Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Parental fear

I was reading an article on post partum depression the other day and I came across a peculiar symptom they listed as a sign that you have it: fear of being left alone with your kid(s).

Um, I've been afraid of being alone with my triplets since they were 3 months old.

I started off with confidence. I was planning on being a stay at home mom anyway, so now I'd just be extra busy, right? After I finally got all three triplets at home I really wanted to try it on my own so I sent the mother in law home to Illinois and started in on my new life. I was practically fearless. I mean, what could happen?

RSV. That's what. For those of you without children, RSV is a typical cold for grown ups that can kill infants. It smothers them with snot. Days after the kids got home from the NICU they came down with colds. The fevers meant I had to get them checked and each time I took one to the doctor they failed the blood oxygenation test. In other words, they were not getting enough oxygen by breathing on their own. They all ended up in the pediatric ward for 3 days on oxygen and having the snot sucked out of them by this dastardly machine they have invented. It was a wee bit scary but under control I suppose.

So after they all got home from the hospital from that, my husband thought it was finally time for him to go back to work. Monday morning he headed out. We had a normal morning, except that it seemed like J went a little blue when I fed him, but I was sure it was a trick of the lighting. He was fine otherwise, and the blue was just around the mouth and his eyes were red but just for a bit.

Yeah I know.

So then it was hours later and I started feeding him again. This can't be right. He's looking all funny again. Red raccoon eyes and blue around the mouth. But RSV is only supposed to be deadly in the first 72 hours! What is going on? My parents were still in town so I called them to come stay with the other two triplets and headed off to the ER. At every stoplight I reached back and checked if my infant was still breathing. I hit every stoplight on the way of course. By the time I reached the ER he was grey. I got fastracked in you might say. His oxygen saturation was 85 or so. Not ok.

That was my first day alone with the kids.

But that wasn't all it took. After several days alone again it was time to bathe the kids one by one in the infant tub in the kitchen sink. It seemed that apparently the other two refused to be left alone at this particular juncture. Screaming ensued. Each time I'd exchange one kid for another they'd change places. the one being bathed was happy as a clam. The other two? Banshees.

Then they started the witching hour business. Have you ever had 3 infants screaming inconsolably at you for even 5 minutes? It is insanity producing. It actually makes you want to grab one and beat the other two with it.

I didn't have post-partum depression. I had post traumatic stress disorder. It's a wonder I don't have flashbacks today. It's a wonder I don't wake screaming in the night trying to swaddle my husband while binkying a cat and bottle feeding the table lamp.

So, being afraid to be left alone with your kids? Somewhat understandable. At some point I called my mother in law and begged her to come back. And then I told her she was never allowed to leave again. These days I try to work myself into some sort of calm state when I'm to be left alone with the kids. Last week when grandma had to head home due to being sick as a dog and I had to handle bedtime alone? It was a challenge I was kind of excited about. And the next night when I had to do baths alone? No problem. But the fear strikes initially. That old feeling that I have no chance in surviving the onslaught of triplets plus one on my own. And then I realize that I can and will be ok.

As long as I have a glass of wine.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

It all started innocently enough. A friend posted this to her Facebook:

Ferry Building Farmers Market: one mom, infant triplets, a bus of a stroller. Brave, insane, inconsiderate? Discuss....

And fairly begged me to comment via text. For those of you who don't know, the Ferry Building is a crowded old building crammed with people during the farmer's market. Any size stroller is a pain in the butt there to move around, much less a triple wide. I own a triple wide and I only think it's fit for wide open spaces like the zoo. But I have the luxury of owning more than one stroller. So I said:

Desperate? The poor woman probably can't get out wo them but she could use a double and a baby backpack if you'd prefer! Would be a little more considerate

And thought that was the end of it. But then this appeared:

wait...are we supposed to discuss the stroller or fertility treatment...which can also fall under the categories of brave, insane, inconsiderate. just saying...

Oh ho! Picking a fight with an infertile woman are you? Well then. Here we go again. It definitely inflames the hell out of me that people see a woman with a multiple pregnancy or offspring and instantly 1. know they did fertility treatments (even though triplets do come spontaneously people, even quints do) and 2. get to judge the use of such treatments just because more than one baby came of it. 

WTH? So, if I had done fertility treatment and only had one baby I'm above judgement? If I had just accepted my infertile status I'd be above judgement or perhaps even saintly? I'm sorry, did you accept the mole growing on your face or did you get it removed? Did you accept your cancer diagnosis or did you get treated for it? Did you accept that you couldn't walk due to a birth defect or did you get physical therapy and canes to walk with? 

What's the difference?

So I lay in bed fuming this morning thinking about it. These young women who have not experienced infertility passing judgement on those who have is inexcusable. First, as women, we should stick together. We don't need beat downs from each other. Second, as a woman, you should understand something about what being infertile might do to your psyche that a man might not. Third, if it doesn't affect you, bug off. 

Asking a woman to just get over being infertile is like asking a life long runner to get over not being able to run ever again. It's like asking a life long lover of books to just get over being blind. It's like asking a teacher to get over never being able to speak again. It is a part of (most) women's being that they are procreative. It is part of who we assume we are at birth, we can be mothers whenever we want to be. In theory. When you are hit in the face with the reality that you can't? It's trauma. What you do with that trauma is your business.

And if the doctor tells you that you have less than a 20% chance of having any babies at all with your eggs and so he throws the book at you with every hormone in the book and 6 shots a day and you still only produce 3 viable embryos? You put them in your uterus. And if, by some miracle, against stunning odds, all three of them implant and grow? You are just lucky as hell. Not someone to be judged.

Just lucky as hell. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

slacker Sunday photo

Just Chillin' With the Auntie

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bad Dreams

As a parent there are many things you want to spare your children. Bad experiences you may have had, may have heard about or just may imagine could happen. Broken bones, broken dreams, broken hearts, and so on. And in the early years, when they can't talk to you, you spend an awful lot of time trying to decipher crying spells. Is she hurt, physically or mentally? Is he wet, uncomfortable, achey? Is she frustrated, angry, irritated?

My children are no exception. Some of them cry more than others. One in particular, J, seemed to have nightmares right from the start. Terrifying ordeals of him screaming and yelling and thrashing, inconsolable, unreachable in his terror. Sure, we read about night terrors and how they don't remember them in the morning, but how the heck do they know that when the kid can't speak?

And the other thing you have to wonder about is what is a nightmare to a 8 month old? Being hungry and no bottle in sight? Having to take a nap when you don't feel tired? What are they having nightmares about?

The older you get, you figure the more things they can have nightmares about. And, unfortunately, with triplets the language comes later. Mine are just starting to put two words together at 29 months. Singleton children are stringing sentences together at this point. But regardless, in the middle of the night they're mute. You go in to the screaming, crying child and ask them what's wrong. You soothe and hug them and they remain mute. They just stare at you like they don't even recognize you, and then they go back to sleep again quieted for a moment.

So you're left with the question. What are the nightmares about? Has someone done something inappropriate to or with them? Is someone or something scaring them regularly? Is there something you should be protecting them from that you aren't?

And then you lay in bed at 6:20 am in the morning, listening, and find out what the nightmare is about:

"No, no, no, NO! My bucket. My bucket, MY BUCKET!!!"

Monday, July 19, 2010

Things I never thought I'd do

1. Try to guilt trip my children into going to sleep.

2. Yell at my children until the veins in my head throb frighteningly.

3. Negotiate with my children when I've told them to do something and they say 'No.'

4. See that my daughter is looking at me with the face of "I hate you with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns" and bust out laughing because I recognize that look.

5. Talk about my children when they're in the room like they're not in the room and can't understand English.

6. Decide that they can beat each other to death if they really want to after breaking up the 300th fight.

7. Feed them mac and cheese 2-3 nights a week because I'm tired and uninspired to make something more fancy and nutritionally useful.

8. Wrestle with them physically when they defy me on something that has to be done, like a diaper change, or laying the heck down and going to sleep right this minute!

9. Say "Don't you talk back to me missy/mister!"

10. Buy so many toys that even after only bringing less than half to the temporary apartment we have 3 overflowing boxes worth. And I still keep buying. Why was that last dump truck so important?

11. Lose my sense of humor.

12. Count the minutes until a nanny shows up Monday morning to give me a morning off. Oh, and count the minutes until bedtime once they wake up from nap. Oh, and count the minutes until nap time. Oh hell, I'm always waiting for a break it seems.

13. Wonder if I'm cut out to be a mom.

14. Look at my 200lb body and ever expanding waistline and still eat that cookie.

15. Wish I had a hospital worthy disease so I could get some time to myself and maybe sleep.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A biblical event

And then God, in his wrath at her constant complaining, didst send down a stomach bug upon her children, so that she would learn humility in her heart as she didst clean barf, and clean barf again, until her soul and the children's beds were scrubbed clean down to the marrow. And then she did know peace, in her bed, for a few hours. And she was glad.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Sorry I've been MIA again folks. This sleep thing with the infant seems to be a roller coaster ride. Just when I think we've resolved my total sleep induced psychosis by having the husband do the first feeding of the night the kid kicks me in the teeth by not letting me sleep from 3am on most mornings. He sleeps, mind you, but awakens every 10-30 min, just when I'm falling back asleep or in some kind of cycle with a random triplet who is also waking every so often in the wee morning hours.

I suck at lack of sleep. I believe I've said that before. I just had no idea how much I suck at it. Because it isn't relative is it? I mean, before, I was getting no sleep, or 45 min chunks all night long. Now I'm getting half a night's sleep and I'm still tired. It doesn't feel much better, although I am pretty sure I'm less psychologically on edge. But Sunday morning I got walloped by my psyche. I was standing in the kitchen, having gotten the children and myself up and dressed, made their breakfast, started the laundry and packed the bags to go to grandma's house for the day when it hit me:

"I'm never going to be 'not tired' again. Ever."

People, I fell to the floor like someone punched me in the gut. It was overly dramatic, perhaps, but I cried. Thankfully the husband was feeding the kids breakfast while the infant slept, so I could give in to this moment of despair and get myself back together again. I mean, logically, I know this is not true that I will never feel well rested again. At some point I'll be allowed to sleep again regularly.

Like in 2 years.

But that seems like forever. Obviously. And I just lust after a day where I can sleep in, loll around in bed, read a book in bed and stay there all day snoozing and reading all day. It's like porn for my mind that idea. The soundtrack is more ocean waves than boom chick a wow wow though. But I'd settle for a white noise machine.

This having babies thing is nuts. And the nuttier thing? Having another doesn't seem so bad to me. I think it's an addiction, like tattoos or drugs or something. There's this mystique, this magic about the idea of being pregnant and giving birth to another neat little human being at the end. Clearly I've forgotten what a miserable pregnant woman I am. Clearly I'm not looking at my ravaged body. Clearly I'm so sleep deprived that I've lost my ever lovin' mind.

Thankfully, the husband won't let me forget. We will not be having another. Under any circumstances barring divine immaculate conception. Because who could argue with God if he wants you to have a freakin' 5th child? I mean I don't really need the universe to be against me when I already think it is.

So, baby's up. Time to go back to work. If you see me sleep walking while pushing a child down the side of 101 in a stroller, just shove me into the back of your pickup truck and take me home.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Caught red handed

These innocent looking individuals were caught literally red handed Saturday morning at 6 am with their fingers smashed in the top drawer of this dresser
which had been pulled over onto their (thankfully sturdy) cribs (by manner of pulling on the top drawer in order to empty it of all socks and accessories) luckily missing their heads and breaking none of those same hands but causing terror in their caretakers due to the fact that these items

were upon said furniture and also dumped in and around the same cribs of the criminals identified above. Although no fires were set, fingers chopped off by fan blades nor expensive camera equipment damaged, consequences must follow criminal behavior or else society may feel we are condoning such actions by individuals of a diminutive size. Thus:

Incarceration for the duration of all sleep periods henceforth.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

slacker Sunday photo

Two boys in a box, almost don't fit anymore!

And one girl who seems to know how cute she is

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The blob

Why am I always hungry? I'm no longer pregnant or breastfeeding. So what's my excuse? Tapeworm? But then I'd be thin too. This post pregnancy belly? Large.

Yesterday someone posted on the multiples group I belong to about getting a tummy tuck and someone else provided a link to a doctor's website. For the first time I took a look. It's not that I'm against the tummy tuck, I fully expect to get one, but I've always said I have to lose the weight first before I 'deserve' to get surgery.

But now I'm changing my mind. I mean they often include lipo in the tuck process anyway since people like me who have all their fat in their stomachs can never really get a flat one without anorexia. And the website talked about loose abdominal muscles due to pregnancy that need stitching together to be flat again. And I thought 'Hmmmm, what if my big old sticky outie stomach is really damage due to pregnancy and not due to my laziness?'

Oh, it was a remarkable concept. I mean I had strong stomach muscles always in the past. And right now? I can't suck it in to save my life. However, it is about twice as big with fat as it used to be too. So, perhaps I've just found a pleasant excuse? The funny thing is I'm not fat all the way around, no spare tire. Just on the six pack area. (Great for heart health, I know!) So maybe if I get these abs shored up with some stitches I'd already be in better shape? And I could coincidentally get that lipo and the extra skin cut off and.....and....maybe I could also fly like superman?

Where is the money for this? Not in my possession. Where is the time to recover from surgery? Not available. Where is the strength of spirit to put myself through what is no doubt painful as hell surgery for just vanity? Not quite present so close to the c-section of doom two years back.

And really? Where is the strength of spirit to love my pregnancy torn body just the way it is, all poochy and stretched out and discolored with stretch marks and spider veins and so on. I have a long way to go to like what I see again. And I'm not usually in favor of plastic surgery when you hate yourself (or the way you look) I'm more in favor of it when you have done all you can the exercise and diet way and need a little help, like with excess skin or droopy post breastfeeding boobs. That I would forgive myself for.

Oh but the vanity. I want to look good now. I don't have the energy and sometimes don't have the time to even go for a walk for myself. I survive lack of sleep and rotten disobedient children by eating brownies. I am steadily gaining more weight after losing the pregnancy weight back to my already overweight size before this last kid. So I'm way bigger than I've ever been. And while I hide it sometimes successfully, I know it's not healthy. But it would be so much easier to have it taken away in a quick surgery by someone! (insert whine here)

Ok, so maybe I have a goal to reach for. I have always said if I work out steadily for a year, and eat well, I can have the surgery. I do feel justified to lose this extra skin the triplets left me with on my stomach. I just have to empty it of fat first. I might feel justified to hitch up the boobies if they deflate too much. I just will have to rob a bank or something.

Or get someone to buy my stupid house!