Monday, November 30, 2009

Fat Free Vegan

Thanks to Olivia's cardiologist, I have made the decision to change the way I eat. Although I will refer to this new way of eating as a "diet", The purpose is not to lose weight, but to improve one's general health and well-being. Meatless, dairyless, oilless (is that even a word, and how is my spelling), veggie-full, legume-full, whole wheat-full, and avocado-less. I think that just about sums it up.

While Paul is attempting to offer support, the carnivore in him is rebelling. Thus, I'm not pushing, and I'm making a slow transition to this new style of eating. My secret plan is to eventually convert my husband by refusing to cook anything with meat and oil. Muahahahahaha.

I started on November 4th. I went hardcore for about five days, and then I got really busy. Unfortunately, this diet requires some manor attention to detail in the kitchen. I was nowhere near the kitchen for about two weeks prior to Thanksgiving. Thus, my vegan diet became a vegetarian diet. Ooops. I'm getting back on track as of this last week. I even made some vegan Thanksgiving food.

So on Saturday night we had some friends over for dinner. I made a fantasic (I hope) piggy for Paul and our guests, whose privacy I am respecting by keeping them nameless. For myself, a lentil loaf (don't act like you don't wanna munch on THAT all night). I did a meatlovers mashed potato (butter and milk), and a slightly healthier version with oat milk, onion powder, pepper, and a bit of garlic salt. Vegan not so bad, I must say. And the best part, the hit of the night, my Fat free vegan green beans. I can't even explain how tasty these things are. Blanched, chilled, then tossed into a high heat pan with onion powder, pepper, soy sauce, and garlic. They were crunchy and just perfect. The highlight of my life was Paul declaring how yummy they tasted. Okay, not exactly the highlight of my life, but it was the first time he ever ate and liked a green bean. I may just be able to convert him, after all.

While I definitely am not putting pressure on anyone to try a new diet, I have been shocked by the number of people who seem genuinely interested in my new eating habits and the ratiomale behind the change. It seems that most people have a family history of high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Based on what I have learned, I firmly believe fat free vegan is the best possible way a person can eat. Check out and after reading, decide for yourself. Agreeing that this is the way I should feed my family was the easy part. Making the changes is the challenge.

For the record, my omnivore friends and family have said the vegan recipes taste pretty good. Kind of shocking that such healthy food can be so satisfying.

ps...the babies have eaten everything I have offered, too. Lola luuuuvs her lentil loaf!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Whole Year...

The last four months were apparently sucked into a black hole because this is my first blog post since July. Yes, I suck. And for those of you on facebook who are seeing this "note" pop up, I didn't actually create a FB note all about me and the's an auto update from my google blog, in which I write all about me...and the girls. Just had to clarify that, Lauren ;-P

On with the blog...

Well, October 29th came and went. One entire year of mommyhood. Not sure how it goes for "normal" mothers (ie, the ones who birth only one child a a time), but it's not such a glam life over here in tripletland. I had my hair trimmed only twice. Not one single mani or pedi. And when I go clothes shopping, it's never for myself, and often I pick something up in haste at Target or Costco. Shit, I rarely leave the house without at least one, if not two to three babies in tote. And on the days I do have just one, it's an absolute breeze. But, while I look like ass, I'm actually pretty stoked about our life with the girlies. Things couldn't get much better.

The girls will hit 13 months tomorrow. This is the point in time where I think it's a bit retarded to refer to one's age in months, but whatever. I think it's babymama law to use such measures of age, so I'll oblige. So, yeah, 13 months. Lola started walking 2 days before her first birthday. One month later, she is still trying to get the hang of it, but that's just her way. Makenna, on the other hand, appears to be months away from walking, but will surely come out of nowhere one day soon and just walk across the entire living room without looking back. Within a week, she'll start running. Unfortunately, I can't even predict what Livy will do being that she is just now starting to crawl a little. And it's not pretty.

Speaking of Olivia, today was an absolute blast. We have decided to change most of her docs so that we can stay within one healthcare system. Cleveland Clinic wins. Not because we think CC is totally awesome, but because we heart her Cardiologist and that's where he now works. Okay, it does go beyond that. We aren't blindly following our love of Livy's amazing doctor. Many of her current specialists suck. Okay, they don't totally suck, but members of their staff aren't so suckless. One assistant can't seem to wrap her brain around how to prepare a referral for our insurance company, while another can't seem to figure out how to schedule an appt within a reasonable time frame. Furthermore, Olivia has been having some strange choking/barfing episodes and we want specialists who won't stop until they get to the root of the problem. A 1-yr-old who barely crawls, only makes two sounds, can't lie flat to sleep, wakes up choking, and gags and vomits when anything other than a bottle hits her lips isn't exactly on the "normal" chart in my book. But her little heart seems to be in great shape thanks to her superfaboo Cardiologist. He worked some serious magic during her last cath in October. Prior to that cath, she couldn't sit up on her own, didn't even attempt to crawl, and was gaining very little weight because she just wasn't eating well. Post cath, we have the most energetic little pistol. We LOVE the changes we see and just need to find a solution to this choking/vomiting issue. Thus, I made many appointments today, all of which fall in the next two weeks. Cleveland Clinic, pretty awesome.

Also awesome is the fact that it's 4:30 am and I'm the only one in the house who hasn't slept throught the night. We finally just went cold turkey on Makenna's middle-of-the-night nonsense. She got the memo on night one and hasn't pulled any crap for the last two. I have decided that we will not be offering bottles until 6am and nobody leaves her crib until 7am unless she has pooped herself silly and needs a change. Go ahead and try to change my mind about this shit. But unless you have spent a year in my shoes, your opinion doesn't matter. Seriously, I don't care what you think unless you have a better way of helping my children sleep that doesn't involve me morphing into an octopus so that I can collectively rock them to sleep on a nightly basis.

Aside from the sleep and health issues, life is actually really happy around here. The babies are always laughing, have absolutely no fear, and just seem so well-adjusted. I honestly could not ask for anything more. Healthy and happy, happy babies are about as good as it gets. And while Olivia's health isn't stellar, it's so much better than it could be and I feel her "issues" are totally correctable...just a matter of getting the right docs involved.

1 year down, and life is pretty great.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

ECI Tuesday

For those of you who aren't familiar with the above acronym, Early Childhood Intervention is the long version...and they showed up today. Fellow triplet and preemie mommies should be more than familiar with ECI. If you aren't, do some research. This is a free service provided by the state/county and your children will benefit from their services. If your children appear developmentally delayed or if they were born prematurely, simply call ECI and request an evaluation. It's never too early. We started when the girls were less than 4 weeks old, corrected, in Texas. Today was our first evaluation since arriving in Ohio and we are very excited about the therapy our daughters will be receiving over the next few months.

The evaluation starts off with a question/answer session between the parents and the developmental specialist. In our case, this included questions regarding milestones achieved, verbal and non-verbal communication, eating habits, etc. In the midst of the question/answer session, the developmental specialist also works with each child individually, utilizing toys and objects to help determine how a child is progressing. Following the evaluation, the developmental specialist will then assess the information and determine the child's developmental "age". Based on the results, the child may qualify for occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, a nutritionist, etc.

Our evaluation went a little better than we expected. 29-week preemies are generally expected to reach milestones 2 to 3 months later than full-term babies born on the same date. We therefore only consider our daughters' due date in calculating their age when it comes to milestones. For example, although our daughters were born on October 29, 2008 and will be 9 months old tomorrow, their due date was actually January 11th, so their corrected age is 6 1/2 months. That said, they should be reaching milestones for 6/7 month olds right now. Fortunately, Makenna and Lauren are doing so well that they have not only reached milestones for their corrected age, but have also reached quite a few for their actual age. In other words, they are doing better than we expected. Olivia is behind her sisters, but is generally where she needs to be for her adjusted age. This was even pretty good news.

Makenna is doing so well that she requires no intervention right now. Lauren, however, needs to work on her attention span and focus when it comes to social interaction. Additionally, she has trouble initiating tasks where she is required to pick up and hold small objects. We have to pry her hands open to help her understand what she needs to do. Occupational therapy should help with the latter. Olivia will receive OT and PT to help her develop muscle strength so that she can gain more control over her movements. She rolls over fairly well and is technically very strong, but she is floppy.

So, that was our ECI experience for the day. If you feel your child may not be meeting milestones and especially if your child was born prematurely, please get in touch with your local ECI office. Do your child a favor and get an evaluation ASAP so that he/she may benefit from therapy sooner than later. For a general overview of where your child should be developmentally, visit

Friday, July 24, 2009


We'll just call this another obligatory post. It's Friday night and I'm sitting alone on the sofa and taking advantage of the DVR. Livy is asleep in her bouncer, which is sitting right at my feet. On one side of her bouncer is Jake, on the other side, Chloe, and right behind is Riley. Lauren and Makenna are sound asleep in their beds upstairs and Paul is in the office working on logic games (ie, studying for the LSAT). I'm exhausted, but cannot sleep, so here I am updating the family blog.

So let's see....the girls are still completely toothless and I have been advised to enjoy the gummy smiles while they last. I'll take teeth, thank you very much.

Makenna is a little shit. In a good way...but also a very naughty way. Sometimes I stick her in the jumperoo or walker just so that I don't have to chase her all over the place. She hasn't even bothered to perfect her form when it comes to crawling because in Makenna's world, speed is paramount. So long as she can quickly get from point A to point B, it matters not how good she looks while getting there. Lauren, on the other hand, must value appearances because all she does is work on her form. Little Lauren pushes up into this perfect crawling position, then rocks back and forth...and just when it looks like she is ready to move forward, she collapses to the ground and has somehow moved back a few inches. Olivia just rolls around and although she tries to pull her knees up, she isn't yet strong enough to work on any sort of crawling.

All three are still insanely vocal and as of this past week we are finally hearing new sounds. Their volume is collectively increasing, as well, which is really awesome, I must say.

So I have been seriously considering making some baby food for the girls. By "seriously considering", I mean that I picked up some veggies and they have now been sitting in the fridge for three days. I haven't even bothered to look for recipes...that's how lazy I am. I wonder if I really need a recipe, though? I am generally 95% successful in the kitchen when it comes to adult food. I don't use recipes for that, so do I really need them for baby food? Perhaps a brief consultation with one or two recipes will do the trick. Speaking of yummy adult food, who wants my recipe for guacamole??? Oh, and I guess I might as well throw in my chicken marinade since so many people ask about both. Disclaimer: I DO NOT USE MEASURING CUPS...I wing it. That means my "recipe" is really a list of ingredients and loose suggestions for the amount of which to add. My food is tasty. If yours isn't, it's not because my recipe is flawed. Here goes:

3 avocados
1/4 cup sweet onion
jalapeno to taste
1 to 2 tomatoes (spring for the good ones...the ones on the vine, preferably)
a handful of cilantro, finely chopped
1 lime
1/2 orange
garlic salt
season salt
onion powder

Add all ingredients EXCEPT tomatoes. Use potato masher to mash everything together. Then add diced tomatoes and stir. Yummy!

Chicken marinade:
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup teriyaki glaze
3 tbsp honey
1/8 to 1/4 cup brown sugar
juice from 2 or more oranges
chopped green entire bunch
ginger...fresh or powdered
sesame seed oil (just a wee bit)
season salt
2 cloves pressed garlic
onion powder
cut with water if you need more volume

Update complete.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


It's 5am. I'm awake. Livy woke up for a 3am bottle. We're okay with that because she's itty bitty and we prefer she not be. So when Livy gives a 3am hollar, I come running, bottle in hand. So at 3am she stuffed herself silly and took a trip back to dreamland. I didn't. I couldn't really, because I had been sleeping since 8pm and just couldn't fall back to sleep. So I decided to hang out in cyberspace. Do people even say "cyberspace" anymore?

4am rolled around and Makenna started chatting to herself. That chatting turned into crying pretty quickly. Why did she awake at 4? Probably because Paul and I gave up early and put them in bed at 7, rather than 8, last night. We were both too exhausted to keep them up for another hour and, frankly, so were they. So I did the bad mommy thing and gave her a 5am propped bottle in bed. She is now asleep.

Lauren, however, is kicking. She lifts both feet in the air and slams then down into the mattress. She does this while sleeping, but eventually will awaken herself with these little earthquakes.

Hopefully now that Makenna has been fed, she will sleep until 8am. I have places to be in the morning, so it would be really fantastic if they slept in while I shower and prepare their bags. Paul and his mom are taking the girls to the Neurologist while I attend a 2-hour meeting. I'm just hoping my appointment ends in time for me to meet with them at the doctor's office. This neuro appt is just a regular follow-up being that they were preemies. We expect to answer questions regarding their development and if all goes well, we shall never return. Fingers crossed.

Makenna is still walking with assistance. I'm not sure why this amazes me, but it does. I'm in awe everytime she takes a step. When we returned home from the family festivities on July 4th, she actually walked about 8 feet around the living room. She just took off and kept going, one foot right after the other, in a matter of 15 seconds, maybe. Her face absolutely lights up when she's on her's adorable.

Okay, so it's now 5:15 and absolutely quiet. I'm gonna go ahead and attempt to crawl back into bed now....

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Mobile Makenna...

At this very moment Makenna is on the floor next to me, wriggling her way over to the printer and grabbing EVERYTHING in her path.

So it's really cute when babies learn how to roll over, and then learn how to hold their heads up, and then learn to push themselves up into crawling position. That's about when the cuteness stops and is replaced by sheer horror. I have a mobile Makenna and I'm kind of happy that I don't have a mobile Lauren or Olivia. But it would be my luck that the first baby who starts moving all around would be the one who will pose the biggest threats to my sanity, her own health, and every object in her destructive path. Fortunately, she moves at a turtle's pace right now and I have time to start babyproofing, right?

So what exactly is she doing? Well, she can move 360 degrees in a heartbeat, she can roll her way around a small area, and she can army crawl a few feet. But all of that seems to take too much effort, so she would rather just stand up. Well, now when she stands, she bends over at the waist, does lots of squats, and lifts her foot forward in a marching motion...and then lifts the other foot...and then lifts the first foot again! Last night she took 4 steps. Oh my God, she's trying to walk. Thank goodness she has terrible balance right now and cannot even stand in place without holding onto someone...and although she can stand up while holding onto the sofa or other pieces of furniture, she hasn't figured out that if she lets go, she will fall....hard. So it's like her brain hasn't caught up with her physical strength. Right now, the girl is all braun and no brain. Well, wait, I take that back. She actually is very inquisitive. Now when she crawls over to objects, she looks up and actually lifts her body so that she can reach up and touch them. So I imagine pretty soon she'll be grabbing onto things and pulling herself into a standing position. It all just happens so fast with her!

Our other two sweet darlings are a bit behind Ms. Makenna. Livy did just start rolling over regularly a few days ago. She hates being on her tummy, but she's doing better and better now that she is making the choice to roll from her back onto her tummy. I actually gave up on tummy time with her a while ago because I learned with Lauren and Makenna that once they learn to roll onto their tummies, they have no choice but to be in that position...and at that time, they will gain fantastic upper body strength. So why rush it and force lots of unnecessary tears? So, Livy is a roley poley (how does one even spell that phrase?)

Lauren is just content to lie on her tummy and watch the world. She does try to push up into a crawling position, but she doesn't make much effort with actually moving forward.

Any predictions on when Makenna will start walking on her own?

And any predictions on when we may see some teeth out of these girls???? 8 months and not one tooth. This is driving me NUTS!

Monday, June 29, 2009

8 Months Old!

I can't believe the girls are 8 months old today! Moreover, I can't believe how proud I am of these three little beauties. They are all three more perfect than I would have ever imagined them to be. Certainly that is just my Mommy bias, but I really feel so blessed to have given birth to my daughters. Just knowing them makes my life complete.

Makenna is sitting on my lap right now, just chatting away as I type. This girl gives me the biggest open-mouth, wide-eyed smiles every single morning. Incidentally, she also cries big, huge elephant tears every single afternoon. She just melts down throughout the day, and let's everybody know. But she goes from tears to smiles in an instant...and as frustrating as it can be, we love that she wears her heart on her sleeve. We also love how much she absolutely adores her two sisters. Makenna is the one who giggles with delight everytime one of her sisters is close enough to touch. She's just so much fun!

Livy is perfectly precious. She is quiet, happy, and always content. If she cries, it's for a very good reason...and usually due to physical pain. She does have a bulshit hour every evening. But that's it. The girl just goes all day, as content as can be...and then has an hourlong breakdown every night. It's like she just saves it all up for one big blow-up, and then she's happy again. She's just a doll, though, and her strength amazes us. And we love that no matter how much she has to go through medically, she still has an angelic spirit about her. Livy is simply an absolute pleasure to be around.

Lauren is just a cuddly little bear and she LOVES her mommy. I think Paul might be a little jealous over that one, but I need to revel in this because soon enough they will all be daddy's girls. Lauren is a lot like Livy in that she just doesn't cry and fuss unless she is really pissed off. In fact, sometimes when Makenna cries, Lauren just gives her a look as if to say "Are you freakin' serious, drama queen?" I think the best part of Lauren's personality is her sense of humor. She just lets out these neverending guttural laughs that can't be topped. And when she smiles, her whole face just lights up. How can you help but fall in love with 17 pounds of cuddly, smiley baby?

So I'm trying to remember dates of our recent milestones, but my memory fails all too often now. Thus, I'm using this blog as a diary of such events:

May 8 - Lauren rolled over for the first time
June 4 - Makenna rolled over for the first time
June 25 - Livy rolled over for the first time
June 27 - Makenna started army crawling
June 28 - Lauren and Makenna ate their first meat: Chicken...actually, it was Chicken and Apples...and ohmigod, did they LOVE it! Steak and taters, here we come!

Lauren is now waking up from her morning nap, so it's time for all of us to head downstairs and eat some brunch. I'll try to add some new pics later.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

We Ferberized Them

Shout out to fellow triplet mom, Megan, who directed me to her description of the Ferber Method on her website: My husband and I owe you a debt of gratitude, not only for saving us cash and hours of reading Ferber's sleep training book...but for giving us the gift of sleep!

We ferberized the shit out of our girls this week. It all started last Monday when I told Paul "ef it...we're putting them to bed at 8:00. I don't care if they cry. We'll just walk back in a few times and reassure them that all is good." Well, the joke was on us because both Lauren and Makenna wanted to eat again by 10pm. Same thing happened Tuesday night. Wednesday night the girls stayed at Paul's mom's house and although she tried to put them down by 9, they all kept waking up until midnightish. On Thursday Lauren and Makenna cried for an hour straight, but finally slept until 6am. On Friday, they drifted off to sleep without fussing, but woke up for a 3am feed. On Saturday I realized that something wasn't working and I asked the triplet moms for help. Alas, Megan showed me the light. She directed me to her website, which gives a brief description of the Ferber Method.

Saturday night they went down at 8pm and fell asleep without a fuss. Then, when they awoke for a 3am feed, we ferberized. We went in after 1 minute of crying to reassure them, then went back after another 3 minutes, then went back every 10 minutes therafter. It took about an hour and a half. They finally fell back to sleep until somewhere between 6 and 7am. Then Sunday night they went to bed with about 15 minutes of fussiness, but slept all night. And last night they went to sleep with about 2 minutes of fussiness and slept all night...actually, they slept for about 11 1/2 hours!!! It's amazing...and it took only about a week. And since this is my blog and I can say whatever I want to say, I would like to say "why in the hell don't more of you mothers try this?????????????"

I just read about a mom who "doesn't believe in 'cry it out'" so she lets her kiddos climb in bed with her every night if they wake up. She's prepared to allow them to do this until they sleep through the night on their own. I suppose I don't really believe in "cry it out" either, because I would never just let my kid sit there and cry and cry and cry without addressing her needs. But I sure as hell would try the Ferber Method if it meant my kids would get a great night of sleep nearly every single night...and I would get a great night of sleep, too.

So, yeah, we're all very happy in our house with this new schedule. Just thought I'd share...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Up and Running!!!

I'm the type of girl who can do without television...primarily because I can watch everything I want online. Take away my internet, though, and I'm not a happy camper. Don't get me wrong, I am quite content to leave technology at home while visiting my favorite little island (shameless plug for St. John), but I just don't like to be on the mainland sans google. Thus, I am happy to announce that our internet has been restored. All is right in my world. Paul is currently downstairs watching television while I sit on the floor of an empty office...Jake lying on my right, his monkey on my left, and Paul's computer on my lap. A cushy chair would be nice, as would a desk; however, it won't fit in this office. Rather, it won't fit through the door. It will, however, fit nicely on Craigslist now that we have internet again.

Oooooh! Just heard a baby burp. Paul must be putting Makenna back to bed. So tonight we tried the whole "in bed by eight o'clock" thing...and it worked soooooooooo well...for about 45 minutes. Let's just say that Makenna has a set of lungs, and quite possibly a tapeworm because she won't shut up and she won't stop eating. Is it too much to ask to have all three babies in bed at a decent hour? We are just so tired of ten and eleven o'clock bedtimes. The worst part is that it's different every single night. There's no consistency. It really doesn't help that we have had such an erratic schedule since the girls came home from the NICU, but I think it's time to create a routine. So today was day 1. I think we're allowed to fail miserably on day 1, right? Tomorrow will be better. I'll just go ahead and keep telling myself that.

For those of you with an interest in such matters, I took the girls to California on the 19th to visit my mom and grandparents (yes...I flew alone with 7-month-old triplets). I am so relieved to say that the flights went quite well. We flew nonstop and the girls behaved perfectly. I mean, they were so content on those flights that people were complimenting us as they walked off the plane. I won't lie, it was hard work. I had to figure out a way to feed all three at once, change diapers without leaving the seats, play musical carseats, and keep those girls happy...but they were all three so content and we were a fantastic team.

Our visit went very well and we all had a really nice time. Olivia had so much floor time that she can now roll onto her side. Makenna is still working on the whole rolling over thing. I'm thinking she's going to me more chatty and less athletic since she's quite happy just lying on the floor and making loud noises. Lauren is totally opposite. She wants to move and hardly makes a peep. They are all laughing, giggling, and engaging us more and more each day. We did have some professional pictures taken during our trip, but I'll have to load them another day.

In the meantime, all is well and I'm loving my internet.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

No Internet...

We just really haven't had a chance to get our internet up and running at home and so I haven't updated a thing. Technically, we have internet. In order to finalize the set-up, though, I need to call India. I don't like to call India. I'm procrastinating.

Livy is back in the hospital right now, but should be heading home tonight or tomorrow. She had a heart cath yesterday and is recovering nicely. I have tickets for Lauren, Makenna, and I to fly to San Francisco for a family visit next week, but we are awaiting the thumbs up from our doctor prior to adding Olivia to the trip. I'm looking forward to taking them out to Cali, though I'm sure the travel will have its challenges. I am just envisioning myself sitting in a row with three babies at the front of the plane...passenger after passenger walking by in fear of a five hour 3-baby chorus. I'll really be surprised, though, if there are many tears. These three girls just don't fuss much and so I'm hopeful that all will go smoothly.

Big news this week is that Lauren rolled from her back onto her tummy. All three of them abhor Tummy Time, so I have no idea when the rolling from tummy to back will start...or when they will attempt to push up and crawl for that matter.

All three are grabbing at thing, chatting, etc.

Now...lots of pics from the last couple of months....




Makenna & Lauren & Jake

Makenna and Lauren after the zoo

Lauren, Makenna, and Olivia

Makenna, Olivia, and Lauren

Lauren, Makenna, and Olivia





Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Home At Last...

...well, not quite yet, but very soon. The plan is to pack up Livy and all of our belongings...and leave this hospital today. Today marks 3 weeks from the day of her surgery and we cannot wait to get home. From a cardiac standpoint, everything looks great and she is recovering nicely. Unfortunately, we had some hiccups along the way and we are now working on eating.

Basically, because Olivia was intubated for 10 days, she needed to be on Fentanyl and Ativan longer than anticipated. When she was extubated, she began withdrawing from the meds and was eventually placed on morphine to help with weaning. Long story short, she became very constipated and stopped eating. She was placed on an NG tube and there was talk of her coming home on tube feeds. After quite a bit of discussion, we came to the consensus that we would see how well she could feed without the tube and just monitor her weight gain for the next couple of weeks. If she doesn't eat well enough and starts to lose weight, then we will have to re-visit the NG tube. For now, her coordination is poor and we struggle to get 1 to 2oz of 27-cal formula in her belly every 3 hours. We are working with Occupational Therapy to rectify this. Sounds like it may be a slow process, but at least we can get our girl home and work from there.

As for our regular baby updates, Makenna and Lauren are doing very very well. Lauren just loves to eat and eat and eat. She will eat an entire container of Gerber 1sts, while Makenna re-eats the same bite over and over again. In terms of chattiness, Makenna won't stop talking. She gets really loud and excited and makes all sorts of crazy noises. Lauren is much more subdued and quiet. She smiles all day long and rarely fusses. Olivia has actually started smiling a lot and has given me a few little coos here and there. All three are ridiculously happy babies. I'd say Makenna is the most temperamental of the three, but we really have it pretty good being that they are so content most of the time.

Not much else to report at the moment. I am currently awaiting a warm day so that we can pack up the girls and head to the zoo. I know they won't care too much, but Paul and I will love it, and they will enjoy the fresh air. So if this awful Ohio weather will cooperate, we will be "zooing" shortly.

Two big anniversaries coming up: first is the one year anniversary of the day we found out I was pregnant (May 1, 2008). Hands down the best day of my life. And on April 23rd Paul and I are celebrating our 5 year anniversary. Actually, I have no idea when we are actually celebrating that anniversary, but the anniversary itself happens to fall on April 23rd.

Thanks to everyone for your support. We are so happy to be heading home!!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

One Step Back

Over the years I have developed this theory that everything in life happens exactly as it should. Most of the time I can't really make sense of why life takes the course it does, but in retrospect, everything happens for a reason. I have learned to take something positive from every negative situation and doing so has provided me with the necessary tools to get through life. All of this seemed to start with the death of Paul's father. Although it was mostly Paul's journey, I learned a lot along the way. In the midst of the chaos, I vividly remember telling Paul's mother "I don't know what this is preparing me for, but it's preparing me for something." One week after Paul's father passed away, my uncle was involved in a serious accident resulting in a severe traumatic brain injury. Five years later, he remains confined to a bed or wheelchair, entirely dependent on others to feed, clothe, and bathe him. He really cannot even effectively communicate other than a yes or no response to basic questions. Thereafter, life went smoothly for a while. Then came the infertility. And then came the triplets. The 6 weeks of hospital bedrest. The 7 weeks in the NICU. And somewhere in there was Olivia's diagnosis. Although during most of my pregnancy there was no indication that anything was wrong with Olivia, I had this feeling that Paul and I would become parents to a child who needed more care and support than a "normal" child would. I knew we had the hearts to love such a child, regardless of her level of "normalcy"...and I knew we had the life experience to handle her needs with confidence and grace. If given a choice, we absolutely would have wanted Olivia to be medically perfect. But we weren't given a choice...nobody is given a choice. The only thing we are given are life experiences that provide us with every tool possible to succeed in handling all future life experiences. And so far, Paul and I have plenty.

Last night we were given the unsettling news that Olivia's temp had spiked. Immediately we knew this meant she likely has an infection. Well, long story short, this morning they think it is proably pneumonia. But as odd as it sounds, this is apparently good news. The bad news is that she is still on a ventilator and although they had hoped to have her breathing on her own by tomorrow, we are now delayed. The pneumonia has delayed the weaning process and for the next few days she will just have to remain completely sedated and on the vent. To combat the infection, Livy has been put on two potent antibiotics and they are using a heavy-duty suctioning machine to help clear her lungs. They have cultured everything, and will continue to do so until she no longer has an infection. For now, though, we worry...and we hope that this really is just a short delay in her recovery. We know how serious pneumonia is, but we must remain hopeful. Olivia is a fighter. She has more strength than she knows what to do with...and so while we all know she's on the sick side, you'd never know it by looking at her. As for her mommy, I just can't wait to see her little peepers again. I miss looking into her eyes, so much that it hurts, but I keep telling myself that it will just be a few more days.

Paul and I are doing fine, but only because we have had so much preparation for this. I thought our time in the NICU was rough, but seeing our little girl like this is so much harder now than it was back then. Had we not experienced the NICU, though, we wouldn't be so well-prepared for what we are experiencing now. So, in a way, we were blessed to have that experience. We are better parents, and better advocates for our daughter as a result.

Before I sign off, I just want to thank all of you who have been following our blog for all of your support. It feels so good to know that there are so many people out there sending positive thoughts and praying for our family. So thank you!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Long Overdue & Livy's TOF Repair

I have neglected this blog for what I would consider to be obvious reasons, the least of which is the fact that I am a mother to 5-month-old triplets. I need not elaborate, but such brevity would make for a rather uninformative blog. That said, long story short, we just received temporary orders to relocate from Corpus Christi, Texas to Cleveland, Ohio. Following receipt of those orders...and by following receipt, I mean following said receipt by approximately one week...we are now Clevelanders...or Strongsvillers...whatever floats your boat. Did I mention that our house was packed up and moved within a week of receiving those orders? Need I remind you that this happened while caring for 5-month-old triplets? The truth is, we were more than ready to get the hell out of Corpus Christi. Having spent eight of the last nine years in San Diego, California...and having pretty much grown up in Cali, those 15 months in Corpus elicited about as much excitement as a silent movie to a blind man. It didn't help that 7 of those months were spent pregnant with triplets and confined to our house...but on the other hand, it probably didn't hurt, either. So away we went to Cleveland, Ohio...and here we are. It's comfortable, strange, and not home. Although Paul grew up here, he no longer feels an attachment to this place, and we are both left longing for San Diego. That's the only place that has ever truly felt like home to the both of us and we can hardly wait to return with our girls some day. In the meantime, here we reside, and for the best reason: our little Livy and her broken heart.

Olivia is currently settling into her Pediatric Intensive Care Unit room here at Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital. We have yet to see her following an 8-hour surgery to repair her heart. As you may recall, she was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot one day after birth. We chose to head North in order to seek the best possible medical care for our daughter, and more pleased we could not be. Livy's surgeon performed a number of repairs on her heart and it should now function normally. With any luck, she will require no further surgeries, though the likelihood of further catheterizations is high. She certainly has a long road ahead, but she is off to such a great start. Following recovery, our next step is to fully diagnose any complications arising as a result of her chromosomal deletion, DiGeorge Syndrome.

As for the trio, they are doing amazingly well overall. Makenna doesn't stop smiling and "talking"...she's as chatty as her mother. Lauren is always wide-eyed and stares at EVERYTHING. Livy is less generous with her smiles and has a tendency to reserve them for the most deserving of people and occasions. She has mastered the "dirty look" and has a real knack for flashing at anyone who doesn't meet her standards. Mommy, however, always elicits smiles and if Livy's in a good mood, so does Daddy.

The only other real "milestone" any one of the girls have reached is starting solids. We haven't even attempted this with Livy, but Makenna and Lauren have both tasted their first solid foods. Makenna tries to suck her spoon and thus feeding her is a giant pain in the ass. Lauren, however, is so freakin' hungry all the time, that she has figured out how to eat like a big girl. In other words, she swallows more than she spits out.

So that's about it. I suppose I should update with some pics at some point soon, but for now I'm exhausted and dying to see my little girl.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Big Baby Smiles

Lauren is smiling and Makenna is smiling and Livy is maybe a week or two behind. We feel like we finally have some little human beings who are ready to interact with us. All three girls LOVE Paddy Cake, although my version of said nursery rhyme is suspect. I cut out a few lines and cut right to the chase:

Paddy Cake, Paddy Cake, Baker's Makenna
Bake me a Lauren/Livy as fast as you can!
Roooooooooolllllllllllll 'em
And put 'em in the pan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They love that I get down to the business of just rolling their hands and tickling their bellies.

So back to the smiles. No giggles yet, just big grins. Fortunately, Olivia is on a new formula that she is tolerating quite well. That means no vomiting...and that means that we can actually play after she eats. So now that we can interact with her w/out her barfing all over the place, she is starting to progress a bit more. She has given us a couple of smiles on demand, but not quite as many as her sisters. So, yeah, another week or two and we'll be a family of grinning babies!!!

Tonight was fantastic. We did big girl baths for the very first time. I loaded up all of the Bumbo chairs into the bathtub and put all three girls in together. They looked a bit stunned, but really had a great time. Of course, someone had to relieve herself about halfway through the bath. Tonight, that someone was Livy. We actually smelled it before we saw it. So, yeah, first big girl bath...and first time Makenna and Lauren had to bathe in their sister's poo. I'm sure they will all pay one another back at some point.

Here are some bathtime fun pics!!!


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

We all got RSV

Well, we all have now officially had RSV. Livy was in the hospital a couple of weeks ago. By the time she came home, I felt HORRIBLE. Paul also got sick, and so did his mom. Now Makenna and Lauren are doing terribly. They are coughing, not eating, eating and vomiting, constipated. You name it. The RSV SUCKS!!! I'm sure all will be well by next week and within another month we'll all be sick with something else.

So our fantastic news is that Lauren has been sleeping through the night fairly well. A few nights ago she went 7 hours, then 6 hours two nights in a row. Last night was around 5, I think. Maybe it's just because she's sick, but whatever, we'll take it. Makenna is going about 5 to 6 hours. We haven't waited around to see how long Livy goes since she needs to eat as much as possible. We may start letting her go 5 hours at night, though. We'll see. Either way, it has been a welcome change in our home. I just hope they sleep as well when they are feeling better in a week.

No big fat smiles yet, but we have gotten a few teeny little grins out of Makenna and Lauren. Livy is more serious, though. She smiles a lot in her sleep, but while awake puts on her serious face. I hope she develops a sense of humor!

Current weights:
Makenna - 8 lbs 10oz
Olivia - 7lbs 5oz
Lauren - 9lbs 10oz

The following are the most recent pics:





Thursday, January 22, 2009

Little Grunts

Livy is still grunting. I can't remember if I mentioned this before, but apparently preemies do this grunting thing and while it's marginally cute, it's also fantastically annoying. They do it while sleeping. Strange. They can be dead asleep and suddenly break out into a grunting chorus. Fortunately, Lauren and Makenna are quieting down as the days progress. Livy, on the other hand, is still going strong. One triplet mom described it as sounding like farm animals. She hit the nail on the head. So, yeah, sounds like we live in a barn. Not only did I birth a litter, but I now live in a barn. With a new mother's ears, these grunts are impossible to sleep through. Ugh.

So we passed their official due date and we now have little "newborns". The girls are staying awake more during the day and we actually get to have a little play time now. Play time mostly consists of them sitting on our laps being talked to and kissed repeatedly as they stare back in awe. Every so often I get what looks like a smile, but since it cannot be replicated, it's probably just gas. We also keep them in their swings sometimes so they can listen to music and watch their mobiles. A few days ago we brought out the boppy pillows again and started tummy time. Since the girls sleep so well on their tummies, we actually let them sleep on their tummies in the boppies quite a bit during the day. So tummy time starts out with the best of intentions, and suddenly they drift off to sleep.

This weekend brought lots of gas, constipation, and an umbilical hernia for Lauren. We have started offering gripe water and will be changing up their formula today in hopes that they will poop again. Livy's formula costs $30 for a small can. Can you say "insurance"? We'll be requesting an authorization for that crap ASAP.

Our big milestone moment of the week was a couple of nights ago when Lauren held her head up for longer than just a few seconds. First of all, she has a GIGANTIC head, so this was a pretty big fete. Granted, there was lots of bobbing, but you would bob, too, if your little neck had to hold up an abnormally large dome. Anyway, her little trick was replicated again last night sans bobbing. She actually pushed herself up with her arms and held her head high, then turned it side to side to look around. She had so much control (I feel like an American Idol judge when I say that). So I'm officially considering that a milestone. Lauren can hold her head up. Yay!!!

Below you will find some pictures of the past week or so...Oh, and we are all losing hair (even me), so please don't make fun of our bald spots.

ps...I turned 30. 'nuff said.





Thursday, January 8, 2009

Still unbelievably sleepy...

It's incredible. I barely sleep. Somehow, though, I manage to be more productive than I was before I was pregnant. Kind of.

Seriously, there is always laundry to be done. I could wash every single article of clothing, blankets, and towels. Yet by the time it's all folded and put away, there is about another one quarter load just sitting and waiting to be washed. Then there are the bottles. No matter how often I wash them, there is always a pile of dirty bottles sitting in the "dirty bucket". Yes, we have a dirty bucket. Dirty bottles sitting on the countertop drive me nuts. On top of all that we have about two different kinds of formula, as well as breastmilk to divide out between the girls. Olivia is on the gentle formula to help her poop. And it helps, lemme tell ya. Makenna is on the sensitive formula because she pukes up just about everything else. Lauren can take anything because she's a little piggy with a stomach of iron. Then I have my breastmilk, which I try to divide out between them just because. I am barely producing anything and have so little time or energy to think about pumping. I literally start to fall asleep almost every time my butt hits the sofa or the bed. However, I really enjoy breastfeeding and like to have the time to bond with them when I have the chance. Additionally, I'm just not ready to cut that final tie of them relying on my body to sustain their lives. I know that sounds crazy, but providing them with breastmilk feels so important in the bonding process. So as much as I just want to give up, I'm having a very hard time doing so. So my whole point is that 3 babies require a pretty decent amount of attention and it's exhausting. If we didn't have so many doctor appointments, life might be a little more manageable. And if I had a housekeeper, I could spend more time with my girls. But it's fine. It's going well, all things considered.

So I made my first big outing alone with them in the "triplet tractor" today. Technically, I took them out on my own to the doctor a couple of weeks ago. Paul met me there on his lunch, so I really wasn't alone too long. Today, though, I loaded them up in the sweet minivan and headed to the hospital to get bloodwork done on Olivia. Afterwards, we stopped at the doctor's office to get their 3rd Synagis vaccinations. Everyone kept looking at me like I was insane for being out in public with triplets and no assistance. People kept asking me where my help was. Honestly, today I didn't need any help. I could have used a different shirt since I broke out in a sweat pushing that giant stroller around in a sweatshirt, up hills and all...but the girls were so good. They kind of crumbled at the doctor's office, though, because they were hungry. You should have seen me. I was holding Makenna with one arm and feeding Olivia with my other hand as she sat in her carseat. Then Lauren started screaming, so I had to prop Olivia's bottle and set Makenna down while I made Lauren's bottle. I then propped Lauren's bottle while I changed Makenna's diaper. Next I changed Olivia, and then Lauren. I made Makenna's bottle, but by the time I was ready to give it to her, she fell asleep. Oh, and then I had to burp them all in between. Then the nurse came in and pissed them all off with their shots. And then we went home and they ate for real. About 2 hours after that I finally took a nap. It wasn't nearly long enough.

Medically, things are progressing. Livy's doctors are meeting tomorrow to come up with a gameplan for her surgery. We'll find out what they want to do on Monday. This week we met with a gastroenterologist and immunologist. Nothing of interest to report on those visits yet, but at least she is getting the consults she needs.

Did I mention how tired I am? Here are some pics. I have to go clean something...