The thought of staying at home alone during the day, with three newborn babies, all solely breastfed, is a thought that can baffle most minds. It takes a certain attitude, a lot of patience. And a deep sense of purpose to pull it off.
I didn’t believe for a minute that becoming parents to triplets would have happened if we didn’t have what it took to take care of them. I, for my part, am as involved as I can be when I’m not at work. Stacey has now become a super mum.
I have a massive respect for my wife, and her very natural ability as a mother. She’s amazed me since the arrival of the triplets. To go from that dark place she was mentally during the pregnancy, to see her with them now is quite a thing.
There was understandably a very real trepidation from herself in regards to how she would cope when I returned to work and her Mum left. She has Frankie’s school runs to do, also the daily household chores. Yet she manages like a boss. Visitors are genuinely in aw of her ability to deal with the job at hand with a real calmness. She knows exactly what she’s doing.
Don’t misunderstand me. There are days that are tough, add tiredness from both of us and it can become very stressful at times, especially when all three babies are unsettled. But we remain conscious of our situation and work as a team. We have to,
We have embarked on a monumental journey this year, of epic proportions. The changes we have both experienced, personally, and as a couple are becoming a real foundation of strength in our home. In my wife I’ve seen a new confidence and sense of purpose come alive. It’s beautiful to watch.
A couple of weeks ago I picked up my little nephew from school. He’s a great little lad and I always love when he’s round as we make stuff like cars and jails for the bad guys out of lego, and talk Star Wars.
It was the testosterone filled conversation on the way home that led me to thinking about my brood, and how different our conversations will be as they grow into little ladies.
One of the questions from him went as so –
“if you had to choose, would you rather be eaten by a dinosaur? Or head-butted by one”?
As well as being a fantastic question that gave me something to ponder over, it also made me think about my time raising Frankie over the last five years, and being reminded I now have three more girls under my roof.
My eldest daughter is about as girly as they come. She loves princesses, unicorns, anything pink, baking and crafts, and now her Mum’s make up and nail varnish (only to wear playing in the house though). She also now does ballet which she loves.
Frankie has also over the years made much effort to do activities with me that as she sais ‘boys might like’.
Its very sweet how she’s conscious of the fact that I’m not a girl, and perhaps like other things besides making princess carriages out of lego, and talking about unicorns and fairys.
When she saw how exited I was when the new Star wars came out a couple of years ago, she wanted to watch the earlier movies with me. When it came time to watch the second movie I could see she was a bit restless, when asked what was up, she apologised to me and explained that she tried really hard to like it but it wasn’t really her thing. Bless her.
I love that she is the way she is. And I also don’t mind joining in playing girly stuff with her. It makes her happy that I get involved with what she’s doing. And now with three more I think it’s just aswell I got good at painting nails during the pregnancy.
I think that wether it’s boys or girls, no matter what they’re interested in, it’s my involvement as a father, and interest and encouragement that’s important. I have met men with only daughters who under the surface resented that they didn’t have a boy. A lot of people asked me if I was upset all the triplets were girls. Not one bit.
My girls may all grow to be like their big sister. I hope they do. At least I still have my nephew to talk to about things like fighting dinosaurs.
Last Sunday was the christening service for the triplets. It is traditional in Stacey’s family, and although not religious myself I do have a faith from my experiences as a recovered alcoholic and the way I live my life. I know that only a power of light overcomes darkness. Only love can drive out anger.
I also know that my girls are full of that light. It was clear from the first day I held them. You only have to look in their eyes to feel it.
I believe every child is born with that spirit. I see it in Frankie’s kindness, and strong sense of right. I also see it in my wife’s love for all of our girls. So living life connected with, and growing in that spirit of love is everything. And turning away from darkness on this journey is the difference between knowing peace and suffering.
It turned out to be a wonderful stress free day. We were organised and on time. The babies were on their best behaviour and looked beautiful in their gowns. The gown Blakely wore is the one all Stacey’s sisters and Frankie wore for their christening. Lacey wore my cousins, the one my Auntie Liz got for her christening. Ava had a new one.
It was a real celebration of life, with close friends and family. After such a turbulent year of uncertainty, change and eventually the safe arrival of Ava, Lacey and Blakely into our lives.
If there’s anything I’ve had reinforced this year, it’s that faith can overcome fear. That the courage to endure patiently in the face of stress, of the unknown, of whatever the outcomes may be in life only brings strength. And my family are now stronger for it.
So God bless my girls and my family. I get the feeling they are already taken care of.
Frankie, as I’ve mentioned before has experienced a lot of change in her life, some changes bigger and longer affecting than others. Yet she has coped incredibly well in the face of it all. She is mature in her nature and has a big heart.
The arrival of the triplets is another change she has adjusted to well. It would be hard for any only child, suddenly having three baby sisters rock up one day and take everyone’s waking attention. Yet she loves them, and is proud to be involved with it all.
Sure there are times that she has experienced a bit of jealousy, especially once they came home as three baby’s can be all consuming, more so in that adjustment period of home life. There are times it’s been incredibly stressful here but when I talk to her about it she understands what’s happening.
She loves to help. Also she knows when it’s enough and it’s time for her to exit the madness when all three babies are fired up.
We don’t push her at all to get involved. We ask her if she wants to help with certain jobs like the evening feeds and bath times. Usually she does but if she prefers to chill out elsewhere and and take a break that’s fine. She’s under no obligation with them. Believe me sitting with screaming hungry babies is a test of patience for anyone, let alone a ten year old.
I’m immensely proud of Frankie, what a wonderful big sister the triplets have. My hope is that she doesn’t grow to resent them for the attention they are taking. At the moment it’s difficult to spread any time elsewhere then the babies, but it’s not permanent and Frankie seems to know this.
The triplets are blessed to have such an example of kindness in their life. As are we.
Having never done this baby caper before, I will be the first to admit I went in wet behind the ears as it were. I had, still have much to learn. It’s a real blessing that Stacey had already successfully took care of Frankie as a baby.
Stacey has been a great teacher, and thankfully patient with me, showing me how its done, even though I do still get things wrong on occasion. Thankfully only minor errors, usually down to tiredness. Things like getting them muddled up is a given now.
So all I really had to go on as an expectation of what was to come, was Stacey’s experience with Frankie as baby, and what I’m told of mine.
Frankie was an angel who slept twelve hours, was a wonderful, hassle free baby, and still is in all the ways that are important.
I, on the other hand, was every parents worst nightmare baby, who didn’t sleep a full night for years, and remained rather lively even after i began sleeping. I had my fingers crossed the triplets would lean more towards Frankie’s habits. I mean everything was crossed, especially having three of them.
As premature babies all they did was sleep in the beginning, I thought on many occasion while they were in the SCBU, nice, this should be easier than I thought. Then I was reminded again when they hit their due date where foolish thinking can get me.
The last few nights, they have decided that they still need the midnight top up, Blakely is especially keen to remind us how much she used to enjoy her 3am feed. Which means the at least one or maybe both her sisters may also wake up and need filling up.
so it’s two steps forward and one step back. I’m guessing this is how it will be as they have growth spurts. Ive adjusted to the tiredness now though. And Stacey and myself have a tight system which we keep to the number.
And so I vow never from this moment, whenever asked how the babies are going, to be as stupid to answer anything so silly as
“Yeah great, they’re going through the night now, no problem”
This coming Sunday is the triplets christening. We were talking about the girls middle names last night and it has reminded us of someone who would have been making the cake for us, making little gift bags for all the kids and filling the day with some serious, infectious laughter.
Auntie Liz was a woman who had as a child had a big effect on me, in fact anyone who met her became instantly aware they were in the presence of a bright light. She was unforgettable.
She dedicated her life to helping children as a social worker in Bristol, then later as a teacher. I remember one time as a kid my father coming back to my Nana’s house, drunk and threatening suicide, Liz was instantly called and was driving over, there was an immediate relief, she had a presence that made you safe.
I didn’t really see her. or my family for years after I left home. I wandered off into the world with my problems. and didn’t care to look back. I would see them occasionally.
A few years ago , not long after getting sober, I married Stacey. Shortly after the wedding my Mum was taken into hospital, she had been ill for a while. Three months later she was finally diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. By the time it was discovered it had already spread to her brain.
My mother has also had a tough ride, aswell as my older brother. If there is ever a reason for me to be a better man under my roof, it’s from experiencing the damage a man overwhelmed with resentment can cause to his family. It took me a long time to see it as I became consumed by it myself. No one is unaffected.
By some miracle my Mum responded to the treatment and is now cancer free. There are some tough cookies in my family. She survived to become a triplet Nana. She is also an amazing lady.
During Mum’s treatment Liz and myself took care of a lot, I couldn’t have managed half of it alone. It also gave me an opportunity to get to know her more. We maintained contact after. She absolutely loved Stacey and Frankie. Even Stacey’s family became family. To her family was everything, I now understand that importance.
There was nothing she loved more than to see someone overcome problems, and start to succeed in life. She always made sure I was looking after my little family and moving forward.
She was exited when we got the house, and over the moon by the news of the triplets, what she called a miracle. We talked regularly right up to the middle of the pregnancy, when she was taken to hospital for tests on her hip.
The cancer had spread To her spine, no one knew. Liz hadn’t seen a doctor in forty years. Four weeks later she passed away. No one believed for a minute she wouldn’t come out of hospital. And we didn’t ever think she wouldn’t meet our triplets. Ava, Blakely and Lacey arrived two months later.
Other than my Mum she became my closest family member. Maybe because it happened in the middle of the Pregnancy, with so much happening, it didn’t quite all sink in. I’ve realised today, now the storm has passed a little how much I’m going to miss her. I’m sad she never got to see the safe arrival of all three girls. Also for them, that they will never have met her.
Two of the triplets middle names are from Mum’s and grandmothers, apart from Blakely. She is Blakely Elizabeth Frankie. Her name will stay with us.
She helped more people, and affected more people than anyone I’ve ever known. I’m thankful that she was here to share in so much of the last few years of my life sober. She would have loved my girls the same way she loved all of us, no one was treated any differently. Everyone was made to feel special.
So thank you Liz, for everything you did for me, for us as a family. I never got to say goodbye. But you will be remembered by all of us. And without any doubt, never forgotten.
I get asked a lot how I tell them all apart. The simple answer is with great difficulty. It was easier a when they were smaller as I could tell by the weights. Now unless they are all together with their colour coded vests my first words when handed a baby is “which one are you then”
Ava is the singleton, Blakely and Lacey are the identical twins. It was explained to us that there was a small chance all three could be identical. So that’s one egg got fertilised, split early enough for it to split again, and then one of them once more to create the twins. It’s rare though.
we are now convinced all three are identical. Other than Ava wears blue vests, Lacey yellow and Blakely pink. Looks like this could get very confusing.
There is a DNA test available but we don’t think we need it. Turns out one was so perfect God decided we should have two more the same.
I call them the wrong names, have put them in the wrong cots, also dressed them wrong. I don’t feel like a bad parent though. I love them and treat them all exactly the same. I will sit with Lacey for an hour talking to her only for Stacey to come in and point out its Ava. It really is going to be an interesting journey ahead of us.
As a musician, loading up the car in preparation for a gig can become a small headache for me, unless absolutely everything is left in the car from the previous performance , only because I’m not that organised with it, and it takes concentration to remember everything I need , I usually throw everything in the car in a carefree rock n roll manner then hit the road with the stereo cranking, and then turn round ten minutes later and return to the house, possibly more than once because I have forgotten something, much to Stacey and Frankies amusement.
This is what it’s like going out anywhere in the car with triplets. There’s lots of little things that are needed. We load the car up, leave, then I realise I forgot blankets, or hats. There is quite a bit to consider heading out with three babies. Although now we have it down at boss level, my wife muchly more so.
Our first outing was to the little town of Westbay where the series Broadchurch was filmed. It’s not too far, everything is easy to get around so it was ideal for a test run, and as we are English obviously the triplets first outing has to be to the sea-side. Frankie was away that day with family so it was just the five of us.
To be honest the anticipation of that first trip out-weighed the actual event. We only take one change bag with us with the essentials. And a few months ago they were so small we could fit them all in the single pram (we have a single and a twin). And because they are breastfed they only poop once or twice a week at most, wet nappies can be changed easily anywhere.
The trip there, was on occasion rather loud, as our little chickens strengthened their lung functioning in the back of the car. They do relax though with bit of reggae and dance hall. Also the car movement is a good relaxant for them.
We also figured it would be easier to hide them in a single pram as to draw less attention. This didn’t work, at all.
As soon as anyone spotted three in the pram, we were stopped and interrogated. Old ladies especially. People can ask the most personal questions , sometimes out of shock, and sometimes because they just have no filter. I’ll never forget the woman who stopped Stacey in the hospital, and on realising there were three babies, commented on what a massive penis I must have. Surely everyone must know the basics of sex education and how babies are made ? Apparently not.
I do like to see the joy they bring to people though. There is a genuine fascination with them, and not to be biased, but they are beautiful.
It was a lovely day out. Also much-needed for all of us after such a stressful time. We stopped for fish and chips and they stopped for milk. The sun was shining and it couldn’t have been more relaxing.
The one thing I have learned in going anywhere with triplets, is that other than knowing the destination, don’t make any plans or have expectations of what will happen when we get there. Everything has to be played by ear so to speak.
We have since had some lovely stress free trips out with them. And they seem to enjoy it too. At the moment it’s quite easy. So we’ll enjoy while it is.
From what I’ve gathered from social media posts, today is World mental health day. So a good opportunity to land my post on the subject, and also offer an alternative solution to anyone who may be suffering.
As a parent, and someone who has been through some quite serious mental health problems, I have a huge responsibility to my family to be consistent. In my behaviours, my actions and my presence. I can not afford to be emotionally battered by the negative effects of stress day in day out, and still maintain an authoritative loving position in my home. My family count on me.
Children especially pick up on stress, It is an unseen force with horrible effects on the mind and the body. I have seen how unsettled my babies Become with any unbalance in our home. Even the health visitor is aware of the problems that stress can cause to unborn babies aswell as Mum’s and Dad’s. It is why It was so important to stay out of anger and arguments with my wife during the pregnancy. It’s one of the reasons she is still able to produce milk for them all. And one of the reasons they survived the pregnancy to arrive healthy.
being a parent is full of stressful moments, they are inescapable which is why these moments must be met with grace.
Not all of the suggestions I’ve read would be all that helpful as a busy parent. For example,
I get home from work tired, as it’s a physical job, I also work alone so need to be switched on throughout the day. As I walk through the door I am handed a baby and told with a loving grin good luck as my wife heads upstairs for a much-needed break. I walk into the front room and the other two are at a healthy volume.
As I sit with all three babies, Ava crying because she has a little bellyache, Lacey is just grumpy and getting louder, and Blakely is fine and not sure why she’s screaming but doesn’t want to feel left out.
in that moment I feel a little heat rise to my head, Just from the sheer volume and pitch of the noise, and I have also misplaced my earplugs.
closing my eyes and imagining myself on a sandy beach, with cool waves lapping at the white shoreline is just plain silly, completely impractical and lets face it, nonsense as a real solution to rising stress. This is no time for fantasy away from the reality of the moment.
Nor do I have time to start chanting and pinging Tibetan singing bowls. My little chickens simply would not put up with it, besides –
A, they need a cuddle with Daddy, right now
B, I don’t have any Tibetan singing bowls
I need to remain calm for the sake of my little ones. so what do I do?
A few years ago a good friend offered me a way to live in the stream of life and sharpen from stress by way of meditation, rather than becoming continually overwhelmed by it. This is the most important practice I can ever do as a recovered alcoholic, more importantly, as a husband and a father.
It is not your usual self-help, self empowerment exercise. Far from it. But it is a way to become still, pull back from the stream of thought (we all have problems over thinking), and be able to observe our thoughts without being overwhelmed by them. The good and bad.
There are many situations and times throughout the day that the opportunity to react to stressful situations arise. If I am conscious from meditation in the morning, I am able to observe that temptation, rather than struggling, and getting taken over by it. I deal with life very differently now, instead of stress chipping away at me as it used to, I strengthen from those encounters. I react differently.
Its how i dealt with the stress of the pregnancy, it’s how I deal with my home and work life. Its how I overcame ongoing anxiety and depression. Amongst other things.
I pass this on, as it’s complimentary. There is nothing to learn or buy, no teachers or gurus or classes to sign up for. It is non religious. It is however spiritual in nature, and is not a toy. It can be a little uncomfortable the first few days as you begin to awaken, if you decide to commit to it.
If you are suffering from internal conflicts like depression, anxiety, over thinking, obsessive behaviours of all kinds,and these cause ongoing problems in your life this is a simple solution to that.
As I said before this may not be for everyone, but if you are looking for a way to live differently, free from medication, free from the effects of anxiety/depression and stress, for the future sake of your family and your own mental health, you won’t regret it.
The triplets have hit the ripe old age of fourteen weeks today, feels like they’ve been with us a lot longer. It’s a big one for our little ladies. Things are also slowly improving for us grown ups.
Sunday night they were fed and down for 9.30pm. We got them a new light projector which fills the room with moving coloured stars, and also plays Mozart. They love music and the lights they are able to see from their cots. It seems to settle them beautifully. They went straight to sleep and went straight through til 6am.
last night was the same. After a really settled afternoon/evening they went straight down again for 9.30pm. Frankie now helps with the bedtime routine and loves being involved.
Having this couple of hours left free during the evening again, is like a little piece of heaven has returned to our lives. I can’t even begin to explain how good it feels to be able to rest again at the end of a day. To have a little freedom, a little peace and quiet. It’s been a long time.
I’m under no illusion that it can change by the hour. But for now it’s a making the most of soaking in the bath, taking the time to meditate and get back to consciousness again. The mental strain of sleep deprivation is an experience every parent knows. It’s no joke, there were times I felt I was verging on insanity again. If I am to succeed in my role as a father, I need to be awake and present.
There are so many little things I took for granted before the events of this year. Now it’s the little things I look forward to the most. Getting home from work , to my now not so little family, is still number one.