Archive for January, 2009

Did You Hear About the Octuplets?

Friday, January 30th, 2009

This is going to be a more personal post. I apologize in advance if I offend anyone. Since this past weekend, I get this question A LOT! I suppose since I have triplets people assume I can feel better knowing someone is in worse shape than me. But I don’t.

I am fairly open about how I ended up with triplets. As more and more stories of sextuplets, quintuplets and octuplets appear, people are more and more curious about fertility treatments, which I wholeheartedly support. And ethics definitely come into play. I do not know the details of how a women who is designed to hold one baby at a time possibly got pregnant with eight babies, carried them to 31 weeks and plans to breastfeed them all. I can say when I hear this (especially the breastfeeding part), I can’t help but roll my eyes. I do know how I ended up with triplets and have learned a bit about fertility treatments through the process. It seems like a good time to share my story again, and some more personal feelings on my pregnancy and the octuplets.

I did not ovulate. No amount of “trying” was going to result in a baby. I visited a reputable reproductive endocrinologist and we began with a very basic fertility “treatment”. Clomid is often referred to as the “gateway” fertility drug. It helps women who do not ovulate, ovulate and helps regulate woman’s cycles. You take the drug, which comes in varying doses for 5 days. You may be surprised at the number of women who have tried Clomid. The chances of multiples is very low; the chance of triplets was so low it was not even mentioned. We did not even know the chance was less than 1% till after we found out we had triplets. Some people who use Clomid are monitored very closely. They will go in for regular ultrasounds to see how many (if any) eggs are developing, may receive a trigger shot of hormones to trigger ovulation and then get an IUI (sperm is injected to up the chances of fertilization). All of these will increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. Some are not monitored at all yet still concieve on Clomid. I happened to be one of these. I got an ultrasound before starting treatment and had absolutely no eggs that would mature (there was no chance of me ovulating on my own). I took the lowest dose of Clomid for 5 days. The doctors prepared me for failure since most women with my condition need injectable hormones or IVF (fertilizing a woman’s eggs with sperm outside the body and then reinserting the embryos back into the woman’s body) to concieve. I received no further treatments. The next ultrasound I had confirmed I was pregnant…with triplets.

I wish I could say this initial news was a happy moment for us. In all honesty, the meeting in the RE’s office afterward was fairly grim. He told us he did not consider our triplet pregnancy a success. He said “we do not think triplets are cute.” He apologized repeatedly that “this happened”. He told us “in fact, I plan to talk about the fatality of high order multiples in reproductive medicine at a conference coming up.” He personally called a high risk specialist so that we could get in and see him “while there is still time to do something about it (i.e. – reduce our pregnancy to twins or a singleton)”. On a posotive, he did end on a different note by saying “I am completely astounded that this happened. It seems there might be some divine intervention going on here.”

We couldn’t be happier with our triplets! They are a blessing and a joy. They are also SO MUCH WORK. For the past 2 months, we have had sick babies. Their immune systems are not on par with a full term infants and they are really battling with a nasty virus. Josie and Mia were both fully recovered for a few days. Then Marcus got really sick and now Josie and Mia are both sick again. I have to hear my poor darlings cough and cry all night and cannot give them any medication to relieve their symptoms besides infant Tylenol. There are nights Max is unable to make it home unexpectedly and I have to try to get 3 babies fed, medicated, dressed and into bed, fill up their humidifiers and clean up the aftermath(it looks like a tornado went through). I hate these nights because the babies are tired and hungry. I cannot work fast enough to prevent several minutes of screaming (although I found out TV helps out here). I feel so bad they have to wait to be fed and allowed to sleep. The poor darlings get very little individual attention during the day and they probably spend way too much time in their jumparoos.

I want to scream when people tell me “oops, it looks like that one just spit up a little.” or “is that a spot of dried spit-up on your rug?” or my favorite “is that a stain on her clothes…using a stain stick before washing always helped me.” HELLO, I’m a little busy to wipe up every tiny spit up, clean the carpets and stain stick the 40+ outfits we go through in a week. Maybe I could be doing some of those things now but I strongly believe a women needs at least an hour of personal time/day. If not, I would have gone completely mad by now.

So, I do think it is a little wild that a women who already has 6 kids at home, is bringing home another 8….and is going to have the time and supply to breastfeed them all. It kind-of makes my situation seem like a breeze. I mean if she can do that, how could triplets be a challenge? I assure you my friends, it is a challenge. 14 kids seems downright impossible. Especially if 8 are preemies, which carry many challenges alone.

I also assure you my friends that triplets are a JOY! The experience is amazing and my kids are wonderful. There are days where things go very smoothly, everyone is happy and we all get great sleep. I truly am blessed. I simply would not wish high order multiples on anybody and don’t think it should be glamorized. It breaks my heart to see other triplet moms who have lost one or all of their babies hurt to hear about a women who gave birth to 8 babies. If you have had a baby recently, give them an extra hug tonight. I did. I think this story brings up lots of emotions for women struggling with infertility, for women who have multiples, and for people debating the ethics of fertility treatments. Guidelines do exist, but sometimes unexpected things happen or people act irresponsibly. I simply hope the octuplets are loved and cared for and have a wonderful life.

My long winded post has no major take home message except this:

“Yes, I have heard about the octuplets”
“No, I cannot imagine…life is challenging enough with 3″
“Be responsible, love your babies, provide the best environment for them, and cherish the moments no matter how many babies you have or how they got here.”

A Weekend Away

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

This past weekend Max and I were able to get away! I was a little nervous I would be uneasy leaving the triplets for two nights. I actually had no problems and didn’t worry a bit. Probably because they were in the best of hands. Grammy and Pop G came down and stayed with Marcus and Josie and Mia spent the weekend in Roanoke with Grammy and Grandpa P. It is really nice for the triplets to get individual attention from the grandparents since they don’t get much at home with mom all day. Everyone had a blast (especially Max and I).

We spent the weekend at the Biltmore in Asheville, NC. I LOVE touring large houses so this was tons of fun for me. We also spent time at the winery, went horseback riding, and spent more time at the winery :)

Things are back to normal this week at home. Sorry kiddos, your two naps a day are back on ;) Since we have started solids, we decided it was time to get the kids their own table. Here they are eating lunch. Well, Josie and Marcus are eating lunch. Mia as usual is eating like a bird, just tasting her sweet potatoes but having fun making a mess.


Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

No forward movement yet but this is starting to happen more and more.

How do you entertain all 3?

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

My good friend asked me this the other day and inspired this video. During the day, the babies are fairly easy to keep happy with toys, books and cuddles. The evenings, from 5-7 PM are a little different. I think they turn a little bipolar…what do you think?

A few people have asked me how cio (crying it out) is going. I’m still not ready to give my opinion but it has been less painful than I anticipated. Mia and Marcus are still feeling pretty lousy; although not as yucky as Josie was. Therefore, the last peaceful night we had was probably back at the beginning of Dec. I see good nights on the horizon though.

The One That Won’t Sleep

Monday, January 12th, 2009

I talk a lot about sleep. Probably because I miss it dearly. It seems like if you have been blessed to have triplets, you should at least be blessed with triplets that sleep through the night (STTN) at a young age, right? Anyone who has visited this blog knows that I desperately long for the night my babies sleep till morning and I now realize they are not going to do it on their own. Therefore, I have FINALLY decided to do something about this.

Mia now sleeps in our room in a Pack N’ Play so that each of the kids can be in their own room. This is so they can cry it out individually rather than waking each other up. We will keep them separate until they are consistently STTN. How is it going? After only 2 nights, surprisingly well. I’m not talking any more about it though until the aftermath is over :)

Naps are also a little messy right now. We have moved Marcus and Mia from swings to cribs. Mia has never been a huge sleeper but now she will often only take 30-45 min. naps before she starts gabbing and won’t sleep. It is hard to try to get her to go back to sleep when this is what you see when you walk into the room:

Mia happy as a clam, and she stays this way for hours until her next short nap. I hear there are a few babies out there who don’t require as much sleep…go figure I get one :) Meanwhile if Josie or Marcus naps are short, yikes! It is an awful day (like today!)

Just to update on Josie, she is still ill but doing much better. No more emergency room visits! Mia and Marcus are still ok. Marcus has a cough but nothing to the extremes of Josie. We won’t be out of the woods for a few more weeks though.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

As I see my kiddos grow and achieve new things, I often forget they were ever preemies. We have been so blessed to have made it through such a high-risk pregnancy. I love that besides the fact we have triplets, we think we have a very normal life. I jog with the kids, we go to the grocery store, we visit with family and friends, and Max and I even get out by ourselves about once a month.

In fact, at their sixth month check-up we found out Marcus and Jocelyn have secured a safe place on the growth curve. Jocelyn weighed in at 14 lbs, 6 oz, putting her in the 20% while my big boy Marcus weighed in at 16 lbs, 10 oz, putting him in the 30%! This means they get to come off the expensive high calorie formula. Our tiny peanut Mia is still TINY at only 13 lbs even. But, she has a killer growth curve (considering she was only 2 lbs when she was born) and often accomplishes things before her brother and sister.

Mia, first day of life

But sometimes when everything is going so well, you have to be reminded how special your circumstances are. We have been warned about the potential risks of RSV, a nasty virus that effects many infants. We have been repeatedly told that this virus hits preemies especially hard. The only way some families are able to avoid the complications RSV brings to preemies is to go on complete lockdown from late Fall to late Spring. We did not choose that option. Unfortunately, as healthy as our babies are, we were not immune to this virus.

Josie has now been to the Emergency Room twice due to RSV. She is coughing and wheezing and has a yucky lung infection called bronchiolitis. Luckily our children qualified to receive the Synagist shot which helps protects high risk infants from some of the more severe dangers of RSV. Although Josie is having to be closely monitored and receive special breathing treatments, she has not been hit as hard as some preemies with RSV. We will continue to give her Vick’s spa treatments and torture her with lovely nasal and breathing treatments until she has fully recovered. Meanwhile, we will keep our fingers crossed that Mia and Marcus either remain healthy or only suffer minimal RSV symptoms.

It is times like this that I am so thankful for my children. I can’t wait till everyone is healthy again but difficult times remind me how precious these children are. I also am very thankful for my mom for helping out with the kids and making our days much more manageable during this sick time.

I’m certain we will all be healthy again in no time and this will be a little blip in our memory book.

For more information on RSV, please click here


Friday, January 2nd, 2009

They say multiples really start to notice each other at about 5 months. I disagree, I think these kids have been interacting for months (at least Mia has been desperately trying to get her brother and sister’s attention). In the past few months, the kids have really started interacting as they roll into each others space.

and learn to share toys

Feed Me

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

There are a few areas where Marcus excels, and they all have to do with eating. Here he is holding his bottle.

Here he is feeding himself with a spoon. Being only 4.5 months adjusted (6 months actual), Marcus started solids a little early, about 1.5 months ago. He was eating so much formula and showed all the signs of being ready to eat solids, we went for it. He took to them extremely quickly and likes just about all the fruits and veggies we have tried.

Here he is trying desperately to sample one of mom’s favorite beers, a nice dark stout.

OK, Marcus doesn’t really go around feeding himself all day, or drinking beer. But he does make a valiant effort. What a boy!