Monday, July 30, 2007

we start them young

I've already written about how much our children love their books.

That's because we've been reading to them since the very beginning.

Now, I need to teach them how to update the blog.

Since Noni and Jimbo are leaving tomorrow ... and Aunt Susie will only be here for a week ... I suspect that my infrequent blog updates are going to become even more infrequent until I can figure out how to juggle nursing a newborn nonstop and potty training triplets, more effectively.

Unless I can teach the kids how to work the computer, without crashing the whole thing ... I just might have to post a lot of pretty pictures.

Like this one.

With one hand on a beer bottle and one on a pacifier ... do you think I look like death warmed over?

I sure feel like it.

Friday, July 27, 2007

a harmonious house

Carolyn Grace loves to sing.

Although I can only understand 5% of what she says, I can always catch the tune that she is singing.

She wakes up every morning singing and goes to sleep every night singing.

She'll sing happy birthday to anything and everything, and with all of the potty training we have going on, has recently added "poop" as a critter on Old MacDonald's farm.

"On that farm he had a poop ... with a poop, poop here and a poop, poop there."

Much like her namesake, our little Gracie sings all the time.

While we may have harmony in one part of our house, we don't always have it throughout the house.

if Elizabeth (aka: Baby C) is anywhere nearby.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

i was stumped

These photos were taken last Wednesday, when Henry was two weeks old.

He was able to take his first bath because his umbilical cord stump finally fell off.

When our triplets were born, they spent six weeks in the NICU so I didn't get to see their umbilical cord stumps fall off.

One day they were there and the next they were gone.

Because we brought Henry home from the hospital with us, I had the opportunity to inspect his umbilical cord stump with each and every diaper change.

Every time I looked at it, I marveled at how he was able to obtain all of the live giving elements through the cord that had been attached.

The little stump remained because of his connection to me and for some odd reason, I was really sad about him losing it. I had contemplated keeping it and putting it in a baby book.

Or maybe a frame.

Then, I caught a whiff of a two-week old umbilical cord stump.

And I couldn't get my baby in the tub fast enough.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

da skeduhl

As a mother of triplets, I'm all about schedules.

Not only did we have our triplets on a sleeping schedule when they were just a few months old, they would eat and poop at the same time, too. I suspect it's because I've crowed from the roof tops the importance of a schedule, that over the past few days, a lot of people have been asking me if I have Henry on a schedule yet.

I mean, what's taking so long?!

When the triplets came home from the hospital, they were on a 3-4 hour feeding schedule. Although I was breastfeeding the trio ... I wasn't nursing them ... I was pumping. So, I could track the exact quantity that they were consuming with each feeding.

I documented when they ate, when they slept, when they took their medicine and when they pooped ... not just because it was important to insure that each of these acts was occurring, but because it gave me the perception of control.

Even though I actually had very little control with three infants.

The difference now is that there is one baby.

Not three.

And he is only 20 days old.

Quite frankly, an ice cube stands a better chance in hell than I do of getting a 20 day old baby on any kind of schedule. Especially when that baby is nursed exclusively.

Actually I can see a rudimentary pattern emerging.

When I'm sleeping, he's awake.

Last night Early this morning, I found myself having a partial meltdown.

I had nursed Henry at midnight and again at 2 AM. When I put him in his bassinet at 2:30 AM and he started making noises like a puppy at 2: 40 AM ... I pulled him back in to bed with me. The grunting and groaning would stop, only to commence once I fell back asleep, until 5:00 AM.

I remember experiencing this with our triplets.

I remember them sleeping in our room and making noises that would keep me up all night. Not crying, just noise ... like a litter of puppies.

I remember the fear of putting them in their own room, even if the baby monitor was 2-inches from their head, because I was scared silly that they would die in their sleep.

I remember eventually that I was so tired, that I moved them in to their own room, turned the monitor OFF, closed the door and put in ear plugs.

And that's when they started to sleep through the night.

No, not really.

Truthfully, I'm not quite so scared with Henry.

He's a bigger, stronger and much louder baby.

The reason he is in our bedroom is because we don't have any place to put him.

Unless, I left him in the kitchen.

Or the bathroom.

At 5:20 AM, I kicked nudged my snoring husband and told him that he needed to STEP UP. When Charlie responded that there was "very little he could do because Henry was being nursed all the time" I told him that I had just nursed him and now it was HIS turn to help out.

With that, I sent him off packing to the couch with our grunting newborn and a pacifier.

At 5:30 AM, Elizabeth woke up yelping for "BUNNY!!!!"

Because Charlie was with Henry, I rushed in to the nursery, hurdling the baby gate before she could wake her siblings ... and started hunting around in the pitch black for her lost bunny. Ten minutes later, once I got her tucked in and reunited with her lovey, I retreated to the bedroom. But the sun was rising and I was so tired, I couldn't sleep.

Instead, thoughts about whether or not I would ever sleep again and how to make this time easier for me crowded my weary mind.

Scenario One:

A few days ago, I packed up my hospital grade rental pump. There was really no reason to pump, except to have a supply of milk on hand so someone other than me could feed the baby. But if I skip a feeding, I'm in pain ... and if I nurse AND pump, I'm in pain.

Maybe I should drag the pump back out and begin pumping exclusively so that: 1) someone other than me can feed the baby; 2) We can track his consumption and establish a schedule, and most importantly 3) I can sleep.

The problem with this scenario is that I have to pump. And I really hate pumping. Even with my hands free pump bra. It seems like I'm doing three times as much work to pump, feed and clean the equipment. Not to mention, I get flashbacks to having preemies in the NICU every time I hook that torture mechanism up to my chest.

Scenario Two:

Maybe I should start supplementing Henry with formula so that: 1) someone other than me can feed the baby; 2) We can track his consumption and establish a schedule, and most importantly 3) I can sleep.

The problem with this scenario is that once you start supplementing, you tap in to your production and supply. Provided your baby is getting adequate nutrition - which Henry most definitely is - if I start supplementing now, it will be difficult to go back to nursing exclusively. Especially since he is only going to be consuming more with time.

Scenario Three:

Charlie can feed Henry.

When I tried to Google a picture of Robert DeNiro wearing a surrogate breastfeeding contraption in "Meet The Fockers" but instead came to this website, I hesitated for a moment.

This MIGHT be the ticket.

The problem with this scenario is that the fact I actually considered it, shows that my lack of sleep is clearly catching up with me.

Now that I'm fully awake I'm planning to stay the course.

I'm optimistic that eventually Henry will develop a schedule more conducive to my own.

I'm hopeful that his two hour feedings, with the occasional "snack" in between will stretch to three or four hours.

I'm planning to invent a pacifier that straps on to a baby's head - like band sunglasses - so that I can hold his appetite at bay.

Until then, I'll ingest Motrin every six hours and shove burp cloths in my mouth so I don't scream when he latches on. I know I've got the form right, it's just that pumping and nursing has wreaked havoc on whatever callouses might have developed.

I'll also do my best to savor this time.

Before I know it, my little tiger will be eating corn on the cob with the rest of our troop.

Monday, July 23, 2007

better than ice cream?

Carolyn Grace adores her baby brother and nothing makes her happier than when she can hold him. When she delayed eating ice cream for a quiet opportunity to sit on the couch with Henry, I realized that she might like him as much as I do.

Even though he only allowed me to get one non-consecutive hour of sleep last night ... what with all his 'squeaking' ... we've decided to keep him.

But don't push your luck little cowboy.

If you continue to keep me up all night, you might find yourself bunking with your big sister and a bottle of formula.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

too fast

In the 17 days since Henry has arrived, I've lost 60 pounds.

I still have 20 to go before I am at my pre- pregnancy weight ... and another 20 before I'm at a weight that would allow me to fit in to my wedding dress, but I'm happy with the progress.

I think the rest of the weight will come off pretty quickly considering I'm CHASING three two-year olds and nursing almost non-stop. I'd probably lose even more weight if I could get myself to eat granola bars and fruit instead of those tasty Hershey Kisses with peanut butter.

I have found my new obsession.

Today we attended two birthday parties. At both events, people commented how it was incredible that I was doing "so much". Several women told me that they still hadn't left the house two weeks postpartum and yet, they'd seen me - with all three toddlers, the newborn and the dog - hiking around the neighborhood over the past few days.

This made me take pause.

I'm really glad that I have the energy to be out with our children. It's been almost two months since I've been able to go to the park with them, and when I saw Carolyn swinging on the "big" swing at the playground ... I almost cried.

Even though I'm feeling pretty good, I'm sure in a few weeks when all the extra help has left, I will wish that I could do nothing but lay around on the couch and eat Hershey's Kisses.

Maybe I am doing too much too fast.

But so our are children.

So I promise to slow down.

But only if they will, too.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

what kind of mother?

Someone recently commented that my allowing William to wear pink pajamas and dress in a tutu is fundamentally wrong and will lead to gender confusion.

My response was not allowing our two-year old son to do things that his sisters are doing, is fundamentally wrong and will cause more trauma than it will prevent.

Besides, I've already summarized how different the girls are from William and how we have front row seats to the nature versus nurture scene unfolding in our home. Here's just a bit more evidence that our children are progressing normally in their respective genders...

The other night, while Elizabeth was holding Henry, he started to cry. My mother, who was sitting nearby commented "Baby Henry is hungry. It's time for him to eat."

Elizabeth without missing a beat whipped up her shirt, grabbed Henry by the head and tried to push him in to her chest while saying "Eat baby. EAT!!"

When Carolyn did the exact same thing a short time later, I was convinced that my daughters realized that they possessed the "equipment" to feed a baby.

Meanwhile, whenever William is nearby and Henry starts to root ... he'll take off running in the opposite direction.
He certainly has enjoyed having a baby in the house, but not nearly to the extent that his sisters have.

While the girls are constantly doting on their brother ... now that he gets the swing of potty training, William is focused on trying to make the biggest poop possible.

This is a picture that Charlie snapped off this morning.

(Less than 10 minutes after I published the post - I came back and deleted the picture. If anyone saw the photo, they'd never believe that a 2-year old was capable of such a feat. Besides, if William ever runs for President, I don't want a picture that his father took during his potty training days to come back and haunt him.)

I was nursing Henry in the other room (no surprise there) but I could over hear Charlie comment "WOW William! Now THAT is a poop to be proud of!!!"

Maybe it's the girl in me, but I wouldn't have thought to take a picture of the huge poop ... nor would I imagine that our daughters would stand next to it - like they just landed the biggest fish in the lake - giving me a thumbs up.

Yet our son had his proudest moment yet ... today in the bathroom ... with a poop the size of a Cuban cigar.

Someday soon, I might believe it was fundamentally wrong to ever wish that my two-year old could give me a much needed break and feed her brother. Likewise, someday soon, I might believe it was fundamentally wrong to post a picture write about my son's huge poop on my blog.

But as of right now, in my sleep deprived and somewhat delirious state, these are two of the funniest things I've seen in a long time.

Monday, July 16, 2007

henry's posse

I started this post two days ago. Hopefully, I'll finish it today. When I was writing it, I was in the midst of making these really great sweeping over generalizations - like how EASY one baby is, compared to three and how I hardly noticed that we had a newborn in the house, because he was so quiet and low maintenance.

Since I wrote those words, they have come back to bite me.

I have been nursing Henry almost nonstop since Saturday. Remember how I said I had a more than sufficient milk supply? He's ingested everything that I've pumped and anything that I had intended to pump.

The child is a bona fide eating machine.

Yesterday I had to pluck him off my boob to make sure that 1) my nipples were still there and 2) my newborn hadn't sprouted teeth. I thought for sure there would be two bloody little stumps on the end of each breast.

Why is it, again, that God couldn't have made nipple skin as tough as say ... our elbows?

I've decided that if it were not for a woman's ability to "forget" the discomforts of pregnancy, labor, delivery, recovery ... engorged breasts ... and a ravenously hungry and needy newborn, the population of the world would never break 100,000 100.

Anyway. Enough complaining. I'll do more when I have a free moment, maybe in December 2010. This is what I set out to tell you on Saturday...

Last week, when I was still in the hospital and we were undecided on a name, we ran all the names by the children that we had in mind.

The girls love to sit and take turns holding "Da baby." When I ask them if they know his name, they'll nod and respond "Dis is baby Henwee."

When I ask William if he knows his baby brother's name (as he gallops by pretending that he is riding a pony on his way to "feed awygators at da zoo") he'll stop only for a moment to say "Dat's baby Robby."

If I correct him and say "His name is Henry" he'll shake his head and say "No Mommy. Dat's baby Robby" and then he'll gallop away.

Apparently, William thought Robert was a better name than Henry.

Whatever they call him, the children are completely smitten with their baby brother. Everyone wants to hold him, they'll hover during diaper changes, feeding and have been giving me a play-by-play commentary during the day.

"Mommy, baby dis ASWEEP!!"

"Oh, Mommy!! Baby dis AWAKE!!"

"Baby dis eating. AGAIN!!"

Our pediatrician told me during our first checkup on Thursday that Henry is considered "LGA" which means "Large for Gestational Age." I thought it meant "Likes to Guzzle Always" because there will be stretches throughout the day where it seems the child eats constantly.

Considering Henry's birth weight was almost more than our triplets combined ... it makes perfectly good sense that he can eat more than all three of them combined.

The pickle is - he eats and promptly falls asleep. And then, five minutes in to his slumber, he has a HUGE blow out poop. Which of course requires a diaper change. Which of course wakes him up. Which makes him hungry and the cycle starts anew.

Last night, between the hours of 2 AM and 6 AM we changed six diapers. Because we were so bloody tired, Charlie didn't realize that he had been stockpiling the dirty diapers on our bed. Just as the sun was coming up and Henry had finally fallen asleep (moments before the triplets woke up), Charlie put his head down and with one hand tucked beneath his pillow asked "What the heck is this ... a plush toy under my pillow?" before he realized it was one of Henry's nappies.

I know that my greatest challenge ... once we are doing this on our own ... will be to keep the baby safe from his loving brother and sisters. With all the extra sets of eyes and hands we have helping us right now, someone is always holding or watching over the baby. But even with the extra help - Saturday, I caught Elizabeth trying to feed her 10-day old brother a carrot. Not to mention the countless times they've tried to climb in to his crib, pick him up and cover his face with blankies.

I suspect that when life returns to "normal" we'll be wearing Henry in a Baby Bjorn carrier for the better part of the day. Otherwise, I don't see how I'll get anything accomplished.

The other great challenge is how I will be able to keep up with breastfeeding a baby that eats 22 times a day. I know that this will slow down, at least that's what people keep telling me and what "the books" say. But I think it's outrageously funny that even as a "veteran mother" I went running for my parenting books at warp speed.

"Is it NORMAL for a baby to eat 22 times a day? My gosh, is he starving?! Is this a growth spurt?! He's got lots of wet diapers and I know I'm capable of producing a gallon of milk - but is this what a full term baby needs? IS IT? OH MY GOD. IS IT?!"

I keep reminding myself that Mother Nature knew what she was doing when she made Henry a larger sized baby.

He'll need the weight to protect him from his posse.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

in a week

I have determined that the protocol for nursing triplets is vastly different than nursing a singleton. Taking large doses of Fenugreek and pumping after every nursing session, will not just insure that you have a sufficient milk supply ... it will also insure that you gain 20 pounds in each boob. And you will quickly resemble a maple tree oozing sap - unless you sport little coasters in your brassiere.

I have noticed that maternity style bikini cut undergarments, however comfortable during pregnancy, are the absolute worst thing imaginable when you are recovering from a c-section. I have devoted several hours over the past two days to searching the internet for underwear that come up to my arm pits. And I'm not ashamed to admit it.

I have learned that if you are going to pop Vicodin like candy, to dull the pain of your surgery, it is wise to also pop prunes like candy. Unless feeling your insides turn to concrete ranks high on your list of enjoyable activities.

Following closely on the heels of the learning above, I have discovered that if you are going to pop prunes like candy, you might also want to ingest a few Gas-X. Otherwise, it will feel like your gut is going to explode.

I was tricked in to believing that a newborn who sleeps four hours one night and six hours the next night is not on track to sleep eight hours the third night. Rather, they will most likely wake up every single hour, on the hour, for the next two nights in a row.

I was equally tricked in to believing that Elizabeth who went poop on the potty and William who went pee-pee on the potty were successfully potty trained. Rather today, when I noticed that one of the kids had gone poop in their diaper, instead of wanting the pomp and circumstance that surrounds flushing a poop down the toilet, everyone started pointing fingers at each other. When William tried to blame our house for going poo-poo, I gave up on the dream that this task would be accomplished before my mother flies home in early August.

I have woken up, in a cold sweat with the chattering chills, every night for the past five nights thinking that I am going to die. Alas, I am not dying, I am just going through the hormonal "realignment" that follows child birth. This is the exact same reason watching the nightly news makes me weep uncontrollably and realizing that we are out of beer and pastrami - two apparent necessities for a lactating mother - sends me into a sobbing abyss.

I have come to expect that the A&E repairman who showed up at our door today to "fix" our crappy dishwasher, is not really going to fix it. Instead, he is going to tell us that the part that he was suppose to have in his truck must have been removed by an extra terrestrial being and he'll need to order another part. And just maybe, he might be able to come back out and fix the dishwasher tomorrow. But most likely, it won't be until the end of next week. Unless he gets sucked up in a space ship before then.

Right now, I'm betting our toddlers will be potty trained before the damn thing gets fixed.

I have witnessed, first hand, how adorable toddlers can turn in to hell on wheels around their grandparents. Particularly when they know that their grandparents will cave and feed them ice cream cones at mid day. Maybe a few days in the hospital made me forget just how challenging three 2.5-year olds can be. It's a toss-up what I've been repeating more of ... "If you bite, Mommy will bite you!!" ... or ... "Don't drink Mommy's beer!!" SHE NEEDS IT FOR HER SANITY!!!

Of all the things I have seen, heard and learned this week, the best part was having our children meet their baby brother for the first time. Once the novelty of that experience wore off (in about five minutes, give or take two) I discovered that the hospital had expanded cable.

And the Wiggles were on.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

what's in a name?

By the time I was being checked out of the hospital yesterday, we still hadn't come up with a name for the baby.

As I sat in my room, all of the bags were packed, my prescriptions were filled, the breast pump rental was in hand, the baby was dressed in his "going-home" outfit ... and I felt absolutely pitiful that we couldn't make a decision on what to call our newest addition.

Charlie would have been happy with the several selections we had in mind.

But like always, I was the final hold out.

Although we had two weeks to make our choice, I didn't think our decision would become any easier with time, so I promised myself that we would have a name selection by the time we left the hospital.

See, I really believe that there is a lot that goes in to a name. This one decision that we have been tasked with as parents, will be with our child for their entire life and it's not something that I wanted to make lightly.

So, as I was waiting for my wheelchair ride to the lobby, and on the verge of tears because I couldn't decide, I reached out to the first person that walked in to my hospital room. Who just so happened to be the woman who came in to clean our bathroom.

When she walked in to the room, I was sitting in a chair holding the baby. Charlie was sitting on the bed. It was obvious that I was distraught. I was weepy. Hormonal. Irrational.

I looked at the cleaning woman - looked back to Charlie - and just as he was shaking his head and saying, "No, Jen. NO!" I asked "Excuse me. Could I please ask you a question?"

The woman turned to me and said, "Si?"

Taking a deep breath I inquired "Which name do you like the best ... Robert Henry ... Robert Coleman ... Henry Coleman ... or Henry David?"

She looked perplexed and asked "Que?"

I repeated slowly - while pointing to the baby, "Which name do you like the best ... Robert Henry ... Robert Coleman ... Henry Coleman ... or Henry David?"

After mulling the question over for a moment, she brightly replied "Ohhhh. Henry David. Muy bonita!!"

That sealed the deal and wouldn't it figure, that was the exact name I was leaning towards, too. Here's why...

I've always loved the name Henry.

There are a few Henry's on Charlie's side of the family ... a great uncle, possibly two, and a cousin. Although there are no Henry's on my side of the family, we do have O'Henry bars, and that's close enough.

I also love the name David, which means "beloved".

To this day, I have yet to meet a David that I haven't liked. All the David's I know are fun, outgoing and gentle.

Having been born and raised for the first part of my life in Concord, Massachusetts, I grew up knowing the name Henry David Thoreau. So I thought it is was somewhat fitting to have a tribute to my hometown and one of the many authors who made it famous.

Moreover, on July 4, 1845, Henry David Thoreau began his two-year simple living experiment by "entering the wilderness" at Walden Pond. This was the same day, 162 years later, that our little Henry David "entered the wild" by being born the fourth child to a family with 2.5-year old triplets.

See the parallel?

Last night at 4 AM, after having been awake with our baby for six hours, Charlie asked if I remembered what the name "Henry" meant. I groggily nodded and said "Yeah. I think it means 'House Ruler'".

Charlie snorted and said, "I really think we should have named him something that means 'To embrace sleep' because as far as I can tell, his first rule is 'Ye shall not sleep between the hours of 11 PM and 5 AM.'"

He is nocturnal.

He is our new house ruler.

He is Henry David.

And he is extremely beloved.

If you are the praying type, and even if not, please keep baby Austin in your thoughts today. He is two years old and the fourth child - also a "surprise" baby - born to a family with triplets. I have never met Austin's family except "in the computer" and have really come to admire Austin's mom, Michele.

Recently, little Austin was diagnosed with severe hydrocephalus as the result of a brain tumor. He is going in for brain surgery on Tuesday 7/10. From my own personal experience with our children and the struggles that they faced in the NICU, I have come to believe that you can derive great strength from the knowledge that people are holding you in their hearts. Even people that you've never met before.

We'll certainly be holding Austin and his family in our hearts today.

Friday, July 06, 2007

my littlest love

Charlie brought the children in to the hospital to meet their baby brother for the first time, today.

That's a story worthy of it's own post.

Particularly the part about after they left when I was all alone with our newborn and desperately needed to get up and use the restroom when I discovered that the controls to lower my hospital bed were dead.

Of course the reason they were dead is because William one of our three toddlers, had stealthily scurried behind the bed and unplugged it from the wall.

He also unplugged the telephone and the critical call switch for my nurse. So, once everyone was gone, I sat vulnerably perched ... ten inches higher than normal ... completely unable to call for help, wondering how I was going to get down without ripping the alligator clips out of my incision.

My doctor told me that it is when you push yourself, just a little bit, that you heal. I discovered it's also when you begin speaking in tongues and praying that your insides don't fall out.

Unfortunately, when Charlie went home - he left the camera next to my bedside - so the pictures of William, Elizabeth & Carolyn going absolutely nuts over the new baby, will have to wait.

In the meantime, here are a few photos of our newest addition ... he-who-still-has-not-yet-been-named. Otherwise known as "my littlest love."

The doctors and nurses have convinced me to stay in the hospital through the weekend - so we've promised ourselves that we will have his name picked out by the time I am discharged on Sunday. (Although, technically, we have two weeks before we have to submit the birth certificate.)

Check out the puffy feet and fat rolls on his legs. Why, he looks just like his mama...

Not quite sure why Charlie has been so tired lately. I'm the one who looks like they've been hit by a freight train...

Our little guy is a champion nurser, pooper, sleeper and he's cried no more than 10 minutes in his first 48 hours of life. I just jinxed us, didn't I?

If anyone would have told me a few years ago that we would have four children in less than three years - I would have thought they were drunk.

Yet today, when I sat in my hospital bed, looking in to the faces of our beautiful children, I felt completely humbled that God has blessed us so richly. The song that Julie Andrews sang in "The Sound of Music" immediately popped in to my head.

"Nothing comes from nothing. Nothing ever should. But somewhere in my youth or childhood ... I must have done something good."

Of course I had this moment before I realized that William had unplugged my bed leaving me high and dry. And then that pesky song from "Oliver Twist" once again popped in to my head.

It's a good thing he's so cute.

our little firecracker

As I type this from my hospital bed, Charlie is sound asleep on the pull out chair. I really don't know why he is so tired. He got a beautiful sleep on Tuesday night while I was on the couch tossing and turning with (unbenownest to me) the discomforts of early labor - and he got a beautiful sleep last night, while I was poked and prodded by nurses and doctors every hour and nursing our newborn son every three hours.

Now he's happily snoring while I'm sitting here, looking at my breastpump machine and wishing I didn't give away my hands free pump bra so I could at least pump while I document the arrival of our fourth child.

Men. What can you do?

When we arrived at the hospital yesterday afternoon, my contractions were coming every nine minutes. I know that you're not suppose to go to the hospital until they are five minutes apart - but we made the executive decision that I should be checked out when I noticed that my socks were wet.

And I hadn't stepped in any puddles.

The contractions were somewhat painful - but I suspected that the doctor would tell us to go home and come back when they were closer together and more intense. Instead, they admitted me on the spot and quickly had me hooked up for monitoring.

My regular OB had finished a 12-hour shift from 7 PM to 7 AM, when we arrived. Therefore the doctor on-call was not familiar with my obsession rationalization for wanting to have a VBAC. When she looked over my records and said that we'd have to do a c-section as soon as possible, I told her that wasn't part of my "plan."

They checked me out and although Charlie thought for sure the baby would be crowning and I'd have to push a few times before he was born ... in reality, I was only 1/2 cm dilated. My regular OB was paged and even though he had left the hospital only a few hours earlier, he returned.

On the Fourth of July.

To see his flaky patient, that he was suppose to deliver by c-section last week ... and then rescheduled to do a c-section, this week.

Provided she didn't go in to labor first and deliver on the one day he was suppose to have off.

Which I did.

It is truly no exaggeration that every single person that I spoke to on the Labor and Delivery floor thought that I was totally off my rocker to attempt a VBAC after my triplet pregnancy. Particularly when they looked at my records and noted that when I delivered at 31 weeks, I was measuring 52 weeks pregnant. With HELLP Syndrome. And PUPPPS. And severe pitting edema - just like I have, now.

But despite what every medical professional was telling me, I was really determined.

Until - they checked me again - several hours later and I was still only at 1/2 cm dilated, despite my contractions which were now coming on every six minutes.

Because there was no way my doctor would induce me to help move things along, my options were limited ... (1) go for a c-section or (2) wait, who knows how long, for dilation and hope that the baby doesn't become distressed in the meantime.

The one thread of hope I was holding on to for a beautiful VBAC experience, was lost when the woman in the room next to mine, let out the most intense blood curdling scream I've ever heard in my entire life. The nurses told me that she had been in labor for more than 30 hours and was now getting prepped for a c-section.

After some more discussion with my doctor(s) and Charlie, I decided to go with a repeat c-section. I would have really liked to do a VBAC, but since I was not dilating and was informed that labor would most likely be very long - my entire focus shifted to getting the baby out as quickly and safely as possible.

Once I made that decision, things started to happen very fast.

After three attempts, they started my IV.

Drew blood for labs.

Whisked me off to the operating room.

Administered my spinal block.

Ushered Charlie in.

And the next thing I know - they are lifting out of me one of the most beautiful and fattest, newborn babies I've ever seen.

Our baby boy, who has still not been named, was born on July 4 at 4:32 PM.

He weighed in at 9 pounds, 12 ounces, 21 inches long and has rolls of fat on his arms, legs and face. He is absolutely perfect in every way and is an excellent cross between William and his sisters, with William's round face and his sisters brunette hair.

I'm doing pretty well - the recovery for a singleton c-section is not nearly as difficult as it was with the triplets. But of course there is discomfort and simple tasks like walking to the bathroom can take 10 minutes.

Chances are, I'll be in the hospital until at least Saturday. But Charlie tells me that he'll upload pictures the next time he goes home.

Provided he doesn't fall asleep first.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

here we go

I woke up this morning feeling like I really needed to get up and walk around.

For a brief moment, I thought that maybe the feelings that I was having were because I slept on the couch, because I take up more than half the bed and just because I can't sleep doesn't mean my husband shouldn't either, and maybe my back was going out on me.

But then I realized that the feelings that I were having - were coming every 10 minutes.

Like clockwork.

Although I pulled a fun April Fool's Day gag on my mother when I went almost three weeks past her "due date" to arrive on April 20th ... instead of April 1st ... it appears that our fourth child is going to be extremely prompt.

Labor has most definitely started.

And it hurts.

And I have a very low threshold for pain.

Charlie swears that he's having contractions and has been reminding me that my job - through all of this - is to keep him calm.

As if sleeping on the couch hasn't been a grand enough gesture.

One way or the other ... the baby will be here by noon tomorrow.

Of course we still don't have a name picked out.

Like everything else, I suppose we'll cross or fly over, or swim under that bridge when we get to it.

(Edit: Is it just my husband or do all of them boil pots of water and threaten to start ripping apart bed sheets?!)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

BIG NEWS: all about stuff that is or should be in the potty (no baby yet)

**This has been edited after spending the better part of the day on the internet looking up information on KitchenAid Superba Dishwashers. I was astounded at how many other consumers have had similar problems. I particularly appreciated the post which was an open letter to the CEO of KitchenAid. I couldn't have said it better myself.**

Elizabeth went pee-pee on the little potty.

Just like that.

She received high-five's all around ... a standing ovation from everyone who was at our house at the time ... and three seven hours later - still hasn't stopped talking about it.

We are extremely excited.

This morning, I called KitchenAid to follow-up on our Superba dishwasher repair, which was suppose to happen yesterday.

But instead of having a functioning dishwasher when the repairman finally departed at 4:45 PM (after arriving at 4:40 PM), I was told that the parts would be special ordered and the repair would most likely occur "sometime in the next two weeks."

When I spoke with a customer service representative yesterday, they told me to expect a call from the Consumer Affairs Division, today.

When I still hadn't received a call by 1:00 PM, and they close at 5:00 PM (EST), I called back and talked to another customer service representative who informed me that "there is no such thing as a Consumer Affairs Division" and the *problems* that I am having need to be taken up with the factory service department - an entirely separate company from KitchenAid.

A company that KitchenAid referred us to the first time the dishwasher broke in August.

After being *disconnected* I called back and spoke to five more people and an hour and a half later, was eventually routed to the Consumer Affairs Division.


Although, in a Great Wizard of Oz like fashion, heavily guarded from the consumers who have affairs that need to be addressed.

Until I was patched through to the Great Wizard (who ultimately told me that there was nothing they could do) ... I had to tell each subsequent representative and supervisor and manager my name and telephone number and address. I also had to tell them the model number and serial number on the appliance.

And although you'd think there would be a record of the thirty or more phone calls we've made, I had to tell each person that I spoke to, what the exact problem was.

In hindsight, I should have just told them to go back and listen to the &$##@^ tapes that they use to record all of their customer service calls in "an effort to insure the highest level of integrity and quality is received."

I told each customer service representative how the dishwasher is three years old and has broken six times in the past year, five times in the past five months. And how the same equipment that is replaced (the control board and fuse) keeps failing, repeatedly.

I told them that we've spent the better part of the past three months without a dishwasher and in the past year, spent more than $400.00 on service repairs and extended warranties and although a normal person might decide to cut their losses and go buy a new dishwasher, I am far from normal.

Especially right now.

I told the Great Wizard that all I want is a functioning dishwasher. I do not want them to continue completing "band-aid" repairs that will inevitably fail in less than a months time. I added that as far as I could tell the name "KITCHEN AID" is on the front of our dishwasher, and therefore, problems arising with the appliance should ultimately be resolved by them. Even if that means they have to take it up with their subcontracted factory service department.

Their response?

"We're sorry for the inconvenience. There is nothing more we can do."

Nothing more? Did I doze off?

Because "nothing more" would imply that they have at least done "something".

With my spare time, I have filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and have placed numerous calls to our local television and newspaper consumer advocacy departments. I'm also finding out what needs to be done to file a small claims lawsuit. Since KitchenAid has vowed that they won't replace the dishwasher, I've decided that If I can recoup the money spent on the purchase price ($800.00) plus the cost of repairs and extended warranties, that's my next best option.

If there is one thing that I have learned from watching my mother trying to potty train our children, it's that patience and perseverance pays off. Like Elizabeth figured out today - there are certain things that belong in the toilet. Among them, our Kitchen Aid Superba dishwasher and the lack of customer service that we've received.

I've also learned that dealing with people who give less than a crap about customer service may be the key to sending me in to labor. If there is anything good about this - it's that the next blog update will most likely be from Charlie.

(Lots and lots of contractions today. They're really starting to make me appreciate my mother and the large number of women that have given birth to all the people that inhabit this planet. Now, we're off for a brisk walk around the block.)

Monday, July 02, 2007

on the brink

"Things" are definitely starting to happen, but whether or not the baby will come before Thursday remains to be seen.

The greater question is whether or not the baby will arrive before or after my family commits me to an asylum.

I had an ultrasound and non-stress test this morning. The baby looks great, my fluid levels are fantastic and I'm contracting like a mad woman.

Which is only appropriate, because every one thinks I'm going mad.

Like the guy at the grocery store who cut me off in line. Even though I was walking extremely slow and 25 feet away - it should have been blatantly obvious that I was aiming toward the checkout line. I loudly exclaimed "What kind of yoo-hoo cuts off a 9-month pregnant woman?!!" Unfortunately, he didn't hear me and was already checked through when I waddled up with my cart five minutes later.

Or the guy at the post office, who I criticized when I watched him hastily walk 20 paces in front of his young daughter and not once turn around to make sure she was still there - or hold the door open for her. My comment to that chump was "People these days are like a school in the summer. No class!!"

Or the people at Kitchen Aid who I blasted on the phone this afternoon, when the service representative, who was suppose to be here "first thing in the morning" to repair our dishwasher, had not shown up by 2 PM. I'm not even going to tell you what I told them. But it wasn't nice. And from my last calculation, I owe the curse cup my next two paychecks.

Last night, my mother prepared a wonderful turkey dinner.

I took one look at the 11 pound bird and had a panick attack.

It then dawned on me that in the event I am successful with a VBAC, we haven't had any birth training.

We haven't taken a single lamaze class and I have absolutely no idea where any of my books on pregnancy and child birth are located.

After ripping apart our library yesterday ... I fear I gave them all away.

Which is a problem considering I don't think you can actually give birth if you don't know what to expect.

I don't know how to breathe.

I certainly don't know how to relax.

And one look at that turkey makes me wobble.

If only this baby could apparate out of me, life would be swell.

When Charlie tried to reassure me by saying that I could opt for a c-section at any point, I told him "I'm fairly certain that the term 'caesarean' comes from Julius Caesar. And although there is no concrete evidence that Caesar was born by a c-section, I think they have dubbed it that because Caesar was cut up. I don't want to be cut up. I don't want to have this baby cut out of me!!"

Charlie rolled his eyes and told me that I was over reacting. To which I responded, "I am not over reacting. Et tu Charlie. ET TU!!"

I think I need an epidural.

Right about now.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

labor tricks

Today is July 1st.

I have until July 5th - at 11:00 AM - to deliver the baby or else I will have to have a repeat c-section. My doctor said that he will under no circumstances induce me, because the chance of a uterine rupture - particularly after a triplet pregnancy - is way too great.

I'll take his word for it.

Moreover, he doesn't want me going past my due date because the baby's head and chest get disproportionately large ... which could further complicate issues ... particularly when all the ultrasounds show that our little guy may be a big one.

Because I'm really hoping to avoid a second c-section and because Thursday is just a few days away and I'm getting a little desperate ... these are some of the tips I've heard for starting labor.

From what I've read, most of these are old wives' tales.

But just maybe there is some truth...
  • Consumption of spicy foods: We had Indian food for dinner. Chicken Tikka Masala and Vegetarian Korba with a side of Garlic and Cilantro Nan. In the four hours since dinner, I've consumed a half bottle of Tums and two Pepsid AC's. Considering a 1/2 calorie peppermint Tic-Tac gives me heartburn, I'm not sure what I was thinking.

  • Take a long, strenous walk...: I've hiked at least two miles today, one of which involved pushing a triplet stroller full of toddlers, uphill. I befuddled several passerby when they would happily inquire "When are you due?" and I'd give them a puzzled look and respond "Due for ... what?"

  • ... preferably under a full moon: Once we tucked the children in to bed, Charlie and I went for yet another walk, under the beautiful full moon. During which time I consumed the other half bottle of Tums. And a cup of yogurt.

  • Sit on the washing machine, during the spin cycle, with a glass of wine: There are a number of problems with this recommendation. First, I'm not sure how exactly I would get on top of the washing machine and second, do I really want to risk breaking yet another appliance? How about I just drink a glass of wine?
(These two bottles were sent to me courtesy of my friend, Felicia. Her note read: "To be enjoyed once the baby arrives. Or, to be consumed by Charlie if Jen really gets on his nerves.")

  • Nipple stimulation and sex: In my current state, I'd rather risk breaking our washing machine in addition to our refrigerator and dishwasher ... and our oven, dryer, water heater, air conditioner, microwave, stove, and barbeque than have my beloved husband get within two feet of me.

Truly - this last recommendation is completely unfathomable. Even if I was in the mood, at my current proportions, I'd probably break him.

And since that's how this whole thing started ... I don't think I ought to take any chances.