Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Griffin
Sleepy Braddock


Never Sleepy Julia

Our Christmas Miracles



From our blessed family to yours, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Some new shots of the rapidly expanding babies!

Trying to get a shot of all three at once where they look at the camera is really difficult. We actually put Grandma underneath the brown backdrop in these first two photos and had her hold them but for all that effort, they didn't come out so great. We'll keep trying when she's able to breathe again. I'm slacking at posting much right now because I don't have enough hands to type while feeding. If I did, you'd never hear the end of me! Anyway, we busy little bees and growing so fast that I just can't stand it. Every time I blink, they are bigger and cuter. At this rate, college is going to be here before I'll be able to process what happened. They are sleeping a little bit more every day and that is something to write home about for sure. Other than that, we're just ready for Christmas. All the snow we've had has been really beautiful. There's a vicious rumor it could rain Christmas Eve but I'm just hoping that isn't the case. Thinking about taking them over to the ski resort to give them a jump on the 2018 Olympics....


Griffin


Braddock








Monday, December 15, 2008

Our excellent adventure


All dressed up before our walk




video





So it was warm out today and my Mom and I thought for a change of pace we'd head out for walk. It was very exciting dressing all three in their little snowsuit-type outfits. I think the preparation for the 30 minute walk took about 45 minutes, but we were determined. Once everybody was dressed warm, hats on, car seats buckled, all three seats snapped into the stroller, Finn leashed up and ready to go, double checking for cell phones and dog waste bags, we were off! Bill and I have taken the stroller to doctor's appointments before and I've even taken it myself but never for a walk where there are hills. We live in the mountains out here. There's a ski resort right down the street, but for some reason I didn't think much about the hills in the neighborhood that would become part of this walk. After thinking about what was the best route, we decided to go towards the golf course because it is relatively flat. Halfway through our trek, I realized that the last portion of it would be all uphill. Let me just tell you: I had my workout for today because that stroller is HEAVY. Going downhill was equally difficult because you need to hold on tight and go very slow. The fear of losing control of the stroller was freaking me out. As we made it up the hill, I was certainly feeling all that bedrest. It was fun to be out though and luckily not a lot of people were out so we didn't have to stop too much to explain that, yes, they are triplets, not they aren't all identical -- the pink make that seem obvious -- etc, etc.


My muscles are a little sore from the inclines but we made it back without a major mishap so I'm calling it a success!



video


Here is a little video of Finn from out walk, too. He was wildly excited to be free to roam.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bottles, bottles and more bottles

I get asked a lot how many bottles it takes to feed all my sea monkeys so I thought I'd give you a visual. The problem is, they weren't all clean when I made this batch, so there are six more bottles that are not in this photo.
We make them once every day. We mix all the formula in a gallon jug and then fill them all at once. The whole process from lining up all the Dr. Brown's parts -- which is really like completing a puzzle -- to getting them lined up in the fridge takes the better part of an hour. I'm not really sold on these Dr. Brown's bottles either. We have some plain old Evenflo bottles and I've yet to see a difference in their gassiness (if that's a word). People swear by them and we have been pretty lucky as far as colic. I sincerely hope I don't end up wishing I hadn't typed that.
So all my buddies here are growing like crazy. They smile at us now. Julia more so than the boys which is no surprise. I think she is going to be the first for everything probably all of their lives. That's my girl!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Griffin and the missing M&M




If M&M's were part of a healthy diet, I'd be fantastically thin. Griffin is the wimning baby today so he's riding shotgun in the Bjorn. It's turning out to be almost 15 hours a day that I'm carrying one. They say it's good for bonding. I use the "whoever cries the loudest" method of choosing the lucky baby. Well, Griffin and I are in the kitchen running the dishwasher and I'm munching on some Christmas M&M's because -- well, come on, do I need a reason? It's Christmas. So I am moving about keeping Griffin happy with the motion when I notice one of my M&M's made its home tucked behind his ear. Oops. That missing M&M has since been relocated to its rightful spot in my belly and all is right with the world.

Have a Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas






I still can't believe that we have three kids this Christmas. I sometimes stop, look around and laugh at how quickly we built a family. Everybody is doing great. I think it is safe to say that we've officially dropped one night feed. It's been two weeks of skipping the midnight feed and it's been really nice to get that little bit of extra sleep. I mean really nice. The first time they sleep through the night, I'm not going to know what to do with myself. Everybody told me that the sleep deprivation is the hardest part but I couldn't have possibly understood until living that way.
These little elves are becoming more and more awake and alert during the day and noticing us more which is just so cute. Julia reached up and grabbed my lip when I took her out of her crib the other morning as if to say, "Good morning, Mom. Thanks for coming to get me." She's really into throwing up all over us. Bill was the latest victim and it was a big mess. You can almost see it coming, as if it's happening in slow motion. She starts a slight gag and then BAM you're covered. And it really has an odor to it that just isn't all that pleasant. She always smiles after it happens, too. I'm sure it is because she feels better but it does look a wee bit sinister, like she's letting us know who's in control here.
I walked Finn yesterday and I'm positive he was ashamed to be seen with me. I was actually ashamed to be seen with me. I was wearing my long, red terry cloth bathrobe with a short, puffy winter coat over it. The pajama pants were aqua with lime green polka dots and I had on Bill's shoes (way too big) because I couldn't find my own. I still had my eye patch (for blocking the light while sleeping) on but I pushed it up onto my forehead so it resembled a sweatband... and I'm sure my hair wasn't very attractive either. And, of course, you go out like that -- even at 6:00 a.m. -- and you will be forced to shamefully wave at a neighbor who's leaving early for work. Poor Finn. He was once the kind of the world. The adjustment to life with triplets has been hard for him, too.
Bill and I went out to lunch by ourselves yesterday. That was really my first outing that didn't involve a doctor's visit, and it was really nice. I think we both just worried the whole time that the kids would be cold in the car while we ate --- Just kidding. All three were home with Grandma. Anyway, our little date was great. We were going to go to a mall to shop for Christmas but decided that might be too much too fast. When you don't go out in public much, the thought of a jam-packed mall at the holidays is not at all appealing. We apologize to all those people we would have bought gifts for.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

And the results are in....

Braddock weighs a whopping 10 lbs 11 ounces
Griffin comes in just under Braddock's fighting weight at 10 lbs 7 ounces
Julia is the dainty one but also huge at 9 lbs 12 ounces

The hard part was watching them get some shots today. Julia was first and I never saw so many tears. She started screaming and I started crying. It felt a little like torture and I'm certainly glad it is over. By the time Griffin was done (he went last) I practically ran them out of there. I hate that we'll have to do that again ever and we have to repeat next month.

The good news is they are perfectly healthy and growing like weeds!

A very happy birthday to Granny. She was so helpful to us last week and we're sending our best wishes to her today.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mark Twain on Triplets

"Sufficient unto the day is one baby. As long as you are in your right mind don't you ever pray for twins. Twins amount to a permanent riot; and there ain't any real difference between triplets and a insurrection." Mark Twain, The Babies speech 1879

Another triplet Mom sent me this and I enjoyed it so much, I thought I'd post it. I can't imagine how rare triplets were in 1879.

As a newsflash, Braddock is cast-free yet again and enjoying kicking his legs about. I'm so relieved for him to have some freedom, and his feet look fantastic. The next step is a special pair of shoes with a bar between them to keep his feet from turning back in.

Last night the craziest thing happened: They went seven hours between feedings. I couldn't believe it when I looked at the clock at 4 a.m. I'm saying it is a fluke for now and I'll see what happens in the nights to come. Getting that much sleep makes life so much easier.

My Mom and I just completed an exercise video. That's right.... I do exercise videos. We walked, sculpted and toned with Debbie Rocker! There I was giving it the intensity Debbie told me it deserved and I really pushed it on the last few just as she suggested. Sadly, I think I'll be sore tomorrow but I have to start somewhere. These are my baby steps back to a marathon by 2010. (Maybe I'd like to soften that statement and go with a 1/2 marathon by 2010.) All three were strewn about the living room in their different areas of comfort as we did the video. Julia and Griffin were on Boppies. Julia face up and Griffin having a little tummy time. Braddock was in a bouncy seat with vibration on the coffee table. They just started to enjoy that seat even though we've been trying it since they came home. The boys weren't that interested in the workout, but Julia appeared to be laughing the whole time. She kept up, too, kicking her little legs and working her arms. I even noticed she, too, gave it the intensity it deserved. Oh, what fun we're having here. Up next, laundry, then bottle preparation.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for the Chaos

Braddock on his 1st Thanksgiving
Griffin is thankful for the rest

Julia in her first dress for the holiday



We served the homemade cranberry sauce in a ziploc throwaway container for our Thanksgiving feast. We didn't really serve anything now that I think of it. We put the food on the counter and said something to the effect of, "Come and get it." The smoke alarms went off shortly after the turkey went into the oven. We couldn't for the life of us stop for what felt like forever. I'm pretty sure that isn't good for infant ears. A lint roller got stuck to the foil covering the turkey. I only cleared the half of the dining room table where we'd be eating. The rest is covered in baby clothes, wipes, infant toys, medical bills and, oddly enough, a cake carrier. (Not sure how that got there since I am surely not making and carrying a cake anywhere anytime soon) We did eat off the wedding china because for some reason I thought that was important for the holiday. In hindsight, paper plates would have been easier. We ate almost as quickly as we could so that the babies didn't cry before we finished. Luckily, they didn't. It definitely took longer to clean up than to eat. What we learned is that for Christmas we'll have pizza. For the time being, it is just easier that way. Julia, Braddock and Griffin were our priority today, not the turkey or the stuffing. It certainly wasn't a Thanksgiving like I've been used to. I didn't spend time carving put a pumpkin and arranging flowers in it for a centerpiece. I didn't set the table a few days in advance and I certainly didn't clean the house. But I did feel more thankful than I've ever felt for anything in my life when I woke up to the sound of three crying babies looking for their Thanksgiving formula.
I hope you all had a terrific Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Where have we been?

I figured I better get up to my computer and let you know that we are just fine. My last post made it appear that maybe the wheels were coming off the bus and then there was silence. Well, as you might imagine, I'm not sitting down too much and my blog is an indulgence that sometimes has to wait. I find most things have to wait right now. Even personal hygiene. Dry shampoo has become a great part of my life. Sad but true.

Braddock, Griffin and Julia are all doing very well. They are all out of preemie clothes and almost out of the newborn size, too. It boggles my mind to think of them at birth and see them now. We looked back at the NICU pictures yesterday. I have a hard time doing that without crying. The funny part is that we thought they looked so good then. Little did we know... The biggest change is that it's been almost a week of longer stretches of sleeping at night. We've basically dropped one feed in the middle of the night. (knock on wood) I'll bet that now that I typed that tonight we'll regress to every three hours again. During the day it's still every three hours like clockwork. Julia could eat every two hours, I swear. If all the stars align just right, I can feed all three babies at once. I think it is probably quite a sight. I put two either in Boppys on either side of me or in bouncy seats right in front of me. The third one (Julia is the most agreeable to this) is in the Baby Bjorn. I get her bottle in first and then use my neck to hold it upright for her. Once she is eating I use my free hands to put the boys' bottles in their mouths. My arms get really tired as does my neck and back but if no one is too fussy, this works. I make it a daily mission to save time in some way that isn't dangerous and the last few days, I've gotten this down for a few minutes. The unfortunate thing is that someone gets to the point where they need a burp and the whole house of cards comes crashing down. The key to feeding like this is really the setup. Everything has to be in place and ready to reach before I sit down.

Some things I've learned some things about parenting:
(Every seasoned parent already knows this stuff but first-timers like me had to learn the hard way)
1. You shouldn't wear cashmere (or any dry-clean only fabric) while feeding or diapering babies. This seems so obvious as I type it. I have too much cashmere and not enough cotton, and until this stage in my life, I was of the belief that one couldn't have enough cashmere.
2. Don't pick a baby up over your head just after they've eaten.
3. Always cover a boy's penis when you change his diaper. ALWAYS. I keep learning this and then I keep forgetting which just makes more work and more laundry for me.
4. Don't taste just a little bit of the formula just because you are curious if it is good. It's not.


We'll be having a quiet Thanksgiving here at home. It is not lost on us how much we have to be truly thankful for.

I will take some pictures this week. I hate that I'm not taking more pictures or video but it seems like I always have a baby in my hands, sometimes two, so running to grab the camera isn't really an option. We'll work on that.

Enjoy the holiday.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Humbled


It has been a blur, this past week. The days fly by faster than I can fathom. Everyone is growing well. Braddock seems to be healed from the surgery but he did get his casts back on yesterday. It seems a bit unfair that he's having all the extra medical attention but I'm sure Julia and Griffin would have likes his extra birth weight in the beginning so we'll call it even.


In the wee hours of Monday morning, trying to feed all three -- frantically switching from one to the other to quiet the cacophony of cries -- for the first time I felt completely overwhelmed. And then I cried. I cried harder and louder than my tiny daughter and sons. When three babies scream all at once for what seems like hours and there's nothing you do can soothe them, it humbles you.


Like Superman, Bill stepped in, put me into bed, took over and I slept for almost four hours. I was able to get some perspective and ready to take on the next day. And last night the most miraculous thing happened. The midnight feeding turned into 1:30 am before Julia called my name the only way she knows how. Everybody ate quickly and without incident and I was back to sleep by 2:30. Julia didn't call me again until 5:00 am, but I was able to hold her for a minute and then she slept again until 5:48. I almost felt like I slept too long but it made the whole day seem easier. I even washed the floors in my free time...


Life is good here. These tiny people will continue to keep us on our toes and I'll continue to tell their stories.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Braddock Update

Braddock's hernia surgery was a success. Although he's a bit uncomfortable, he's on the mend. He was a champ and all the nurses LOVED him. I was with him all day and Dad is there for the overnight as I'm back home with Julia and Griffin, who -- oddly enough -- decided to projectile vomit all over Grandpa first and then Grandma as I walked through the door. Two impromptu baths and they were good as new. The throw up is probably not abnormal but I don't know that since I haven't been a Mom very long. Of course, I frantically called the pediatrician on the emergency line. They must love new mothers! Not too worry if it happens again because now we're armed with enough pedialyte to hydrate at least ten sick babies. They are acting completely fine now so I'm not worried.

I'm hoping to get at least sleep some tonight. Julia didn't want us to sleep last night, not even for one second. She had the energy of an entire circus from 10 pm until 3 am and demanded our full attention. No matter what I did, she wasn't relaxing. I think I better get used to a very nocturnal schedule for a while.

Here is a picture of Braddock post-surgery. He comes home tomorrow around 7:00 am and his brother and sister can't wait to have him back. One little glider sits empty and it just doesn't feel right.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Wait a minute, which one are you?


Can you tell who's who? As Griffin gains weight, he and Braddock difficult to tell apart. Identical twins are the neatest thing to see! We laugh a lot about who we're holding because we tend to be wrong.
I can't really believe it has been so long since I last posted. The days are so exhausting and they FLY by. The babies have taken to crying lately and all at once seems to be the modus operandi. The funny/frightening thing is that they don't even have their full cries yet. When that happens, I'll just wear my ruby red slippers and click my heels three times.... oh wait... I am home. We'll I'll survive; all mothers survive, right?
We've been busy with doctors appointments. That and battling insurance which is such a pain in the neck. Our claims now total well over a million dollars for my care and the kids and the insurance company likes to make things difficult. I swear they are out to make people insane. The crazy part is that we have good insurance and it is this frustrating and time consuming. We're ready to tear our hair out with that but I won't go on about that.
Our little man Braddock is having surgery tomorrow morning for a hernia. I understand hernias in preemie boys are very common. We were wishing that this wouldn't be the case, but this poor little dude can't catch a break. It is a quick surgery and it should be done by 9:00 am. We'll have to stay overnight at the hospital with him because of his age but that is just for precautionary reasons. I'll be so thrilled for him when we no longer have all these appointments. I've said it before and I'll probably say it again, premature babies are such fighters. They start out with such a long road ahead of them and their resilience is truly amazing. I'm so proud to be their Mom.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My how we've grown

Julia is 7 lbs 5 oz



Braddock is 8 lbs 4 oz


Griffin is 8 lbs
Can you believe it? We went to the pediatrician's office yesterday and all three are doing very well, growing so big, and entertaining us all day long. They are such fun! Exhausting, too, but still fun. The boys are very difficult to tell apart now so that is a constant source of entertainment as well. I have a new best friend in Dunkin' Donuts coffee but I'm starting to get used to not sleeping more than 2.5 hours (as the best case scenario) at a time. I just keep reminding myself that eventually they'll sleep longer as they get bigger and stronger. We seem to have at least two doctors appointments each week and getting everybody ready to go is a trip. Amazingly we make it to our appointments on time... I'm not sure how but it is working out just fine. Grandma is here helping us and that is invaluable. I'll update again soon!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Weather Advisory for Sussex County




So we had a big morning out. It was our biweekly eye doctor appointment. We were feeling pretty good about ourselves getting everybody fed, changed, dressed, eye drops in, and out the door nearly on time. Getting from the car to the eye doctor's office is, honest to God, a complete scene but we made it before our scheduled appointment time. There is not one person that doesn't see the triple decker stroller and at the very least do a double take. Usually the reactions are so animated -- a lot of "God Bless You"s, lots of personal questions. It's like we have a thousand new best friends. Watching little kids' expressions is priceless. They just don't know what to make of us. We are nothing short of a spectacle. But the eye appointments went well, and all three are looking good. The doctor thinks maybe only one more visit in two weeks, two at the most. We even saw some NICU friends there so that was a treat. As we left, were feeling like it was too easy, and then we step outside and there's a little snow. Really -- this is happening on Oct. 28 -- snow. As we started our trek home, there was more than a little snow and then suddenly we're having near white-out conditions and all the traffic has stopped. I'm pretty sure nobody forecasted this weather advisory. We're sitting watching the guy next to us spinning his wheels desperate to get a little traction but going nowhere fast, when we start to hear little noises from our three perfect children. Oh, great, I'm thinking, we're not moving at all; there are spin outs to the left and the right and an Exxon truck that is putting cones between its tires so it won't roll backwards, hit something and explode! And, of course, because I am a new Mom who doesn't know exactly what to put in the diaper bag, I do not have enough formula to feed all three should we get stranded for hours. Please don't start screaming in unison. I've decided that next time I leave the house, I think we'll bring our SARS masks... you know, just in case. Lucky for us, nobody starved and, alas, we made it home. It is much scarier driving in a storm with three precious pieces of cargo in the back. Every little skid makes your heart skip a beat. But now everybody has been fed, burped and tucked in exhausted from the whole ordeal.


Braddock has another orthopedic appointment tomorrow for a new set of casts. I am hoping for a little less adventure.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pictures


Griffin sleeps


Our stroller. I just like the lighting in this picture. Braddock is in the front, then Griff, and then Julia


Braddock gets ready for his bath



Julia after bath





Julia doesn't look too happy but really she loves her bath.
The days are running into each other for us right now. It's more like a series of 24-hour shifts where we're on duty every three hours. We are very tired but it's a happy tired. These babies are so much fun. As I type this Griffin is laying next to me (just like in the picture since I just took it with my cell phone) Julia is having some tummy time and Braddock is sleeping on Bill's chest. It's so quiet. They'll start squeaking in maybe 20 minutes because their bellies will alert them that it is time for the 9:00 pm feeding. They are like clockwork. I set my alarm for every three hours but I find I don't really need it. If anything, they are 15 minutes early. We've filled all the bottles for the next 24 hours, bathed everybody, put the vitamins and iron in their bottles for the next two feedings... So we're ready to feed one more time and try to sleep for a couple hours ourselves. We have a busy week full of doctors appointments and nurse visits. The appointments mess up the schedule which freaks me out. I like the schedule because I know exactly what to do and when to do it. Throw an outing into the mix and I'm all worried about how to get back to the schedule. Crazy, right?
We'll let you know how it goes this week. We also took lots of pictures that we have to transfer to the computer so we can share them.
More soon, I swear.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Peaceful Easy Babies

video

There's not much quite like watching your babies sleep. This is Braddock (left) Griffin (middle) and Julia (right) where they are sleeping these days instead of their crib. The cribs haven't quite worked out yet due to the whole reflux issue we've got going on. Griffin is wrapped in a pink blanket if you've wondered about that. That is really Julia's favorite blanket but what can you do? He might be upset with that someday and then I'll just go into my speech about my hospital bed rest, my loathing of the bedpan, etc....of course, the story will become more of a stretch every time I tell it. I can just hear myself now. "Griffin, you have to understand, I was in the hospital five hours from our house on bed rest for my entire pregnancy."

We changed 28 diapers today and fed 24 bottles. I was thrown up on and peed on more than once. Not three years ago, I was in a fancy suit at work riding in an elevator with Barack Obama. If on that day someone told me then that soon I'd be the mother of triplets reveling in the diapers, the bottles and the spit-up, well, come on, who'd believe that? But it is true; I, so far, am delighted to be a Mother of three diapers, vomit, bottles and all.

Griffin had his first pediatrician's appointment today, and he, too, according to the doctor is perfect. Bill took him and I stayed home with Julia and Braddock. No reason to cause a scene today.

We are not sleeping very much to be sure, but we take one middle of the night feeding and let the other sleep which is working out well for now. Bath time is between 7:00 and 8:00 p.m. and it is everybody's favorite time of day. We are bathing them right in the sink for now in the pink basin from the hospital. Yes, we do have a baby bathtub, but this is how they taught me at the NICU, and I'm hesitant to stray from the protocol. Speaking of the NICU, I have scrubs now. Bill thinks this is hilarious. I admired the cool scrubs the nurses wore, so I googled them and now I have three pair. Of course, I had to get there because I can be impulsive from time to time and one pair just didn't seem like enough. I don't think I'm a nurse so don't panic. I just really like the comfort of them, and if I'm being honest, most of my clothes aren't exactly fitting me right now. That isn't due to the pregnancy weight I still have to lose as much as it is probably now a direct result of the fattening comfort foods that are lining the shelves of the cabinets and I'm stuffing into my mouth after every feeding as some kind of reward. But that's another story. Back to my scrubs...I can't say enough about the comfort and versatility of today's scrubs. They aren't just blue and green these days either. I might go to nursing school next just to get more use out of them. Who knows with me.

All right, I must shut my eyes for an hour before my hungry hippos eat again.

Monday, October 20, 2008

And so it begins




Our First Family Photo -- 68 days after we became a family.
This is us just before leaving the NICU. Our friends now (nurses to begin with) were taking this shot. We were so happy to be leaving, but I felt some sadness, too, because I'm going to miss all the wonderful people I've met there. We were so well cared for but as one nurse said, "You've been here long enough. It's time to go home now." It sure is and it was such a happy drive.












Bill, Margie, Finn, and all three little bears in their gliders. We received one glider at my shower and we quickly learned that it was invaluable, so we snatched up two more.











This is the first time either of us has held all three at once. It was too difficult in the NICU with all the wires and whatnot. Finn - who has been a wonderful big sibling - wanted some face time, too. Poor guy is missing his old life right about now.






This is just before we loaded up the stroller to leave the NICU.


As for what comes next, I'll miss my dear friend sleep. We've had a tumultuous relationship at times. I've always wished I was a great sleeper - I wish that now for my children - but with an eye mask and earplugs I've learned to sleep well in recent years. Now the earplugs for sure are a thing of the past. They tell me I need to listen for crying in the middle of the night. We survived our first night and things went relatively well. Griffin didn't sleep much but that's really been the case with all three on their first night in a brand new environment sans the alarms and commotion of the NICU. I did the 3 a.m. feeding all by myself. It's funny because Griffin is just one more but the jump from two to three seemed more like a leap really - a BIG leap. Griffin uses a special bottle that helps him to pace himself. It takes longer to feed him. So what used to be a 30-minute feed took well over an hour last night. Not such a big deal, I'm thinking, until I realize that by the time I fall asleep, I need to wake up for the 6 a.m. As Griffin eats better, this will get a lot easier, and, of course, we'll become more efficient. Efficiency is the key to triplets or at least that is what I'm told.

We've already confused Braddock and Griffin in the middle of the night. I can't believe we could do that since Braddock has casts up to his hips and weighs a bit more and wasn't even wearing the same outfit, but after they are swaddled, it is very hard to tell who's who. The wonder of identical twins hasn't really sunk in yet because they haven't been together much. I always wanted an identical twin; however, being that I'm an attention-loving creature, I think God knew I wasn't cut out to share the spotlight. Anyway, I'm excited to learn all about the special bond the boys will have. I'm not sure when it is age appropriate to sit them down and explain that since they have the same DNA if one commits a crime, the other could end up on trial. Probably not until they are at least five years old or so...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Griffin comes home

and FINALLY we'll be a complete family! We got the word yesterday that he is as ready as he'll ever be and so we will pack up Braddock and Julia in their fancy stroller with one empty seat and journey to the NICU for the last time. We'll fill that seat and start a new, exciting -albeit challenging- chapter in our family's story. Pictures and updates to come later but I couldn't wait to share the news.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Braddock and the big white casts


Our little Braddock is covered in plaster casts. It was harder for me to watch than for him to endure, I'm sure, but he REALLY didn't like it. He was born with something similar to club feet because of the way he was positioned in the womb. The orthopedic specialist said the physical therapy hadn't fixed the problem so this was the next step. He will get a new cast every week for 4-12 weeks depending on how his feet respond. Since we've been home, he has been relaxed and sleepy so it doesn't appear to be bothering him too much.




We did great getting to the doctor's office. This time I used a Moby Wrap (http://www.mobywrap.com/) which I highly recommend for anyone needing to carry twins. (thanks to Gina for telling me about it -- she should be paid for the plug) It was really quite easy. They both fit nicely in the wrap and then my hands were free. And as an added bonus, they were close to me so I could shield them from anyone thinking it's okay to touch the babies. Of course, the big casts made it a little difficult to get Braddock back in his spot on the way out but we managed. We were still quite a scene, but today everyone just thought they were twins which made for less attention. Why go into the whole story, right?


Griffin has done incredibly well on his feeds, so we could be looking at his homecoming for early next week. That would be so wonderful. We'll keep our fingers crossed....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Braddock and Julia


Aunt Colleen took these nice pictures of Julia and Braddock on Saturday. We're all doing just fine here. Today was a very big day because we had our first outing without any help. We had to go to the pediatric opthamologist for eye exams for Julia and Braddock. Griffin has his exam today in the NICU. So there I was driving and pulling over three times on the trip to give the eye drops they needed to dilate the pupils before our visit. Luckily the weather was great today so that was one less hurdle. I got the triple decker stroller out of the car and loaded them in. Navigating through the crowded parking lot with lots of traffic wasn't fun since this stroller is the size of a small car, but we made it inside safely. Check one. Next obstacle... the elevator. Well, the stroller technically fits on the elevator but it fits horizontally, not vertically, so it took about a 40-point turn and the help of friendly elevator-mates to get us in there. We rode safely up to the third floor. Check two. Now to get into the doctor's office. Again, all sorts of maneuvering to get inside but we did that safely. Check three. Now all I had to do was sign-in, easy enough. Not really because Dr. Morgan's patients sign in in another room that I can't fit a stroller into. Just excellent. So I leave the GINORMOUS stroller taking up half the waiting room and take Braddock and Julia in their infant carriers to the other room where we sign in. Check four. And then we wait and wait and wait until we've long since missed our noon feed. Our appointment was at 11:30. I assumed that I wouldn't need to bring the bottles with me since we had to be done by 12:30 at the latest, right? WRONG. We didn't leave until after 1:00. The exam itself was so upsetting to witness as they screamed so loud while the doctor probed around the eyes for a couple minutes. These kids are tough as nails. The good news is that their eyes both look to be normal. Preemies are quite susceptible to eyesight problems so they need these exams every two weeks until they get to 42 weeks. We have two more to go.

Anyway, we made it through and then we somehow got safely back down the elevator and into the car. At this point, we went across the street to the hospital to see Griffin for a little while and to feed Braddock and Julia. Griffin took Braddock's hand in the crib while I changed Braddock. It was so sweet to see.

Now we're home and all worn out. The funniest part about the whole day is that we are a total scene. Everyone wants to know why I have a triple stroller and only two babies and everyone wanted to look at them and give me some bit of advice on how to handle triplets. Not one of them actually has triplets but I'll keep their advice in mind. So what should be a quick in and out is not ever going to be the case. Back at the NICU Julia and Braddock were like rock stars. All their nurses and doctors and parents we've befriended couldn't get over how big they are and how great they look. Griffin is also big and looking great. His feeding is almost up to par so he isn't too much longer there, and thank God because we miss him.

So that's it from Camp DiMasi. We repeat this little dance on Thursday when we go to the orthopedic specialist for Braddock. I'm sure to be a pro by then.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sleep....who needs it?

So I know you're wondering how it is going for us with two at home. The simple answer is: It is going just fine. We're tired for sure but they are really good babies so we haven't a thing to complain about. Well, we'll complain that Griffin isn't home yet and we miss him so much. He is doing well but just not taking his feeds awake and alert every three hours, and he has to be doing that to come home. They tell us it suddenly just clicks and he'll be off and running. I hate that I can't see him more, but as it is unfolding, feeding and caring for Julia and Braddock is really a full-time job. Who knew? But they are great eaters and great sleepers for now. When they both scream at the same time, it gets a little hairy but I'm figuring it out. With each day, the idea of all three seems more doable. I think that is why the NICU staggers their homecomings, just to give us a little confidence. There's plenty of time to be overwhelmed. They don't want us starting out that way. Pretty good system I'd say.

We had our first pediatrician visit yesterday and the doctor proclaimed, "They are perfect!" So nice to hear especially after all that they went through. They are huge, too. Julia was 5 lbs 3 oz and Braddock was 5 lbs 7 ozs. At this rate, they'll be ready for college very soon.

Bill have been so great with the nighttime feedings. I don't know how he gets up and goes to work. It is so hard for Dads who have their fabulous new little chickens and have to go right back to work stuck without them all day long. Bill's long commute seems much longer on his way home because he can't get to his babies fast enough. When they are two years old and totally out of control, he may just take the long way -- like through Pennsylvania -- but for now, it is really too long. I should add that he isn't complaining at all. These are just my observations.

We've had Jack and Gail here (aka Gram and Papi - as in Big Papi - we'll see if that catches on. Since we live in NJ, I suspect they may call him Grandpa Jeter, but I will come to terms with that with therapy at a much later date) and they've learned all about changing, feeding, swaddling and they are doing great. Marge (aka Granny) will be here next weekend to do the same. We're crossing our fingers that Griffin will be here by then, too.

I haven't been taking enough video or pictures because my hands just seem to always be full. We'll have to work on that this weekend and get something posted.

More soon...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Our NICU journey through pictures


This video was a surprise at my shower. Erin O'Connell (who I used to babysit and who is now in college but that doesn't make me feel old at all) and her Mom, Bonnie, made this for us after Bill, unbeknownst to be, sent our pictures to them. I was very emotional when I saw it because it was the first time since I went on bedrest that I allowed myself to stop and realize how far we'd come. Now that I've been up all night with Braddock, who can't stop crying, I might cry again realizing how far we have to go... Ha. Ha. Ha. I think the poor little man misses his brother.

Well, enjoy the lovely video. I can't thank Erin and Bonnie enough for making it. It means so much to us.

Off to work which thankfully is right next to my bedroom because I haven't got the energy to go much further this morning. The bonus about being up for the feedings is that I have seen the Red Sox games that I would probably have been sleeping through otherwise. I never thought I'd say this in my life but those Tampa Bay Rays are going to be tough.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Two bugs in a blanket...One to go

video

So now there are two DiMasi children all tucked away in their crib (they each have their own but for the time being, they are together in one) and so far so good. Talk to us tomorrow morning. It was really hard to leave Griffin there by himself today. The doctors reassured us that he won't be too far behind. They were talking about a week or a week and a half (best case scenario) so we're really hoping for that. There's something so unnatural about leaving your child behind. I know rationally that this is what is needed medically and that we're not at all leaving him behind, but I still hated walking out the door without him. Of course, Bill will be there tomorrow to be with him but it will be a struggle for me to get there and still keep Julia and Braddock fed and cared for.

Turns out Braddock is our little cry baby. I say this with only love in my heart. He likes to make it known when he is the slightest bit unhappy. He squawks and squawks at the littlest thing. We're laughing about it now. We don't even wonder who is making noise when we hear it because we know it is him. Our day and a half alone with Julia was a breeze. She does the preemie groan a lot but beyond that, she is very agreeable. We feed her every three hours and she seems happy with that.

I have lots more to add but I need to get some sleep so I will work on another post very soon.

Bill was sent this essay from a former coworker of his and as after reading it, we realized that no matter how overwhelmed we might feel or how exhausted, one day we'll be old and gray and wishing we could be back here.

"An essay from a Mom By Anna Quindlen, Newsweek Columnist and Author

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow, but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, twotaller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the samebooks I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once poured over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach, T. Berry Brazelton, Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education -all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories.

What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations - what they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all. Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2. When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent, this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goesto college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the 'Remember-When-Mom-Did' Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language - mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed.The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover.The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, "What did you get wrong?" (She insisted I include that here.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted Iinclude that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking? But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less. Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A look at all three

video

This is all three before we unhooked Julia from her monitors. One last look at all three DiMasi babies at their very first address. I should mention Julia's weight today is 4 lbs 11 ounces. Braddock is just over 5 lbs and Griffin is the same as Julia. From where we started, these kids are HUGE! Another tidbit of great news is that Griffin has had all breathing tubes taken out of his nose. He has them nearby in case he needs them but so far so good. He doesn't want to be left behind for too long, so he's been working really hard. I hate the idea of leaving him there by himself without being able to be there all day every day like I have been. Luckily he has so great nurses who adore him. This way I know he's being held and getting love when I am home with his sister and brother. It will be our happiest day to take him home to be with all of us, and at the same time, we'll miss all the incredible nurses, doctors and therapists who've been there with us every step of the way. But we're not thinking about that yet. I'm always getting ahead of myself. One day at a time.

And then there were two

video

This is Julia's exit from the NICU. I will no longer be allowed to videotape important moments because I miss all the good stuff. But here is a short video of Her Daddy carrying her home. I cried, of course! We've been home almost five hours and we're doing just fine. We miss the boys and can't wait to see them tomorrow. Finn is so fascinated by his baby sister. He's calm near her. Every time she makes a peep, he wants to make sure we're paying attention to her. Wait until her sees there are more of them. We expect a long night ahead and many more to follow, but we're just about the happiest two people could ever be. It's been a LONG road to get here and we're going to try to savor every moment.

the NICU according to Gina

Since I'm freaking out about bringing Julia home and running around like a chicken with it's head cut off getting ready, I have a post written for me from my friend Gina, who came to visit us on Tuesday. She knew I'd be busy this week, so lucky for me, she wrote my post:

"Yesterday I had a chance to go and see Nicci and the DiMasi 3 at the hospital. I have been following their progress on this blog but was excited to finally meet them in person. When I first arrived Nicci and Julia were meeting with the lactation consultant. Julia was wide awake laying in her portable bassinet, checking everything out. What a precious little girl! Of course the minute Nicci picked her up she fell sound asleep and the "nursing dance" began. They took off her clothes and started tickling her to get her to wake up. When she finally woke up, she spent more time pursing her lips together than actually trying to latch on. A little lady who knows what she wants and what she doesn't want, my kind of girl! Nicci was so patient with her and kept trying to coax her to open up. If she was frustrated, she didn't let it show. Well, little Miss DiMasi got her way and had a bottle for lunch. Then we were on our way to the NICU to meet her adorable brothers. "A surprise was in store for us when we got there, Griffin was wide awake and ready to eat. Nicci got Julia settled and sat down and tried nursing him. He was so curious about what was happening and started rooting around and trying to get something to eat. His nurse was so excited about his reaction to this new environment. She told us that his "playing around" was exactly what she wanted him to do--Way to go Griffin! Braddock was a sleepy, sleepy boy and stayed snuggled up next to his sister. All of that growing is hard work. "It was just wonderful to see Nicci in full mom mode. She handled those babies like a pro. She was calm and confident, not that I expected any less. As the afternoon went on, I got some snuggle time with Julia and Braddock while Griffin hung out with his mom. As I was getting ready to leave, a doctor came over to confirm that Julia was most likely going home on Friday (Nicci and Bill already knew this and have been preparing the nursery for her) AND Braddock would be following on Monday or Tuesday. Whoa...big news! He said Griffin would probably be going home closer to the due date (October 31). Sounds like things will be in full swing for the holidays. Congratulations Nicci and Bill on three beautiful babies!"

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Two days to go until Julia moves in

They are seven weeks old yesterday and on Friday we'll have our first child home with us. She was supposed to be home today but her feedings weren't going quite as well as they anticipated, so they decided not to push too hard. I spoke with the doctor this afternoon and sure enough, everybody is ready for Friday. Bill and I have been frantically getting the nursery together and we are just about done and ready. We still don't have a rocker/glider type chair but we're working on it!

The plan is for Braddock to come home on Sunday. So Julia will get one day as queen of the castle and then Braddock will be here too. I begged the doctor to tell me when Griffin would be home but they just aren't sure yet. He said definitely by our due date (Oct. 31) but hopefully sooner. So I guess within a month, we'll finally not be practically living in Morristown. I have been there so long now, I think I'll miss it, but I'm ready to start raising my babies. Albeit terrified but ready.

I was home in Mass. for Heather's wedding and my shower over the weekend. It was so hard to leave but Bill was in charge at the NICU and he enjoyed his time with our babies without me showing him how I would do it.... My weekend was great. The wedding was so beautiful and I was so happy to be the Matron of Honor for the prettiest bride I've ever seen. And my Mom gave me such a great shower! I only wish I had more time to sit and talk with everybody there to catch up and to somehow convey how grateful I am for all the love and support I've been shown throughout my pregnancy and after their arrival. Being surrounded by all that love was so therapeutic for me. It's been a long road to get to the point of bringing babies homeIt was like being wrapped in the softest, warmest blanket.

Ok, pictures to come soon. We've been so crazy trying to get ready for Julia's arrival, I haven't had much time but I'm sure once she and Braddock are here, I'll have nothing but free time to update and post pictures and video.... This, of course, is a joke, but I am going to do my very best to update.

Today I took the infant CPR course and was given a bath demo. They had eye exams and their hearing exams should be tomorrow. Things are just rolling right along. Tomorrow is the car seat test. Julia will sit in her car seat for an hour with all her monitors on so that they can make sure she'll be okay on the ride home. I can only imagine what it must be like for a baby that has only ever been in the NICU to suddenly go outside in the cool air and hear all the loud sounds of cars and trucks and airplanes and then get into a car..... it must be such complete sensory overload. Look out world, here comes Julia DiMasi. Braddock and Griffin to follow.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Another day closer to getting home


Griffin sleeping while Braddock's little hand is resting on his arm

Julia checking our her surroundings
Here is Braddock taking his bottle. He is a bit of a guzzler but he is really getting the hang of it. Now the talk is that he'll be the first to go home. I think the truth is that every day is different and nobody knows what is going to happen next. Watch it be Griffin to end up first at home.




The word on Griffin is that his nurse today (Gail is her name and she's so good to our little monkeys) thought that maybe the reason he struggles to breathe deep enough to oxygenate his blood is that he might have a reflux issue when he is digesting, so she took his gavage tube ( the white tube that goes through their noses to their stomachs to feed them) and his nasal cannula out to see if he was more comfortable. She fed him with a bottle and he ate very well and didn't have nearly the trouble he was having when they fed him through the tube over an hour and a half. We'll see what is going on when I get there in the morning.





Braddock and Julia are both doing very well, too. Braddock is the most alert when it is time to eat and so he is taking the bottle more often than Julia. In order to come home they have to maintain their own temperature in an open air crib, have no help breathing, and take all their feeds by bottle or breast. So both Braddock and Julia are in the crib, breathing on their own without any apnea episodes, and now they are both taking their feedings by bottle. They average about every other feeding. They seem pretty wiped out after them since taking the bottle is so much work. I gave each one bottle today and tried to nurse each one. Neither are too interested in nursing but they tell me they are still a bit too young to be expected to get it. We'll keep trying.




At one point today I had Julia in the kangaroo care position (tucked inside my shirt so that she and I were skin-to-skin) There are many benefits to the babies to do this and also for me to help with milk production. Anyway, I was holding her that way and Griffin needed to be burped, so I told Gail (our nurse for today) to put him on my free shoulder and I would try to handle them both at once. Many of the nurses and doctors that were there enjoyed watching me struggle to make sure both their necks were supported, trying to soothe Julia and burp Griffin. The funny part, of course, is that I still have one more baby to care for and no more hands. Lucky for me, Braddock was fast asleep in the crib. I'm like the old lady who lived in a shoe....and I have to say, I couldn't be happier about it no matter how hard it is going to be.




Sunday, September 21, 2008

Together at last, together forever...

video

It took 40 days but for the first time in their lives, Griffin, Julia and Braddock shared a crib. Bill and I walked into the NICU this morning and we realized Griffin's isolette wasn't there so we thought we were moved to another section. As we passed the last isolette before the DiMasi corner, we saw the crib and then we saw three matching blankets and our three little babies in a row all together. It was so much fun to see. Only Braddock was awake because it was closest to his time to eat. He was looking at Griffin probably wondering where Griffin had been for the last 40 days. We've made great strides of late. All three have tried to nurse with me and they've all tried to take a bottle as well. Griffin's requiring less and less help with his breathing and Julia and Braddock are doing it all on their own. So really they are more than halfway home. Julia may be coming home within just two weeks. Braddock is right on her heels and Griffin will be right behind him. We are now trying to get a nursery ready. We didn't do anything about it because it was much too early before I started bed rest and we've been at the hospital as often as we can be since they were born. All three cribs are put together and it is starting to look like a kids room. We decided to go with chocolate brown and white stars for our theme -- very difficult to go with too much pink or too much blue. Brown is neutral yet stylish, right? We'll have some pink in Julia's crib for now. I bet she likes to play with trucks instead of dolls since her playmates will be twin boys. I hope she likes shopping with her Mom.... until she's 13 and that is so not cool anymore.



Finn just came over to see the video. He seems to know there are new DiMasis for him to love but then again Bill and I think he can talk to us so perhaps he has no real idea of what he's in for. I bring home their laundry and let him sniff it all before I wash it, so at the very least he knows there are new scents coming to the house. We'll let him soak up all the love of being the only one until he becomes just a dog.

Okay, that's all for tonight. We'll have a very busy week at Morristown Memorial feeding and growing and staying warm. More soon.



Thursday, September 18, 2008

My babies are growing! My babies are growing!

I just can't believe that by Monday, we'll have three babies weighing over four pounds. Julia is 3 lbs 13.4 oz, Griffin is 3 lbs 14 oz and Braddock is 4 lbs 1.1 oz. Braddock is back up to full feeds, so his weight should start to climb again. The great news on Griffin is that his CPAP is still off and he is loving his smaller, more comfortable nasal cannula. They've lowered his flow every day (meaning the pressure at which the oxygen goes through the tubes) and he is almost on room air. We couldn't be happier for him. He is smiling just like Braddock all the time now. We can tell the boys are identical now.

Julia pooped all over Bill today while he tried to change her diaper. It was such a mess and she was very happy with herself. He just laughed.

What else? Braddock was in the open air crib with Julia, but this morning when I arrived he was back in an isolette. He just couldn't keep himself warm so they aren't going to push him. Weight gain is more important at this stage, and they can't gain weight if they are using all their energy to stay warm. Julia is borderline with her temperature every day but she is still gaining weight, so she's staying out for now.

I can't believe it is Friday already. The days seem long but the weeks are flying by. They've been alive 38 days now... that's 38 days closer to coming home. What a great day that is going to be.

Off to do all the laundry that the NICU sends home with us!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

So many updates, so little time


I will just update quickly because it's been a long day.... but a very good one for the corner of the NICU filled with DiMasis. Julia is maintaining her temperature and gaining weight, so for now she's staying in the open air bassinet. She had been on the cusp of going back into an isolette, but today her temp was great all day. Since all the x-rays and blood work were negative, Braddock started his feeds again -- albeit at a much lower amount but he's eating again, and that was the first goal. On top of that good news, he had his nasal cannula removed altogether and he is breathing just fine on his own. And if that weren't enough good news, our friend Griffin had his CPAP removed as a trial and he was doing really well with just his small nasal cannula tubes! He was so wide awake and alert when they made the switch. He was holding my fingers and kicking his feet -- probably just thrilled that his face wasn't all squished from the tubes. Now that I'm home, I want to call every five minutes to see how it is going, but I will resist that urge. I'd rather the nurses be doing their jobs taking care of all the tiny miracles residing at Morristown Memorial than answer my calls.


So that is really it. It was so nice to see such progress. This picture is of Griffin today. Not the greatest shot because his nostrils were so stretched from the CPAP. It will take a few days to shrink down. The swelling in his eyes should go away quick, and his head will take about a week to reshape itself from the hat he had to wear to keep the CPAP on. Good thing babies are so pliable. We're so proud of how hard all three are working just to feed and grow. Whatever happens in my life that seems difficult, when I watch my beautiful children fight just to keep breathing on their own, I know I have nothing to complain about.