Four girls under age 3: Mom looks back at getting through the first year in 'survival mode'
My family and friends will tell you the one word that describes me is “planner.” In the last year, three little miracles have shown me plans don’t always go as you want.
Over 10 years ago I met a guy. We became friends, and I soon knew he was the one. Before we married we talked about how our life would look. We agreed: two kids, a boy and a girl, but maybe one more.
Three years into our marriage, our beautiful blue-eyed, red-haired, smart, spunky Madelynn Marie arrived. Two years later, we were ready for our boy.
This is when things took an unexpected turn. I’m convinced God sometimes laughs at our plans. I feel sure God said, “I shall give this family three at one time. This should be entertaining.”
So, as you can guess, early in my second pregnancy an ultrasound showed I was carrying three babies. WHAT! I laughed hysterically as my whole body shook from shock.
My husband and I composed ourselves as best we could. It all felt like a dream.
My pregnancy was a whirlwind of high-risk monitoring, dozens of doctor’s appointments, less and less working, and more and more lying around! My only job was to grow these babies.
Half way through came more news: it’s all girls, and they’re identical. I could almost imagine God’s snickers.
Although this was not my plan, I loved these babies. Every night I prayed, “Please keep my babies safe.”
On Feb. 17, 2016, my prayers were answered. Our three little miracles were born at Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital, and oh my goodness, they were absolutely perfect! Just after three weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit, all three came home to meet their big sister.
Feedings, and bottles and colic … oh my!
I won’t lie. I had absolutely no idea how hard the next year would be.
I knew feeding would be a challenge — I have only two arms after all — but never guessed it would take an hour to feed each baby. They ate every three hours. So do the math. I pretty much had a baby with a bottle in my hands around the clock, which meant almost no sleep.
Then there was colic. Have you ever been around a colicky baby? We had three. They screamed … a LOT … for months. Walking and bouncing. That’s all I did for hours and hours.
One night we hit our limit. It was 2 a.m. and pouring rain. My husband knew I needed a break, and we needed them to stop crying before we both went insane. He loaded all three babies in the van and drove around the city for an hour so I could sleep.
I awoke after that hour feeling like a new person. Sleep is a precious, cherished gem. Never take it for granted.
I’m a do-it-yourself person, so accepting that “it takes a village” may be the most important lesson I’ve learned. We will truly never be able to express our gratitude for our amazing support system, especially our parents.
This year has shown me what a wonderful little lady Madelynn is. She stepped up in ways you could never imagine for a 3-year-old. She loves her sisters and is the only one who can always make them laugh.
The most crucial thing I learned is what commitment and strength are in a marriage. Through all the tears, sheer exhaustion, sleep deprivation, endless screaming, poop explosions, vomit blasts, feeding struggles and countless terrifying moments of the unknown, we stood together.
We just celebrated the triplet’s first birthdays, and I marvel that we have all survived. Honestly. Physically, emotionally and financially we were truly in survival mode.
My family is my first priority, and I am so blessed we have each other and are all in good health. From first-rate prenatal care through a high-risk delivery, I had full confidence in my doctors. The care and compassion my babies got in the neonatal intensive care unit were exceptional. During a harrowing week when a common respiratory virus landed the triplets in Norton Children’s Hospital, we knew they were in good hands.
My husband and I often hear, “I don’t know how you do it.” We always respond, “You do what you’ve got to do.” Some days I don’t know how we do it. And that’s OK.
And if you’re wondering if we’ll be trying for a boy, the answer is, “No!” I’m sure God has had many good laughs watching our version of a family sit-com, but no new cast members are planned.