Saturday, December 29, 2007

Learn Something New Every Day!

Here are a few to start you off.

1. When barking orders at kids, remember the selective hearing factor. Until at least the age of 18, there seems to be some sort of blockage or cosmic shift in the Eustachian tubes that translates the word "don't" into all kinds of fun sentences.

For example...

What you say:

Don't throw your clothes on the floor!"

"Don't play in the ditch!"

"Don't tie the dog's feet together!"

"Don't try to hang your sister's ginormous Care Bear on the top of the Christmas tree!"

What they hear:

"Throw your clothes on the floor!"

"Please, by all means, play in the ditch! Make sure you get your new shoes nice and muddy, too!"

"The dog loves it when you tie her feet together! Hee hee, have fun!"

"You know what would be fun? Putting that five pound Care Bear on top of the tree to see if it knocks it over!"

2.If your dishwasher never seems to get the dishes clean, and you have to yell at the kids for putting something sandy in there because, well, that's what it looks like -- try powder detergent rather than liquid or gel. In fact, Liquids and gels will damage the dishwasher ("gunk up the works"). I was amazed but sure enough after one load with powder I was convinced. No more liquids for me EVER again!

3. MREs (Meals Ready to Eat...left over from Hurricane Relief) are not mouse-proof. As a matter of fact, they seem to act as more of a mouse bait. And the foil packets apparently make really cushy nests. Don't ask me how I know. Just trust me on this.

Now -- Share yours. :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Risky Business

Recently, two triplet moms have died in or shortly after childbirth. First, Debbie Smith of Tucson, and then and Tina Hagenbuch of Kalamazoo. What a terrible, sad tragedy. My heart and prayers go out to their familes and especially to the daddies who are left with three premature infants that they have to be strong for as they grieve for their wives. It's not the way it was supposed to be. Tina's story gave a link to her MySpace page, where she is still receiving comments from her friends. It's sad and sweet to read, and brings tears to my eyes.

I guess it really hits home for me because I had trouble after the birth of my triplets. This is a journal entry I wrote long ago about the birth and my recovery:

When they were born 8 weeks early they were remarkably healthy. The reason I was told to gain so much weight was for this reason. It helps them be heavier at birth which makes for healthier babies overall. Their weights were awesome for any 32 week baby, super awesome for triplets! And they had no breathing problems. I spent more time than usual in recovery - a triplet birth is a lot more taxing on the body than a regular one.

So 16 hours after their birth I had not seen them yet other than the one glimpse of C. H described them to me - he said B's head was the size of a baseball, and A's was the size of a softball. It is hilarious to me and typical that he would descibe them in sports terms but when I saw them it was true!! Those were the best words he could use to describe it.

I did get wheeled through the NICU on the way to my room, but they were working on them so that was all I got. H was spending as much time as he could in there though and I just slept, for the first time in 10 years it seemed like!

They brought me dinner but I couldn't eat, which worried them. I remember there was like a season finale or some important episode of JAG I was trying to watch and kept dozing off. They were coming in every few minutes to take my blood pressure and finally told me something was odd and they were taking me back to the recovery room for observation. My blood pressure was spiking and plummetting within minutes, over and over again. Also I was having a LOT of trouble breathing. I get shortness of breath really bad when pregnant - a normal symptom but I get it worse than anyone I know of. It was made substantially worse
by the fact that I had triplets and by the bed rest. My inability to breathe was one reason he had trouble giving the epidural. Then the reason it took so long to get C out was that she had gotten wedged in under my heart and a lung.

By the time I got back to recovery I was panting and complaining I couldn't breathe - it was getting worse when it should get better. So they gave me a breathing treatment. As they put the mask over me, the nurse said there was some sort of stimulant in the mist to help me breathe better. Hmmm, they just gave me a nice big dose of demoral, I said...maybe a stimulant is not such a great worries, she said. It all works together. And she walked away.

Maybe it was all in my mind then. Maybe I conjured up this whole thing. But I started feeling really antsy. I was so doped on demoral I could barely move, yet so hyped on whatever that I HAD to move. I did not do drugs in the past - I did take a dose of speed-like stuff in college during exam week, and this is what it felt like, and why I never did more than that! There was some teen movie a long time ago - I think the female star was what's-her-name, the woman Jamie in Mad About You....she took a bad dose of acid and suddenly went crazy and jumped out the window. Well, I was eyeing the window. I honestly felt like doing that at that moment. That is the best I can describe something I never want to feel again! It felt like hours but only a few minutes passed and there was a flurry of activity around me as they started testing this and testing that. I lay there asking, what is going on! and no one would answer me.

I started to consider the possibility that I was dying. I am leaving my hubby with 6 kids, 3 of which are newborn premature babies, I hope the insurance is paid, blah blah...then they said they were sending me for a CAT scan. I had no idea what that was, just that they do it when things are serious. I get down there and they tell me to lie PERFECTLY still, don't move AT, well, I have this real bad cough you see, I can't control it....I can't breathe....I am hyped up to insane proportions on some unknown drug....I think I am dying....and as luck would have it they stick me in this incredibly coffin-like gizmo and tell me to be PERFECTLY still!!! It was frankly all I could do not to laugh the whole time I was in there, at the
absurdity and irony of it all.

When I got out of there it was 5 AM. It suddenly occurred to me that here I am, DYING mind you, and my hubby may not even know about it. I got a nice nurse to call him but he couldn't reach him. I found myself in a strange room with big ol' machines and when I asked was told it was ICU. Well, now I KNEW I was dying. No one goes to ICU for the fun of it. I was
told that I had a collapsed lung and I can't remember what was wrong with my heart. I never did get a full explanation but I didn't push too hard. Finally H showed up, having gone to my room, found it empty and no one knew where I was! So he was a little perturbed....what we have here is a failure to

They could not bring the babies to me, of course, but said they could take me down that afternoon if I was a good girl. First I was to lie as still as possible then a few hours later they made me get out of bed, forced me, to get out and walk to the chair and sit. OUCH!! Not fair, not fun. I was poked and prodded all day. Some heart person came in and checked me over thoroughly. The respiratory therapist - who, ironically, had been called in to work on the babies but I needed her more - was in and out. By dinnertime, though, they not only took me to see the babies but I got to go back to my room. Crisis averted.

The respiratory therapist continued to visit me. I had to use this thing that you blow into to measure how much lung capacity you have. When I first used it I moved it maybe 3/4 inch, yikes, trust me that is not much. Goal was 3 or 4 inches, I was not doing too well there.

I was in for a week and by the time I left was walking down the hall without holding the hand rail. The first few days I had to be wheeled to the nursery.

As for the babies they were doing great. The hospital gave me a pump, and I kept busy with that.

I never did push for a full explanation of what happened to me in there, though I should and I probably will one day. The doctor said everything was fine, but later talking to HIS nurse (not the hospital one) she said "we were afraid we were losing you". I have never regained my full health. I still have breathing problems and they still check my heart regularly.

There's no doubt that having triplets is risky business. Heck, having a baby at all is a risk. Surprisingly, though, these two are the only ones I have heard of who died in relation to the birth. There are certainly others I didn't hear about. There may be more like me, who had problems that ended up OK; I guess we don't hear so much about those.

My initial thought was that some may use these stories to try to push selective reduction. That's where they go in and selectively choose one or more babies of a multiple pregnancy and kill it. I hope that doesn't happen. It's pretty well proven that a triplet pregnancy is not much riskier than a twin, and that a "reduced twin" pregnancy is NO less risky. While I was in bed this afternoon recovering from the "stomach bug du jour" I did some research and found that nothing's changed in those statistics.

I know how scary it is discovering you're having triplets. I know how scary it must be for newly pregnant triplet mommies to read these stories. I realize that the doctors feel bound to offer the option of "selective reduction". I can't imagine having it pushed on me. Luckily I already knew it existed and we both knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that we would never even consider it - in fact we stopped the doctor and did not allow him to finish the speech. But some have never heard of the procedure, and when presented with the gloom and doom outlook of some doctors (my peri was like that), I can see how easily led they might be. My research led me to a blog, which linked to this article entitled "Too Much to Carry?". What a frightening thing to read! First off, their assertions are WRONG. DO NOT form your view of SR from this article alone! It's not true that the pregnancy is less risky if one is killed! That's a bald-faced lie, easily disproven with a little bit of further research.

But read it and see how frightened the women are, how unsure. They are trusting the doctor to do what's best, and allowing him to kill one or more of their children! One woman even wanted to keep them all and her mother talked her out of it based on what the doctor had said! Reading this article...the baby pulling back from the needle...the baby had been waving and moving and then stops....choosing which one to get rid of based on its sex...ugh!! How terribly sad and unnecessary!!

I often wonder if anyone has interviewed these couples long after the reduction. How are they living with what they've done? I say this not to place blame on them. For the most part I don't blame them. I blame the doctor who talked a hormonal and unsure woman into making a serious and irrevocable decision. I can only imagine how they might feel as they watch their other children blossom and grow. Do they tell them about the other one? Do they think of the other one at all? Or do they de-personalize it so it doesn't bother them?

H and I often tell people that if we HAD considered reduction, it would have been C. A and B were identical twins sharing a sac, so they were off limits.

C is our only daughter. A little princess who holds her own among her five brothers. I can't imagine life without her.

Triplets on their first day home at one month old. This shows the difference in head sizes.
L-R: B (baseball head), A (softball head), C (fraternal)

My girlie this past Spring.