Friday, March 31, 2006

Three weeks and counting ...

... and there are still traces of sickness in our house.

We returned from our trip to Florida three weeks ago today ... Charlie came down sick on Saturday ... really sick on Sunday ... and by Monday, William was glued to me. Elizabeth had it Tuesday, Carolyn had it Wednesday. I caught it Thursday. All of us were feeling better by Friday and I thought we were through the worst of it. Friday night, I learned otherwise. William was up all night crying. I tried to sleep with him on the couch, but he'd cry with his eyes closed. The poor little guy. It was impossible for him to sleep - impossible for me to sleep. I suspected it was probably an ear infection. We scheduled an appointment with the "after-hours" Pediatrician for 9 AM with all three babies Saturday morning. My suspicion was confirmed. William had an ear infection - a double ear infection ... as did Elizabeth. Carolyn's ears looked clear, so the doctor gave us a prescription for Zithromax for W&E. I mention that we had the prescription for Zithromax because Elizabeth, had a horrendous allergic reaction to amoxocilin with her last ear infection in January. There's nothing worse then seeing your baby covered in hives. Here's a picture of that, for those who missed it.
Saturday night was a repeat of Friday night. Although, this time, it was Elizabeth up all night. Again, so was I. Apparently, the antibiotics take about 48-hours to "kick-in." By Sunday morning - everyone seemed to be feeling better. Although, after a short while ... Charlie started to complain that he might be taking a downward turn. What? There are "generations" to this bug?! At 6 PM on Sunday night, Carolyn fell asleep in her highchair. She never does this. Her temperature spiked 103 and she was lethargic. I gave her a dose of Tylenol, got her in her pj's and put her to bed. By 7 PM, I was feeling lethargic. Oh, oh....

Fast forward to this week. William and Elizabeth are back to themselves. Charlie is feeling much better. Carolyn is winning the war on what turned out to be a viral respiratory infection. Fortunately, she avoided an ear infection, all together. She's doing much better and remains happy - except for those times I go near her with a bulb syringe to clear out a stuffy nose. If the truth be told - everyone is doing better then me.

I'm still sick. It's been a solid two weeks. I've lost 11 pounds. I finally dragged my sorry self off to the doctor yesterday and he told me that I was acting like a dumb ass. I wasn't offended ... I had to agree with him. (edited to read: OK - this is killing me. See, this is how I have it entered in to my journal - but in actuality - he agreed with me. I don't want people thinking my doctor is rude and calls his patients bad names). He's the dad of 9-month old twins and a really nice guy. He's always managed to squeeze me in last minute, which was particularly important when I needed a prescription ... post haste for mastitis last year (on one, two, three occasions). Why it took me two (2) weeks to go see him, when every day I felt just as bad, if not worse than the day before ... is plain dumb. The reason that I was so apprehensive to go, is because I'm stubborn - like an ass. I thought that I'd be able to "beat" it by myself without getting on an antibiotic. Aside from which, when do I have TIME to go to the doctor?! The 48-hours aren't even up since I've started my prescription - and already - I can tell that the antibiotic I've been put on is zapping this nasty bug in it's dumb ass.

Nonetheless, this whole sickness thing has really got me thinking.

  1. It's rotten to be sick.
  2. It's even more rotten to have your spouse be sick at the same time you are sick.
  3. Nothing is more rotten then when you, your spouse, and all of your babies are sick. At the same time.
  4. When you're sick ... if you're not better within a few days, don't be a dumb ass. Go see the doctor. Chances are - there is something they can give you to make you better much faster then if you were trying to "fight" it on your own.
  5. If we can put a man on the moon and check our e-mail from a blackberry ... WHY can we not come up for a cure to the common cold?
  6. The advertisements on TV with sick people that take cold remedies and feel "good as new" are phooey. Those people aren't really sick. I think this is a bunch of false advertisement. Even when I didn't need an antibiotic to feel remotely human, I've spent a load of money on stuff to help me get through the day like the guy in the Sudafed commercial and sleep through the night like the lady in the Nyquil commercial ... and neither product worked the way I thought they would. Maybe it took the edge off - but I wasn't close to being right as rain. The only thing that really works as good as they say it will, are Puffs with Lotion.
  7. I am scared to death to participate in playdates because I don't want to go through #1, #2 or #3 again.
This is only the third time our kids have been sick. The first time happened a few days after their 1-year birthday party. It's a no brainer that they got sick because there were sick kids at our house. The second time they got sick, was when a friend came over ... with her sick little girl ... for a playdate. Whamo. Within three days, we had runny noses, fevers and fussiness. I'm at the point where I never want to leave our house our yard again. At least not until our kids can blow their own noses.

Here's the problem. EVENTUALLY, we have to expose our kids to the outside world and not be such a bunch of germphobes. People have told me that your child being sick only helps to boost their immune system. I don't get it. That makes NO sense to me. I was sick a lot as a kid ... and I still get sick now. If I didn't get sick now, then I would agree that maybe this "logic" holds merit ... but it doesn't. Our pediatrician, who knows everything even told me so. He said that there is no reason to expose your kids to people that are sick - because all it is going to do, is get them sick, too. Unless it's something like Chicken Pox, that they get once and are then immune to - there is no limit on the number or severity, of colds and flus we can have in our lifetime.

So. I'm planning to ride out the rest of "cold" and "flu" season in our house. And when I do step outside, I will be wielding a can of Lysol and bottles of Purell. But even still ... something tells me that with every precaution I take ... we will be sick again. And when that happens ... I for one, will not be a dumb ass.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

BUZZZzzz

That was the sound in our house ... just a short while ago ... a really loud BUZZ ... followed by zzzzzz. Oh, how we love the sound of sleeping babies. The quiet is heavenly.

But just a short while ago … it was a whirlwind of activity. A flurry of activity. They've been fed, they've had their bedtime bottles, and once they are lowered down from their highchairs they are super turbo charged. It's this pre-bedtime BURST of energy, that takes them tearing through the house ... running all over the place. I'm convinced that if we could bottle the energy of a toddler, we would solve the global fuel crisis. I'm chasing Elizabeth in to the back bedroom because she grabbed a hold of one of my knitting needles and is now waddling away from me at an impressive clip.

I see a reflection of myself in the window and hesitate. Surely - the window must be dirty. I can't look that frazzled. I go in to the bathroom to get a closer look in the mirror and I'm frightened by what I see. My hair is all over the place. Probably because Carolyn was trying to run her fingers through my locks the way I run my fingers through hers. I typically don't wear makeup during the day, but because I had a business meeting this morning, I put on a little "color." I now look like a warrior from "Last of the Mohicans". My mascara is running down my cheeks ... undoubtedly due to William giving me open mouth kisses all over my face when I came home this afternoon. Obviously, waterproof mascara isn't slobber proof, too. I look tattered. I look tired. I look confused. My wrinkle-resistant shirt is untucked and there are chunks of graham cracker mixed with ... prune juice (?) ... on my nice slacks. I come out of the bathroom to see Carolyn licking the bottom of my shoe that I had taken off, but not yet put in the closet (serves me right for moving too slow), William trying to pull my laptop out of my brief case, and Elizabeth has my $60.00 Talbots belt draped around her shoulders and is chewing one end. How in the world did she get my belt off of me without my knowing it...?


Where am I? How did I get here? Who are these children?

For those that don't know our story ... here's a little background. Charlie and I are managing all of the baby care on our own, without any outside help. I'm really proud of that accomplishment and our commitment to making *this* work. I typically work 2 days a week ... Charlie works 3 days a week. On the days that he works, I'm home ... on the days that I work, he's home. It's been a great arrangement and we are very fortunate to have good employers and flexible schedules. Even though Charlie and I happen to work for two different companies ... I rent an office space, within his office.

A few weeks ago - on the day that I was working (and hence, Charlie was home), one of his co-workers in passing said to me, "So today's Charlie's day off, huh?" I just stared at him and repeated ... "Charlie's day OFF? Do you understand that he is home, alone, with 3-17 month old toddlers? I don't really consider that a day OFF ... do you? It's actually the total opposite. Today is my day OFF." I've heard several people comment that they don't understand how I could go back to work after 1-year of maternity leave. Isn't it crazy for me, working a demanding, often times, high stress job? I chuckle. No job will ever seem demanding or high stress after my job of being a parent. NO JOB. Being a parent has undoubtedly been the best job of my life, the most rewarding, the most fulfilling. But also, the hardest. When people ask me how I could come back to the *stress* of corporate America ... I just tell them that it's like a little vacation for me. And, I believe it is.

Tonight, Charlie seems cool and collected. He's been home with them all day. He's prepared for this. I've noticed that the person who has been home all day, is not as fazed by the sudden burst of energy that comes on as bedtime approaches. Yet, the person who has been out *working* always gets blind sided by this commotion at night. I don't know why we aren't better prepared ... but for whatever reason ... those 8-hours away during the day make you kind of forget just how busy life is at home. I feel like an alien being dropped in to this mix of craziness.

The babies get rounded up - literally corralled - put in to their cribs ... we say a little prayer, give kisses goodnight and turn on their lullaby CD. We hear a lot of babbling ... they are talking to one another in a language that only they can understand. There's lots of laughing, squealing ... and the sound of what might be someone banging their head on the wall. More laughing ensues. After a few minutes, there is some crying. I walk in to the nursery, fully well anticipating that everything that was once in their cribs, is now on the floor. I'm not surprised by what I see. I pick up their blankets, pillows and stuffed animals - lay the babies back down - tuck them in and give them another round of kisses. There's some more babbling ... quieter now ... and then silence.

The last burst of baby energy has been absorbed. Whatever energy Charlie and I had to get us through this last hour, has been absorbed, too.

As I finish this post, I do so with the knowledge that our babies are now asleep for the night. Hopefully, I pray, the next time we see their bright little faces will be in 11-12 hours. Meanwhile, I don't why I didn't realize before children ... just how comfortable our couch is. At the end of a long day ... nay ... at the end of EVERY day ... there is no better feeling then collapsing on the couch with Charlie and saying aloud "Could we love them any more than we do?" No ... we couldn't love these babies any more than we do. But as much as we love them, we really love seeing them asleep. There is no better sight in the world to me - or satisfaction that we made it through another day. I can't think of a greater accomplishment in life, than that.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A Trip Down Memory Lane ...

Today is March 29, 2006. Two years ago today ... was my third embryo transfer, from our third round of IVF. During the first two IVF cycles (in October 2003 and December 2003), we had transferred four embryos each time. Because I was only 32 years old, had "textbook" embryos and "no known problems" most people gasp when they hear that. The potential for quadruplets definitely existed, but I suppose I never really was concerned about the thought of having multiples. I just wanted to get pregnant ... to be a mom, for Charlie to be a dad ... for us to have children and be a family. It had been such a long road paved with heartache, I needed it to end.

The night before our embryo transfer, was a Sunday. It was a beautiful, southern California spring evening. I remember that it had been such a gorgeous day, we decided to have a barbeque and eat dinner outside. As we sat on the back patio sipping our wine, we looked in to the beautiful twilight sky. It had been all over the news that the planets were in alignment and visible in the night sky. We pulled out our telescope - and sure enough - those planets that would have been visible to us on earth, were. We could make out Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn ... clear as day ... in a straight line across the sky.

There are a few times in my life when I've been filled with a peace that truly emanates through my whole body. If I had to guess, I would believe that it was God, literally holding me in His hands. That night, March 28, 2004 ... was one of those times. I had a feeling, deep in my soul ... that this third cycle, was going to be the one that made us parents. The planets aligned in the nightime sky, the love between Charlie and I, and the overwhelming feeling of peace, was epic.

The next morning, a Monday, we went to visit Dr. Smotrich and be reunited with our 3-day old embies. We decided that we would transfer four fresh embryos and two embryos that had been frozen from our cycle in December, for a total of six embryos. This might seem to be irresponsible and reckless ... but Dr. Smotrich knew that we were desperate. We had spent over $30,000 on treatment by this point and although I was willing to sell everything we had and mortgage our house to the hilt ... the emotional and physical burden was exhausting, bordering on excruciating. Since our two previous cycles with four embryos had not worked ... I wasn't overly concerned with transferring six.
This photo to the left is a picture of our six embryos on the day they were transferred back to me. I wish I knew who was who in this photo. I do know that the embryos to the top left and bottom right are the frozen embies from the December cycle. The four embryos in the middle are the fresh ones, from my March cycle. The pregnancy test was taken in April - a few days before my bloodwork (the doctors recommend you don't do this because you can get a false positive result), but I was really starting to feel "different." Once I saw the line appear - I was doubtful that it was correct ... but I also, began to wonder ... "What if they all decided to stick around?!" Anyway, I think it's a beautiful picture. The very first picture of my babies ... the little souls that have brought an immeasurable amount of love and joy in to our world. And finally, a feeling of completeness.

Even though two years have passed since my embryo transfer ... and we are coming up on the babies turning 18-months old, I still am in disbelief that I ever became pregnant in the first place. That I ever became a mom. When I look back on the challenges that we had to face to get to this "place" ... I don't think I'd change any of it. The struggles to become parents made us stronger. And since then, I feel like my story - and experience as a mom to triplets - have helped so many other people that are either struggling with infertility ... or facing the news that they have multiple babies on the way. Anyway you dice it ... I think God was holding me in His hands on March 28th. I could feel it then, and I can feel it now. This is a very special day for me, and for our family of five!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Fun with black & white photography ...

There are so many times precious moments escape me. My camera is no where when I need it. Today, I kept my camera on and near me all day. These are some of the photos that were captured of our day @ 17.5 months.






















































































































































Monday, March 27, 2006

Baby Proofing ... Re-defined

Back in the day when I was pregnant, we received some plastic outlet covers at my baby shower. The little clear things that you put in to your sockets to prevent babies from sticking their fingers or toys in to for a nasty shock. Charlie wasted no time "baby proofing" the house with these outlet covers. I would get a kick-out of it because we'd have to take the cover off to plug in the vacuum. We didn't even have babies in the house ... but we felt very confident and satisfied that we had baby proofed our house, long before the babies were even born. What a bunch of responsible and well prepared parents we were.
Then the babies came home.
For the first few months, they existed only in the "larval" stage. They'd eat, sleep, cry and poop. There was no interaction beyond that. We were far from the day of needing to worry about them sticking their fingers or toys in to the electric outlets - although when they tried - we were prepared for them. They slowly started to emerge from this larval stage. They started to bring their tiny hands to their tiny mouths and we quickly realized that we needed to exercise caution to keep small things off the ground. Popcorn kernels, small candies, nails, bolts, screws ... were no longer safe - just laying around on the carpet. We became vigilant in our efforts to keep the floors immaculate.

The babies started rolling, crawling and becoming mobile. Plant pots needed to be moved, unless we wanted all the soil within the pot that they could reach, to wind up on the floor. Cords had to be tucked away behind couches - floor lamps had to be barricaded off by pieces of furniture so that little hands couldn't pull them over, on top of little bodies. Magazines and books were no longer safe on the floor, in racks or on low bookshelves. EVERYTHING needed to be moved to higher ground. Stuff on lower ground needed to be evaluated, too. We recognized that the rubber ends on a door stopper, if in the wrong *little* hands, could get lodged in a wind pipe. All the rubber door stopper end-things, came off and were stored away. (I hope I can remember where they were placed when it comes time to move ...?)
They became expert walkers - in no time flat. Suddenly, they were able to move around the house at warp speed ... in three different directions at once. They were able to get in to rooms, faster than we could close doors. I was amazed, the one time that I didn't get the bathroom door closed quickly enough - that a 20-pound being - could unravel an entire roll of toilet paper in less than 30-seconds. Every nook and cranny in the house, was explored by three, bound and determine toddlers. We bought a 14-foot gate to separate our family room (aka: playroom) from our kitchen, and invested in smaller, expandable gates that we could use to close off other areas. But, our house was their house, too ... and they weren't going to stay content in a closed space. Once my mother came to visit and introduced them to "life outside the gates" they no longer wanted to stay locked up. Isn't this what Grandmother's are suppose to do - push the limits so that their own kids aren't too uptight with their offspring? Don't all Grandmother's do this? So, eventually - we gave them more room to roam, with limits. Cabinets, cupboards and drawers had latches installed. What we couldn't latch closed - or barricade off - was duct taped shut. More and more stuff was moved higher up on to shelves or the mantle. Baby proofing was now, truly complete. We could breathe easy.
Contraire, Mon Fraire.

What I didn't bank on was that as our babies grew older ... they'd grow taller, too. Suddenly, the things that were once out of reach ... were within their grasp. Nickels, pennies and dimes on the edge of countertops or side tables, were fair game. The water dispenser on the refrigerator gave Carolyn a rude awakening when she depressed the lever and got a squirt of ice cold water in the face. She looked at me, sputtering, and broke in to a wail. I picked her up and turned to see William, do the exact same thing. Our little Elizabeth was just a hair short to reach the dispenser lever ... or I would have had three, instead of only two, soaked and befuddled babies, to console. Fortunately, our refrigerator has a "lock" position for the water. Otherwise, we'd have to duct tape that closed, too.

Another thing that I didn't consider is how good these babies would get at climbing. They can scramble on top of our coffee table (conveniently blocking the glass enclosed fireplace) with ease. From the top of the table, they can expertly reach fragile items - including vases, family photos, candles and ceramic items ... on our mantle. They can just as easily scale our couch with the finese of a mountaineer. Once on the couch, they are within arms reach of our floor lamps, pictures on the wall, window blinds, plants, and bookshelves. If there is a particular piece of furniture that they are struggling to summit ... they'll employ tools ... by rolling over their ride on toy for a "leg up" ... or, if push comes to shove - stand on one another. They'll give me a smile when I attempt to scold them, which leaves me at a complete loss for how to enforce rules - at this age. Because they don't *behave* our quest to keep the environment safe, is at the front of our minds.

I'm now of the mind set that our babyproofing is not complete. I don't know that it ever will be. Baby proofing will become "kid proofing" which will become "teenager proofing". I already can see that we need to put a higher bolt on the door - because eventually - they will figure out how to open door knobs and I don't want them wandering out of our house - without our knowledge. Just the thought of that makes me shaky. Knives must be stored in a safe location because soon enough, I know that they'll be able to climb on to the counters. Of course this isn't something that I want them to do - or will allow - but, if I'm plucking someone off the top of our television, or making triple sure that our front door is bolted - someone might figure out how to mount the counter. From this point on, I must buy medication that comes in a safety container that will require all of my strength and graduate school education to figure out how to open. And that's just the tip of the iceberg...
Our curious three, as we have lovingly dubbed them ... are constantly on the prowl for things to get in to. In a room full of age-appropriate toys ... they will be drawn to a shiny safety pin nestled in shag rug, like moths drawn to a flame. If there is something we don't want them to have ... their built in "curiosity" beacon will lead them to it. The precision, accuracy and efficiency with which they are drawn to a new object - particularly a shiny one - is profound.
I've heard that this is the age of "curiosity" for a toddler. It is an accurate description but it's also a really pleasant way of putting it. Yes, they are propelled to "seek" because they are curious. And perhaps that is why they also "destroy" ... just out of curiosity. Meanwhile, Charlie and I are on a mission to always stay one step ahead of these babies. Today, we are scanning the house for small items that they could choke on, things they could fall off of, and items that they'll just ruin. This will slowly evolve in to setting parent controls on the TV and computer, and monitoring who their friends are. It only recently dawned on me that from the moment our children took their first breath in the world, until the moment that I take my last breath ... I will always want to know where they are, what they are doing, who they are with ... and most importantly ... have the knowledge that they are safe. Babyproofing ... parentproofing. I'm going to go call my own mom just to say "hi" and let her know that I'm OK.





Sunday, March 26, 2006

Hi, I'm new here ...

This is my first post ... on my third attempt ... at a blog. I never really liked the title of the first two blogs I created - and since I couldn't figure out how to change the titles - I'd just start anew. The good news is - I didn't waste too much time posting stuff on those first two blogs. The titles were nice ... but ... didn't really click with me. The first title I came up with was "A Day In The Life." The second title was "The Best Days Of Our Lives." Both of these titles are OK ... but didn't look right to me, when I strung it all together:

adayinthelife.blogspot.com.

thebestdaysofourlives.blogspot.com.

They were just too wordy ... and too ... not what I wanted. And since I think that the title of a blog is important, that takes me to my third, and hopefully, final blog.

My life thus far, has been one amazing trip. On top of that ... I happen to have some AMAZING TRIPS in my life. Those amazing trips are, of course, our triplets ... William, Elizabeth & Carolyn. It was one amazing trip to become parents in the first place ... and now life has become even more amazing since they've arrived.

I feel fairly confident that my blog title is not only a good play on words, but a pretty accurate reflection of me. I like what it symbolizes. It makes the most sense that everything finally came together for me, on my THIRD try. After all ... three's my lucky number, and it usually takes me three tries to get anything right.

I'm *borrowing* from a recent new blog I saw - - when the author commented that their blog was like an empty house. There's lots of decorating and filling of this space that I need to do ... and I'm excited to do it. Charlie told me that this is really art, because the stuff that I'm posting on this blog are my creations (in the form of thoughts and pictures). I like that description, Jen the artist. Since I'll be opening this up for people to explore ... I can imagine what an artist must feel like when sharing their art with the world. A dose of hesitation - a pinch of excitement - and a big scoop of hope that those that see your "work" will enjoy it as much as you do.