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Playing Catch up…

Well the triplets are 11 weeks old, almost 3 months, and the time has just flown by.  Since I am just starting this triplets blog I thought it prudent to write a little about the previous 10 weeks to fill everyone in on our journey to this point. Weeks 1-6:  Those weeks seem like a blur. 

It was 24/7 change diapers, feed, console, and start all over again. Now you might think that is an exaggeration, and believe me I wish it was, but it isn’t. The babies all had a degree of reflux. It was minor in Criton and Haley and severe in Caitlin. Unfortunately reflux is very common in multiples due to the fact that they are almost always preemies to some degree, and their digestive track is not completely developed.  You might be wondering how much that impacts care for that baby.  Depending on the severity, you are looking at:  more time to feed, excessive burping and screaming that comes with it (due to pain), holding the baby upright for 20-30 minutes after each feed, and time coddling/ consoling the infant when it is all over. It is absolutely heart wrenching to go through. Listening to them scream in pain, trying to console them, and knowing that you are already doing everything possible to help them (medications, special feeding techniques, special bottles, special formula, etc). Now with all that said, the babies were feeding every 3 hours around the clock and each baby would take about 45mins to an hour to feed, burp, and then 20-30 minutes of holding upright. If you do the math it basically means that once you were done with the last baby it was basically time to start back with the first one and that was with two of us feeding. This vicious cycle leads to severe sleep deprivation. All your days start running together until you don’t know what day it is. You can’t function. I’ll never forget the night before Caitlin came  home from the hospital (the other two were already home)  I asked my husband if he was ready and his response was “It’s just one more baby, it’ll be fine.” Wow, did he have a change of heart after about 2 weeks of virtually no sleep. That was pretty much life in a nutshell for the first six weeks. When they weren’t up for the feeding process they slept. I remember wondering if that was normal. I kept thinking, surely they are supposed to be awake for more then just to eat, but I was wrong. Most infants that age sleep the majority of the time. Weeks 6-9: So far these weeks were the most trying times for us. About this time they started staying awake more, feeding a little quicker, but a fun new issue developed… fussiness.  Some people like to refer to this as “the witching hour” because it is usually really bad at a certain time of the day. That time of day was from about 3pm-9pm. Now they babies were starting to be awake more, but instead of it being happy times, they would cry and cry. This meant that I was holding, rocking, or consoling 1-3 babies at any given time. I would hold one in my arms, one in my lap, and either one on a boppy right next to me or in their rocking chair right in front of me. If you were wondering, yes, they were still feeding every 3 hours around the clock. So the sleep deprivation continued. My husband and I tried numerous ideas in order to try and find some time to sleep. We tried to take shifts where from 9pm-3am Miche and he would feed the babies and then from 3am-8am I would take over. He was able to get a little sleep on his off time but for some reason 99% of the the time the babies would not let me sleep during my off time. They would completely melt down and I would have to get up and help at every feed. When we finally gave up on that, we tried splitting the children up. One baby would sleep in our room with one parent, while the other parent would stay in the nursery with the other two. The theory was, it is easier to manage two by yourself and the other parent would only have one child so they would have longer between feeds to get some sleep. This plan wasn’t bad, and worked better then what we were trying before, but it had it’s flaws. Some nights the one baby was so fussy that the parent in our room barely got any sleep anyway. The children were not learning to sleep solely in their cribs at night which made bedtime a little more difficult. They were also not learning to sleep through the other babies cries, so when one cried, they all started crying. Then on the parents side, we were sleeping in separate rooms.  It was bad enough we barely got any time to have any sort of physical contact but now we were in separate rooms. That is where I had to draw the line. We got the third crib, rearranged the nursery, and decided to just get up together at every feed and pray we had some down time in between. As the weeks went on, their feeding time got shorter, which in turn did give us more time before the next feed. It wasn’t the best but it was getting better. Weeks 10-11: Right about the end of 9 weeks and the beginning of 10 weeks we started to notice a difference. It happened almost as drastically as someone flipping on a light switch. They started to fall into their own schedule and becoming a little less fussy. The morning would start around 6-7am. The babies would wake up, feed, and then be up for about an 60-90 minutes. The mornings are great too. They are alert, looking around, smiling, cooing, and just a complete joy. They will nap a little, feed again, and then go down for a big nap (from feed to feed). The afternoons though are still a little crazy. Caitlin was the worst as far as crying and she would get the other two going. Criton seems to be more sensitive to it then Haley though. There is just something about Criton and Caitlin, they will get each other going with the crying game. One will start to fuss, which gets the other fussing. You get one calmed down and by then the other one is going and needs to be consoled, and this continues for the whole evening. Everyone kept suggesting Gripe Water, but we were really skeptical at first. It seems like we are constantly trying new things to correct these issues: special bottle, formula changes, environment changes, and so on. Some work really well, some only work for a few days and then they seem to wear off. One night, when I was at my wits end, I ran to CVS really quick and picked up a bottle. It took about a day to really see dramatic results, but then it happened. Caitlin wasn’t crying, she was laughing. She was a happy baby, which in turn made the other babies happier babies. I never thought it would work, but I was floored by the results. Now it isn’t perfect, and we still have some fussiness but it is so much better. Also there sleep is improving. They go to bed around 7pm (I actually finish getting them down and asleep by around 8pm), and sleep until around 11pm-12am. They feed and go right back to bed until around3-4am, feed again, then go back to sleep. Then around 5-6am they get up and we have our up time. I have been trying to push this closer to 7 am and it is getting there, it’s just taking time. I keep hearing people say their babies sleep through the night at 3 months or the whole 12 hours sleep at night at 12 weeks. We are not there yet, and truly I am not sure how far off we are from it, but we are ok right now. This is a huge improvement from before and we are getting a total of 5-6 hours of sleep at night, so for us, this is doable.  Don’t get me wrong, I would love a full nights sleep, I haven’t had that since I was about 4 months pregnant with them, but at least we are getting some sleep. So currently we are having much better nights, the mornings are a joy that I look forward to, and the evenings are getting better. Being a parent of triplets is not easy, but I am thankful for them every moment of every day. Now that I have done a brief overview of the past three months, we can get down to the day to day operations. The good and the bad, the laughter and the tears.  So stay tuned and keep reading, because it is about to get interesting.