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

Advertisements

Negative/ positive

Negative: For the first part of this pregnancy I have felt as though the world was sort of against us. Firstly with the difficulty of falling pregnant and then to be pregnant with triplets which increases the risks for almost everything. I won’t have a normal pregnancy, I won’t be able to deliver the babies naturally and who knows how I will go with breast feeding. It says it all in people’s reaction when you tell them you’re pregnant with triplets. It’s not always a “congratulations”. It more like a stunned look, followed by “wow, how will you cope”. A reaction I probably would have given if I found out someone I knew was having triplets. 
 
Positive: Our neighbors put it perfectly – ‘you’ve been chosen…you’ve got this’. Still one of the best reactions we’ve got. Instead of looking at this as a negative, it’s a massive plus to be having triplets. Firstly I could only be pregnant once in my life (boom), we will just need to nail each stage instead of trying to manage 3 separate stages (e.g. A newborn, a 2 year old and a school aged kid), only 1 maternity leave needed, they will always have mates, they will know how to share…etc etc. Now who doesn’t want to have triplets? 
Negative: Whilst I have come to the realisation it’s not all bad with having these babies, we have been hit with some horrible news in the past couple of weeks. Firstly I went to farewell my granny on a Tuesday. I delivered part of the eulogy and I don’t know if it was my hormones or the memories of my beautiful granny flashing back to me, but I could barely get the words out through my tears. My dad came up to support me whilst I spoke about his mother. Although she had a great innings and an amazing life, I was sad she couldn’t meet the triple threat. That bad news was closely followed by a tragedy and another farewell on the Thursday. A close friend of ours was taken at age 28 by mental illness. I don’t really know how to best describe her as she was just stunning in every way. The one you turn your head at when she walks into a room I guess that would be a start. Something that just shouldn’t have happened.
Positive: Pat and I lived in Western Australia for just under 3 years. We had a great time and met some truly amazing people. A friend from the west was travelling to Queensland for work and she managed to change her flight to stay an extra night so we could catch up. Meanwhile little did I know another friend had organised with Pat to fly over for one night and leave her 8 month old for the first time. Not only is that an expensive flight but also a fairly long and annoying one. I could barely believe my eyes when I saw her. We just spent the weekend with each other catching up. It made me realise how lucky and blessed we truly are. While we were in Western Australia the majority of our close friends visited us from Brisbane. It made me realise how lucky and blessed I am to have such amazing people in my life both close and far away.
It’s so easy to get caught up in everyday life and to dwell on the small stuff. But if this journey has taught me anything is that we are truly blessed. Out of every negative there seems to be some shining light. I could spend my nights worrying about these 3 little bundles, but instead I’m growing more and more excited to get to know them, what their personality is like and how much they will complete our little family. We don’t have a big house or every toy. But we have some great, great people in our lives that will fill them up with a lot more joy.     

  My gorgeous friends from Perth on each side of me.            

Over the hill

I’m nearly 19 weeks. I’m over half way. OMG!! We have been advised to have everything fairly well organised by week 24 (that’s 5 weeks away). This is for 2 reasons. I’m doubling in size weekly and we don’t know when these little ones will come out to meet us. So to get us started we attended 2 information evenings, hosted by the Brisbane North Multiple Birth Association. They were great – although both the facilitators and all other expecting parents were there for twins. Apparently it’s a bit different for triplets. They were lovely enough to ring around and find a triplet mother and father willing to give up their Thursday night to come and have a chat to us in the break. Funnily enough, we knew the triplet parents. She was my boarding supervisor when I was at school. I couldn’t believe how small this world actually was.
Whilst we learnt about preparing for giving birth, premmie babies, equipment, and routine in the information sessions, the triplet parents were worth their weight in GOLD. Honestly amazing. They actually took the concepts and told us how it actually happens in real life. From what prams and car seat (and cars) we need to get, their real routine, help, breast feeding and even the benefits. It was incredibly helpful and if there are any triplet parents expecting out there….find someone who has had triplets.
In the past few weeks we have started sorting ourselves for our quick countdown. We have had my amazing parents come down to install a dishwasher, pantry and linen cupboard. And let me tell you, the dishwasher has changed our lives! We have had my gorgeous father in law and Patty pick up a chest of draws, 3 cots and a change table (all for $90). So now we just have to organise it all. It’s hard to believe the babies aren’t likely to come home until Christmas and we’re doing this now.
Where has that time gone?! Since the 12 week scan my whole mind set seems to have changed and I’m feeling amazing. I’m enjoying my walking with Patty and Louie our puppy dog. Looking back, I can only really see now how terrible I felt (hung-over feeling/ tired etc.) and that it took me the first trimester to be ok with ‘the triple threat’. Now I’m ok…and actually excited. I wonder what their personalities will be like, what they will look like and of course the sexes, which we are keeping a surprise.
This photo is of me (in black) at 19 weeks and friend of mine who is 28 weeks. I hope you’re enjoying these updates…I’m enjoying writing them x

It’s no longer about me!

The 12 week scan changed everything. At this point it became so much more than a concept or an idea. It’s no longer about me. It’s about these little humans growing inside of me.

We had been continually told to prepare ourselves for losing 1, 2 or all 3 of the babies in the first trimester. But we didn’t. The 12 week scan was so much more than identifying if any of the babies had down syndrome, it was about seeing if this  pregnancy was actually real. And it is, they were all there and doing so incredibly well. We  saw so much more than the black hole and hearing the heart beats which we had previously seen and heard in the 4 and 8 week scans. We saw whole humans in there…and 3 of them.  They were all stacked neatly on top of each other with the bottom two sucking their thumbs and the top triplet sucking his/her fingers. We saw legs, arms, hearts, kidney’s, heads…everything you expect to see at 12 weeks. It was truly incredible.

We were told that if I was to carry triplets, we’ve given them the perfect combination. This meaning that the triplets were all fraternal, living in their own sacks with their own food supply. Our risk of various things going wrong had dramatically reduced. Although our risk hadn’t disappeared completely, it was considerably lowered. These words out of the doctors mouth was exactly what we needed to hear. The weight which we had been carrying around for the first 3 months had been lifted.

From this point it didn’t matter if I couldn’t go on my runs. It didn’t matter if I couldn’t drink alcohol at the numerous weddings, hen parties, engagement parties and birthday parties we had (including Pat’s 30th). It didn’t even matter if I wanted that coffee (or 2) a day. All that mattered was that these 3 little darlings could grow, develop and were given the best chance at life.

On reflection, I was completely selfish in the first trimester. I was sort of in denial that no matter what I did, they wouldn’t be able to survive, so I thought I may as well just carry on with my life. The stats scared me. So if I wanted a wine I had one. If I wanted to go for a 10km run, I did. If I wanted to coffee, I most definitely didn’t deprive myself of it. Now everything has changed. I wouldn’t dream of doing anything that could possibly damage or hurt these babies. They were real and ours and we are completely responsible for them. So if they want a chocolate chip cookie…they get one 🙂

THe triplets in at our 12 week scan. The last time we will get them all in the one scan.
THe triplets in at our 12 week scan. The last time we will get them all in the one scan.

Now it’s great. Whilst I’m growing quickly, I feel great. I’m not always hungry or wanting to vomit or even that tired. I’m now at 17 weeks and things are most definitely looking up…I’ll fill you in on the last 5 week in the next blog.

Everything is changing

Sorry I’ve been a snowed under and haven’t had a chance to write my next post…until now.
Here is a photo from week 14…

  
At the beginning it wasn’t so bad. It was actually good. When I put my ‘morning sickness’ aside and soreness, it was actually great. Finally my A cup had upgraded to a C cup (which is big for me) in a matter of weeks…and without any surgery. Happy days!! Unfortunately it didn’t last too long. I now look down (week 16) and my belly has overtaken my boobs. But that’s just the beginning of all the changes.
I honestly have to take my hat off to every mother/ pregnant lady out there. I am not made for this stuff. I’m also a glass half full kinda girl, but this stuff is hard. My boobs are bigger, but that’s about the only positive I’ve come across so far. I’m tired, hungry, sore, sick, getting fat, can’t exercise and just over really talking about it all the time (ironic really while I’m writing this blog). I didn’t expect it to be. I actually thought I would love being pregnant.
One of the hardest changes I had to take on board was the exercise…or lack thereof. Everyone who knows me probably considers me a little obsessed with my exercise. I love all the high impact/ vigorous exercise such as boxing and running and with a bit of yoga or walking on the side. I guess I just loved moving my body and pushing it to its limits. I have now had 3 professional opinions telling me I can only walk and do other low impact exercises (excluding yoga). So not only am I getting fatter and wanting to eat more, I can’t really counter balance that with much exercise. If I was pregnant with one, would it be the same? Probably not, I hear of loads of people running right up until their final trimester if they were previously a runner. But because I’m high risk and carrying 3…I am almost bed bound.
I often wonder that the only reason I’m tired is because I’m not exercising. Apparently not as it comes with the pregnancy territory. I guess I do have three sucking the life out of me. I wasn’t one of these ‘tired’ type of people. I woke early and went to bed early, but didn’t often feel too tired. Now I’m that rude lady in the corner yarning all the time. It’s uncontrollable. And when people ask how you are…I respond ‘tired’. Ekk who have I become.
It doesn’t stop there. Where did that saying “You’re glowing” come from?? How can I be glowing when I’m tired and breaking out in pimples/ red rash? I never use to wear make up to work, now it’s added into my daily routine of applying makeup. The only time I don’t really wear it is when I’m with my friends and family and I’m needing to ‘air’ out my skin for a few hours.
So I’m frustrated with not exercising, I’m tired and I have to wear makeup every day to cover up my horrible skin. But I also know this is temporary and for something much greater than selfish little me. Mums not only give up their body for 9 months, but they are completely dedicated to ensuing these little ones have the best start to life. For those considering getting pregnant, make sure you’re aware of what is really going to happen (obviously everyone is different so this may not apply to all). I am now…so ready for this. I often stop to rub my belly and have a little chat to the triple threat to see how they are going. Although this is all not what I expected, I know it’s going to be the greatest thing Pat and I ever do.
 

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.