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Breastfeeding triplets

I was surprised during the pregnancy when my wife announced she wanted to breastfeed the triplets. I found it hard to comprehend that she would be able to produce the milk needed to satisfy three babies. It was to be a massive commitment for Stacey but she was adamant that breast was going to be the best for our premature triplets as they made their start in life.

Stacey loved breastfeeding Frankie, not only from a bonding perspective but as the most natural way to feed them, as she says, it’s what boob’s are there for. I had no problem with it, my wife didn’t have expectations but was determined that it was how she wanted to feed them. She didn’t put pressure on herself and stayed calm around the whole process to begin with, stress can slow a supply down.

I remember well around the 3rd day after they were born, following constant pumping the first drops of Stacey’s milk coming through, it was exiting times. Blakely, the smallest of the trio, at that time was struggling to hold down the formula as her digestive system hadn’t fully developed to tolerate it, so any milk expressed went to Little Blakely.

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The first drops of the good stuff

Soon Blakely was solely on Mum’s milk, tolerating it and strengthening well as a result. Ava was then the first to latch. It was then a case of them all latching before we were able to take them home. I was honestly amazed by the whole event, nature knew what the babies needed and Stacey’s body delivered. It wasn’t always easy, there were times she had to struggle with the pain, but with gritted teeth continued.

There were definitely times I found it hard in the beginning, In that I wasn’t able to help much. That soon changed though as I needed to keep Stacey awake through the night feeds to keep her awake. So we both suffered from the tiredness of the long nights in that respect. To feed all three took around an hour and twenty minutes. By which time it was soon time to start the feeds again. Sometimes she was able to tandem feed. But that wasn’t always possible if she was in pain.

It wasn’t long though after being home that we began giving them expressed milk in a bottle for the last feed of the day. It meant I got to be involved and enjoy those moments together with my wife. And it was a job I loved, it helped me bond with my daughters in those early day’s of adjustment.

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At ten and a half months it came to an end. Partly because of the Babies teeth coming through and becoming distracted by their surroundings, and partly because the supply dropped. It was a sad time for my wife in many ways as it was the last time she will ever breastfeed. But I take my hat off to the strongest woman I’ve ever known, for keeping our babies alive and healthy, through sacrifice and pain for the most crucial time they would need it. It was an immense achievement and I will always be proud of what she physically and mentally accomplished to provide for Ava, Blakely and Lacey.

Blakely’s little big breakthrough

The triplets are developing into their own individual little characters now and it’s fascinating to watch them grow.

Lacey here is the most inquisitive. She moves in the blink of an eye by rolling, non of them have quite worked out crawling yet but rolling is something they have all mastered. The other two are happy to stay in the same spot and play, not Lacey, this little lady is going places.

Ava is as cheeky as they come. She’s has an infectious little giggle and laughs at random things that really aren’t funny. A real fidget and chatterbox. She loves waving. All three now will wave back at us. I’m sure It won’t be long until they are answering us back. I got a feeling Ava may be the one who instigates a few adventures further down the line. She has that twinkle in her eye.

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Blakely still is, and probably will remain the smallest of the three. She has been a little behind the others with development but usually catches up within weeks. Ava and Lacey alternate between who is in front in that respect. They have both become affectionately aware of each other over the last couple of weeks, they share toys and watch each other closely as they play. They both sit up beautifully on their own whereas Blakely has struggled to sit unaided. She has lacked the strength to hold herself up to the point we were a bit concerned.

This weekend they were all well and free of coughs and colds. Which lifted their moods again so we had our happy trio back who are more than happy to entertain themselves. And on Saturday Blakely finally made the giant leap to sitting by herself. It took a lot of practice, and a lot of falling over but she’s now in line with her sisters and can happily sit and play.

I have had more proud moments as a man than I can remember this last ten months seeing my daughters developments. To see my little chicken sit up on her own was a big one. She may be small but she’s determined.

I feel almost as proud as she does now. A wonderful long weekend was spent watching my family. And I have an amazing bunch of little ladies watching back.

The importance of date night.

My wife and I have become a well oiled machine when it comes to home life and dealing with the triplets routine. We both know exactly what our jobs are and we both work hard together without complaint.

Teamwork is the core of parenting three babies plus the bigger one. We have got to this stage through trial and error and without pulling together I’m not sure sort of chaos we’d be living in now.

In a sense we have fallen into the roles of co-workers more than we feel like husband and wife at times. Tiredness hits us both by early evening, added to the constant demands of the babies there is a mental exhaustion that fills a relationship.

The first six months was a challenge of massive proportions that required our full focus and emotional strength. There was little time for each other. Since then it has been more settled and there have been a few more opportunities to regroup.

Making time for each other just to talk and be a couple has been tough. Finding the time is not easy but is crucial to our marriage that we make the effort. Our relationship as Mum and Dad is the most important one in the home. How I treat my wife, the effort I put into our marriage, and how my girls see me in the that role is so important. As a multiple parent I have found everything takes work. Especially in these early days.

We had another opportunity this week to go out for dinner just the two of us. It’s only the third time since the arrival of the triplets that it’s been possible. Mainly because it’s not easy to find someone who knows and can cope with the triplets. Stacey’s Mum is visiting and is amazing with the girls so we took advantage while she’s here to get a date night in.

It’s the perfect opportunity to relax and catch up in a way, and also to take stock of where we are and how we’re doing. It’s like stepping out of the tornado temporarily and taking a good breather. It’s a chance to remember why we’re together in the first place, and how much we’ve achieved as a couple and a family.

It may be a while til the next one but they are appreciated when they come. Nothing has brought us more together than the triplets, but it can also pull us apart at times just through the daily routine and grind.

Like everything else, It is another factor of our lives that requires work, communication, balance and kindness.

When all you got is sick

I have been wanting to do a nice update on the developments and changes that occur on our journey with triplets. It is one of the reasons why I write. To share our experience. It seems this last month or so to have been a difficult task to write about anything without danger of becoming whinging blogger statistic with regular content dragging you along on a weekly misery trip of snot and coughs.

It’s not where I wanted to end up.The only really funny thing that occurred over the weeks was when Ava puked on the dogs head, but I’ve already written about that so where do I go from there?

Once In a while it’s inevitable that illness will hit. But this house has had a bad run since Easter. Not just the triplets but the whole family. So I have had little else content in which to offer. I have been in no headspace to write anything I felt of worth to give.

As I write this we’ve had little sleep again; with three babies, myself and Stacey unwell ourselves. Myself with a virus that has drained me all week – and my wife and babies with ongoing coughs and temperatures.

We were lucky to have one weekend with two of the triplets relatively content and out of the grizzles. But it’s hard to avoid as a parent. It’s just been hard work.

Without sounding like a dying swan. Here’s where we are.

I have found myself getting stuck a groove of concern without noticing til now. As the breadwinner of the house I have lost time from work through illness. I have struggled with hip pain which has now been discovered as a hernia.

Only now I am realising how disconnected I have been feeling from the bigger picture in my life. Pain has drained me. It’s unavoidable as I am on my feet from 5.30 – til my day is done around 9pm. Without knowing the problem it has raised doubts about my ability to provide for my family. Creeping doubts when run down can be amplified to overwhelming problems yet to exist. My family need me – not lost in worry.

Fear has pierced me through tiredness, pain and a lack of consciousness. Meditation is extremely difficult when drugged up to the eyeballs on gabapentin and tramadol. Staying watchful of negative emotions becomes impossible. The frustration got real.

The hardest thing about being run down with triplets is that there is no real opportunity to rest and gain strength. The days are relentless. For my wife it’s been even harder as she’s had to cope with me at home on the ropes all week. She’s been amazing.

So although we are still all suffering at the moment at some level. I’m in a better position to get back on with life without the constant worry nagging at me. I know what is causing the pain and a solution is on the horizon. A return to consciousness has brought me back to the light. The fog is lifting. I feel present once again.

With a bit of luck the rest of my bunch will be back to good health soon. Because watching my babies all ill is tough going. Feels like we need a break. Or maybe this is just parenthood.

Sunshine on the horizon

I think it’s safe to say that long-tough winter is over. It felt seemingly never ending as were the bugs and illnesses that came tied with it.

The weekend following Easter the little chickens came down with a norovirus. An afternoon out at the bowling alley turned nasty in seconds. Unfortunately non of us escaped the brutality of that virus, even the dog got puked on thanks to a lucky shot from Ava. My hope is that they don’t hit our household too often. Looking after triplets and Frankie whilst being ill ourselves was no joke. It was hard work.

Thankfully it passed quickly. I’ve also been struggling with pain since my vasectomy and have managed to survive prescription painkillers, unfortunately they turned me into a dribbling mess so I haven’t been able to string a coherent sentence together so writing has been on hold. But I finally feel back in the land of the living.

There is sunshine on the horizon, there always is. Last weekend brought a sunny warm day to Blighty so we loaded up the Babies and the bigger one and headed to the coast for the day.

It was good to be feeling good and the babies love a trip out. We get bombarded by passers by still; but it’s hard to avoid the circus when it’s in town.

Since Easter, all three have teeth now, Lacey is sitting up unaided and the other two are not far behind. They remain healthy content little bambinos. Developing fast.

They still sleep through 12 hours which blows my mind. I’m amazed at how happy they seem. It’s taken a lot of work and commitment from us both to keep them in a calm environment. Stacey is just phenomenal with them. As is Frankie. It’s been hard on her but she loves them to bits. A very proud big Sister.

So we’re looking forward to some warm weather, good health, bbq’s and the triplets first birthday.

The 4th of July will definitely be one to remember.

Why the right to comment on mental health?

I don’t really remember a time as a kid when I wasn’t experiencing some sort of fear or anxiety. Being on the autistic spectrum I struggled with others from an early age. Relationships took a tiring effort which I failed to understand the workings of, I eventually settled on the idea that approval was the aim of the game so I did what I thought was right to gain approval. But I was never really sure who was the best persons approval to gain. So I constantly switched between friends, usually bluntly at the cost of friendships, sometimes nastily to gain the approval of my new pedestal placed target.

Add to this we moved on average every 12 months which meant leaving my experimental social arena of school before I got a chance to settle. Also before any teachers had a chance to discover I had problems, that I wasn’t just a – problem.

My mind raced constantly at 1000 revs from the moment I awoke til I slept. Mostly my fantasies were about how I’d one day maybe pull a family to safety from a burning car wreck, then during the tv interview on the news , all the teachers that embarrassed me, the kids that bullied me, my Dad and everyone else would eat their words and see I wasn’t bad. They would be lining up to apologise for burning me as weak and stupid. My mind never stopped.

At home I lived with the tension and suicidal threats of my opioid addicted father to whom I was a burden. I blamed myself for his steady decline and the falling apart of my family. He would reinforce my feelings when he would lose his temper, the truth was in those moments his anger was more likely caused by his disagreements with his doctors. But I was little and didn’t know that.

At about the age of 11 I began self harming, I got relief and liked the pain, the very act brought with it a sense of rightness and control.

By the last time we moved as a family; my fears had become anger. But it was suppressed as I was terrified to show it, I controlled it with my secret self harming and growing unhealthy obsessive behaviours.

The first time I discovered alcohol I had what felt like a spiritual awakening. There was no question it would forever be my solution and friend as it took away all my internal Conflicts and never let me down.

I slowly gave up on friends and began dissolving into myself and my world.

The last threat my father made to kill me was different, the family doctor had already warned my mother by that point to get us away from him.

So I left home before the age of 16. Entered the world knowing only depression, anxiety, paranoia, fear, anger, bitterness and shame. My world would get a whole lot darker. I had no idea how to live a normal existence and didn’t believe I would ever be free from those conflicts.

This is why I have the right to comment, and also offer a solution to anyone suffering as I did.

Because I have recovered. Many don’t.

Easter break

Seems a while since my last post. It’s been another busy period of adjustment, life goes on and we are rolling nicely with it at the moment.

All parents need a break sometimes, with multiples this hasn’t really been possible with my wife breastfeeding and the simple fact three babies need caring for. Since the triplets arrived we have been out for dinner alone twice. Both times were memorable and needed.

The girls are coming up 9 months now so have changed a great deal since we last went away for Christmas. Even then, having Stacey’s big family to help out my wife and needed to keep them to a routine.

We have travelled again to Stacey’s parents for Easter. The 5 hour drive went fine without crying or dramas. The girls seem content looking out the window at the ever changing view between naps. We stopped to feed them lunch and all went well. I love those journeys as my wife and I are both relaxed and it gives us time to really catch up, evaluate and take in the life we now have.

It’s been a wonderful time. With the babies now at a stage where they are more and more interested in what’s happening around them, they have enjoyed all the family time and interacting.

We are both much more relaxed letting others take over the meal times and baths. Everyone is still amazed at the calm and relaxed little personalities they all have. It’s been staying consistent with routine and keeping the home environment as stress free as possible that has added to their wellbeing. The work has payed off to this point.

I have managed to rest for the first time, and even had a chance to work on my writing and the book which I hope to release next year. There needs to be more for expectant fathers out there, especially dealing with high risk multiple pregnancies and all that follows.

Our lives have changed beyond anything we could have imagined. Every now and again my wife and I look at each other and just laugh at the reminder that we have triplets.

I hope you are all enjoying a peaceful break where-ever you are in the world at this time.

God bless from my family to you x

The last of the stationary triplet days

A Dad I know once said that the early stage of Babies is the best, because they stay where you plonk them and they don’t answer back.

In just a few weeks it’s astonishing how fast the developments and changes in character are occurring. We clearly have three very different little ladies now.

It is also a year since the 18 week scan in which we found out the mono twins were girls. Seems a lifetime ago now.

Lacey has discovered rolling and pushing her knees up under herself. She will be on the move within a couple of weeks. She also communicates by smiling and shaking her head at Stacey. She is also the first to have teeth through. Lacey seems ahead of the pack in little ways. Stacey is putting daily work into each of them, in finding new skills to learn with one on one time.

Ava is definitely the cheeky one. She is energetic and nicely vocal with it. If you blow fart noises at her, you’ll get them back. She’s incredibly alert as they all are. She has an infectious giggle, and loves to promptly throw whatever you give to her on the floor. This is her favourite trick, funny at the moment but I can see it wearing off pretty quickly.

Blakely is the most chilled, patient one of the three. Originally nicknamed ‘the firecracker’ due to her being able to go from 0-101 in a heartbeat, we’re talking loud. Then one day she just seemed to change, and the temperature dropped. We were all happy about that particular development. Blakely also has teeth coming through.

They all absolutely love bath time. As do I, it’s my favourite part of the day. Stacey pumps while I spend that time with them each night. It’s our daily bonding time. And we always listen to good tunes.

As a Dad, new to the experience of babies. I’m genuinely amazed by them. They are, for the most a chilled little bunch. I didn’t think the time would go so fast.

We are constantly planning the next stage as parents, staying a step ahead. It seems to be the way that’s working. My wife and I work to stay on the same page with everything concerning the babies and our home arrangements.

It is tough at times, we’re still tired from it. But we’re managing well. Its a case of having to, any problems get solved quickly.

So things are changing fast here, and when another parent tells me it’s going to be a nightmare when they begin crawling, I have no reason to disbelieve them.

Freedom from anger and depression

With growing rates of mental health problems affecting young men and women, it is ever more important that a real solution be found for the stability of a family unit. Even for the families with parents that have already split, the need to remain emotionally consistent with the children and each other must be paramount.

Men especially can feel backed into their own corners, from the pressures of parenting, home life, relationships, existing health problems and work, many turn to medications and other conscious numbing drugs and foods like alcohol as a solution.

Anything that distracts and numbs the conflicting forces of guilt and anger can be abused and create harmful obsessive behaviours that can become life threatening.

For many of us, we end up responding to stress, the same as the fathers that failed us did. We become overwhelmed and over-emotional. Anger begins to get passed us as the pressures mount, and with a continued failure to meet the barrage of stressful situations in the stream of life, our agitation affects those closest. We begin to resent our situation. Life becomes a struggle of failing emotional management and unhappy relationships.

The problem with numbing consciousness, is that it also numbs any clarity, I lose sight of whats in front of me. I could never have dealt with any of my issues while under the influence of anything. When medicated I was nothing more than a sleepwalker. At times I felt okay. But A false sense of wellness is like thin ice over a lake. Looks together on the surface but the cracks eventually begin to appear. And I always fell through.

A parent needs to be present. And it is possible to strengthen from stress rather than become ground up by it, creating more problems.

A few years ago I was medicated to stabilise my moods. It was the usual story of a change in meds giving me temporary relief. But Olanzapine, like most mood altering chemicals had me fast becoming a zombie. I was constantly exhausted, mentally I began feeling unstable as agitation started to become a real problem. I struggled to sleep. The constant anger rising was concerning me again.

I had no reason to be feeling that way. On the outside my life was good. Taking meds just turned me into a pressure cooker. I had a soon to be wife and stepdaughter at home relying on me as well as full-time work.

As a recovered alcoholic I was more than aware of the sinking sand I was in. In desperation I began to look for anyone who could help me.

Out of pure chance I contacted a stranger through fb, whom gave the impression he knew what he was talking about when it came to emotional and spiritual stability. I instantly got angry at his brutal honesty with me. He was exposing my phony wellness for what it was. I didn’t like that. In doing so he also exposed the problem, my anger. Everyone was getting my back up.

He left a number, and it was my wife who convinced me to call him back. The reason being he offered me a solution to the anger that kept getting past me. He didn’t try to sell me anything, or convince me of anything.

He simply pointed to a meditation exercise that led to a solving of his own problems. He told me that if I got free from anger, all the symptoms, like depression and anxiety would also fall away without any effort or struggle.

Sounded too simple. Although not convinced I was becoming desperate. I couldn’t stomach anymore therapy and didn’t want to find myself in the mental health system again playing with more medications.

All I was told to do when beginning the meditation was to ‘watch’ my thoughts, To observe them without being affected by them, he explained when I meditated I would be in a neutral position to do this. The most of my problems after all, are fed by my over thinking.

I have used this particular meditation now everyday since. I was able to safely come off the medication with the support of a doctor within weeks. My wellbeing and mental health improved drastically and rapidly after a short adjustment to a new state of consciousness.

It doesn’t mean life is not difficult, it just means I approach those difficulties from an awake and aware perspective. I deal with life and relationships consciously without the emotional strain.

All it took was an open mind and a commitment to a spiritual approach to my problems. To practice conscious awareness through a simple observation exercise. I was also warned that it’s not a toy. It is metaphysical in nature.

The man who helped me became a good friend. He and his wife are one of the pairs of God parents to the triplets. Had I not crossed his path I believe my life would be very different now.

A very proud Godfather

So I pass this on to anyone suffering who needs a quick, permanent solution to anger, depression, over thinking, and other internal conflicts that are creating ongoing mental and physical problems.

If you are struggling and are still yet to find a solution. This may be the life changer you’ve been looking for.

https://schwarzhoffmedia.com/non-contemplative-meditation/

Love at the centre

For a home to become a thriving environment for everyone, there needs to be a spirit of love at the centre of it. That doesn’t mean it will be without stresses and tensions. But if the stresses and tensions are met properly, with patience and tolerance, everyone has a chance to grow.

The challenges facing new parents can be overwhelming at times. I don’t believe our marriage would have survived had I not been willing to outgrow my fears and stay out of self pity. Not an easy job when suffering from lack of sleep while my wife was adjusting to her new role. And me mine.

As men we need to be prepared to take a back seat in the early days. My wife was so focused on breastfeeding and taking care of the Babies, she had no time to hear of my worries and doubts. At times I felt on the outside looking in. It was tough. I had to work while my wife and mother in law took care of the triplets. Through tiredness and being unable meditate properly I began to resent that I couldn’t be at home. Doubts about our relationship and future began to creep in. Luckily I was able to just observe those negative thoughts without reacting to them.

As Dad, I had a very specific role. It is to remain consistent. My wife and I discussed this earlier. Women go through all sorts of physical and emotional upheavals. Hormones play a part in the moods and stress, as do their own fears and doubts. I had to be awake to that. I’ve said before that nothing she threw at me was personal, even if it was.

She told me one of the things that got her through was that she knew I was solid. That I could take the strain when she couldn’t. To baton down the hatches during the rough moments, instead of biting into the temptation to retaliate was the best thing I could have done. The last thing she would have needed was seeing me overwhelmed and over emotional. A woman needs to feel secure when she feels anything but at times. There are always opportunities to talk clearly after the storms.

I have to be focused on what I need to do. For the sake of the family they need me strong. My job is to practice patience and tolerance. When I’m calm, the house stays calm. My wife is happy and my daughters feel that.