” They develop and implement marketing ploys that tout saving the world with stronger, hardier crops. When asked, they refused to label their products with which ingredients are GM. …Of course, because who would buy them? (I hope not you and I!) And then they would lose money. Which would be bad. Of course.

And then Obama recently signed a bill that stops federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of GMO crops and seeds, no matter what health consequences from eating these products may come to light in the future. Gee, thanks, Pres.

Get Your March On!

So what do we do now? We march! On Saturday, May 25, you can join thousands of others around the world and fight to keep your food clean, real and in its natural state. And you can do so in your own city or from the comfort of your own home. (Click here to find info on where your city is marching; and click here to find out how to march online.)

no gmo orlando single

So What Do I For Dinner Tonight?

Well, I heard the White House is serving a yummy special – all organic, of course. Maybe you should stop by? Kidding. =)

But seriously, it can most definitelydefinitelydefinitely be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start in overhauling this (and other!) areas of your life. You can read my Baby Steps to Natural Living for how to do so slowly and effectively.

Are you going to join the fight to keep your family out of the science experiment? Where are you marching?

Sources: Eat Taste Heal, Genetic Roulette – Are You Playing?

Photo Credit

 

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Bon appétit, bébé! {How and When to Feed Baby}

In last week’s introduction to this series (Bon appétit, bébé!), I shared some of the questions I am most frequently asked with regards to feeding babies. So, I’ll begin by letting you in on the little journey I have been on for…oh, about 15 months now.

making real food

Once upon a time, when the babies were two months old…

I began dreaming of the day when their nourishment was not dependent entirely upon me. This was mainly due to the immense challenges I faced with breastfeeding all three babies and supply issues (you can read our journey on breastfeeding here). I read somewhere that babies often begin cereal at four months old so I figured I’d better get on this if I’m going to do it right! …Right? I began doing some research and talked with my pediatrician who encouraged me to wait until around six months. I was disappointed but was willing to wait – what harm could there be in waiting?

And so I did more research. (Seriously, how do you do mommyhood and not do research? This mom thing is confusing!)

I discovered two major things:

  1. Babies don’t need solid foods for the first year of their lives.
  2. Cereal (aka, grain) is empty, nutrition-less and potentially harmful for babies at this point!

We’ll discuss the second point next time. But the more I read, searched and asked questions, the more I realized that babies really will tell you when they want to start food – and it’s very rare for this to happen before six months (though we all tend to think our baby is the exception, right? =).

Maybe you’ve heard the saying “food before one is just for fun.” It’s really true! Babies get everything they need from breastmilk (even if the baby is on formula, the bulk of his nutrition is coming from the bottle). The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization even recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life (or bottle-fed for all my mommy friends who aren’t able to breastfeed <3).

Signs of Readinessfirst meal

So how, then, do you know when your baby is ready?! Great question! Here are the current recommendations:

  • The baby can hold her head up and can sit unassisted. This is very important because there is much less likelihood that the baby will be able to handle and control the eating process safely.
  • The tongue-thrust reflex has disappeared. If this reflex is still present, the baby will be unable to swallow foods and could potentially choke. This reflex is God-given to protect the baby from choking hazards and usually disappears between 4-6 months.
  • The baby is able to chew. Yep. This most likely will mean a delay in the eating-adventures… again, probably after the six month mark.
  • The baby has a decent “pincer” grasp. Can the baby pick up small objects or food with his thumb and forefinger? Or is she still trying to pick items up with her fingers and the palm of her hand?
  • The baby tries to eat food off your plate. It is actually not uncommon for the baby to watch your every move at a mealtime. But, remember, the baby is curious about everything and may not be showing actual signs of readiness for eating.

All of the above should be in place prior to beginning solids. In some cases this will mean readiness before six months, but in most cases it will mean the baby is not ready till after their half-birthday. (I know a few one year olds who showed no interest in food!)

Not Signs of Readiness

Some signs that do not (alone) indicate when babies are ready for solids include:

  • The baby is waking up more during the night. There is no proof that feeding the baby solids will enable him to sleep better (or longer) during the night. The baby is simply not yet consuming enough solids (ever fed a baby and watched how most of the food ended up everywhere except in the baby’s tummy? =). The baby may simply be going through a growth spurt (which will end, mama!) and need some extra time breastfeeding.
  • The baby has reached X amount of weight (sometimes it’s recommended by the time he’s doubled his birth weight). This is especially untrue for babies born prematurely! If I had followed this recommendation, my 3 lbs. 12 oz. babies would have been eating solids at six weeks old!!! Even for infants born full-term, though, this recommendation makes no sense. KellyMom states, “It’s the maturity of the digestive tract and baby’s developmental readiness that makes the difference, not baby’s weight.
  • The baby is too small. Nope. Solid foods are quite inferior to the calories found in the same amount of breastmilk! Food simply cannot compare to the quality of nutrients she is receiving from breastmilk…even into the toddler stage!
  • The baby needs more iron than is found in breastmilk. Possibly. An easy way to determine this is through the blood test done at most pediatricians’ offices around six months. If the baby is, in fact, iron deficient, there are wonderfully iron-rich foods that can be given to the baby. But most breastfed babies do not have low levels of iron until well past the six month mark!

At this point in my research, I knew I did not want to start the babies on solids until they were exhibiting the signs of readiness above. They were about seven months old when I finally gave in and introduced solids. Little did I know what lay in store for me: babies eating solids = mess!

Baby-led Weaning or Purees?

A yummy lunch with Granny!

A yummy lunch with Granny!

If you’re unfamiliar with baby-led weaning (BLW), it simply means “letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning.” (BabyLedWeaning.com) I would encourage you to check this method out to determine if it is for you and your baby.

I, however, chose to do mostly pureed foods with elements of baby-led weaning (which actually works gloriously, in my opinion! =). And there were several reasons that went into my decision to begin with pureed foods. Our schedule was such that we didn’t eat meals at the same time that the babies did so I would have ended up preparing food twice anyway. And we were in a season where David and I weren’t eating the way I prefer we eat because of…well, having three babies to care for! I wanted them to eat better than we were (no Kraft macaroni for them! =) And, because there were three, I wanted to know exactly what they were eating – to watch for any adverse reactions by spoon-feeding them. So for me it ended up being easier to puree foods for a while.

What I didn’t do was follow a recipe book. I took one look at them and decided that was not for me – no combining broccoli and apple to sneak the broccoli in. (More on this next time!) So I just usually “mushed up” something in bulk for the babies. The time spent preparing foods really wasn’t bad, either. I could make a serious amount of food in a very little amount of time. (I promise I’ll show you how!) And with none of this peeling stuff! Nope. If I could eat the peel, the babies could, too! (Of course I modified how the food arrived to them for safety, but that was way easier than peeling, say, an apple for applesauce!)

So, what did they eat? Well, stop on by next week and we’ll chat about that… ‘cause it’s a very long list!

The poll on making babyfood is currently still open: :nom, nom, nom:

Sources: KellyMom, Wholesome Baby Food

Note: Always check with your pediatrician and do your own research to determine what is best for you and your baby.

 

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Mother’s Day Is…

Mother’s Day Is…

Like you, I was hit by a tsunami of “I love my mother” posts on all the social media sites. It was precious seeing everyone’s baby pictures, all of the “you’re the best mother in the world” declarations, etc. And I loved seeing all the women honored – women who have sacrificed bodies, careers and unending hours of time to produce and care for and love their children.

However, I found myself tossed by different emotions and thoughts. It seems to me that Mother’s Day is actually very similar to every other day before it and after it! (Bear with me here – I have only celebrated a few Mother’s Days, ok? I’m new at this. =) I mean, right? Would you agree that Mother’s Day is:

Breakfast with my three fave M&Ms ever!

Breakfast with my three fave M&Ms ever!

wiping snotty noses.
taking a nap.
picking up sticky, spilling sippy cups out of a puddle of milk on the floor.
having lunch made for you.
breaking up a fight…again.
waking sleepy children from naptime.
giving consequences for disobedience.
getting snuggles.
planning meals for the day.
a sweet card.
midnight-waking babies.
a frozen ice-cream yumminess treat.
changing diapers.
a day to worship with others.
a day to need grace, patience and mercy.
a reminder of blessings.

Mother’s Day isn’t just the pictures of flowers and coffee-retreats, the esteeming and adoring posts or the happy children racing to do our every beck and call. No, Mother’s Day is oftentimes just like any other day: a day to cherish the good, the bad and the ugly. A day to fulfill the calling given us by the One Who helps us each step of the way. A day to appropriate the much-needed grace and to enjoy the tidbits of a break or the sloppy kisses at the encouragement of a husband.

Mother’s Day is over. Until next year. But every day in between I have the opportunity to be encouraged, honored and loved. In a million different ways, if I’ll look for them.

Ohmysoul, I love their sticky, cranky, smiley, giggling faces!

Ohmysoul, I love their sticky, cranky, smiley, giggling faces!

My sweet girl!

My sweet girl!

Baby Girl can whistle. Oh, yes she can!

Baby Girl can whistle. Oh, yes she can!

The babies began passing out the cards to the mommies.

The babies began passing out the cards to the mommies.

Baby Girl took her job very seriously. =)

Baby Girl took her job very seriously. =)

Apparently Noah is confused...

Apparently Noah is confused…

Who knows? =)

Who knows? =)

Oh, how I love the three who made me a mommy!

Oh, how I love the three who made me a mommy!

How do you see your children honoring you on this Ordinary Day?

 

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Meet the Boss – the Babies’ MFM

ultrasound-doctorRecently I got to visit my MFM with the babies!! If you’ve ever had a high-risk pregnancy, I’m sure you understand my excitement. Right? Have you visited yours post-birth? =)

If you haven’t been high-risk, an MFM stands for maternal-fetal medicine specialist (or neonatologist, or perinatologist). These men and women walk us through our pregnancies more closely than our OBs! We see them on a weekly basis sometimes. They make life-saving decisions about our babies and even us! They become much more than a white coat. They watch our babies grow, literally, weekly, and celebrate all the milestones with us – halfway for triplets, halfway for singleton pregnancy, viability, term for triplets, etc.

Dr. Al-malt is the man who (with my OB team) kept my babies safe and sound in their womb-home for nearly 33 weeks! He made the call on the need for the cerclage. He did more than a dozen ultrasounds on the four of us – tracking soooooooooo many things and watching for a thousand more. He never even breathed the word “reduction” to us. I whined and made promises to him that I’d be good and stay in bed at home so I didn’t need to go on bed-rest in the hospital. And he called it that my labor wouldn’t be stopped and that my babies would be born that day instead of the two weeks from then we were shooting for (read the birth story here).

And he’s like a proud Grandpa with the babies. =) This is Dr. AL-Malt.

So precious! The babies were not quite three months old here. =)

Three babies, three grown-ups!

Our recent visit at 19 months! Such a difference, huh?

He hadn’t seen us in almost a year and a half but knew exactly who we were. He pulled out his phone and asked his staff to take pictures. Ok, Dr. A, whatever you want….you’re the boss! ❤

Do you ever go back to visit the doctor/midwife who delivered your baby? Did they become part of your family?

Photo Credit

 
 

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