On this day in 2018: Part 2

I cannot believe we successfully made it a full year as parents to THREE little girls. Some days my mind still doesn’t grasp the fact I am a parent, and especially to three; hell, other days I still can’t believe I am even an adult. It’s very surreal and such a blessing.

The past year is full of firsts. First time parents. First time seeing dawn EVERY day for the entire summer. First time attached to a breast pump. First time enjoying baby snuggles with MY kids. First Christmas with the girls. First teeth. First projectile vomit (haha). So many firsts, some fun, some a little less fun!

So tiny!!

Looking at how tiny and fragile they once were throughout the NICU days, it is amazing to see how far they have flourished into happy, bright eyed, smiley toddlers! And we are a week from completing the next developmental leap.

What has been our favorite part this past year? Craig and I agree on this for the most part. His response was watching the girls grow and change into their own, individual personalities.  He also enjoys that having triplets gives us the opportunity to see into other people’s lives in a new way. It lets us get to know those that have similar pregnancy histories as well as many who struggled before getting to where they are today and gives us a glimpse of their journeys.

Personally, I enjoy seeing every milestones. There were often days where the end was invisible, where everybody was grumpy or wanted more attention and the day didn’t seem survivable, but somehow we managed. After those days, a smile or a giggle was enough to reign me back in to enjoying parenthood, and remind me that babies constantly grow and change, meaning the hard times will too.

Our support system post kiddos sure has changed. I love the multiples moms and dads that are so busy themselves, but still willing to chip in and help when you’ve reached wits end. Words of encouragement are so needed after a sleepless night(s) or a week of intense teething. I hope I provide some of that encouragement to them as they have done for me. It is great to remember we are all in this together.

As we approach toddlerhood, I must remember this next phase will be another learning experience, both as a first time parent and a multiple mom and dad.

Craig says the hardest part for him has been the change in lifestyle; not being able to go and do things at the drop of a hat and having to plan everything out. I may be a planner by profession but I am definitely less of one in my personal life, at least when it comes to planning outings and trips. We were much more spontaneous pre-babies, and now have to plan out all outings ahead of time. He is also not a fan of cutting the tiny finger and toenails as well as the wiping the sniffly noses during a cold!

We took the girls in for their year checkup this week. The appointment took a full two hours!  Now that they are mobile, it is much more difficult to corral them in the exam room, especially when there are three of them and two of you. Luckily the pediatrician’s office is helpful, both the nurses and our doctor, and snuggles the third while we each have one after the shots.

This month’s milestone checkup was a little more complicated than prior ones, with the continuation of winter and battling of illnesses. Everyone received their one year appointment shots, including the MMR against measles. I have been anxiously awaiting this specific shot for the past two months, especially with the measles outbreak in Washington. The room was full of some baby rage for a bit. Surprisingly, no one batted an eye at the foot prick to check their hemoglobin levels. On the sickness side, Emerie either has her third ear infection or is still holding onto her second one from earlier this month. Another round of medicine for her! Harper has a croup cough, the doctor noticed it right away. She’s had it for a couple weeks but when we took her in previously, were told it was just a cold cough and it would pass.  Harper also has fluid in an ear that we need to recheck to see if she develops an ear infection like her sister. Reagan, thankfully, just has a runny nose and cold (the other two do too).

Now let’s get to the good stuff, an update on the girls!

No one broke the 20 pound weight, but we were pretty close!  Harper now weighs 19 pounds, 6 ounces, and is currently winning the weight category again for the first time in a few months. Reagan is 19 pounds 5 ounces. Emerie is still our little peanut, coming in smallest at 17 pounds 10 ounces, moving up a bit in her percentile to 17th.

Everyone has grown so much the past year. Here are all 12 month photos.

Other updates!

Everyone is on the move and crawling. Walking is right around the corner and everyone is pulling themselves up as much as possible! They really like standing with the jumpers (while not in them) and playing with the toys on them. The other day I caught Reagan chewing the tv stand knob.

The jumpers are still used, but not nearly as much. Floor playtime is the new jumper! We keep rearranging the house to fit everything now that everyone is mobile.

Harper is the first to stand without any assistance. Reagan and Emerie are doing it a little, but she can stand and hold a toy for 30 seconds without plopping down. No one is side stepping too much, but they will hold things, crawl, pull themselves up somewhere else, and so on.

Mango in all forms is the favorite food. They also all love the yogurt melties, all flavors. I wish they made the vanilla banana in adult sized bags… Harper is giving Grandma Sue hell over her food choices and fights eating any real food she makes. Emerie and Reagan like her cooking. We are still introducing lots of foods; so far the girls seem to be a bit picky about textures, but like food in general. We are a little behind in the game and just starting to introduce sippy cups this week. They all seem to understand them pretty well!

Harper feeds the dog the most. Kalli will even take food out of her hand if I’m not paying close enough attention. She has to have small tests bites from the spoon or she will completely refuse anything you feed her. Emerie, on the other hand, will pretty much eat anything unless she’s grumpy. Reagan really likes to shovel everything into her mouth, whereas sometimes Emerie will only try it from the spoon.

Yes, I am still pumping…a lot… I meticulously write everything down (big surprise there). In total, for the first year, I have pumped 22,155 ounces of milk…or 173 GALLONS. That equates to, in average, about half a gallon per day. My goodness, that sounds like a lot as I write this! I was ahead of the girls for a while and pumping six times per day, the past six months or so I am down to five times per day, which feels much more doable. When teething, I am ahead of them. When everyone is happy with no colds, we supplement a feed or so a day with formula.

The teeth are back. The teething is definitely back!! It’s interesting to see that all have teeth coming in on the top left hand side, both front and “i” teeth.

Favorite toys have not changed in the past several months. The singing toucan and the play table are definitely hits still. Grandma Sue just bought the girls little dollies and they think they’re silly and giggle at them. Kalli also tries to eat them…YouTube remains a favorite in the house, with Disney and princesses themed music.

Thank you to everyone who is sharing this journey with us. Here is to year number two!

On this day in 2018: Part 1

On this day in 2018, our lives were forever changed, for the better! We didn’t start the blog until the girls were a couple months old, so let’s flashback to hospital bed rest and Delivery Day!

14 Week Ultrasound

I think back to the last few weeks before babies a year ago, how I was SO ready to not be pregnant anymore, with the swollen feet, smooshed stomach thanks to Emerie, crushed bladder courtesy of Harper, and crunched rib cage thanks to Reagan, and wonder how I made it through!

If I had to pick a toughest week during the pregnancy (ignoring the 4 months of solid “morning” sickness that lasted every second of the day), it would be Week 30. I actually felt better Week 31 and 32. We measured the belly on the weekend of that brutal week, and I grew 5″!! Granted some of that was probably the girls shifting around a little, but FIVE INCHES. Not enjoyable and no amount of repositioning made me feel comfortable.

Big belly the day before they arrived!

Much of my one-day of hospital bed rest is a blur and I wish I had written it down! I do remember I could not get comfortable in the bed, even with a ton of pillows, and had a really hard time getting up to go pee!  My hip joints were excited at the prospect of baby delivery, with my left side hurting more than my right.

Once admitted, the nurses worked to get an IV line in my arm.  My veins did not cooperate and looking back, it’s pretty funny (not so much at the time).  Providence has a two stick rule, so after three nurses gave my IV a shot (a “shot”, get it haha) and failed, one of the anesthesiologists was called. Like a rock star, she was able to access the vein in my left hand on the first try and did it so fast, I was bleeding on the floor.

A beautiful day for triplets!

I started hospital bed rest at 32 Weeks+6 Days gestation and was very happy to have stalled that long before being admitted. Dr. Ritchie knew and understood my concern on staying in the hospital, and agreed to closely monitor but allow me to stay home from January to March, where I spent my time working from the recliner and helping the girls cook a little longer. I believe they stayed in longer because I was at home, in my comfort space, and not uncomfortable and confined to a hospital room. There are many expecting moms in my Facebook group that handled extended hospital stays so well and I really applaud them.

I did a 24 hour urine test, which ultimately determined the babies’ arrival. The test returned with high levels of protein, signifying kidney function issues. My blood pressure also indicated pre-eclampsia may be an issue. Dr. Richey gave me the choice of a March 20th or March 21st birthday, and I chose a soon as possible. In retrospect, if given the chance again, I would pick the latter, because my breakfast order was canceled with the surgery scheduling. It was a LONG day full of nerves and starvation. Ice chips can only help for so long!

Birth Plan!

Scheduling the C-section took about eight hours- Dr. Richey had to call in staff to ensure enough nurses and doctors were available to handle three 33 weekers plus me! Each baby required a nurse as well as a few others. The dad even gets his own support nurse during surgery. I also needed an anesthesiologist and several doctors.

It was quite the party! It really surprised me how quickly that time passed. In total, I was only in the operating room for maybe an hour, and I walked myself in there and sat down on the operating table for the spinal block. It wasn’t as bad as I expected and felt like a warm rush of water drifted down my legs. Before I even realized it I was on the table, ready for go-time. Simultaneously, Craig was out in the pre-op area getting on his gown so he could come in.

My support person while Craig tended to babies!

About to be go-time!

What I found out later was the planned C-section became emergent the moment I received the spinal.  Doctors are used to handling pressure and gave no indication anything was wrong, just that everything was getting ready for go-time. What I was told later was that Baby B’s (Emerie) heart rate significantly dropped into the 40s, and there was no time to wait.

Dr. Richey asked “can you feel this?” to which I responded no, and within seconds the first of three, Baby A, was born. Instantly I felt a huge relief of pressure. It is hard to explain, because everything was numbed, but I could tell when each was born. We requested prior to surgery that the girls come out in the A, B, C order we had grown accustomed to and tracked throughout the pregnancy, knowing they would be referred to that until they received real names.  Conveniently at this point, Baby A was in the middle (bladder baby), Baby B on my left side, and Baby C nestled on the right, so the order worked perfectly.  With B’s heartrate dropping dangerously low, A was pulled out with the cord still connected while B was born.

Looking back, it makes sense that little Emerie would want to make an entrance, while Harper and Reagan patiently waited for their sister to get attention. By the time Craig made it into the OR, Emerie was already out and almost headed down the hall toward the NICU. There was a bit of commotion, as Dr. Richey ensured the nurses knew this was Baby B, NOT A, even though she was the first out of the room. Baby A followed a few moments later and then Baby C. Craig was able to see Harper and Emerie as they were whisked away to the NICU for assessment. Dr. Richey surprised me with a view of a screaming Baby C (Reagan), freshly born over the curtain, before she headed off to the NICU.

We joked much of the pregnancy that if a fourth baby was hiding out in there, Dr. Richey would be taking them home, unless it was a boy, then they’d get A, B, or C. Luckily, she had correctly counted three girls all along. Baby A, Harper Anne, was officially born at 4:58 PM, with Baby B, Emerie Faye, about 30 seconds behind her, and Baby C, Reagan Jean, at 4:59. No one officially received a name until we saw them in the NICU; and it turned out pretty great that the order spelled out “HER”. That was not pre-planned!

Craig headed off to the NICU with the babies as planned, and I was stitched up and moved into recovery. At this point my high blood pressure indicated eclampsia was an issue. My memory is a bit blurry here, but I do remember that I was arguing against a magnesium drip and on the line of getting it whether I wanted to or not. My blood pressure was checked every five minutes and took over an hour to come down. I didn’t get to see the girls until about 8 PM, partially due to shift change and partially due to my blood pressure issues.

I spent more time in post-op recovery than the actual surgery and ended up staying in the hospital a few more days that originally planned. When Emerie’s heart rate plummeted, Dr. Richey immediately sliced, once I agreed I felt nothing, to get to her. This meant I did not receive the full cleaning beforehand, which opened me up (pun intended!) to a higher risk of infection. I was given an antibiotic drip that took 1.5 hours to administer, a handful of times per day, for five days. Between that, pumping and spending time in the NICU, things were pretty hectic.

What a relief to have made it to my goal of 33 weeks gestation! At that mark, the risk of brain bleeds goes down over 90%. The girls all briefly had CPAP air as well as jaundice lights, but overall came out incredibly healthy and good sizes for their age.

Harper Anne Douglas: 4 pounds, 8 ounces, 17.9” long

Emerie Faye Douglas: 3 pounds, 2 ounces, 15.3” long

Reagan Jean Douglas: 4 pounds, 5 ounces, 17.7” long

How has it been a year since they arrived?!

The girls at about 6 Weeks, taken by Alaska Photography & Design

First Birthday Shenanigans

Prep prep prep! The last week was filled with getting ready for the big #1 birthday party, including food, decorations, and outfit shopping (of course).

It is a must to celebrate survival of the first year with triplets (parents AND babies), although a nice nap might have been equally amazing 🙂

We decided to make our own smash cakes and food trays for the party. Grandma Sue created fancy vegetable pizzas, veggie platters, and her delicious spinach dip; William created flower jello molds in the girls’ colors, and we bought all the fixings for sandwiches. Family arrived from out of town and out of state to celebrate with us, as well as a bunch of friends!

It was great to have cousins Jaren, Chatum and Gabe at the party, as well as Uncle Jeff and Aunt Tami, Uncle William and Aunt Sheryl, Grandma Sue and Papa Cliff. It was a bit chaotic to say the least, but great to have extended family around for the occasion.

The girls enjoyed all the extra attention over the weekend, and had a ton of playtime with both the boys and their younger friends. It was great to see our twin friends attend, as well as the valley triplets and all our non multiple friends (yes we love all of you too!!).

Like a rockstar, Tami double fed the girls during the party. I’m pretty sure Harper has a new BFF now.

Family shot!

The day turned out great; very tiring but worth it! Harper woke up incredibly early (she was ready to party?) and Emerie and Reagan followed a bit later; we stalled everyone until about 11:30 and then loaded them up for a driving nap, to ensure they slept at least a bit beforehand. Sue, Jeff, Gabe and I took over the decorations and food and set up and Megan, Alyssa, and Janelle helped us get everything ready.

The girls wore their party dresses with sweaters and tights. The headbands were accepted by Harper and Reagan; Emerie was not having it and kept pulling it down over her face.

Love this picture of Paris and the girls!

There were a TON of kids everywhere, ranging from about four months old to ten. The turnout was wonderful! I’m glad Craig convinced us to rent a big space; I think we used every inch of it.

I was expecting some massive kid meltdowns…I mean it’s a first birthday party full of tiny minions, but everyone seemed pretty good! The foam blocks were quite the hit, with major activity in the middle of the room.

The cake smash went as expected, with Harper a bit more apprehensive and Emerie and Reagan more enthusiastic. After a few minutes they got into it! Thank you to Doug Olson Photography for some fantastics pictures to memorialize the occasion!!

One of my favorite shots. Look at Harper haha

Eventually the icing colors ended up on everyone. Reagan is probably the only one that actually ate any of the cake, but everyone sufficiently sugared up. They also received a unplanned bath in the rec center kitchen.

It was a great day celebrating the girls’ year milestone and sharing it with so many friends! We appreciate all the love and support of everyone who came (and the diapers!!!), and look forward to our kiddos all growing up around each other. The last year has been quite a wild ride, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

More great shots by Doug. So much cake 🙂