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Buckle up for for another year

Firstly happy new year, I hope you all had an enjoyable time this season. I personally have developed my food baby pregnancy belly again. I’m about three months and need to stop eating.

Although only a couple of weeks since last posting. I’m surprised during this Christmas holiday how much the triplets have developed. Maybe it’s because we’re away with family, just this stepping back a little to let others help out has given me an opportunity to notice more than I usually would.

For one I’ve noticed how big they’ve got. We have three solid little babies on the go. Even Blakely has a noticeable weight to her now. All three have their own little facial expressions which can make it easier to tell who’s who. I’ve only got them muddled up once this holiday. Quite an achievement for me.

This is definitely Lacey

We began weaning them, now 26 weeks, 19 adjusted we felt they were ready to start on wet food for the lunchtime feed. Blakely knew exactly what to do first time round, and other than the protests between the spoon being removed from her mouth and returning she was like a duck to water. Ava and Lacey didn’t take long to get the hang of it either. They’re quick to learn.

Blakely has also discovered how to push herself over from her belly to her back. It’s a lot of effort but she has the determination to keep going. She’s a tough little cookie, but we already knew this.

Ava made her own new discovery whilst in Ikea shopping for high chairs. She discovered how to have a tantrum, and I can report she’s a natural. Very impressive volumes reached, as a singer I’m quite proud of the set of lungs she has.

Lacey has began singing to herself when she wakes up in the mornings. A bit like Gizmo from that Gremlins movie. It’s nothing short of adorable. Ava followed along by blowing bubbles, this has progressed over the last few days into a sort of constant growling with the occasional fart noise thrown in. It’s like we are now sharing a room with a small dinosaur who can’t shut up. It’s funny to wake up to.

Blakely has yet to start with the vocals like her sisters as yet, but does have a really cheeky laugh. I’m sure she’ll be finding her voice very soon. Everything seems to happen between them within a short time as far as development goes.

So it’s been an interesting time. A nice break for us over Christmas, as much as anyone can with multiples. To be honest we’re both still tired. Stacey and myself even had a night out to a restaurant to celebrate our wedding anniversary. I can’t remember the last time we had that quiet time together. It was much needed. Thankfully Stacey has a big family full of women who love taking care of babies so a night out was possible.

Now its back to work, back to the routine, which is made easier by watching the ever changing growth of the triplets. There is much to look forward to, much more to learn and much to work for. My family deserve the best start in life I can provide for them. Everything changed last year. It’s my job to move with that change.

Farewell to an incredible year

There has been more than one occasion in my life that I have stopped briefly this time of year to take a look at events past, and thought with a sense of bewilderment, “what in the hell has just happened”?.They weren’t always positive reflections such is life, but there was always something to take from it. Usually a life lesson or two, or five.

If someone had told me this time last year I would now be a Father to three beautiful triplet girls, I would have laughed you out of the workshop. Many strange things have happen in my life, but being Launched into Jedi level Nappy changing, baby pacifying and a life changing experience such as Fatherhood to another three girls would never have been something I could have anticipated. Mostly Because it’s an insane and almost impossible thing to process.

Three decades ago, by this point I had already swapped my dream of being a stuntman over to chasing the more realistic, and much more suited future career as a stadium filling rock legend. My heroes certainly were enjoying a an excessive life of sex, drugs and rock n roll, at least the ones still breathing. I was going to be loved and appreciated by the world, on stage and off.

Two decades ago I was sat as an in-patient on a psychiatric ward, on full flight from reality, scratching my arse wondering why no one had given me a record deal yet. Not only was I the ultimate undiscovered tortured artist by that point, but I had also acquired supernatural powers.

One decade ago I was scraping along the rock bottom of alcoholism, angry at my failings and the self centred sot I had become. I hated the world and no one more than myself. It was impossible to look ahead, I was unable to give up my anger and unable to stop drinking on my own resources. I had failed everything and everyone in my life and I couldn’t make it stop. I was crippled with the fear of how I would survive without alcohol. It was a bleak, I was stuck halfway around the world with nowhere left to go.

Tonight I came home from a job I worked hard for. I bathed each of my babies as I do every night and had that special time with them, while Stacey got the rest of the evening routine ready for their bed time.

After feeds we take them up and I put them in their sleeping sacks, kiss them all goodnight as they smile up from their cots at me. Nothing moves me more. Many men do not get a second chance at life. That’s exactly what I’ve been granted.

I can honestly say I know what it is to love another human being unconditionally. I see the importance of what it is to give of myself so others can benefit. So that my family may thrive. If there’s anything I can take from this year it’s that the unexpected will continue to happen in my life. That the opportunities for me to grow on this journey will always be coming, my practicing patience is everything.

To reflect on this year is to see the beginning. The decision to start this blog was one made in sleep deprivation. I needed to document what was happening, simply so I wouldn’t forget. Although very personal at times I am glad I began. I’d like to thank you for taking the time to share in this journey with us. And for your messages of support. I hope to become a better blogger in the new year, once I figure out linky’s. (If your not a blogger, you’ll have as much understanding of what that means as I do, just know it’s important)

This will be my last post now until the new year. So from my house to yours, have a wonderful Christmas and God bless x

All fit and ready for Christmas

It’s nice to be feeling well again. After a few weeks of illness the hospital finally got to the cause last Friday night. Turns out aswell as a nasty little chest infection, the real pain was caused by gastritis. Anyway after one pill, I feel as though I’ve pretty much blown the problem away now, much to Frankie’s amusement.

It’s coming to the end of a rollercoaster year, I think my family have done an amazing job to all get through it as well as we have. There was so much uncertainty from the day we had the scan, but it was faith, patience and knowing that we had been entrusted with something incredibly rare that got us here.

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The stress of it all and the tiredness may have nipped at me at the end, but to be honest it feels we are finally now emerging from the other end of the massive adjustment that was bringing three new born premature babies home.

Ava,Lacey and Blakely have thrived, right from the starting gun. They have adjusted and grown into very calm, content little bambinos. Each a little different already in their personalities, in looks, I still get them muddled up occasionally. They all sleep through 12 hours now. I now how incredibly lucky we’ve been in that sense. They will be 23 weeks tomorrow.

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Through all the difficulties, mostly emotional it’s hard not to feel blessed. Our marriage has become stronger, Frankie now has been officially promoted to big sister and loves them, after having to deal with her own adjustments. I’m very proud of her for the young lady she is becoming.

This christmas and new year will be a very special one. Looking back at the events of my life that have brought me to this point it’s a wonderful feeling knowing that really, my life is only beginning. In the sense that I am now able to bring stability, love and consistency to my home, to my children , I have discovered my purpose as a man, my true purpose in life. Without grace I wouldn’t be here. Without faith I would be unable to continue.

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Christmas for me now is a reminder, and a celebration of the man who showed others a way to connect with a light, that would drive out darkness and heal all internal suffering. I see that light in my children. This year brought three bright lights into our lives, that have moved us as a family to improve, to pull together, to stay out of anger for the sake of each other. And to put love and trust first.

Each one is a gift, we have our lives mapped out for us, and I wouldn’t change a single thing.

The not so immortal stuntman

As a kid I grew up watching Saturday tv shows like The A Team, and The Dukes of Hazard. My particular favourite was The fall Guy with Lee Majors. For one he had a cool truck, could handle himself in a bar brawl and did lots of stunts.

It was decided in my overactive mind back then as a child, I needed to be a stuntman. It was my destiny calling that I would jump out of moving vehicles, off buildings, out of trees and generally attempt anything that would put me at risk. I pretty much got started straight away.

Instead I ended up embarking on a journey of mental illness and alcoholism with a spattering of stuntman like victory’s and failures. Mostly just doing stupid things drunk. Problem was that when I was drunk I believed I was immortal, and when I had a paranoid schizophrenic episode as a late teenager It just reaffirmed I was immortal. And even If I wasn’t I didn’t care. I had a very up and down life.

In my life I have survived

Chronic alcoholism.
Abuse.
Mental illness.
A drunken trip through the heart of Mexico.
A drunken trip through south east Asia.
Drs prescriptions.
Broken bones.
Fights with men I clearly had no chance against.
Falling off high things drunk and breaking things.
A Scorpion sting.
Home tattooing.
A really upset gang member in New Zealand.
Home brewed sambuca.
Gallons of sugar cane spirit that apparently puts one at risk of blindness.
A year on a remote island with no alcohol, tv, phone or internet connection for most of my stay.
Psychiatrists.
Strange women.
Wandering drunk and lost at night through the project housing area of St. Louis.
Mescal.
Swimming at night naked after a shark sighting.
Beer Chang.
Snake wine.
Air Laos.
‘Dave the dirty anarchists’ brew of special brew and mushroom tea at Glastonbury festival.
A nasty stabbing incident.
Drunk skateboarding nights through the streets of Melbourne.
The sex in the city movies.

To name a few.

I never really considered my immortality until I reached my end with alcoholism and the person I had become. That led me to a much more peaceful existence. It was the only other road to take. And I am grateful that I made this far with just a few scars and bruises. Especially now I’m a parent.

Last week I was taken into hospital struggling to breath with chest pains, the second time in almost as many weeks. The X-ray shows an infection on the bottom of my left lung behind my heart. Now on a second course of antibiotics waiting for it to shift, being told to rest.

It has scared me a little, being unable to get on with my work and home life as I normally would. The realisation again that I am not immortal, that I do need to slow down occasionally, a stressful year may have caught up a little bit more than I anticipated it would. With a family now relying on me I have to take a step back now and again.

I’m not the car with no breaks anymore. And I’ve always learn the hard way.

Trigger warning! Absolutely everything ever is completely offensive

It has become increasingly difficult to open ones mouth these days and not get someone chewy. I used to be a boy who took everything personally, unless it was inline with my thinking of course.

I suffered from a problem that was all mine. That problem being that I couldn’t control my emotional nature. If something offended me I would spin into an emotional dive bomb simply because I couldn’t tolerate another’s opinion or point of view. I got angry and reacted. It was a crappy way to live.

Thankfully I am able to now live unaffected by the things I see in the world,  no matter how off key they may or may not be. I am happily neutral.

I’m surprised at how offended folks get by certain things, that there are so many floundering in bitterness, almost looking for a reason to vent. I never once believed that sharing any info about my beautiful daughters would offend so many. But it has, and still does.

This is where I overstep the line, feel free to unfollow me if the hot chocolate doesn’t calm those senses

 

‘Our triplets were not conceived through fertility treatment, they simply arrived the old fashioned way’

’My wife is still breastfeeding all three now at 21 weeks’

There I put it out there, I have actually been removed from Father support sites for sharing this information.

I am not smuggly giggling to myself as I write this. Nor am I puffing my chest out and spitting at those who went through horrendous times just to bring life into the world.

Its apparently a real no-no to mention those two facts of my life as a parent. It raises anger. I have been asked to be more considerate of others, yet my consideration is not to be granted by those offended as my truth offends them. It’s a little bit nutty to say the least.

I am truly sorry if you have struggled. Turns out so did we, our chances were less than average. Yet why the anger when you are now raising multiples ?, beautiful children, no matter how they got here, or how they are being kept alive.

I’m incredibly proud of my family, especially my wife for the amazing job she is doing. It genuinely amazes me the situation that my family has been blessed with this year.

 

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It’s been my experience that whenever I have been offended, it’s because something in me has been affected. Something internally that is mine to deal with and find peace with.

So if my experience has offended you, forgive me, you’ll feel much lighter for it.

Now go enjoy being a parent, the really important bit.

The grizzlies

I love this time of year. The Autumn leaves, crisp mornings, walking the little dog before Work in the quiet dark cold. Pre Christmas mince pie research and cosy nights in with the heating on. Planning for Christmas and all that’s involved with it. The odd festive movie thrown in over a mince pie with cream.

Of course it wouldn’t be Autumn without the obligatory coughs and colds. Usually brought home by Frankie as they unknowingly infect each other with their germs without a care during school time, as they do. Parents know the deal, and usually end up with the goods. I’m always first in line for Frankies snotty gifts. She’s always had a sharing nature.

Unfortunatly this year the triplets have now all caught it aswell as Frankie and myself, and it’s not nice. Our bedroom has resembled more of a small hospital ward then a chilled baby sanctuary the last few nights. Stacey has managed to avoid catching it so far, thankfully.

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Poor little chickens with horrible grandad coughs and sore throats, Stacey’s exhausted, I’m running on four brain cells, and unfortunately there’s nothing we can do other than crack open the calpol and comfort them as best we can. I’ve also dealt with some of my first serious nappy incidences. Like, WOW girls!!!! I’m impressed.

It was far from my mind that the babies would get ill util this week, and the tears and grizzlies that go with it make a Dad feel a little helpless. It’s a given that what one gets, the others are likely to catch it also. It’s their first round of being poorly, not the best of milestones but one I hope for them and us doesn’t last much longer.

 

 

Pre natal depression

Although a first timer at dealing with a pregnant wife, I was aware of post natal depression. I’ve known friends in the past who have suffered from it, and was aware of it’s seriousness. It’s not surprising, seeing first hand the emotional and physical toll a pregnancy, and following birth takes on a woman, that she could remain unaffected by the experience.

My wife suffered, not so much after the birth, but throughout the entire pregnancy. Pre natal depression was not something I knew of, or had ever heard about.

As a man living with a woman who was suffering, the strain and tension was very real. I see relationships now that don’t survive it. It’s a sad outcome but one that’s all too prevalent. Especially with multiples.

I didn’t realise the extent of what my wife was dealing with internally. It was easy to put it down to hormones, although I knew she was experiencing real fear around the whole situation. It’s only recently that she has began to open up to me about it.

I now know that she tried her best to push me away, although she loves me, she was so overwhelmed with the possible negative outcomes it was me that got the brunt of it. It was difficult for me as I was also dealing with my own concerns.

What’s a man to do ?

There was definitely ways I could, and did ease the situation. Patience and tolerance became my watch words.

Getting through it for the sake of my family was everything. I’ve dealt with enough of my own internal conflicts to know that nothing she was throwing at me was personal. Anyone who has been pierced by fear and is struggling, constantly overwhelmed by negative thinking is not going to be themselves.

The best thing I could do was not struggle with her. As tempting as it was to react to her anger at times, my only job was to remain solid and conscious of what was happening. She was also dealing with the fear that I wouldn’t be able to cope and leave her with triplets and Frankie. After all I had never done the baby deal before. And we had three on the way.

A demonstration of my confidence would do more than any words of comfort I could give. As cutting as her words were at times, as hard as my pride got dinted I didn’t budge. I saw through it all.

I learned early on not to try and fix her, the best thing I could do was give her space to process what she was dealing with. And to be there when she wanted to talk.

I stayed out of self pity as best I could and carried on, for the sake of everyone under my roof.

It became a real test of our relationship. I hoped and prayed we would survive it. And I believe we have come through it both stronger. I had to hang on to my faith at times, Without which I have no idea how I could have done it.

If she’s struggling, love her without expectation. Be the man who won’t let her down. Take the punches on the chin and don’t waver. Stay out of anger and see that she’s a woman suffering and all she needs is you by her side, even when it doesn’t seem that way.

Be patient and wait for her. And when she finally opens her eyes again she’ll know you were always there. And she’ll love you even more for it.

 

Ask a silly question

Whoever it was that coined the phrase ‘there is no such thing as a silly question’, clearly never ventured out into public with triplets.

Multiples draw attention, it’s like the circus has arrived. Especially when the third one is spotted, many times I’ve been jammed in the isle of the supermarket while out on my own with them, surrounded and blocked from all sides by cooing onlookers wanting to have a look at my brood.

Unfortunately it’s unavoidable. As it seems are the barrage of questions that follow. Mostly unfiltered, partly offensive but I’d like to believe none are presented with any real malice.

I think I have heard them all now, one I have been asked more than once is “Are they real”? , to be honest I’ve often wondered what someone would think my angle was if they weren’t real , I mean a heavily tattooed man with a twin buggy and another Dolly strapped to my chest in a harness. The mind boggles.

Another one encountered regularly, is being looked at with a screwed up face, like they’ve just sucked a lemon , followed by “Rather you than me” with an air of smugness. A response more suited to someone just back from a cheap holiday in magaluf, embarrassingly declaring they picked up an STD.

One that continues to puzzle both Stacey and myself is “Did you know you were having triplets”?
This usually follows a pause from me as I try again to process the question. I usually go to my stock reply of “well we didn’t know…………then we had a scan, and then we did know”.

For the most people are generally shocked and intrigued. I make the time to talk to most people as I don’t like to be rude. On occasion though it’s best just to walk away.

“Are they natural”? Is always one of the first questions from strangers, always prompting me to wonder what an unatural baby would look like. And what a personal question to put to anyone. I may just answer that now with my sperm count result, pop them a cheeky proud wink and ask them what they think,  just for the reaction.

A couple of weeks ago a cashier commented that me standing there with triplets was enough to make her ovaries explode. I was lost for words on that occasion, really lost.

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Blakely was smiling all the way home at some of the silly comments we got

People seem to fear monger aswell, unintentionally I think. There’s nothing like being told in the middle of sleep deprivation by a stranger that “it’s only going to get harder”. Or being constantly reminded how expensive it’s going to get whilst being extremely aware of how expensive it’s going to get.

I do draw the line though at photos, also when complete strangers think it’s okay to try and hold them. It happens occasionally.

If you have multiples you’ll be aware of all of this. It becomes normal. The best thing to do is have fun with it. As frustrating as it can be, for no other reason that it’s how it’s going to be.

 

 

 

Early birds

Today is world prematurity day. I have seen, and read some phenomenal story’s this morning from parents who’s little ones against the odds, pulled through to thrive into healthy bambinos.

I was recently asked to write an article on my experience of the NICU, which has reminded me once again how incredibly lucky we were in that respect. Other than Blakely’s little brain bleed that cleared itself up, we had no other complications. Each of our girls arrived screaming into the world, and developed normally in every respect. You can read about my experience here.

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We were blessed in every sense with our three, mostly that we didn’t have an emergency birth. Although a highly stressful situation we managed to hit our elected date. Non of us were expecting all three babies to make it without some sort of complication.

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Reading the experiences of other men who had walked this path before me was quite emotional. Dealing with multiples it is to be expected, I followed some heartbreaking stories from Dad’s in the NICU, still do, but also the miracles that occur on a regular basis with the early arrivals.

We spent a short time in the NICU, the majority was in the SCBU, waiting til they were all latched and feeding. It was 20 days in total.

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Naturally each experience differs, but the one real blessing of anyone’s experience, is the care and attention given by the nurses and doctors who work in that environment. Not just the care of the babies but also the parents.

We will always be eternally grateful to the nurses who took care of our girls, and of us as they arrived and began their journey. It’s always nice to be reminded of the miracle that took place in our own lives not so long ago.

 

Self soothing ?, or a ticket to insanityville

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.

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I mean does this look like the face of a baby emotionally damaged because she’s left to fall asleep by herself?

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.