Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Year of Living Pregnantly


It’s over. I am happy and kind of stunned, but it’s over. The dietary restrictions and fitness considerations placed upon me while trying to get pregnant for four years were meant to improve our chances. I had “unexplained” infertility, and through all eight treatments I paid attention to my body. I took injection after injection, iced the bruises, and tried to keep my heart from breaking each time we received ‘the phone call’ telling us once again, “The procedure did not work”. I was able to control everything about me, but I yearned for something so out of my control.

Being pregnant was such a shock after not being pregnant for so long, combined with the stunning news that it was triplets. It put us in a surreal fog. Thus began a whole new regimen of eating, exercising and of course, rest. I gained 52 pounds and was hospitalized for a month with preterm labor at five months. I followed all the doctor’s rules. Though I felt lonely away from my family, I was comforted to be cozy with the babies inside me.

Despite my efforts, I felt that my body betrayed my babies when they arrived last January, 11 weeks premature, each weighing under three pounds. They stayed in the NICU three months (in two different hospitals) with a laundry list of difficulties and a tough road in front of them. I had cared for myself well and was bewildered that anything could be wrong with them. We fervently hoped they would live and be healthy, and though I did not produce a great supply, I felt that providing what breast milk I could was the last thing my body could do for them.

I continued to eat well, tried to sleep and get what exercise I could. I breastfed for seven months and faithfully pumped until last week. And now it’s over. I haven’t had a drink in I don’t know how long. Caffeine? What’s that? And it dawned on me – I can do whatever I want to my body. I can diet. I can exercise. I can eat whatever I want. I can get Botox, I can get a boob job. I feel liberated in the strangest way. Nothing I do to my body now will affect my fertility chances.

As we approach their one year birthday, we are elated at their progress. I finally feel relief and a lot less stress about whether or not they will make it. The lighter side of life is returning to us as we all gel with each other. I even recently rediscovered that long lost friend caffeine (oh how I missed you!), and have now lost nine pounds. It has been a year of joy, sorrow, sleeplessness, focus, excitement and surprises. But what it is no longer is a year of waiting.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


I am a figure skater. I have been skating for over 30 years. I am a coach. I have coached skating for ten years. I am a writer. I have been writing in one form or another since I was eight. I am a wife. I have been married for four years to a wonderful man who is a true family man. I am a mom. I have been a step mom to my smart and handsome stepson for four years. I am a mom. I have been a mom for ten months to three beautiful babies.

The other day I skated with my adult skating friends (the over 21 crowd, not the kids on TV). I have been off the ice for one year, the longest I have ever been away from skating.

It felt so good to skate, feeling the cold air on my skin, spinning, gliding, and of course, falling (you're not a REAL skater unless you fall). I have no core strength left after having triplets. My middle is not the tight middle it used to be. I felt like Jell-o in skates. Nonetheless, I had so much fun! For a couple of hours I could forget about everything I am except being a skater. I had nowhere to be, no one to answer to, nothing to DO. I left feeling so invigorated. It was just what I needed after a few brutal nights of trying to get our babies to sleep in their cribs alone.

Staying at home alone with the babies all the time is the toughest job I have ever had. I love it, but it drains me like no other. If I think about going out alone, I miss them. I often do not realize what a vacuum I am in taking care of them and our home until I do leave.

I am happy. I am energetic. Enthusiasm is oozing from me today. So much so that it spilled out of my eyes in tears.

I came home from skating feeling like I had visited with an old friend that I haven’t seen for a long time. You know the one – every time you get together it’s like you never left each other. You pick up right where you left off, catch up quickly and get in synch. You are giggling together after a just a few minutes about old times, inside jokes and things you have in common. On the drive home I realized she was just person with whom I needed a visit. Me.

Things People Say


We have nine month old triplets, two boys and a girl. People can’t seem to help but make comments when you are pregnant. However, when people found out I was carrying triplets, they immediately went into a whole other category of dumb sayings. I have to believe that most people have good intentions, and basically did not stop to think before opening their mouths. But there were definitely those who just could not hide their curiosity. Many people are very kind and we get a lot of, “Awwww, how cute!”, “Congratulations!”, “Good luck”, and “God bless you”. I like to think I have a sense of humor, though not everyone has thought my responses are funny. I just had to amuse myself after awhile. The remarks don’t stop now that the babies are here.
Comments before the babies were born:
People: Triplets? Holy cow! (Or some other interesting expletive) Did you know?
Me: Uh, yes. How could I not?
People: Oh my God, triplets? Did you take drugs?
Me: I didn’t inhale if that’s what you’re asking.
People: Wow, triplets. Did you have help?
Me: Yes, my husband.
People: Triplets? How did that happen?
Me: Uh, there was practically a whole class on it in 10th grade. Didn’t you pay attention?
People: Wow, you will have your hands full. How do you do it?
Me: Oh, just feed them brandy each night so we can sleep. (What the #$%^& do you think I am going to do?)
People: Triplets, heh. Better you than me.
Me: Most definitely.
People: Triplets? Did you take fertility drugs?
Me: Do you have children?
People: Yes.
Me: Soooo, what position were you in when you conceived?
Alternate response – Me: Did you have an orgasm when you conceived?
(The stunned look on their faces satisfied my snark at the time.)
Comments since the babies were born:
People: Are they identical?
Me: No. We have two boys and a girl.
People: But are they identical?
Me: Yes, yes they are.
Man: How can you look so happy with 3? (He had 3 dogs)
Me: You look happy with yours.
Man: Well I can lock mine in the yard.
Woman: Are there really three? (When all three are in plain view)
Me: (Looking at them in disbelief) Then, “No.”
Woman: Oh, whew! Three would be a lot!
Man in park: Whoa! That’s a wide load!
Me (pushing triple wide stroller, and smiling to indicate attempt at humor): Are you calling me fat?
** This man would not look at me the next time he passed me on the loop around the park.
My husband sometimes says I am being too snarky, but he laughs anyway. I can’t help it. Or, I don't want to help it. I just get tired of people staring at my babies. I suppose it comes with the territory. But if I hear, "You sure have your hands full!", one more time . . .

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Childproofing

Childproofing. What comes to mind when you hear this word? A gate perhaps? A cabinet lock? Those might be helpful - if you have just one baby. With three, I am not sure I even know where to start. So far we have mats on the floor, covered with an assortment of toys, blankets and drool.

But recently, Little Man has begun to do the "army crawl', and is picking up speed by the hour. He is loud, busy and on a mission - ALL. THE. TIME. So what did we get? The LMCS! The Little Man Containment System. It's brilliant. A fence that goes around the living room and keeps Little Man inside. But it doesn't stop him from getting into mischief within the gates of the Tripletorium. I'm telling you, he is one busy boy.

We are in so much trouble when he learns how to walk. And he is just one of the three. Missy Mouse rolls around trying to grab things, but she is a little slacker, and less interested in doing anything that requires work. She is happy to snatch a toy from one of her brothers though if it happens to be within her reach. I acn just see it now. They will conspire, climb up on each others' shoulders, whatever it takes to get into trouble. Some days I can't take the noise of their screaming and crying. But I know the day I hear nothing, I should be suspicious.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Sweet Times

I was feeling particularly sentimental this Halloween. It’s easy to blame it on all the hormones after having triplets. But really I just finally had time to actually think. For the first time in more years than I can remember, I was home for Halloween. I bought candy for us to give out because we now live in a neighborhood where there are lots of kids, all expecting good candy no less. I was excited about being home to hand it out. It never crossed my mind that the repeatedly ringing doorbell might wake up the babies. It turns out it wasn’t the doorbell that did it.

I was contentedly listening to some old, sappy music, meandering down memory lane, and writing after bathing the kids and putting them down. The doorbell rang (again) and I opened it to find several six or seven year olds eagerly holding bags and grinning as they yelled the traditional, “Trick or Treat!” As a figure skating coach I often stood in front of groups of children much like this, encouraging them to be energetic and excitable. Without thinking, I joined in their enthusiasm and asked them to all tell me, before I gave them candy, what they were dressed as on the count of three. Of course they screamed it at the top of their lungs and woke up the babies. Didn’t think that one through. I closed to the door to find my husband smiling. He thought it was cute and said something, but I couldn’t hear him over the crying.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Word to Your Mother

All of our babies babble incessantly these days. But a few weeks ago, one of our boys suddenly said, “Da da”. He had been slurring and cooing, alternately babbling and yelling, and he just blurted it out. I was elated to hear it, and as babies will do to one, I began babbling at him myself. It’s pretty amazing the antics to which I will resort to get a baby to respond. Jumping up and down, giggling weirdly, shaking my head and singing. Anyone watching would think I have lost my mind. Actually, they would know it. It is now a daily ritual. If I want to get his attention, I start repeating “Da, da, da, da . . .” and he laughs. I prefer to think he is laughing with me, but really he is laughing near me. The baby has no connection with what he is saying yet, but I melted when I saw my husband’s face the first time he heard “Da, da” from our baby.

After awhile it’s cute how they can all say “Da, da and ba, ba”. It is slightly less cute at 3 a.m. when out of the darkness we hear, “Da, da, da, da . . .Ba, ba, ba . . .” punctuated by shrieks and laughs and repeated with fervor and a decibel increase until acknowledged. Once we flip the light on we see faces squinting away from the glare and appearing suddenly tired. Are they trying to trick us into not sleeping? I swear the second we turn out the light and our heads hit the pillow again, ““Da, da, da, da . . .Ba, ba, ba . . .” How do they KNOW?!?!

Discovering each other has become part of the incoherence of our day. They look at each other and babble, responding in unrecognizable sounds and goofy expressions. When will they say, “Ma, ma” I wonder? Then all of a sudden, the telephone rings. I am shocked back into reality when I realize I have experienced a significant vocabulary reduction and must now actually use real words. It is MY mother on the other end, and all I can say is, “Hi”.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Heartbreak


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September 12, 2008
If anyone had told me that I didn’t know what a love affair or heartbreak was all about, I would have told them they were crazy. I mean, after all, four decades on earth has certainly qualified me to have had my heart loved and broken at least once. But as it turns out, they would have been right.

Every day that I have my babies around me, which is 24 hours a day, I realize that I now know what a true love affair is. And when you love, your heart is open to breaking. Though my triplets are only eight months old, I already feel time passing by all too quickly.

Once we began to emerge from the survival mode of caring for newborn triplets, the sleep deprivation wore off (at least enough to feel semi-sane again), and we settled into a routine. The babies started eating better, sleeping longer and smiling! I was thrilled when after a lengthy time that only my daughter had breast fed, one of my sons finally took to it. He developed a high pitched shriek when he wanted me, and of course, I obliged. I have been fortunate to avoid soreness in breastfeeding, and when my babies feed I feel an intense sense that all is right with the world. Sometimes I would fall asleep with them, other times we just giggled at each other as if we had a secret no one else knew.

This is why when, one day they stopped wanting to breastfeed during the day, my heart began to crack a little. They still do it in the middle of the night if I can catch them in a sleepy haze. Of course where I once felt that sleeping through the night was my goal, I now find myself checking their breathing and hoping they will wake up and want to eat a few hours after I fall asleep. They arrived so very early and unexpectedly, and experienced a myriad of medical issues, that I had feelings of my body betraying them for quite some time after they were born. I have overwhelming feelings that breastfeeding them is the last thing my body can give to them before they truly become separate.

They are all healthy now, and eating solids. This means they need me less. I have visions of “Mommy, I can tie it myself!”, and, “It’s ok, I can walk to the door alone”, that everyone warns me are just around the corner. But instead of borrowing trouble, I focus on today and how sweet they look and sound. And how I can still sit down to write this because they are not yet mobile. Oh how life will change again dramatically once they figure out how to follow me around! Perhaps I will have moments when I wish they wouldn’t. But in the end, I will have a mental string around my finger, reminding me how this love affair started, and how good it feels to know my heart can break because I know what love truly is.