When our little chickens came home we were hit with the intense reality of having three newborns in the house. It was relatively easy whilst they were in the SCBU, as we were able to come home in the evenings and rest with unbroken sleep.
I was concerned about the tiredness and how it would affect me mentally. Stacey was also a little concerned as to how I would cope. As someone with a long history of mental health problems it has become important that I get sufficient sleep in order to maintain a level of wellness. And now we got triplets. There would be a period of serious adjustment coming my way.
In short it’s been insane, there were times I honestly didn’t think I was going to survive it. Especially in the first weeks. I remember the first night feeling the agitation after being awake most of the night, knowing I had to work in an couple of hours time. It was hard to not be frustrated that I had to stay awake to keep Stacey awake while she breastfed. I struggled mentally with it for a while and had to be really aware of the temptation to resent the situation.
I remember being stretched out on our bedroom floor most nights, rocking Lacey’s crib with one foot while rocking Ava’s crib with my hand, both crying while Blakely was being pacified by Stacey. It was exhausting and not a routine that we could continue and remain sane. I understand now how some parents easily lose the plot.
One night Ava fired up after being fed, she was winded and fine, all three had gotten used to being rocked to sleep, wether it was in our arms or in the cribs. We were too exhausted to get out of bed to see to her. Eventually, after a short time she ran out of steam and slept. It was hard hearing her cry, but even harder to move.
I was told about self soothing, especially when it came to multiples. It was highly suggested by other multiple Dad’s and seemed to be the only realistic solution.
Although it goes against the emotional pull of instantly wanting to pick a baby up the moment it makes s noise, there is also such a thing as making a rod for your own back in doing so. Imagine having three babies that were unable to settle without human contact, then Imagine how long it would be before you were locking yourself in a cupboard rocking back and forth with one ear back and an eye twitching.
We both made the decision early on to try controlled crying. Rather than trying desperately to pacify them all so we could sleep, only for them to wake the minute we stopped rocking the crib or putting one down. Also pacifiers had to go. Especially at night. Yes they work to quiet them, but they also fall out every ten minutes, times that by three and you will begin to crumble, I think put in that position, even someone with the über chilled skills such as the Dalai lama would find himself grumbling an agitated ‘oh for f*#ks sake’ as he dragged his arse out of bed for the tenth time in as many minutes to stick a pacifier back in. I joke but parents crack over less.
It was hard going, but we have been consistent and it has paid off. Of course they are checked on for wind if they’ve not been down long, and sometimes one or two will just be unsettled with a bellyache or the gripes and they are comforted. And the babies are still content and thriving. Yes they cry, no it doesn’t kill them.
There are parents who wholeheartedly disagree with me on this, I know men who haven’t had a decent nights sleep in years who’s children are still reliant on their physical presence to get to, and stay asleep, but each to their own. I personally think overriding a potential emotional guilt in favour of sanity for us, and the triplets future development can only be a good thing.