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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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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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Little Daycare in the Suburbs, part 2

Little Daycare in the Suburbs, part 2

Welcome back! If you’re just joining us, check out the first part of Little Daycare in the Suburbs. And if you’ve found us from Intoxicated on Life, hi!!! Be sure to like us on Facebook so you can get updates on the three M&M’s and each new post that comes along! Oh, and leave a comment so I can “meet” you! Can’t wait! =)

So. Why is it so hard to leave triplets with a sitter? Glad you asked! Here’s why:

It is physically exhausting. Loading three babies into highchairs (12 times), out of them (12 times), onto a changing table (18 times), off of it (18 times), into cribs (9 times), out of them (9 times), into the stroller (3 times), out of it (3 times)…it is exhausting. (That’s a full-on workout!! And mine “only” weigh 22 lbs!) And of course they aren’t all happily watching you cart one kid around…oh no. It often sounds like a daycare class. I challenge anyone who isn’t rattled by crying babies to join a MoM one afternoon. =)

My former boss, Benny, watching the babies with his wife, Sheree.

My former boss, Benny, watching the babies with his wife, Sheree.

It is hard to discern the needs of one toddler, let alone three. Remember that language thing? Yeah, there are three different dialects going on and I oftenoftenoften times cannot remember who says what, or who uses which sign or word for which item.

It is a lot of diapers. One wake-time is six diapers…six. More if you forget you already changed that one. Less if you forget you haven’t changed that one all day. I did this. Last week.

It is necessary to be structured. I have one nursery and three babies. One up, all up. One down, all down. And of course the babies all cooperate with this. Right.

It is confusing. What do you do when one baby wakes and cries? Is another going to wake before she settles back down? If two or more wake, what do you do? These are just some of the questions David and I ask ourselves. Still. It often takes the both of us to settle two babies down.

It is expensive. I’ll be honest. And frank. Frank is good, right? Paying a sitter is a new thing for our skinny budget…paying two sitters is even more daunting.

It is…well, you get the picture, right? =)

Two arms...two babies!

Two arms…two babies!

Of course, the fact that I have breastfed the babies has made it doubly difficult to get out because our schedule is just naturally tight. You can see a typical schedule here – except the 4pm nursing and the 11pm nursing are no longer! Before this, though…my get-out-of-the-house opportunities were even more limited. But, lest you think I’m complaining about breastfeeding and its limitations…I am not. I have loved it. I recognize it is a very short season and am ok with those limitations. David has been incredibly patient with me and was happy to fit in date nights after the babies went to bed and before I needed to be back to feed them at 11pm. Since we dropped those feedings, though, it’s been amazing! Which leads me to:

Sitters

Our friends - Joe & Kristen with their son, AJ!

Our friends – Joe & Kristen with their son, AJ!

Amazingly, we have been able to get out for date nights about 1-2 times a month for about a year! Granted, those date nights were usually just long enough for dinner and maybe an errand. But my parents have been heroes – coming over so often to play with the babies and then shoo us out the door after they were in bed. Other than them, our dear friends, Benny and Sheree, watched them for our second anniversary dinner (yes, you read that right – second). And some other dear friends, Joe and Kristen, kept the babies for a short afternoon and we came back to feed them before leaving again for a couple hours. Of course there was our first overnight getaway that my parents kicked us out for. In the past week or so, we’ve had two amazing teens from our church and then Katherine stay with the sleeping M&Ms (remember – she was a preschool teacher!!!).

Papa walking the grand-triplets.

Papa walking the grand-triplets.

Pretty much that’s it. Four non-grandparent sitters in 18 months. =) And that’s ok! There have been lots of things I’ve had to say no to over the past year and a half, but it means I’m saying yes to what is necessary for our situation. God has blessed us with three babies at once, and with them came unique challenges. But there is grace for these challenges. I definitely have to fight bad attitudes and a “need a break” mentality at times. But for the most part, He has orchestrated in my heart a love for the home and a desire to care for my babies during a season when few others can!

That being said, I’m currently in the process of working with some great girls who will hopefully, some day!, become the M&M’s babysitters! Won’t that be the day!! What should I do? Any suggestions? =)

MoMs, do you have any thoughts or suggestions? For those of you who are still pregnant with multiples, let me encourage you that there can truly be an incredible amount of grace for the massive work and unique challenges your babies will be. Few MoMs get to do what we do and it is a privilege! Amen?! =) Please let me know if you have not yet found an active community of other MoMs online and would like to join one. What a source of help we can be to one another!!!

Oh, and while you’re here…would you take a second and click the button below to vote for us? See, we’re in this contest competing with other blogging moms of multiples and would love your vote. And, if you reallyreally love us, you can vote once a day!

 

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Breastfeeding Triplets: A Battle of Love {Guest Post}

KangarooingTriplets

**The response to this post has been overwhelming! I truly hope it is helpful to others to hear the struggles and victories of a mama who is able to breastfeed – against many odds. Please take a moment and “like” us on Facebook so that you can stay up to date with the goings-on here at Growing Up Triplets! And leave a comment to say “hey!” =) **

Today I’m guest-posting over at Intoxicated on Life. Trisha is running a series on breastfeeding – the challenges, joy, obstacles, paraphernalia and stories of dozens of women and their children. And she asked me to join these women and share my journey. If you’ve been reading Growing Up Triplets long, you know sharing what God has done for me in this area is one of my biggest joys. So here’s a mini-bite:

There are times when mathematics simply don’t make sense. For instance, I remember crying and crying over short division in school. It didn’t make sense. And I had similar experiences over the past two years with three babies and two breasts. It just didn’t compute.

You see, I was told on April 26, 2011 that I was carrying triplets.

Immediately I began seeing my dreams of a drug-free, home birth evaporating. I saw many, many dollar signs floating before my eyes. I saw a plan unfolding for my life that I wanted no part of.

Well, as the news of spontaneous triplets sunk in, and my love for my three munchies grew to epic proportions, I began to research if some of those dreams might actually still be possible. There was very, very little research out there for higher-order multiples (HOMs). With the advent of fertility assistance, the numbers of triplets and HOMs has risen dramatically, but the research is still very minimal. Most books for multiples are written geared towards twins. But…I had three babies and only two boobs! Even my very logical brain couldn’t develop a plan for this!

The research I did find led me to believe it wasn’t likely I’d be able to nurse all three, but that switching two out every feeding would be more realistic. So I grabbed onto that: I can do that. Ha. Little did I know what awaited me.

[read more]

If you’re just finding us here at Growing Up Triplets, welcome!! It’s a pleasure to meet you! =) To stay connected with us and the munchies, be sure to like us on Facebook and subscribe to our email feed (both on the sidebar to the right). And in the meantime, here are a few posts that you might find helpful in getting to know us a little bit better. Feel free to leave a comment, too, letting us know how you found us!

 

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Little Daycare in the Suburbs

DaycareIt’s really interesting, the spectrum of responses I get on various aspects of life with triplets. Sometimes I feel like a volleyball, being hit from one side to the other. I regularly have conversations with people who can’t stop shaking their heads at how I “do it all.” (I don’t. See my explanation here.) I often hear, “My one (or two, or three, or four) is so challenging – I can’t imagine having three at once.” Neither could I, friend. Neither could I. =) These are often the same people who seem surprised to see me around town – at church, the grocery store, etc.

Somehow, I should be unable to get out until maybe around age 6. And the fact that I am out must mean I am Super Woman. Most definitely not.

Then the other side of the spectrum sees it as no different as having two or three or four children and often comments how fun it would be to have triplets. Really. Wanna trade? Juuuuust kidding! (Stay tuned for a fun list of things you should nevernevernever say to a hormone-exploding mama of triplets. =) But these are the friends who tease me about having my children on a schedule, for not getting out of the house more regularly, why I can’t have babysitters and generally eliminate the fact that having more children at once is just different than having more children spaced out.

I definitely want to be careful here. I don’t want to communicate that what I do and the gifts God has given us are harder. I don’t want to be singled out and made to feel as abnormal as every stranger I meet seems to think I am. =) But the reality is, we are different. So…

I’d like to bring the volley to a happy medium….a nice, fat spike, if you will.

Mealtimes are MESSY...times three!

Mealtimes are messy times three! Oh, and this is extremely mildly messy.

Having triplets is like running a daycare class…that never.goes.home. And who are the individuals that run daycare classes? Well, we sure hope they aren’t random teenagers or people who have no experience. They typically are qualified or certified in some way or another. Why? Because managing a class of same-aged children in the pre-communication stage is incredibly challenging! To attempt to teach those children anything is nothing short of a miraculous accomplishment. I have great respect for these teachers because I now have a small glimpse of what they experience on a daily basis. (My friend Katherine ran a class of over a dozen 3 year olds all by herself. What?! Who can do that?? My right eye is twitching just thinking about the tantrums and varying degrees of speech levels and “learning” to speak a dozen different dialects of “threeyearold.” =)

And apparently he didn't get enough!

And apparently he didn’t get enough!

Certainly, this toddler-preschool age is fun. Ohmygoodness, it’s fun! I love watching the babies’ eyes light up with something they just “got.” I can only imagine it’s incredibly rewarding to watch that happen in a classroom setting! And there are lots of great things about having three the same age:

They all have the same bedtime and naptimes. When one is down, they’re all down!

They all are at the same level – no 6 year old begging to go outside while I nurse the baby.

They came at once so I got fat once. =)

There is no “first child syndrome” when baby brother or sister comes along.

Etc.

But…throw a teenager (or even two) into this 18 month mix? I’m not alone when I say, “heck, no!” Most MoMs (mothers of multiples) I have talked with simply do not leave their triplets at this age. I have talked with many, many moms and the general consensus is that up through even 4 years, triplets are often left only with grandparents or individuals with daycare and/or triplet experience. Or they secure a 1:1 child/sitter ratio. Or there’s an older sibling to help. Etc. And this is often only for a few hours at a time and most times after the babies are already down for the night! Why?

Join me on Wednesday for the explanation and conclusion of what it’s like to get a sitter for triplets! If you’re a mom of multiples, give us a sneak peek – leave a comment with your thoughts! 

Oh, and while you’re here…would you take a second and click the button below to vote for us? See, we’re in this contest competing with other blogging moms of multiples and would love your vote. And, if you reallyreally love us, you can vote once a day! I know, right?!

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Blog Contest, Family, Triplets

 

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Top 25 Moms of Multiples Bloggers

It’s that time of year again! Last year we landed 11th in the Top 25 Moms of Multiples blogger contest…thanks to you! It was incredibly close and super fun “meeting” all the other moms of multiples! Well, the contest just opened for the Top 25 Moms of Multiples blogs for 2013. You can vote once a day through May 8th. Would you pretty please vote for us? Feel free to share with your friends and help us get more votes, too! We appreciate all the help we can get.

While we’re bloggy-bragging, what contests are you in? Feel free to share a link in the comments section so we can “ooh” and “ahh” over your little one(s) and vote for you! Thanks, everyone!

Love,

Makenna Mae-mae, Noah David, and Emma Claire-bear

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2013 in Blog Contest, Family, Triplets

 

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If You Were Born With Your Siblings…

Any mom can attest to the crazy joys of parenting several children all at once. The fights over…well, everything. The tattling. The “ick” factor. The exhaustion. The laughs… but think back to when you were “one of the kids” growing up. Remember?

Daren as David's best man at our wedding in 2010!

Daren as David’s best man at our wedding in 2010!

Well, the other day David’s identical twin brother, Daren, and his family were at our house. They were in town vacationing and we were super excited to have them visit. Pretty much anytime I’d been with David’s twin was when we were visiting his family in Georgia – David’s home state. And of course pretty much everyone had watched them grow up and were used to their identical-ness. But this time they were on our turf. They came to our church. And people did double-takes. The girl at the check-out counter at the grocery store kept looking at them and finally asked if they were twins. And they replied that they had just met. =)

Which one is which??

Which one is which??

I often forget that the craziness that I deal with on a daily basis (looks, stares, questions, whispers, shouts and pointings) are things that David has always dealt with…with his identical twin brother! Now, take a moment and imagine what it would be like to have a you that’s not…well, you. I mean, I’d love to clone me and just set her loose on cleaning the house every day. But to have an identical me that’s completely different than me? Wow!! And being married to David and being around his brother is sometimes so twilight zone-like! The other day they both said something at the exact same time, with the exact same voice…whoa! And Emma loved snuggling with Uncle D – because he is so like Dada???

Sissies born an exact 18 months apart!

Sissies born exactly 18 months apart!

People get my sister and me mixed up all.the.time. Which is so weird. Because we look nothing alike. Right? We just decided early on to not bother to correct people, to answer to each other’s names. (Cruel, I know.) But being born with your sibling? Growing up as a multiple? Being one of two or three or four or more babies born at one time? Well, if you were then you can attest to the fact that:

Two of you will sit on the same toilet at the same time to pee – without batting an eyelash. Or one will stand to pee between the legs of a sitter.
You can expect to bathe in the same bath water with the sibling that just spit up.
You never have – and never will – bathe alone…especially after you learn to sit up.
You have no concept of a “personal bubble.”
You always have someone to blame your pranks and bad behavior on.
You do not need friends.
You share the same spoon, steal bottles, get crawled over.
You have no boundaries when it comes to imagination and pretend play because there’s always someone the same age as you to play with.
You don’t have to speak to achieve a common goal.
Each night of your childhood is like having an awesome sleepover!
You have a constant side kick and a look-out or an accomplice and an alibi for whatever naughty thing you are about to do!
You get to eat “recycled” food: passed from plate to plate to plate until somebody finally eats it!

You have your own language.
You lose your food if you’re not quick enough.

You will think nothing of smelling a sibling’s bottom (or two) to report to mom who pooped.
You will never really have anything that is just yours.
You have your best friends with you from the day you were born – a bond that no one will understand.
You have a hand or foot being gnawed on by someone other than yourself!
You never want for company… although you may want for silence!
You always have a “best friend” to laugh at you when you bust your butt!
You get your diaper changed – whether you’re dirty or not! – because your brother did.
You laugh and have two others laughing along with you who have no idea why they’re laughing.

You share underwear and clothes.
Your diaper is the only one that doesn’t get changed…in six hours. (This, sadly, was my booger-boy yesterday!)
Your secret middle name is “Wait”…never mind what your birth certificate says!
You sleep in a “pile” and don’t mind it!

What can you add to this list???

Happy Friday, folks! =) Have you liked us yet on Facebook? Give us a shout-out there and tell us what you think about today’s post!

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2013 in Family, Friday Funnies, Polls, Triplets

 

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