Tuesday, November 17, 2015

what is and what should never be

Generally speaking, I find myself wedged between a plethora of paralyzing parental predicaments and a ruthless reality of redundant riddle. I daydream of simplicity yet I'm consistently plagued by the relentless demands of my tumultuous trinity. My life mimics an inconceivable chaos that is antagonized by my desire to return to a comprehensible version of my current self-sacrificing shenanigans. 

With the exception of the death of my father, these babies, by far, have been the most life-altering, sleep-depriving, sanity-draining, anxiety-filled mind fuck of my life. There isn't enough Xanax or vodka in the world to jolt me back into the time where I felt content and at ease with my ability to parent. They have strained relationships, precipitated panic attacks, and have gifted me the ability to survive on less sleep than I did in college. Despite becoming more and more independent as each month passes, my situation has gotten anything but easier. 

In all honesty, I'd be lying if I said I didn't sometimes fantasize about what life would be like had we only had one more child. In the same breath, I can't even fathom my life without the other two-thirds of our pig paradise. Between Charlotte's asylum-worthy smiling, Vivian's bashful banter and laughter and Ryan's incessant desire to be near me, I'd probably have to die myself before I could ever live without any one of them. Moreover, I anxiously await to see the dynamic of their relationship unfold. They share a beautiful, rare bond that will forever distinguish them from your average siblings. Their connection is magical and their fascination with each other knows no bounds. 

In addition to, they truly are three of the happiest, sweetest babies I have ever encountered, yet the biggest obstacle lies within just that: there are three of them. We are outnumbered and despite numerous projected attempts to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I have a hard time seeing so much as a spark. Throw a regressing three-year-old into the mix and I can't help but feel like I should be juggling a goddamned ball on the end of my nose most days. 

At times, it's hard to seek out all of the good in any given circumstance when you continually find yourself fumbling backwards for every one step forward. More often than not, situations arise that are anything but easy to make sense of. They can be dissected, analyzed and questioned time and time again yet their purpose may never be forthcoming. They test our boundaries, preserve our patience and blur our perception between reality and what we once thought would never be. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

gin n juice

It's safe to say that I cherish and covet my weekly bar excursions. Despite my less-than-frequent states of reoccurring slumber, I somehow manage to buck up, make myself somewhat presentable and set out for an evening of mindless malarkey. It's a time for me to zone out, people watch and dick around on my phone with zero interruption where the only question I have to worry about answering is "are you ready for another?"

More often than not, I frequent a bar that is all of eight blocks from my house. There's nothing special about it other than the fact that I can walk there and it's the only local bar I can tolerate going to on a weekly basis. It's a pretty low-key place during the week, it has an outwardly douchebag-free clientele and most importantly, it serves Tito's vodka. It's my version of a Friday or Saturday night without having to feel like a pork chop in a piranha tank just for being a seemingly single, thirty-something, ringless woman sitting at a bar by herself. 

Even though I am accompanied by a friend on the majority of my nights out, in the event that I do find myself by my lonesome, I've come to appreciate a whole new level of alone time that I once so adamantly avoided. Before I had kids, I would have never, ever entertained the idea of going to a bar alone. The concept seemed foreign, awkward and appeared to be something only middle-aged divorcees did. One three-year-old and a litter later and I've come to the realization that I have a lot more in common with these fellow solo sippers than I thought. 

From what I have gathered, most of the early bird boozers I have encountered are having after work cocktails. When I think of it in those terms, I suppose I'm no different. After putting in a 12+ hour day at the juvenile jail, I temporarily punch out to do a little off-site drinking. Since all four of my bosses can't wipe their own assess and I don't have the option to report to work late and/or call in, time and alcohol consumption are always of the essence. Even so, I'm off the clock and for the time being, beer and Belvedere are on my mind, not babies and Butt Paste.

Whether you seek alone time at a movie theater, library, coffee shop or bar, the daily demands of life often push us to solicit temporary states of solitude. They are brief bursts of mental clarity that become the most vivid in times of overwhelming oblivion. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

mama kin

In the times I find myself on the verge of snapping, I ultimately have limited resources to vent to. While I am incredibly lucky to have an amazing support system of friends and family, I generally choose not to bombard them with my frustrations as it is hard for them to relate to my situation. In all honesty, the only people who can even wrap their heads around my day-to-day life are those who are riding the triplet wave with me. 

Halfway through my pregnancy, I was fortunate enough to be connected to a triplet mom group via Facebook. It's a group of women from all over the world who have had or who are expecting their babies in 2015. We come from all different backgrounds and walks of life but we all have one thing in common: our lives are ruled (or will be ruled) by a toothless trifecta.

Despite the fact that I have never even met any of these women, we have developed an instantaneous, unbreakable, triplet-fueled bond. We laugh and we swear and we talk about everything from pregnancy and postpartum pooping to pumping and playtime. We share our frustrations and our hardships, our excitement and our gratitude and when the unthinkable tragedy of loss strikes, we are there to lift, love and support those in need. 

We share our unfortunate encounters with the ignorant and offer encouragement to those who are approaching the tail-end of their pregnancy. We have more-than-frequent urges to tell our babies to go the fuck to sleep, little time to eat and even less time to shit, shower and shave. We never take advantage of collaborative naptime and we have zero shame in admitting that we often bathe our babies all of once a week. But even in the midst of our most maddening hours, we undoubtedly would agree that we wouldn't change a thing for the world.

While I have often been referred to as 'Super Mom' for my role as the matriarch of four under four, I can't help but cast these moms with the same title for reasons that far exceed my own set of circumstances. Some are single moms and some have husbands who have been deployed overseas. Some have zero help and some had two, three and even four children prior to having their trios. Some have struggled with years of infertility and some were forced to deliver at 24 weeks. Some have spent months upon months in the NICU while others have have been placed on mandatory hospital bed rest for an undetermined period of time. Even though the conditions of our triplet journeys differ from one family to the next, we never pass judgement as we are all very well-aware of the fact that a triplet pregnant and three fuckin' babies is a lot of fuckin' work.

Not only am I am I incredibly fortunate to be a triplet mom but I am equally as fortunate for the people that have been brought into my life as a result. At the end of the day, we're all just doing our best to keep up with the three-of-a-kind hand we've been dealt, and somehow, I've managed to strike the triplet mom jackpot along the way. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

dog days are over

As the babies approach their six month of life, they are beginning to rapidly outgrow that fragile, helpless, all-I-do-is-eat-and-shit state that infants are notorious for. Personalities are beaming, curiosities are blooming and my once three and four pound preemies are feeling more and more like sandbags these days. Despite their preterm-induced developmental delays, they are finally starting to exhibit the behavioral characteristics of the average infant. 

Even though they are still pint-sized versions of their five-and-a-half-month-old counterparts, the litter has come a long way since our NICU days. While it often seems like it has taken them forever to reach such seemingly simple milestones, for these premature little pigs, they've been up against a six-week delay. Even so, they're rapidly progressing and have finally outgrown a time that I have found to be one of the most challenging (and boring) phases of parenthood.

As much as I love the sweetness of a newborn baby, there is only so much time that can be spent staring and gushing over a sleeping infant (or three). I've always found that one of the most frustrating things about being a parent is the lack of reciprocity that an newborn has to offer. You spend countless hours feeding, changing, holding, and consoling them in exchange for witching hours, sleepless nights and projectile vomit. They are little blobs of Heaven that leave you feeling emotionally, physically and mentally drained, but in reality, they really aren't able to offer much in return. Despite our extended stay in the newborn phase, they've begun to take full flight into the curious and active world of an infant.

Over the last few months, we've bid farewell to the redundant days of eating and sleeping and have welcomed longer periods of awake/play time. They're eating nearly quadruple of what they were when we brought them home (80oz a day. Yikes!), and they laugh and smile like little mental patients. They are diligently attempting to roll over, and they're practicing sitting up with assistance. They babble and yell and continue to be fascinated with their hands and feet. They affix their eyes on just about anything that crosses their visual path, and we can finally carry them around without the fear of their heads falling off. They are slowly but surely turning into the three little independent people that I so anxiously have been waiting for.

As a mom of four, I've come to embrace and value the lessons of the past, the routine of the present, and the unknowns of the future. I've been rewarded a responsibility that was delivered in a not-so-conventional manner, but even so, I've resisted the urge to hold up the local liquor store. As luck would have it, we have a 24 hour baby bar equipped with unlimited toothless smiles and bottomless belly laughs. I'll always cheers to that. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

where is my mind?

This weekend, I found myself in an annoying life-induced, can't-snap-outta-it funk. Ya know, those days where you hate everyone, nothing makes you happy and a one-way ticket to the other side of the world is more tempting than a pint of Ben & Jerry's after a long night of binge drinking. Although rare, they do happen despite my best efforts in masking my mind from these kidless, child-wearing free delusions.

As much as I would like to blame our coughing, snot-infested, sleep-deprived trio for my latest Debbie Downer doldrums, their temporary ails are just the icing on the cake. Truth be told, I'm envious of the pick-up-and-go mentality that once ruled our roost.

While I strive for normalcy in my everyday life, I've come to realize my day-to-day living is anything but. The fact is, three infants and a toddler  singles me out from the everyday normalities that most stay-at-home moms encounter. Lunch outings, play dates and trips to the grocery store with everyone requires far more time and energy than is even worth completing such seemingly easy tasks. While I am more than capable of dragging Jake and the litter out with me, I'd likely end up at the bar before reaching any said destinations.

On the majority of my days, my normal is not leaving the house for several days at a time. My normal is event-free weekends. My normal is having zero time to spend with my husband because we are forced to put the needs of our four children before our own. My normal is scarfing down a makeshift dinner before the babies' final feeding of the day. My normal is me hoping and praying for a communal nap that allows me enough time to to drink my coffee before it turns cold. In addition, my normal reveals a home-bound life that requires me to make arrangements for my kids for every waking moment that is spent away from my house. 

As the babies approach their sixth month of life, old challenges have been replaced with new ones and the everyday minutiae that consumes my days are starting to become more and more blurred. Even though my days and weeks pass by in warp-speed, it feels like an eternity before I will ever be able rejoin standard society again. There are times I crave my former spontaneity so fiercely, I can't help but lose sight of the fact that I'm distracted by a world of realities that no longer exist.

Throughout my triplet fiasco, I've learned that some of my biggest sanity-saving graces are those that launch me into my future with the eye-opening realization of the inability to turn back time. I am reminded that time is our biggest enemy and that the present is our strongest ally. Sometimes in life, we need a good funk to find ourselves in the chaos.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

mr. brown

With all the recent triplet and toddler talk that has infiltrated my blog as of late, I've somehow managed to overshadow a pretty important component of our family. He's brown, he's five, and his name is George. 

Briefly after JR and I were married, we began to entertain the idea of adopting a puppy. We were apprehensive, at first, primarily because the condo that we were renting at the time wasn't very conducive to having a dog; it was on the smaller side and there was no fenced-in yard. Even so, I found no harm in scouring the Internet for our hypothetical puppy-to-be.

If you've ever ventured into cyberspace with the sole intention of only "looking" to adopt a puppy, you know it's a similar experience as if to say you're going to the bar to have only "one" drink. Puppy faces, much like alcohol, are intended to suck you in with a zero percent chance of turning back. The second I laid eyes on George (whom was named Trout at the time), I made it my life's mission to make him ours.

As we officially began our canine conquest, I was clueless as to what this entire operation would entail. It wasn't just about finding a cute dog online and bringing it home, but rather, it was an extensive screening process that had the best interest of the animal in mind. Paperwork, a brief interview and a home visit were among the unexpected requirements of the adoption process. 

Upon inquiring about G's availability, I quickly learned that this particular organization, Home Fur-Ever, was a non-profit, no-kill, foster-based rescue based out of Detroit. We soon made arrangements with his foster mom to drive out to an upcoming pet expo to meet the anticipated third member of our family.

When we arrived at the pet store, there were dogs as far as the eye could see. Some young, some old and some who were desperately seeking the opportunity to be loved. The sadness and hope in their eyes made me wish I could have rescued them all. I couldn't help but flashback to the Sally Struthers' Christian Children's Fund infomercials from the 90's that guilted you into thinking that your soul was going straight to Hell if you didn't pick up the phone right then and there to make a donation to sponsor a child. I was plagued by feelings of guilt and sadness, but nonetheless, we were there for one brown boy and one brown boy only.

After a long and and seemingly lengthy process, I received a phone call from G's foster mom who formally extended the opportunity for us to become his adoptive parents. We graciously obliged and immediately began to equip our condo for the arrival of our new fur baby.

The days following G's arrival, we slowly began to acclimate to his presence while he quickly launched us into an uncharted territory of steady responsibility. Potty-training, obedience and middle of the night disruptions were to name a few. It was the closest we'd ever come to experiencing what life would be like with an actual baby, and it's something I've always believed all couples should experience before reproducing one day. I truly believe those long puppy nights helped us prepare for what would later become the real thing.

Here we are five years down the road and George's homecoming still remains one of the happiest moments of my life.  He's as kind and gentle today as he was the day we brought him home. He's not only our dog, but rather, our friend and companion who has demonstrated nothing but unconditional love in its purest form. He's our protector, our alerter, and his Cujo-like tendencies when strangers approach the house make us feel nothing short of safe and secure. 

Although he is no longer the solo center of our universe, he continues to play an active role in our family. He may not be our biological child but his cold snout and Frito-smelling feet are all I need to call him my own. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

how many more times

Becoming a triplet mom instantly launched me into a spotlight filled with curiosity, speculation and an excessive amount of intrusive questions and unsolicited comments. It started when I was pregnant and continues to be a hot topic of interest amongst strangers. While I completely understand the draw to our family's dynamic, I'll never get used to the accosting that occurs when we are in public.

Here is a glimpse into the good, the bad, and the stupid of the triplet parenting world.

"Were they natural?" - This is generally the number one question I get asked. While it is a touchy subject for some, I have no problem divulging this information nor do I feel it is invasive. 

As someone who has suffered from endometriosis for more than half their life, reproductive challenges were pretty much inevitable. When we were trying to conceive the first time around, we were told IUI would be in our best interest due to my condition. As luck would have it, I found out I was pregnant just two days before we were to begin the insemination process. Even though our infertility journey concluded before it ever began, I caught a glimpse of what it's like to put your reproductive fate into the hands of modern medicine. It's frustrating, it's stressful, and the worst part is, there is no guaranteed outcome. 

When we found out we were expecting triplets, we were dumbfounded and in disbelief that this could have even happened without infertility. This seems to be the common consensus amongst the general public so when people ask "were they natural?," I honestly think it's just a reflex of curiosity rather than an invasion of privacy. However, since it's generally not socially acceptable to ask someone the sex position in which their child was conceived, this question should really be kept at bay. 

While triplets are shocking, in every capacity, when they happen out-of-the-blue without medical intervention, it generally ups the shock factor a smidgen. It sure as hell did for me. Even so, our babies are no more "natural" than those who were conceived with help. Modern medicine is a beautiful thing that should never have to take a backseat to the traditional means of conception. 

"Do triplets run in your family?" - Nope. Triplets don't 'run' in anyone's family. Next. 

"I'm sorry" - I'm sorry you feel sorry for me. Perhaps it's only because your kids are assholes.

If you find yourself experiencing pity for us, please don't. I regard our situation as one that was meant to be and a combined instance of 'God never gives you more than you can handle,' 'everything happens for a reason,' and 'whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.'

While I will never be able to verbally reiterate what life is really like with three infants and a toddler, I can tell you that the happiness and fulfillment that stems from having four healthy, happy children far exceeds the time and effort it takes in caring for them. 

"Do you have help?" - Absolutely. Several times a week, my mom and mother-in-law rotate days coming over to lend an extra arm or two. Whether it be for a feeding, to console a crying baby or to entertain Jake, their presence allows me to tend to my house, laundry, errands, and in the rare event, myself. 

"Looks like you've got your hands full" - No fucking shit. While I would never claim the hardships of my parental journey to trump those of another, I will say this: my sanity level is at an all-time low. Even so, I wouldn't trade my time with my kids for anything. They are the root of madness, happiness and at times, a very stressful marriage, but at the end of the day, sanity can be restored, time cannot. 

"This is when they are easy" - Oh, is it? Please, enlighten me. 

I'll let you in on a little secret: there is nothing easy about having triplets. While I wouldn't necessarily use the word 'hard' to describe life with the litter, I do find it incredibly frustrating and stressful that I am unable to attend to more than one baby at a time. Above all, I feel guilty as undivided attention is a thing of the past in our house. I know I am only one person, but the babies (and Jake) don't quite grasp that concept yet.

While the novelty of having triplets is long gone for us, it is something that will forever differentiate us from the average family. When you pop babies out three at a time, you have no choice but to take in words with a grain of salt and a shot of tequila.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

fat bottomed girls

Needless to say, this past year has been one of the most physically, mentally and emotionally challenging years of my life. Despite conquering a triplet pregnancy, delivery/recovery, and the daily demands of four children, I am still haunted by one nagging postpartum demon: my weight. 

Now, I know I recently birthed a litter of babies. This is not some desperate attempt at a public plea for attention so people tell me how great I look for "just having triplets" because in all honestly, this is the biggest I have ever been. Despite my inconsistent efforts, the scale hasn't budged and the residual weight from two pregnancies has sent my body straight to the gutter.

For starters, my ass and thighs look like they belong in a rap video. My once perky boobs now look like sand-filled Kroger bags that not even Victoria's Secret can save. Most days I don't know if I should wear a bra or tuck my tits into my pants. Continuing further south, the sagging skin on my abdomen looks like it was clawed by a cat, but in all honestly, I don't mind my stretch marks. They tell a story that not many can tell. They are my battle wounds, and I wear them with pride. 

In lieu of several unavoidable postpartum bodily changes, the root of my problem lies within how I perceive myself. It's not so much about wanting to fit into my high school jeans again, but rather, achieving a realistic weight and level of fitness that allows me to feel comfortable in my own skin again. I'm in a physical funk that not even mono and/or a stomach parasite can snap me out of.

The sad part is, I know what I need to do and how I need to do it. However, I'm someone who needs to be held accountable in a situation as such. Asking me to turn down a slice of pizza is like asking a dog to not lick himself. I have zero self-control and even less willpower. Even so, I didn't want to resort to a fad diet that guarantees rapid weight loss in a short amount of time. I wanted to do things the good old-fashioned way: clean-eating and exercise.

I've officially retired my sweat-inducing shapewear and have committed myself to a six-week clean-eating challenge. It's horribly strict and painfully limited, but it's exactly what I need. 

Attempting weight loss is frustrating, gradual, and there is no easy way around it. Pumping may be the fucking worst, but pregnancy weight is a fucking whore. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

you are the best thing

My Sweet Jake:

Tomorrow is going to be a pretty big day for the both of us. It's a day that snuck up on me far too soon, and it's a day that you will begin a new chapter in your young little life. It's a day that the mere thought of puts a smile on my face and a lump in the back of my throat. It's a day that is inevitable for all three-year-olds and moms alike. You see, tomorrow is your first day of pre-school. 

I know it's probably a bigger deal to me than it is to you but that's only because you are my first-born. Your birth launched me into a lifetime of "firsts" that I will only ever get to experience with you. I knew this day would arrive sooner than later, but I never expected it to draw up the emotions that it has. It's not about being away from you for a few hours, but rather, setting you free into the wild for you to start experiencing life first-hand without me. 

The day you were born, I couldn't help but wonder how I ever managed to live thirty years of my life without you. At just moments old, you claimed a piece of my heart that I never knew existed. It was reserved for you and only you and it's the greatest love that I have ever known. You fulfilled a dream that only one person on this planet could ever take credit for; you made me a mom. 

One of the greatest rewards of motherhood, thus far, has been watching you grow. I can only hope that you embrace and apply all of the life lessons I have attempted to instill upon you. You may only be three but the fundamentals of life and human decency can never be introduced too soon. 

As your mom, I have to let you fall to see you pick yourself back up. I have to let you set goals for yourself so I can watch you achieve them. I have to let you fail so you know what it's like to succeed. I have to love you unconditionally so you can learn to love and learn to be loved. I have to show you compassion so you learn to be kind to others. Most importantly, I have to let go of you a little piece at a time in order to let you grow into the person YOU want to become. While I will not always be able to hold your hand, know that I will always be behind you.

In addition.....

*Aim for simplicity. Experiences will 
 be far more fulfilling to you in life 
 than material possessions.
*Always give to others even if you   
 don't have much to give.
*Laugh and laugh often.
*Never, ever take your health for 
 granted. Without it, nothing else 
*Forgive but never forget.
*Learn to play a musical instrument.
*Don't worry about the things you 
 have no control over.
*Strive for happiness, not perfection.
*Don't ever invest more time in others 
 than they are willing to invest in you.
*Learn how to cook.
*Remember tattoos are permanent.
*Don't judge others by how they look 
 or what they do or don't have, but 
 rather, judge them based on how 
 they treat others.
*Go on adventures.
*Be kind. Nothing in life is ever worth 
 intentionally hurting somebody over.
*Don't ever take yourself too 
*Live in the moment.
*Know that I will never, ever judge you.
*Friends may come and go but family 
 is forever.
*Take time out for yourself.
*If you love someone, tell them, 
 no matter what. 
*Always remember that you are a product of your environment. Choose who you associate with wisely.

You have so much to learn and experience for yourself, but it's my job, as your mom, to start you off on the right track. I am so proud of who you've already become and I am even more proud of you for adapting to the recent expansion of our family. While you will never remember life before your siblings, I will always cherish our time and the undivided attention I was able to give you. You are my heart, my soul, my everything. You are my Golden Boy. 

All my love,


Thursday, September 10, 2015

before they make me run

Generally speaking, I am always holding a baby. If one is not physically in my arms, one is next to me or in one of the 89 baby contraptions that monopolize our living room. Nonetheless, the majority of the time, someone is always up and wanting to be held. Despite numerous attempts, I have better odds of returning to my pre-pregnancy body than I do getting them to all nap at the exact same time. 

In the rare event that I do have an hour to myself, it's still spent doing something house/toddler/baby-related. The closest I usually ever come to 'me time' is on Wednesdays when Jake goes to daycare. I lay all three babies down for their morning nap, make my second cup of coffee and head outside to my front porch. Before long, I hear at least one of them squealing on the monitor. After mumbling several "goddamnits" under my breath and delivering an eye roll to a non-existent recipient, I chug what's left of my coffee then reluctantly head inside. Back to babies, back to bottles, back to reality.

Even though 'me time' is short-lived around here, I can't help but take advantage of it when the opportunity arises. When bathroom breaks and trips to the gas station weren't enough anymore, I decided to join a gym. I needed a daily outlet away from my house for mental clarity, above all. I wasn't too thrilled about the idea of putting my BMI-challenged body in spandex, but it was within walking distance from my house so there was really no excuse not to. Despite being surrounded by girls that I could snap in half like a wishbone, it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. That sanity-saving hour of the day belongs to me and only me. 

The only other time as valuable as gym time is bar time. When I became a mom, I made a vow to myself to never lose my identity. While motherhood is a ridiculously huge and important part of my life, it does not define me. Truth is, I've only been a mom for a little over three years. The years leading up to that, I enjoyed going out, crushing beers and hanging out with my friends. My social life was important to me, and it still is. 

Flash forward through an engagement, marriage and four kids, and I still make it a priority to go out one night a week. It's by no means in the same capacity as I once did, but rather, it gives me the opportunity to socialize with people who have all of their teeth, most of their hair and who don't require me to wipe their ass after they use the bathroom. It's a chance for me to take a shower, put on real clothes and talk about something other than babies. Above all, it makes me feel normal. 

Finding balance in life isn't alway easy, especially when you have kids. It's something that generally doesn't come naturally, but rather, something you have to work at. I hate when I hear people say that they don't 'have time' to do something. If it were truly THAT important, you would find the time to do it. 

We're all busy. Welcome to life. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

i feel a change comin' on

Despite our recent sleeping through the night conquest, our bedroom is still haunted by the inconsistent sleeping patterns of three infants. A gas bubble, runaway binky, or an attempted swaddle breakout are usually to blame. In our house, broken sleep has become the new black.

In a matter of months, I've gone from being a full-time working mom of one to a full-time stay-at-home mom of four. Leaving a near seven-year career at a job that I loved wasn't easy, but I knew it was the inevitable. To be brutally honest, the thought of being a SAHM never seemed all that appealing to me. I vividly remember being more than ready to go back to work after my maternity leave had lapsed when I had Jake. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy spending time with him, but rather, I enjoyed the routine of going work, bringing home a paycheck and the reward of a three-day weekend each week. I worked a four-day workweek so it was easy to find a perfect balance between home life and work. These last four-and-a-half months have been a pretty big adjustment for all of us, but at least I know I will never look back and regret the time I've been able to spend at home.

In addition to my early workforce retirement, I began to mourn my daily freedom as a mom of one. Prior to our triplet bombshell, I knew two would be a challenge, but at least I'd still be able to integrate myself into everyday society. Now, trips to Target, weekend adventures to Belle Isle and my solo lunch dates with Jake have become a thing of the past. With four, my child-induced tether leaves me feeling more and more like a prisoner awaiting a chance at parole. 

As the babies approach their fifth month, old challenges have been replaced with new ones and their most recent demands, at times, leave me wanting to crush a Xanax up into my vodka. Everyday, I find myself struggling to keep up with the whole three-to-one ratio thing. One mom and three needy babies translates to copious amounts of coffee, a broken back, and an uncanny ability to tune out an inconsolably crying infant. 

When people ask me, "how do you do it?" the answer is really quite simple: I just do it. You'd be surprised by how capable you are of doing something when not doing it isn't an option. I try to treat each day as an opportunity to learn and grow as well as focus on all the positivity and happiness these babies have already brought into our lives. Little do they know that they have already imparted some valuable life lessons upon us.

They've taught us more patience than the average person will ever have in an entire lifetime. They've taught us that just about anything can be forgiven with the flash of a toothless smile. They've taught us that life is too short to sweat the small stuff and that life should be lived and enjoyed in the preset. They've taught us that time never slows down and that it only speeds up as you grow older. Last but not least, they've reminded me that I need to schedule JR's vasectomy this month. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

i'll sleep when i'm dead

Despite the fact that we were not first-time parents, we were oblivious as to what life was going to be like with three new babies. It certainly wasn't something that we could have ever prepared for, but rather, one of those situations in life where you have no clue until you actually experience it firsthand. Everyone knows that one baby is a lot of work. Triplets and a toddler was nothing short of a three-ring circus.

During their first month home, I briefly nursed them before deciding it would be in everyone's best interest for me to exclusively pump. If you aren't familiar with pumping, I have only one thing to say about it: it's the fucking worst. It's a full-time job that requires a lot of discipline and dedication. 

Even though I wasn't producing much, it was important to me to offer them what little bit I could. I would pump a half hour before every feeding around the clock. It was the closest I have ever come to feeling like a cow, but instead of having udders, I had nipples that resembled gigantic pencil erasers. As if my body hadn't been through enough already, my orangutan boobs were now being pulled and tugged on by an electronic device. I was moos away from belonging in a goddamned barn. 

For a good two months or so, showering, teeth-brushing and eating dinner became a novelty. My days were consumed with bottles, diapers, laundry, crying, and any attempt to keep our house in functioning order. I had very little time or energy to spend on myself, and to be honest, I just didn't care. Personal hygiene took a backseat to projectile vomit and blown out diapers. Between their nightly witching hour and broken sleep, my ultimate goal was to just make it through each day without killing anyone and/or checking myself in to Betty Ford.

Despite help from my mom and mother-in-law several days a week, at the end of each day, I was so exhausted, I had no choice but to go to bed after their 7:00pm feeding. I'd set my alarm for just a few hours later in order to pump before their last bottle of the day at 11:00pm. Once everyone was changed, fed, burped and swaddled, we'd all hit the sheets and I would, once again, set my alarm for 2:30am to do it all over again. 

Some nights, that 3:00am feeding was so brutal, the thought of it made me wanted to cry. Between making bottles, diaper changes, feedings, burping and reflux episodes, we'd be up for a solid hour (or more), back down at 4:30am then back up at 6:30am. Many of those nights, JR and I wouldn't even speak to each other as exhaustion had gotten the best of us and we were both running on empty. It was a classic tale of "what's better left unsaid," even though, at times, I know we were both em-effing each other in our heads. It was, undeniably, two of the most mentally and physically-draining months of my life. 

Just when I was on the verge is slitting my wrists, the unthinkable happened. At just three months old, our long and tiresome nights had come to a screeching halt; all three babies were sleeping through the night. We had conquered the world, or so it felt. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

home for a rest

The days leading up to the babies' discharge from the NICU left me feeling happy, excited, nervous, and believe it or not, a little sad. As good as it was going to be to have everyone home, a part of me was going to miss visiting the NICU everyday. It had become a part of my daily routine, and to be honest, I think I was going to miss the company of the nurses the most. Our stay in Room 17 was quickly coming to an end as all the babies were right on schedule to be released. It was a bittersweet finale to our unforgettable triplet journey. 

The neonatologist in the NICU decided it would be a good idea to send the babies home one at a time. We were more than onboard with his decision, to say the least. The day we brought Vivian home was a day as normal as any other. It was a sunny Thursday afternoon, however, it would be our first night with an infant in the house since Jake had been born. Just like riding a bike, it's hard to forget how to care for a newborn baby, but there were still plenty of unknowns since we weren't exactly sure how she was going to adjust. 

During our drive home, I had only one thing on my mind: Jake. All I could think about was how he was going to react. Would he be standoffish, hide under the dining room table and poop on the floor like George (our dog) did when we brought him home? I was prepared for the worst but optimistically hoping for the best. 

As we pulled up to our house, we were greeted by my mom and Jake. We put the car seat up on the counter so Jake would be at eye level with Vivian with the help of his step stool. I frantically retrieved my phone as I could not pass up the opportunity to record his reaction. My eyes, once again, were welling up with tears and I could feel my lower lip beginning to quiver. My postpartum hormones were in full force and I was trying my hardest not to lose it. As we introduced him to his new baby sister, he curiously gazed at her, smiled, and waved hello. I don't think I have ever loved him more as I did at that very moment. 

Our first night with Vivian went really well, and we were getting ready to do it all over again the next day with Charlotte. We were really easing into things and adjusting well to our new God-given crazy life. I went to bed that night with a smile on my face, a beer in my hand and another 365 days older. Thirty-three was already off to a pretty damn good start. 

With two babies down and one to go, I anxiously awaited Monday morning since we would be picking Ryan up that afternoon. We survived the weekend with both girls, and they continued to stick to a four hour feeding schedule. Just like big brother Jake, they were good sleepers and were only up once in the night. It almost seemed too good to be true that things were going so well already despite the fact that we still had one more baby to bring home. This entire experience left me thinking how much these triplets were meant to be. I honestly couldn't have even imagined bringing only one baby home from the hospital. Our reality was triplets and our mindsets coincided. 

Our third and final trip to the hospital left us bidding farewell to the NICU and its staff. It almost didn't seem real that the whole charade was finally coming to an end, but nonetheless, we were looking forward to having everyone home. Bringing Ryan home felt more like a scene out of Groundhog Day. It was a brief glimpse into the repetitious and redundant days that were in store for us. From here in out, everything would be done times three.

That night within the walls of our modest, quaint little home was our first night home as a family of six. Three two-week-old infants and a 2.5 year old later and we were the proud (and semi-terrified) parents of four under three.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

life, in a nutshell: part V

The morning after my surgery was pretty brutal. Why anyone would ever, ever elect to have a c-section is beyond me. I had delivered Jake vaginally and even after a longer-than-average labor, shitting myself during delivery, and second-degree tearing, I would have done another beaver birth ten times over again in lieu of this. It wasn't good.

My incision was quite large and my pain level was about an 89/10. The burning sensation in my lower abdomen was so intense, it took my breath away. My lunch lady arms quivered every time I had to brace my then 200lb body frame to sit down on the toilet. To top it off, my boobs were slowly starting to resemble those of a porn star, and my body was looking more and more like Shrek from all the IV fluid. My cankles had cankles and my toes looked like Lil' Smokies. My stomach was tightly wrapped in a binder, but I just knew it looked like a deflated hot air balloon. I was a hot mess, to say the least.

I soon took up pill-popping, which is, luckily for me, encouraged after your lower abdomen experiences such a traumatic attack like the one I had just endured. One of the pain meds was administered intravenously and it was magical; not quite a bong toke, but more than a four or five drink buzz. It left me cloudy enough to relax me, but coherent enough to know what was going on. Despite my prescription cocktail haze, I had babies to visit.

We were pretty strict about visitors in the NICU, for obvious reasons, so we kept things at bay with immediate family. It was a look, but don't touch kind of a situation. It felt more like we were window shopping for jewelry at the mall than admiring the latest (and final) additions to our family. We'd stare into their incubators and watch them breathe and sleep. They were too peaceful to disrupt, not to mention the fact that they were so tiny, we were nervous to even touch them. 

The babies were all in stable condition and breathing room air. Our runt, Charlotte, was actually progressing the fastest. She fought the hardest in utero so it wasn't a surprise she was advancing so well in the outside world. Vivian had slight jaundice, but other than that, she was a champ, just like her sister. Ryan suffered from what the NICU referred to as "Wimpy White Boy Syndrome." Despite being the biggest at delivery, developmentally, he was a little behind. In the grand scheme of things, he was healthy and that's all we cared about.

By the end of the day one, I had mustered up enough courage to hold one of them. I cautiously picked up my sweet Vivian and held her naked, warm little body to my bare chest. I'm not sure who enjoyed it more, but it surely was a feeling I will never forget. The next day, it was Ryan's turn and shortly thereafter, Charlotte. I still couldn't believe that I had three new beautiful, healthy babies to love on. Life had never been better.

By the time I was discharged from the hospital, I was slowly getting more and more comfortable with taking their temperatures, changing their diapers and holding them. Everyone was on a four hour feeding schedule and continued to make steady progress. I'd take turns holding everyone, pump, and even began nursing them. When they were about five days old, their day nurse let me hold everyone at the same time. I didn't know to laugh, cry or run so instead, I just stared. There in my lap, lay my three little pigs. I was in hog heaven.

For the next two weeks, the majority of my days would be spent with them at the hospital. My eight hour days in the NICU left me missing Jake, but I knew my time there was imperative as I had to familiarize myself with the ins and outs of the preemie world. What better way to accomplish this task than spending hours upon hours with the NICU nurses? I will never forget my long days with those nurses and will forever be indebted to them for their love and support they rendered during the babies' stay. 

A few days into their second week, we were given a general projection as to when they would likely be coming home, but they had to keep making progress before anything was official. Vivian was on par to come home first, followed by Charlotte. Ryan's sleep apnea issue would extend his stay just a few days longer. 

In just three short days, I'd be celebrating my 33rd birthday and the homecoming of two of our trio. They say bad things come in threes. Luckily for me, there's an exception to every rule.

Monday, August 24, 2015

life, in a nutshell: part IV

It was hard to wrap our heads around the fact that in exactly one week, we would not only be welcoming three more children, but we'd also be doubling the size of our family. I suppose it's one of those things you can't really imagine until it actually happens. Nonetheless, shit was starting to get real. 

On the morning of April 20, 2015, we woke up as if it was any other morning. We showered, got dressed and headed for the door. I hugged Jake like I have never hugged him before and assured him we'd be seeing him soon. It took everything in me to not break down in front of him. It was the last time I'd ever see him as our only child. He's been my heart, my soul, and my everything since the day he was born. How could I EVER share my love with another baby? Much less three, I thought. 

When we arrived at the hospital, I checked in and was taken to my room in the Birthing Center. Everything was happening so fast, I almost didn't have time to process it all. Before I knew it, everyone, including JR, was getting suited up and I was wheeled into the OR. There was, what seemed to be, a thousand people in the room all scrambling around like lab rats. It felt like we were behind the scenes of a movie set. People were everywhere. If it really takes a village to raise a child, apparently, it takes a colony to deliver triplets. 

Just as the anesthesiologist was about to administer my spinal, Mason sat right in front of me and instructed me to bear hug him and relax so the needle would go in smoothly. I happily obliged and moments later, I was immediately laid flat. I remember being uncharacteristically quiet and just looking around at all the commotion. The blue sheet went up and before I knew it, I was paralyzed from the chest down. JR entered the room looking like Dexter and joined me on my right side. 

There really wasn't much going through my mind with the exception of me panicking at the thought of JR passing out. I begged him to stay behind blue curtain because I just knew he'd be one of those guys to blackout and collapse at the sight of my insides being manhandled. To stay on the safe side, he handed off his phone to Mason's P.A. who assured him she'd get some good shots (and did she ever). Next thing I know, it was baby time. 

Baby A was about to make his grand entrance. At 10:05am, Ryan James made his debut at 4lbs 11oz and 18 inches long. The second I heard him cry I went into hysterics. They flashed him behind the sheet so I could see his face. Even through my blurred vision, I could tell that he was perfect. One minute later, Baby B, our sweet Charlotte Rae was born at 10:06am at 3lbs 8oz and 17 inches long. She was the tiniest bean I had ever seen, and man, did she have a set of lungs on her. Exactly one minute later, at 10:07am, identical twin sister, Vivian Elizabeth aka Baby C arrived. She was 4lbs 1oz and 16.5 inches long. She was even more beautiful than I had ever imagined. Thirty fingers and thirty toes later and I was a mom of four. 

As all three babies were taken into the OR next door to get cleaned up and evaluated, I was lying there in disbelief. HOW did I just give birth to THREE healthy babies? I felt like a goddamned clown car. After all it's been through, my uterus belongs in a museum. 

As Mason began to put my insides back and sew me up, the nurses brought each baby to my side, one at a time, so they could be properly identified. They looked like little Glow Worms in their hats and blankets. I immediately began sobbing, once again. After we formally designated who was who, they were taken to the NICU and I was soon wheeled back to my room for recovery.  

At this point, I was still pumped full of pain meds and was waiting for my spinal to wear off so JR could wheel me down to the NICU and we could formally see and meet our babies. I don't remember being overly anxious to see them, but I do remember it being so much different than when I had Jake. The second he came out, I pulled him onto my chest. This time around, I wasn't sure exactly when I'd be able to hold any one of them. I was OK with that just as long as I knew that they were all healthy. Their stability was far more important than my desire to hold them.

After about five hours, we headed down to the NICU. As JR wheeled me down the hallway, I could feel my eyes starting to well up again as we approached Room 17. At the very end of the hall, last door on the left, there they were. 

I didn't know who to go to first. It was quite possibly the most surreal moment of my life. I did my best to peer into each incubator as it wasn't easy for me to stand. I smiled and gazed at each of them, called them by name and told them I was their Mama. I'd never been so happy in my entire life. Until that moment, I had never even dreamed of what it would be like to have four children, but as we walked out of that room, I already couldn't imagine my life without them. 

Sometimes, our biggest blessings are the things we never realized we even wanted.