Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Happiest Mommy EVER

I have so much to write about our adventures in breastfeeding over the last month. For now, I just have to share with you this:

The boys are all breastfeeding on demand, without any bottles all day!

You may be wondering how they got to being able to get all they need every three hours from nursing. The answer: they didn't! I gave up on that unnatural schedule and am feeding them when they are hungry, two at a time, for hours on end sometimes. They are simply not ready to nurse every 3 hours, so I am following their lead. Today I think I nursed each about 9 or 10 times ... but sometimes it was in tandem. I do not need to pump as often, and I am having the wonderful experience spending more time with my children and less time with my pump.

There is so much less crying (by them AND me) and much more bonding time. They nurse happy, smiling and cooing. I feel the same way.

I will write a detailed post about how we came to this awesome place despite our major setbacks and roadblocks. I feel so lucky to have all the support of nursing friends, experts and other triplet moms. I have learned more about the way the body makes milk, keeps a supply and the way babies, especially preemies, nurse since the boys were born. I am one of the lucky few who can, with effort, make enough milk for all my babies.

I have not felt this good in MONTHS. It feels so frustrating to know where you want to be but not be able to get there, and that is what the last weeks have been full of. Little progress, frustration by all and lots of crying on my part. What it took ultimately, was time, persistence
(bull headedness?) and support. We are here!

Details to come if there is interest!

The boys' other favorite new pastime is touching hands.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Year of Tubeless, Volume 1

The next six months Tubeless in Seattle's first year will come later in the week. Thanks for reminiscing with me!

It has been one year since I began writing here!

When I decided to start the blog, it was from reading others, and appreciating so much that people could share their pregnancy loss, infertility and treatment stories and experiences so authentically. Hoping that it would be cathartic to me, and perhaps provide a tiny bit of insight to another person going through the pain of miscarriage and fertility treatments motivated me to start writing.

A great decision, it turns out! I have made so many friends and found such an amazing community that supports its members and is unbelievably welcoming to neophytes. I've read both joyful and heartbreaking stories of birth and loss, life and death. I have found myself less quick to assume I understand someone else's experience of fertility, pregnancy or birth after seeing into so many people's worlds.

When I started out writing, I was the mother of a two year-old girl who'd experienced the pain of three miscarriages, two after seeing beautiful heartbeats which eventually stopped beating. My OB had put me on Clomid after months of unsuccessful conception but did not monitor me at all. After nothing happened, we sought help at a big Seattle RE, moved to IUI's but then discovered my tubes were severely damaged (from a previous Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) and had to be removed. I was made "Tubeless" in December 2008. Of course, without tubes, IVF was the only option, so in February of 2009, I was waiting impatiently for an ovarian cyst to resolve so I could begin stimulation drugs for my first IVF cycle. I was in waiting-to-start and birth control purgatory and was so desperately hoping for a shot at another pregnancy, another child in our family of three...

Here is a bit of what each month over the first half of last year held for me:

February 2009:
Crazy Infertile Lady's behaviors are revealed while I wait for an ovarian cyst that is delaying my IVF cycle to GO AWAY. Also, I share an Affirmation after Miscarriage.

March 2009: Eventful! I get to start my cycle, Retrieval goes well, as does the Fertilization Report. I develop Ovarian Hyperstimualtion Syndrome (OHSS) which almost causes our cycle to be cancelled and embabies frozen, but we still get to transfer and put back two blasts. The OHSS gets worse and I have paracentesis done to remove fluid in my abdomen. Oh: I also find out I am PREGNANT!

April 2009: We find out I am pregnant with twins! I lament how previous miscarriages can ruin pregnancies. I start spotting (which is the way two miscarriages began...) and find out in the ER that I am carrying triplets. PANIC and WONDER.

May 2009: We discuss the idea of reduction for about a second, and are extremely reassured by our amazing MFM (high risk OB, called a Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor). The first panicked call to said doctor occurs, and the fear of pregnancy loss and preterm labor commences.

June 2009: I whine about trying to be an energetic mommy while preggo with triplets and we are thrilled to discover that my belly holds three boys!

July 2009: I am put on strict-ish bed rest when my cervix starts to shorten, I count the days until viability, and post this priceless picture.

I am so thankful to have thoughtful, supportive readers, some of whom have become close friends. Thank you for reading and coming along for the ride through infertility, multiple pregnancy and triplet parenthood. Your supportive comments have lifted me up many a day.

Check back this week for the next six months which are full of worry, waist expansion and the birth of our boys!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Babywearing is not just for babies

As I have mentioned before, our daughter has had a hard time with the triplets' homecoming. OBVIOUSLY. We knew bringing three high-need preemie infants home to a three-year-old who is usually the center of everyone's attention would be terribly hard for A.

She went through many weeks of hitting, having accidents, not sleeping and generally regressing in every way she could, and attempting to get attention however possible. Even if that meant throwing a shoe at me while I was nursing Ace, or throwing a full cup of milk at Gramma who was changing a diaper. The list goes on, but the point is, things are better. She has become more accepting of the fact that we are often busy and we've become more creative at finding things for her to do, and times that are just for me and her, Daddy or Gramma and her, or other fun outings.

I have realized lately that she is really missing the amount of physical touch I used to give her. I am snuggly, cuddly and full of affection and right now I have a baby attached to my body several hours a day and a pump the rest of the time. I've noticed that I am craving that snuggle time with her, and am determined to get more. We have started going into a different room from the babies and reading together, or just laying on the couch and talking.

We wear the babies on our bodies in Bjorns, Moby's, or slings, as we did with A. She is a tiny three-year-old, so a month ago, I asked her if she wanted to ride in the Ergo carrier on my back, since she was feeling jealous that O-Bear was in the Bjorn, next to me. She climbed in and I wore her on my back while I made cookies. She laid her sweet blonde head onto my back and said, "Ahhh. Isn't it nice to be stuck together like glue again, Mommy?" MELT.

Again this week, she was wanting to be nearer to me, so my friend suggested some Ergo time. It is amazing what that does for her! We went on a family walk yesterday and I wore her on my back and O-Bear on my front, and this is what it looked like:

It was a gorgeous day, and empowering to feel I could meet her needs too. What a wonderful reminder that she is still very young and needs just as much touch, physical closeness and interaction that the babies do. I just have to be creative in finding that time!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

3 1/2 Months!

If I show you a super-cutie-pants picture will you forgive me for not blogging in WEEKS?

Baby A, Baby B, Baby C (Scroll down for updated nicknames)

I hope that worked! As usual, our days are so full of feedings, pumpings, changings and snuggles, but that is no excuse for an extended bloggy absence. Or for my lack of commenting, but friends, I promise I am reading and will quit it with the quiet lurker behavior.

Updates, in list form:

- I must change the babies' silly and unfitting nicknames which I assigned (after surgery and with three newborns) in the NICU. The babies will now be known by nicknames that mean something and use their first initials:

"Cheeks" is Baby A. He is CHUBBY! Possibly our most high-need baby, requiring a lot of help to settle, sleep and eat. He also has the most gorgeous grin and coos loudly, especially at his big sister. He is not a fan of being in the car and has almost required me to run red lights to avoid stopping. Did I mention the cheeks? SQUEEZABLE and chunky. His twin is O-Bear.

"O-Bear" is our Baby B. I have always called him O-Bear. He is our little fighter who had NEC in the hospital and who has recovered his weight difference to pass Baby C and almost pass Cheeks! We have a harder and harder time telling them apart as he gains so well. He eats the most and is quite dramatic. If he coughs, or coos to much, he chokes on his saliva and lots of dramatic gagging ensues. He is flirty and bats his long and curled eyelashes at everyone while tuning his head to the side and saying "ah-goooooooo".

"Ace" is Baby C. He is not a twin, but knows he is a triplet. He is patient, calm and collected. He rarely cries and smiles all day long. He has dark hair and olive skin, while the twins are fair and blonde like me and my daughter. Wait for the best part: he nurses WITHOUT a supplement after, about every 3 hours during the day. Oh, and he nurses all night, laying next to mommy. :) He also has more strength and just seems older. He doesn't have some of the other preemie behaviors that the twins have, like over extension of their bodies and weak sucks. (See more on that below...)

- We are BIG! The babies are all 11 - 11.5 pounds and growing so well!

- STILL working on breastfeeding but these boys are getting no formula! I am pumping 'round the clock to ensure the twins have milk for their supplemental bottles after nursing and at night. Hate my pump sometimes, but it has enabled me to provide for them!

- The twins were seen by a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) and both have weak jaws/tongues and are just not ABLE to get all they need from the breast... YET! I keep up with nursing each one at each feeding, and give them my milk in a bottle if we need to. I want them so badly to be able to do it, but they are not there yet.

- I have some amazing LLL friends who are keeping me sane, and one even brings me her own expressed milk on occassion. I call them crying, frustrated and they bring me back to the fact that I am nursing TRIPLETS and that is a wonderful thing. I am the luckiest mommy ever.

- I am coming up on my Blogoversary! A year-in-review post will be coming.