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 . . .