You have triplets???

I can completely sympathize with the mom in this story. These days, I don’t have to tell anybody that I have triplets. If I mention it, it’s because I am at that moment prepared to discuss them, to answer questions and generally engage in conversation about them. When they were babies, though, it was never optional.

I took them everywhere, three babies all lined up in their triple stroller. You couldn’t miss them. They were obviously the same age. A neon sign could not be more obvious.

Having the triplets was not the first time I was in the presence of a neon sign like that. I am well aware that a blind person walking with a mobility cane attracts the same amount of attention, the ogling and the stares and the heads turning to follow us as we pass. Nor was it the last; Kender and A’Kos attract just as much attention.

The difference comes in how people treated us. With disabilities, people stare, but they generally don’t approach. It’s rude to talk about somebody’s blindness, their cane. People stare and then try to pretend they weren’t, and unless they are interacting with us for another reason, they leave us alone.

Not so when you have multiples. People will come up and admire them, touch them, and ask all kinds of questions. They get into personal issues that would never otherwise come up in conversation with a stranger, details about my health and sex life. They don’t ask if I want to talk about these things. My very existence in public was assumed to be permission enough.

Most of the time, I handled this okay. I broke down in tears once when a woman commented on how I must have so much help, because in reality I had none, and she actually enrolled me in her own church’s program for new mothers, bringing us food and cleaning my house for a while. (I still want to pay that forward someday!) But mostly, I smiled and answered questions.

Until one day at the mall. I was having a hard time that week, and I decided to go walk around the mall, to just do nothing and window shop for a while. A woman in a wheelchair came up to me and started asking those personal questions, when I was in no condition emotionally to interact with people, and I just snapped. I starting throwing the questions back at her: Why are you in a wheelchair? How do you manage it? Does it even bother you?

Rude as hell. And she was very offended.

What was the difference, really? And I said I was upset, and I was not in the mood to talk. What did I need to do, hang a sign on the stroller? Like the giant “Don’t pet me!” patches people put on their service dogs. She still was offended.

For some reason today I was thinking about that day in the mall, and then the story about the twin mom and her signs and the backlash she got showed up in my news feed.

I get it. I understand. I sympathize. I was there.

Ocean Gypsy

While I was pregnant with the triplets, Brian and I ran across somebody I hadn’t seen since my college days in Denton.  His handle in college was Angel, but his name was David.  Of all things, I saw him leaving as we were standing outside the theater in Austin.  I hailed him, and we started chatting.  We ended up spending quite a bit of time with Dave and his wife and friends, before the triplets were born.  We joined their D&D group, we hung out many nights at the 24-hour IHOP with coffee and smoke, and once I was bedridden, we hosted games and movies at our tiny apartment.  Dave’s wife liked to take notes during our games, planning to write a book or stories based on them.  I don’t remember her name, just what she looked like.  When we had to move from our house to the apartment, we had to get rid of three of our cats, and Dave and his wife took one.

That period was the last happy, friendly time I remember for many years.  I remember watching Star Wars, playing Star Wars video games, watching Merlin and similar movies, staying up so incredibly late at the IHOP just drinking endless cups of coffee and talking about games and improbable scenarios, like the railgun to launch a frog to the moon.  Pizza and ice cream and chips and raiding dungeons, just hanging out with friends.

Most of our friends disappeared after the triplets were born, and we haven’t been in touch since, but Dave’s wife gave me a cassette she made beforehand.  It was a homemade compilation, with songs from a local a cappella minstrel group along with various other songs from lots of places.  It was all the kind of music that you could sing along with, dance with, or go to sleep with.  I played that tape so many times, in the NICU, when the babies came home, while I pumped, while I was up at all hours of the night alone with three babies.  I eventually lost the tape.  I think it was destroyed by a child somewhere along the way.  I didn’t have a list of the songs on it, so it was completely lost.

Every once in a while, I hear a song, and suddenly my breath catches as I recognize it from that baby tape.  The music takes me back to that time as I sing along, and I rush to check whatever source I’m listening to for the artist and song title, so I can find it again and keep it forever.  Today, it happened as I came out of the shower, listening to Middle Earth radio.  The song was “Ocean Gypsy” by Blackmore’s Night…and one more song comes back home to me.

 

Another hospital trip

Today my cousins came up from San Antonio to see me and my mom and we went to the mall. Spent a lot of money at the Disney store! But I had been needing to go anyway, to get some stuff. I was very careful through all of this; I didn’t even drive, and at the mall we got a wheelchair for me from customer service, so I wasn’t even walking there.

This afternoon I started having pains in my lower back. I thought they were gas pains, that’s exactly what it felt like. I felt pretty miserable from it, it hurt, but I just figured I needed to pass gas and I would be okay. So we went out to dinner again after the mall. By the end of dinner, I was really miserable, and the pains seemed to be starting to radiate towards my front. So when we got home I laid down and started timing the pains. The pains were coming every seven minutes, and gas pains don’t do that! I drank a ton of water, but it didn’t help. We called the doctor and went in to the hospital.

By the time we got to the hospital I was pretty sure it was contractions, and it hurt terribly. I couldn’t figure out what was going on, though, because most of the time I didn’t feel anything in my cervix, and I have always been able to feel the stitches pulling before. Just before we went to the hospital, I noticed that my pants were really wet, and I was a little scared that my water had already broken. They tested for that at the hospital, though, and they said no, that it must just be increased discharge or something. They have these little strips of paper, like litmus paper, and it only turns color in amniotic fluid. So when the nurse stuck one of those in between my legs and it didn’t change color, they said my water hadn’t broken.

They put me on a monitor, but it wasn’t picking up the contractions well at all. And whenever a nurse was feeling my belly when I had a contraction, she said they weren’t very strong. My doctor wasn’t on call that night, it was another one, and he never came up. They decided to send me back home. I asked if they were going to check my cervix first, and the nurse said not because it would just irritate my cervix and make things worse. So they didn’t even look. No drugs, not even a fluid drip. They just gave me a Seconal to make me sleep and sent me home.

Stretch marks and discomfort

I think the stretch marks have finally had enough. They seem to have stopped multiplying along the front, and they aren’t getting that bad anywhere else, so hopefully the worst is over.

I’m so uncomfortable sleeping and walking; I don’t even remember what comfortable is. I take little bitty steps when I walk, because if I try to take bigger ones, it stretches on my belly, and if I stand or sit without support for more than a couple of minutes then my back starts to give out. On top of that, imagine having constant altitude sickness; I’m always out of breath, feels like I’m living at my mother’s. The worst part is, it’s going to get much worse before it gets any better! All I keep telling myself is, next time around, if it’s only one baby, this is as bad as it’s going to get.

I have been feeling a little better yesterday and today, though. I feel like I have some more energy, and I feel less discomfort getting up and walking around than I have been. Maybe this means I’m over the hump?

More food!

I’m still getting bigger, but not big enough, apparently. The doctors have me checking my urine for ketones every morning, and I’ve been positive all week even though I got my sugars well in hand for now with my diet. So the doctor says I’m not eating enough, and to add another carb and protein to my bedtime “snack” which is now as big as my meals! I’m definitely never ever hungry anymore!!

Diabetic Diet

I can’t even make it through a good pregnancy without bursting into tears on a regular basis. Between constantly worrying about whether I’m feeling contractions or not, all the people who are driving over 20 miles to go to the store for me because nobody I know closer will do it, Brian having to cook and clean and take care of the house on top of working full time, and now dealing with how to handle this diet and insulin, there are days when I wonder why I wanted to do this in the first place. It is so hard sometimes to remember how badly I want these babies, so hard…

I saw the dietician and educator today. They at first were wanting to track down the doctor and get a prescription for insulin right away, but decided to give me a couple of days more closely tracking diet and sugar so he can see that a little better on Friday. But they seemed positive I’ll be on insulin by the weekend and were training me for it anyway.

So if you’re interested in what it takes to feed three, here’s my diet, for a whopping total of 2700 calories and 150g protein:

Breakfast (7:00 am)

  •  1 starch
  • 1/2 milk
  • 2 meat
  • 1 fat

Snack (9:30am)

  • 1 starch
  • 1/2 milk
  • 2 meat

Lunch (12:30pm)

  •  1 starch
  •  1 milk
  •  1 fruit
  •  3 meat
  •  1 fat

Snack (3:00pm)

  •  2 carb
  •  2 meat

Snack (5:00 pm)

  • 2 carb
  • 2 meat

Dinner (7:00pm)

  • 3 carb
  • 3 meat
  • 1 fat

Snack (10:00pm)

  • 2 carb
  • 2 meat

 

Diabetes

I continued to get high blood sugar readings over the weekend. Not outrageously high, but considering normal readings for me are very low, and the readings I was getting were above the guidelines my doctor told me to look for (140 at 1 hour after meals, 120 at 2 hours), I went ahead and called. They didn’t want to move my test up, saying something about how they can’t screen for diabetes before 28 weeks (which is complete nonsense, but anyway); however, they’re calling in orders for me to see the diabetes management group at Seton to get a diet, and they’re giving me an “official” testing schedule for me to track for them. So they’re going to treat me like I’ve already failed a screen, even though they won’t give me a screen and from the way they talk they think I’m insane. However, it doesn’t do any harm to treat myself as though I already have it, and if I am already diabetic then it certainly could help.

I’m so frustrated, though. So what if I am being paranoid. I’m having triplets, and there are so many extra things that can go wrong that I think I’m entitled to be paranoid!

Chefs, and a trip to the hospital

I sure could go for some hot, fresh, cooked-in-front-of-me food. I came across the neatest thing a few weeks ago when I was looking for something I could get myself for dinner while Brian was at Fiesta Texas. There’s a company in town that will come to your house, plan a multi-course meal with you, go shopping, cook it in your kitchen, clean everything up, and freeze/refrigerate the leftovers. No prices on the website, so I bet it costs out the butt, but isn’t that just a dream come true sometimes?

Thursday I had a doctor’s appointment. For the first time ever he actually didn’t look at the babies, just listened. He also measured me, and I was 37 cm!! So those of you who were wondering just how big I was, now you know. Everything looked great, and since I hadn’t been having any more contractions, they let me back up to light duty. However, every week that goes by just makes it harder for me to even tolerate light duty, so I’m still pretty much staying on the couch, getting waited on by Brian. I did meet some friends for a quick lunch out yesterday, though.

I have been having dizzy spells, heart palpitations, and breathlessness for the last several months. When I mentioned this all to my doctor, he basically gave me a list of 50-odd things that are perfectly normal that are probably causing all of that, especially since all my vitals are normal.

Last night around seven I got an extremely sharp pain along the left side of my abdomen, so bad I could hardly breathe before it finally backed down. It lasted about half an hour. Then as it faded, it radiated out to the center of my belly and the bottom, and a little while later I started having contractions. A little stronger than last week, still not regular, but over 10 an hour. So we headed on down to the hospital. By the time I got to the hospital, they were strong enough to start pulling on my stitches in my cervix (OUCH!). The contractions didn’t hurt at all, but the stitches certainly did!

They put me on a fluid drip in the hospital, and the contractions eventually backed down, although it took until about 4 in the morning for them to go away completely. They kept me overnight and through breakfast, but the contractions didn’t start up again, so they let me come on home. They actually didn’t put me back on bedrest this time, but I’m pretty much doing it anyway, like I said. The doctor who was on call basically just said that, since I’m going to be spending so much time in the hospital anyway, and I have gotten a pretty good grip on when I’m having contractions, he didn’t see any point in making me hang out up there if nothing was actively happening.

So…another eventful evening, another sore spot on my wrist, another doctor who knows what I look like…but nothing really changed. You’d think I’d really be going batty at this point, but there isn’t much I can do about any of it, and as a matter of fact, I am doing a hundred times better than I had any right to expect at this point. It’s a wonder I’m not already on tocolytics, or permanently admitted, or something else nasty. So I’m pretty happy with things, considering.

Free stuff, and diabetes strikes!

Well, I started getting some really nasty sugar readings today on my home monitor.

*insert colorful cursing here*

Guess I get to figure out how to consume 3000 calories on a diabetic diet.

*insert multicultural cursing here*

Brian thinks it might just be a one-day thing, and there really isn’t anything I can do until Monday anyway. But I’m certainly going to be watching those numbers like a hawk this weekend; if they don’t go down I’m going to have them move my screening up to Monday or Tuesday.

I’m doing my best to keep 3000 calories from being all sugar and fat; I’ve got a protein supplement that I sometimes mix with my orange juice, I drink a can or two of generic Ensure every day, and otherwise I eat whenever I’m hungry and don’t say no to myself if I want more. More grapenuts, another sandwich, extra cheese….Probably a good bit of fat, but mostly I’m trying to get lots of protein. Ideally I ought to be getting 150-200 grams a day, and that’s tough!

As a mother of triplets I am entitled to two free diaper genies straight from the manufacturer. I have to wait until after the babies are born, though, because I have to send copies of their birth certificates, just like all the other free stuff. However, if I’ve already gotten a diaper genie, they’ll send free bags for it instead of the genie itself. It just so happens that my brother, who I think was the only person at the time who wasn’t aware of this, decided to buy me a genie for my baby shower, so I do already have one. Now I have to decide if I want to get one more genie and the free bags, or if I might need three genies.

BabyZone has a freebie page that lists a few deals for multiples on it, but I got my list from Mothers of Supertwins and they have a huge list of free stuff for higher-order multiples. It is definitely worth looking at for anybody else expecting multiples.