The biggest year of our lives

Poppy, Henry and Charlie are nearly one. Our triplets are nearly ONE!! What?! Huh! How has 12 months passed us by. Whilst it feels like these babies have been in our lives forever, it wasn’t that long ago we were just starting this adventure. It has no doubt been the biggest year of our lives. Its time to stop and take this moment in before another passes and I forget what it was all like.

Ok, I’ve had my token “time flies” moment and now it’s time to actually digest in 500words or less what has just happened. My last post was months ago and I was listing their 8 feeds a day routine. Nothing much has changed in regards to routine…it’s like clock work here. The biggest difference now is we are watching these little babies turn into toddlers. We aren’t just feeding, bathing and burping them. We are watching them learn, grow and find their unique personalities each day.

This is by far the most rewarding and hardest job we have ever done. It’s pretty obvious why it’s rewarding – you are teaching little innocent minds how to act and behave; how the world works; how to love and my god you get rewarded. You get these little humans look at you with such love and affection while they clap their hands or wave or say “mum-mum-mum, dad-dad-dad”. You instantly forget about everything else for those moments.

At the same time, this parenting business is so hard. Like any parent, we have had to become selfless and completely give ourselves to these little people that need us. Giving up work and my daily use of brain power was one thing, but also giving up some of our friends because their world is different to ours at this point in time. We have also had to change the way we exercise and do our hobbies (it’s now gardening, walking and the occasional circuit or run). The intensity of how hard parenting is was truly tested when they were sick. Wow, that made other days feel like a walk in the park. Sure you get the odd glimpse of your old life, but there is no denying, our world has changed.

We have not for one moment had to do it alone. We have had the amazing support of both our families and close, special friends to guide us and help us along the way. They are honestly our sanity.

Life is certainly good. Whilst we have our tough moment, days and even weeks…I constantly sit back and go wow, these three are all mine (I know that sounds a bit obsessive…I could be slightly). We have our first family holiday coming up next week at the beach, followed by their first birthday. A time to thank everyone and enjoy this moment. I will try and do a post more regularly…in the meantime I’ll write a bit about their routine for those interested.

xx Em

Feeding – At 12 months they’re on 3 bottles a day varying between 240ml to 60ml. They have them before breakfast, lunch and after dinner. They love their food and we have been incredibly blessed to have a donation by Bellamy’s Organic. Needless to say they are tracking along beautifully with their weight (between 11-12kg). They have 3 main meals a day and 2 snacks. They’re enjoying feeding themselves.

Sleeping – I’m so lucky with my little ones loving their sleep. They have 2 sleeps a day, one at 8:30/9am for an hour and a second at 12:30/1pm for 2 hours. Most of the time at least 2 do that…I sometimes have quality one on one time with the one that doesn’t feel like sleeping (Henry today). They go to bed at 6pm and wake between 5 and 6am.

Milestones – I actually can’t remember when they started sitting up. I’m going to have to look back on photos. It’s all a bit of a blur. Poppy started crawling at 10months corrected (11months) and Charlie has just started this week (11 months corrected). Henry is still very happy to be rolling around.

Activities – they love going outside; going for walks; rhyme time and SWIMMING! LOVE Swimming.

Not sure what else there is to fill the world on in my world of triplets…but if there is anything you want to know, please feel free to contact me. xo

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Superwomen…not

IMG_5595It’s time. After 3 months of bliss (although not sure if bliss is the right word), my parents are returning home to the property. Mum and Dad have been with us since the beginning and it’s all coming to an end on the 20th of March. To be absolutely frank, I’m terrified. I don’t deny, I have been living in a complete state of illusion that triplets are manageable. There is no doubt that like any new mother, my life has been turned up side down and now revolves around a baby routine of feeding, sleeping, settling and playing (x3). But the real test is about to begin.

In fear of sounding like a broken record, I really don’t think I’ll have time for the blog anymore. In fact, I’ll have little time for anything. I love cooking, I enjoy exercising and even the odd coffee outing…but soon to put on the back burner. I would however love to write a blogs on feeding, their sleep routine and how we manage with triplets for those other mums out there. So instead I’ll do a snapshot of those important parts after the end of the blog.

I’m definitely not alone post 20th of March. I will continue to have my gorgeous mother in law coming every Thursday night and all day Friday. I also have my two sister in laws helping out, some wonderful friends rostering on and have some hired help with in home care (who happens to be one of my best friends). I guess the difference will be is that it will become a military operation, I’ll be alone for feeds and will have to put up with a crying baby demanding a feed…something they haven’t really done yet.

Everyone often says, ‘You’re a superwomen’…but the truth is out there, I’m not. I am however the mother of 3 absolutely gorgeous, unique triplets who are thriving. They all have amazing weight gain, reaching all developmental milestones and have smiles that light up our little house. We are two very lucky parents to have these 3 in our life…and everyone that surrounds them.

So in other news…I’m nearly 30. Ekkk. Therefore the triple threat at 29 won’t really apply. On my birthday, I am going to change my instagram page from ’emma.leyden’ to ‘three little leydens’. If you’re interested in seeing their progress, check it out… https://www.instagram.com/emma.leyden/

So what I’ve learnt…for those other mums out there

Sleep: In the first couple of months, it was nearly impossible for them to get into a routine because they needed to do so much sleeping. Instead we tried to create habits so they knew the cues. This included the last feed to have very little distractions (no TV or us talking to them etc) and in their sleeping bag for the midnight feed. Whilst they wake every night, they know the drill and they are back down to bed in no time. We push them out until 6am to do the first feed, even if they wake at 5am. We’re trying to do the hard yards now, so we can manage later.

Feed: This has been probably the hardest part to work out. I know the rule of thumb is 150ml per kilo but we’re mix feeding them (50% breast milk and 50% formula) and they’re all different weights. So we offer them the maximum amount per feed (of either formula or breast) but we don’t force it down if they aren’t interested. Generally speaking, they will finish it off at some stage during the day.

I know this would have helped me at the beginning so here is a breakdown of our day at 3 months. I don’t think it will stay this way, with their sleeps changing to morning and afternoon, but this is what they’ve opted for so far.

  • Between 12am – 3am Feed (they wake us, we don’t wake them)
  • 6-7am Formula feed – if they wake earlier we either put them on their tummy in bed with us or in a rocker which usually gets them past 6am.
  • 8-9am Morning walk – Once they’ve been fed and I’ve pumped, had breakfast and done a bottle wash, I strap them in the pram and take them for a walk which we all love. It gives them something to look at and gets me out of the house. They usually have a bit of a nap in the pram too. When we come back we have a kick around on the lawn with their nappies off.
  • 9:30am – breast milk feed
  • 10:30 to 1:30pm – big sleep. They don’t all go down then and sometimes takes the whole time to settle them but we try for at least a decent sleep. Most days we get at least 30mins of peace which allows me to make lunch for the hired help and cook dinner (or blog).
  • 1pm – formula feed
  • 1-4pm – after their feed they like to have some awake time before another quick sleep. We often do baths in this time too.
  • 4pm – breast milk feed. By the time they finish this feed (if they finish it) they have another kick around and have cuddles with Pat. Pat and I often have dinner and they will have another power nap, the key is having one at least asleep so we can feed 2 in peace.
  • 6:30 – formula feed and then bed. This can take anywhere from an hour to 2. Hence we have an early dinner before this feed.
  • 9pm bed for us 🙂

 

 

The bed rest bore

I had another scan last Thursday and the babies are all doing really well. Triplet 1 was 1.1kg, triplet 2 was 1.4kg and triplet 3 was 1.3kg. According to my baby centre app, the average for that stage is 22 pounds or just over 1 kg. Having said that, triplet 1 is engaged (head first, ready to come) and my cervix is starting to open. As a result I’ve been ordered onto bed rest and for those of you who know me, know that’s nearly impossible.

It’s catch 22. For once in your life you have free time to do whatever you want. To get those odd jobs done, go on a holiday, shop etc. Whilst I’m feeling great, I can’t do anything. But when the doctor puts it into perspective how important it is to keep those babies in there for as long as possible you really have to stop and not be selfish. You see the longer they’re in there, the best chance they have at breathing, feeding, controlling their own temperature and all those things we can take for granted with singleton babies.

So that leaves me a little bored to say the least. I have tried getting into TV series, reading a book, doing some adult colouring in, doing tax, my paid parental leave application…but I just don’t feel satisfied. From living such a busy life with exercise, work, renovating and travel I am left a little empty. It really has forced some self reflection that I need a temporary hobby. I have often found myself slipping back into my old ways – cooking (freezer meals), daily visit to the dog park with Louie and outings (movies, lunch dates etc), but enough is enough. So I’m thinking knitting next…something I would never think of doing but I hear it’s very satisfying having an end product. What else could I do to keep me horizontal?? I welcome any suggestions.

Next scan is next Thursday…will keep you posted. xo

Making a saving

It’s 6am on the second day of maternity leave and the first thing I do is reach for the computer to check emails. I clearly haven’t snapped out of my work routine yet. I’m sure it won’t take long. So now the emails are done, it’s no better time to write my next post.

So I’m 28 and half weeks pregnant with the trips. The past 2 weeks hasn’t been smooth sailing as I’ve had a chest infection, however we’re over the worst of it.  My amazing parents in law took me under their wing and looked after me. What would we do without family?!

Now it’s time to nest, organise and prepare for the triple threat. Some advice I’ve been given is not to buy too much, instead to get whatever I can second hand. It’s a little bit different to having one. We don’t need to make the investment for children following. It’s all in the one go. We also need to save every penny, just to give birth to them as the medical expenses are so much more than if we were to have one. So this blog is both to help the new triplet mums get organised for their new arrival in the most cost effective way possible and for those experience mums…what am I missing and what else could I do???

  • Car – bought a second hand Mazda CX9 which comes with 7 seats.
  • Cots – 3 second hand all painted freshly white with ikea mattress protectors and sheets.
  • Change table – 2 second hand ones. One for the babies room and one with a bath in it for the l’dry.
  • Storage – 2 x ikea shelving units with 12 Drona boxes (yes 12) of course in all neutral colours.
  • Feeding chair – my lovely mum must have foreseen I would have children one day and did up this chair for me which is now neatly placed in the babies room.
  • Clothes – THANK YOU sister in laws. I have 4 amazing sister in laws who have given us both boys and girls clothes. I might just need to purchase premmy clothes, however waiting for when they come out. Someone did tell me to just go on ebay and you can buy bulk clothes for whatever size you need.
  • Pram – 2nd hand from a triplet mum. This pram retails at $1600. Good news is there are always one popping up on Gumtree. Phew.
  •  Car seats – capsules hired from Kid Safe QLD.
  • Rockers – we’ve been given 2. You can hire these if you want too, as they only need them for a short period of time.
  • Baby carrier – given one.

So that’s it…what else do I need? I know I want to invest in a good nappy bag…any suggestions? What else do we need????? Breast pump, bottles…HELP.

I don’t want to sugar coat anything here. Whilst I have gotten off lightly with spending money on things, having triplets is still ridiculously expensive. Our medical expenses are so much more with the fortnightly doctors appointments from the beginning…now weekly, the scans (I’m up to my 5th today which cost $400 a pop), the extra hormones I have to have every night ($50 a week), the steroids and beyond. I guess if I can make a saving on materialistic things and so we aren’t stressing about money to ensure we get these babies out safely, we will make the saving.

Please add your comments below with any suggestions or ideas. I’m new to this! Thank you xox

Closing a chapter…for now

I’ve been procrastinating doing this one….or avoiding it. For those of you who know me, know that I am one of those very rare and lucky people who love what I do and completely believe in it. When people ask when I’m giving up work, I give the typical response, “Not soon enough”, but I don’t really mean it. Closing this chapter is actually a bit harder than what I imagined.

So what do I do you ask. I work in preventative health – from changing behaviour to influencing environments so the healthier choice is the easier choice. I currently hold a role with government which allows me to change workplaces for the better. It’s an exciting time, workplaces are going beyond to achieve greater business outcomes through improving workers health. I still see so many opportunities for growth and to do more in my industry.

I have always had the mind set that you can’t do it all. You can’t work full time and be a mother full time. Something has to give. That could be fewer steps on the corporate ladder or even worse, the children’s wellbeing. This scares me a little. I will have to become completely selfless and give up my career for these little ones.

You’re probably thinking, stop being so dramatic, you’ll be back at work in no time. And you’re right, I will be back at work in a year or two. There are few things that worry me though, firstly how I’m going to make a meaningful contribution to this world or even our household income? Will I be the role model our children need?  And will I still have that drive in me when I do return to work?

I hear becoming a mother changes you. I don’t know how or what into. But it’s the unknown that worries me. I’m not only closing a chapter (temporarily) of 10 years, I’m opening a new one. One that I have no idea about. If I was having the one child I could almost make that plan to return to work. But we’re having three, so we have to be completely selfless to give them the very best start to life and take the wait and see approach with work. For all I know it could be years away.

I finish up work next Thursday. What next…I don’t know.The world at my fingertips

Public vs. Private

It’s one of the first decisions we have had to make, yet it has been one of the toughest so far. With this decision comes which hospital, what level of care, which doctor or do we just put our trust in the public system and roll with it?! We always imagined we would go privately as we hadn’t really known anything else and had organised health insurance well over 12 months ago.

Unfortunately for us, organising the health insurance doesn’t necessarily mean the decision is made. A high risk pregnancy is sort of like a can of worms which we needed to open and explore.

First mistake we made was that we googled private vs. public. Of course you only ever read the horror stories. With the public system we read everything from a horrible delivery, a stitch which had to be re done resulting in a long and slow recovery, terrible care for the baby and beyond. We did have to stop ourselves and really think about the validity of these stories, the perspective of those writing them and their situation. Although so many women have babies every year, every birth is unique and everyone has a story…unfortunately with giving birth, most are tough.

A friend of ours who is also pregnant and a GP really helped us understand the public system. I guess that was one of the biggest parts of it, we just didn’t understand how the public system worked, especially for a high risk pregnancy. She believed the public system would give us the level of care we needed for our situation. The only sacrifice we would have to make is potentially sharing a room and not having the continuity of care the private system can offer. So that was that, we could save our dollars and go public.

If only it was as easy as that. We then told our families that we were going public and they thought it was about the money, so automatically their reaction was to help us. That was the last thing Pat and I wanted. Not for one minute would we pick money over our health. It wasn’t about the money, although it would help if we could save over $6,000 in out of pocket expenses…but it was about the level of care. It was that if we went public, we would have got the same result as if we went private. So to put our families mind at ease, we promised we would speak to our fertility specialist and go with what he would say.

We had our 8 week appointment with our specialist and he checked the 3 strong heart beats, the sizes of the triple threat and made sure they were all doing well. They were. So we went back into his office after the scan and we asked him what he thought…public vs private. As he was a private and public doctor we felt he would help us come to some sort of conclusion. He told us the facts and everything we already knew or had learnt through this whole process. It was when he said, “The doctors who specialise in multiple births aren’t really looking for business, so ask them.” He than went to explain that with a high risk pregnancy we would be closely monitored, have potential long stays in hospital and consistent communication needed. So he felt it would be best to go private. So private it was.

It’s easy to obsess over it. The bottom line is, public or private the babies and mother would get the best level of care. The only difference would be the cost of going private and the comfort (or lack of) by going public. The end result would be the same ,public or private. So we’re having the babies at the Mater Mothers towards the end of this year (due date 28th December).

This was me (on the right) when I was just 2 weeks pregnant with one of my gorgeous friends.
This was me (on the right) when I was just 2 weeks pregnant with one of my gorgeous friends.

And than there was 3

We were up to week 4 in the pregnancy and I woke up on Thursday morning feeling horrible. It was either a bad case of morning sickness or a vomiting bug (you don’t want to know the details). I feared the worst…was this going to be my pregnancy for the next 8 weeks or had something happened.

My doctors wanted to monitor my ovaries and make sure they were recovering from all the stimulation, so I was due to see him on the Friday. After telling him about the vomiting etc, he did another scan. He initially commented, “That’s looking really good” and showed me a little heart beat. It was an amazing feeling, hearing the heart beat. I was so relieved. That feeling soon disappeared and so did my fear of morning sickness for 8 weeks, when he said, “Ohhhhh”. My instant reaction was, “Are there twins?” He replied, “No, triplets”. My heart sunk. The doctor than went onto showing me all 3 heart beats and spoke about some of the logistics with having triplets (premature birth, higher risks etc). There was no programmed social norm for this reaction, so I was just silent. I didn’t know what to say or do, what questions to ask, I was just blank.

As soon as I walked out of the doctors survey I called Pat. He was out working and couldn’t really speak, although there wasn’t much to be said. We needed time to process this information. We had both dreamed about having a baby, just didn’t expect there would be 3. This wasn’t anything like what our dream looked like.

I couldn’t keep this secret to myself. I needed to tell someone, especially while Pat was away working. So we decided to call the family members via a conference call and tell them the news. There were 9 calls made. Everyone seemed pretty clued on as soon as we called together. They just weren’t expecting the bomb to drop. They all started out similar, “So we’ve got some news….and there’s more…”. The immediate support we got from our family reassured both of us. Not only did it start to become real, it was ok as we weren’t alone. In the weeks to come, the reality of having triplets sunk in.