William, Charlie, Ikey, Benny, Henry

William, Charlie, Ikey, Benny, Henry

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Health update

I haven't provided an update on the boys' health since our CaringBridge days, so I wanted to catch up on their progress. Appointments are an almost daily obligation. Last week we actually had six appointments in five days, so it's busy.

Charlie is doing exceptionally well. He weighs 14 pounds and has finally broken into the "normal baby" growth chart. In preemie land, he's in the 75th percentile for weight, but for his chronological age, he's in the 5th! Up until now, none of the boys had placed on the regular growth chart, so it's exciting to see him catching up. The main concern with Charlie is strength and muscle tone. He's the "floppiest" of the three and struggles to lift his head off the floor or maintain head control when upright. He still prefers looking to the right, and is pretty flat on the right side of his head. His neck is a little tight due to this preference, so they'll work on it in physical therapy. He's very interactive, loves conversation, and smiles at us all the time.

Benjamin weighs 12 lbs 6 oz, and is doing well after his PDA ligation. His incision looks great, but we can't lift him under the arms for another 3 weeks.  We have one more appointment with the cardiologist and then we're (hopefully) done. Ben's muscle tone is so-so. Better than Charlie, but still not great. He's also receiving PT and will hopefully become better on his tummy too. He smiles at us and likes to interact. Still more serious, but so sweet.

Ikey finally broke 10 lbs (and 5 oz, to be exact!), but continues to face the most issues overall. His eyes are definitely our largest concern. His ROP remains at stage two, but is somewhat improved. The healthy blood vessels seem to be growing (slowly) outward and the disease itself hasn't reactivated, which is great.  Unfortunately, we're not sure that he can see at all. Isaac does not look at us, track objects, or smile responsively, which is very troubling at this point. Structurally, his eye is fine and his level of ROP wouldn't cause blindness. Basically, if he has no vision, it's a brain issue. Fortunately, he never had a brain bleed and all (four) brain ultrasounds in the hospital were normal, so we're holding out hope that his eyesight will still develop. He's considered DVM (delayed visual maturation), but supposedly some preemies are late visual bloomers and go on to see just fine. In the meantime, it's obviously scary for us. We want to believe he'll be okay, but as the days tick by without any reassurance, we worry more. Besides that, his blood pressure and Alk Phos labs are trending in the right direction, but still not completely normal. He'll have another round of labs and a kidney ultrasound in October. It would be nice if those concerns resolved by that time. On the bright side, Isaac is really strong and lifts and holds his head much better than his two brothers. He'll still have PT to avoid further developmental delays, but he's definitely fighting to keep up.

Our post-op appointments are finally out of the way, so we got to scratch two surgeons off the doctor list. I think we're making steps in the right direction, it's just hard to stay patient. We remind ourselves everyday that from the beginning, every single thing has effected Ikey worse and taken longer to resolve. Right now, we have no reason to believe that his vision will be any different. Keep calm and assume he'll do it in his own time, that's our plan. So that's where we stand! Just wanted everyone to know how the boys were doing health-wise before the weekend. Despite the lingering problems, they've sure come a long way...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Busy Weekend!

Extraordinary circumstances have kept us housebound for most the summer, so as you can imagine, we were super excited to load the van and head north over the weekend. We haven't mastered the skill of efficient departures just yet, but we're a work in progress. Preparations began at 7:00 am and we finally hit the road at 3:00 pm. It wasn't our worst exit, but there's definitely room for improvement. Eight whole hours between breakfast and bottles, baths and showers, packing and loading, followed by one final round of lunch, more bottles, and last-minute diaper changes. We arrived in just under 3 hours with no stops and no crying, so that's a semi-success in my book!

Our revolving-door of chaos gets a little tiresome, so I found it completely refreshing to shift gears and focus on someone else for a change. With the much-anticipated arrival of Baby Bender right around the corner, my mom, sister, and I co-hosted a cozy brunch with plentiful showering for one of our favorite people on Saturday. My game has been pretty sub-par for most of all of 2011, so it was a (rare) proud moment when we pulled off a super cute (if I do say so myself) vintage nursery rhyme themed event.

Of course nothing ever goes that smoothly. Upon our arrival, William rolled down the hill with Auntie for an hour, ate dinner, slugged three cups of water, and then topped it all off with some indoor chasing while chanting the "Pease Porridge Hot" rhyme from one of the books. Not surprisingly, he came into the kitchen (red, sweaty, and breathless), as we JUST finished cleaning and barfed all over the floor. Awesome. I have a total vomit phobia, so a pukey kid is my worst nightmare. Unfortunately, I think he inherited this trait from his auntie because it wasn't the first time there's been unnecessary, self-induced, throwing up. We detoured from party prep to hose William's feet in the yard, give another bath, scrub the floor (again), satisfy his now empty stomach, and THEN put him to bed. Whew. Once we got rolling, we cooked, baked and decorated into the wee hours of Saturday morning, but it was totally worth it because the party turned out great.

Jason and "Pa" (my dad) were scheduled for kid duty during the party. It's not easy to disappear with 4 kids for 3 hours, but they tag teamed it and conquered the challenge with two parks, one zoo, and ice cream at Culver's!

Setting up the dessert table: A tablecloth made from Annie's nursery rhyme toile and banner created from 1940's  book pages, antique clothes pins, and ribbons. Baby's Breath in metal pitchers and vintage nursery rhyme figurines found on eBay.

Pease Porridge Hot looks pretty innocent...you'd never guess it was nearly the end of us on Friday night.

Baby Tears in tea cups

Pretty Mama!!

We spent Sunday at the farm with Jason's side of the family. The kids had a great time...cows, tractors, and cousins!
Calling the cows over

Tug O' War with a corn stalk

Our nephew Jaxson, 6 months

Hanging by the barn

First official cousin pic! Because the trips can't sit up, we had to improvise with tires from the barn. Top tire: Charlie and Jaxson. Bottom tire: Ikey and Benny.

Driving the old F-30, Great Grandpa Moll's tractor when Jason was little.

Trying out the newer Ford
From left: Ben, C-Bear, Ike

So, that wraps up our weekend in Wisconsin. We've only attempted that trip once before and this time was exponentially better. (Quick summary: The first time, all 3 babies fussed from Sun Prairie to Stoughton, and then SCREAMED from Stoughton to Beloit. We were embarrassingly unprepared and had to pull over at an interstate BP to ask directions to the nearest Wal-Mart. It was a pathetic scene in the end...there we were, buying ready-to-drink formula at 10:00 at night from the Beloit Wal-Mart, feeding the babies in our van...in the Wal-Mart parking lot. It wasn't my best mom moment. Needless to say, we did better this time...at least we had the necessities packed.)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Welcome to our new site!

Thank you for joining us! Our CaringBridge page is officially closed and our new blog is launched! Despite feeling somewhat narcissistic creating a public journal detailing our family experiences, my intention is to share real-life happenings, (good, bad, and ugly!) because I, too, am always interested in hearing the ways other families handle similar challenges.

I get asked, often, to tell the story of when Jason and I found out we were having triplets. The shock of seeing three separate heartbeats thumping away inside MY body is something I will never forget, but the truth is, I've always been surprised how ordinary the day actually was up until that moment. It was a Monday, and Jason met me at the doctor's office for a routine ultrasound. The rest of the story is the good part, but the real-time length was literally a matter of minutes. We were chatty and the technician was not. In fact, she seemed to be concentrating a little too hard, so I began to panic. I'm not patient and silence makes me crazy, so I asked if everything was okay. Her exact words were, "Yeeeessss...but maybe Dad wants to sit down." Without further explanation, she turned the screen toward us and pointed at two flashing white spots within the big black circle. "Identical twins." We actually laughed! As she continued to probe around, we were saying something about not believing it, what are the chances, isn't that funny....when suddenly her tone changed again. "Oh, Emily...I think there's one more." And then finally, "Yes, there's three...and three separate heartbeats. These are identical triplets." We reacted as you would expect...stunned silence followed by some stammering and a few inarticulate questions. We were not the only ones, though. The technician questioned herself for a second, "Wait, is that possible? How would that happen? I need to go get the doctor...my knees are shaking." From that moment, despite the fear, I never wanted anything more. But I also knew life was about to change...drastically.

Stress turns me into some sort of crazed detective. I read everything I can and then TALK and TALK and TALK until something makes sense. Unfortunately, my independent research project left me pretty empty-handed this time. I didn't find much for triplet blogs, and the ones I read didn't seem to answer my most immediate questions. I wanted to know how my pregnancy was going to play out, what complications people endured, how big their houses were, what kind of help they enlisted, what vehicle they drove and how it accommodated four car seats. I wanted to know, EXACTLY, how people did this. Bottom line: We were going to have to learn on the fly.

We've made it through some pretty major stuff, but still have so much to learn and do before we're functioning as a normal family again. So, here's our current problem. We recently brought our identical triplet boys, born at 27 weeks, home from the hospital. The trio joins our two-year-old son, so we now have six people in the 1000 square feet (2 bedrooms) that we call home, which also happens to be three hours away from our nearest family and friends. Our beloved ranch is on the market and we've purchased a 100-year-old bungalow, close to family, that is currently gutted. I felt like a pretty capable mom up until this year. Now, well...it's safe to say that reformation is in order. I don't want to feel like we're barely making it through every day, so we're on a mission to conquer the chaos and that's the purpose of this blog.

First, the members of our club:

William is a truck-loading, car-vrooming, swing-swinging, drum-beating, dance-loving, book-reading, ABC-singing, outdoor-playing, firetruck-obsessing, two-year-old. He's energetic and funny, and keeps us busy all on his own.

Isaac will always be "Baby A" in our book, but he was actually born second. Ike was extremely growth restricted in utero and weighed less than a pound and half at birth. He has proven to be our fighter and is the feistiest baby I've ever had. Not sure if that's his personality or because he's had to be tough to survive, but he's definitely our tiny wild man.

Benjamin is our "Baby B," but first born of the triplets. He is sweet and gentle, and very serious.

Charlie was "Baby C" and the biggest at birth, but still under 2 pounds. He's definitely a "Good Time Charlie"...so happy, smiley, and laid back.

(From left to right: Ben, Ike, Charlie. I wish I had a better picture to post, but it's nearly impossible to get a shot of all three....something I continue to work on!)

(From left to right: Ben, Ike, Charlie) THIS is why we have professional pics done!!

Jason and I have been married for 8 years and have lived in three states. Jason works for a large food company and I am now stay-at-home mom to our 4 boys. We love to plan and create, and although it often adds an additional layer of stress, (like taking on a complete renovation when you just brought triplets home) it's just our style.