Multiples and Co-bedding

Co-bedding is the term used to describe putting your babies down to sleep together in the same crib. Most parents co-bed their babies for at least part of the time once the babies arrive home. Our girls slept in the same crib for 4 months until they began to disturb each other. Co-bedding for multiple birth babies just seems to make sense and there are some practical reasons to do so.

Some parents of low birth weight (LBW) or preterm multiples wish to co-bed their babies right after birth in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) but not all hospitals have a co-bedding policy. It’s a tough call and hospitals have some valid reasons for not co-bedding, not the least of which is that the beds may not be big enough to comfortably accommodate two babies. Thankfully though, some Canadian hospitals are rethinking co-bedding issues and as a result, there could soon be some good news for parents of multiples.

Babies co-beddingA quick poll of parents with twins regarding their experiences resulted in the following comments regarding the co-bedding of their babies in NICU:

  • takes less room by your hospital bed, which is important if you are sharing a room;
  • there seems to be less confusion in the nursery as the staff only has to worry about one bassinet;
  • helps the babies conserve body heat, regulate their temperatures;
  • helps the babies settle better as they seem to comfort each other;
  • one mother felt it helped them get over the trauma of their births as they took comfort in being together once again;
  • continuity of their being together from the womb;
  • sometimes babies have been placed in their own bassinet in different nurseries within a hospital setting, making it difficult for the parents to split their time between the two babies and leaving them feeling guilty about whom they were not with. Or the parents would split up to spend time with each baby, thereby not permitting parents to take joy together in their babies;
  • parents generally felt better themselves that their babies continue to be together, as they were in the womb;
  • one family reported that one of their sons was too sick. It just wouldn’t have worked for them; and
  • it is very cute in pictures!

Healthcare professionals have some valid concerns regarding co-bedding

  • if one (or both) babies are sick and are co-bedded, there could be a mix up with their medications. In separate bassinets, the potential for medication error is minimized;
  • if only one baby is ill, there could be cross-contamination to the other baby;
  • if one baby has a birth anomaly, e.g. spina bifida or Downs, it would be better for the babies to be in separate bassinets;
  • there could be unnecessary exposure of a baby to oxygen;
  • there could be sleep disturbances which may impact on a baby’s ability to become healthier;
  • bassinets are not large enough to hold two babies;
  • one baby may interfere with the tubing of the other baby; and
  • there could be temperature instability between the babies.

There may be a specific time when NICU hospital staff would decide, or it might be hospital policy, not co-bed multiple birth infants. Such a decision occurs when one, or both babies, is ill (usually due to their prematurity) and to be in close proximity might have an adverse affect on one or both of their health, e.g. disturb their sleep, thus impeding healing. In such cases, a co-bedding decision is based on the best possible outcome for each baby.

Once the babies are home, most parents of multiples, have co-bedded their twins (and sometimes triplets or quads) for various ranges of time. What usually brings co-bedding to an end is when one baby or toddler continually disturbs the other, as in one likes his sleep and the other likes to play and may be looking for a playmate. At the end of the day in this scenario, there are at least two cranky babies and two cranky parents, which makes for a very cranky household. The solution = separate beds, maybe even separate bedrooms, and pronto!

Co-bedding at home offers some other distinct advantages for both babies and parents

  • the babies usually enjoy being together and will often settle down quicker and more easily. As the babies grow, parents may continue to have their multiples share a room, each in their own beds, because they enjoy being with each other. Don’t be surprised to find them sleeping in one bed together when you go to get them up in the morning;
  • co-bedding cuts down on the amount of laundry with washing only one set of sheets and blankets at a time instead of two or three;
  • you can go to one spot in the room and attend to a baby while the other still has full visual contact with you;
  • initially some parents keep one crib upstairs and one downstairs (for the daytime naps). Not having to go up and down the stairs several times a day helps preserve energy levels; and
  • even parents with triplets have co-bedded their babies, initially lying each baby across the crib. A bonus is easy access to each baby as needed.

If you want your premature or LBW twins co-bedded while they are in the hospital, check out your hospital’s policy before you deliver. Ask your attending physician to make the corresponding note in your chart indicating that you want the babies co-bedded if at all possisble. The more often we ask for what we want or need, the more often the hospitals will listen and change will be implemented.

P.S. They do, indeed, take great pictures when they are snuggled up together in the same crib.

Got a co-bedding story you would like to share? Send me your story.

Keeping the Couple in A Relationship After Multiples

Your relationship after multiples: A new baby brings emotional and financial challenges, new routines, loss of sleep, and so much more to a relationship.  Even more complex issues are added to to a relationship after multiples. Once a diaper has been changed and a baby fed, burped and soothed, we aren’t finished – it needs to be done again, and possibly again and again.  It is estimated that every time we add a baby to the mix, we are adding a baby and a half’s worth of work.

Parents try hard to meet the needs of the new babies, the house, make meals, do laundry, grab a shower, a quick bathroom visit at an opportune moment and fit in some much-needed sleep.  As parents juggle work outside the home and the physical, mental, emotional and financial demands of 2, 3 or 4 new little ones, their relationship, can be pushed aside and virtually ignored.  Without meaning to, the martial relationship is often one of the last items parents tend to as it falls victim to the “parenting relationship.” Sleep deprivation is HUGE with multiples and escalates the “cranky” factor.  After the kiddies are seen to, it takes effort to remember to look after a spousal relationship too.

Remember to take care of your relationship, even as you are working on your parenting techniques. When parents LOOK AFTER themselves and each other, the children have the benefit of two happier, healthier adults who are important role models.  Always taking a back seat or leaving the spousal relationship to fend for itself negatively affects the whole family.  An important lesson is taught when we show the kids by example how to look after their parents’ relationship.

Things that can help.  Advice from parents of multiples:

  • Before your babies arrive, look around for some multiple-birth-specific classes in your community and sign up for them as soon as you know you are having multiples.  Both parents need to attend.
  • Connect with other parents of multiples.  Learning from those whom have specifically walked the walk is extremely helpful.
  • Line up help before the babies arrive in a form that will work for you.  Some choices are:  a nanny during the day, during the night, live-in or live-out.  One family had each grandmother stay for 3 weeks each after their babies’ arrival.  The 6 weeks of extra hands and experience made it easier to establish routines and get some much-needed sleep.
  • It is important for each parent to be actively involved in the children’s’ care.  Don’t wait to be asked to get involved.
  • Recognize that each of you may have a different way of doing a task. Appreciate the different skills that you each bring to the role of parenting and baby care and allow each other to complete the task in your own style. Many parents have expressed their pleasure at watching their partner redefine him/herself as a parent.
  • If there is an issue between you, communicate.  Don’t assume the other can read your mind about what tasks need completing or anticipate exactly what needs to be done.  Speak clearly to each other, e.g. “Could you please help change babies?”
  • Plan time for each other on a regular basis. Plan a regular Date Night when grandparents or a local teen can come to sit for a couple of hours.  It doesn’t have to be huge, a trip to the coffee shop or walk around the block by yourselves could work, but the important thing is that it is just the two of you. It could be that you stay home to watch a movie, cuddle, talk, share a glass of wine and a pizza or foot/back rubs.
  • Even when out together, expect to talk about the kids.  It’s okay because you are a team, discussing what works, what doesn’t seem to be working, or concerns you might have about eating, sleeping habits and such.  The good news is that the discussion occurs on your own terms and cements your desire to be the best parents you can be.
  • It can be a challenge to communicate about parenting styles with three toddlers running in different directions.  Be prepared to have to deal with the present and talk about parenting styles at another opportunity.
  • If you can afford it, get help to complete some tasks around the home, e.g. cutting the grass, shoveling the snow, cleaning the house, perhaps grocery shopping.  Some of the tasks can be done by older neighbourhood children, or place a notice at your local high school or library to find an available teenager whom would like to make a little extra money. Having someone else, even in the short term, assist with these tasks, allows you to focus on the babies and each other.
  • If it is felt that your relationship is really suffering, consider professional counseling.  It might be covered through one partner’s expended health benefits, and if not, this medical expense can often be deducted at Income Tax time as a health care benefit.  Don’t wait to seek appropriate help until it is too late.
  • It’s amazing how quickly out of control things can get when one parent doesn’t know the ground rules set out by the other parent and the kiddies learn pretty quickly to play one parent against the other creating havoc and perhaps an argument between the parents. If necessary, check with each other and present a unified front to the children.
  • As one couple shared:  Yes multiples can stress a marriage especially if the relationship is not solid in the first place.  A relationship takes a lot of work, commitment, unconditional love and each parent giving 110%.  Teamwork is essential.

Getting through those initial days and weeks can be a challenge, especially as the sleep deprivation builds up and fuses shorten.  Keeping a supportive eye on each other is essential to ensure that the love, trust, respect and companionship that brought you together in the first place is not misplaced.  Things will improve as the kids become more independent and sleep through the night.  Promise!

For even more information, check out the results of Multiple Births Canada’s Survey Multiples and Impact on Couple Relationships on their Web Site at www.multiplebirthscanada.org.

Occipital Plagiocephaly

Two of my triplets (they are aged 8 weeks) have flat spots on one side of their heads. How did this happen? What can we do about it?

While the rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has greatly decreased since parents and caregivers have followed recommendations to put babies to sleep on their backs (“Back to Sleep” programme), another issue has come to the fore.

occipital-plagiocephaly-helmetBabies who lie for long periods of time in one position, can develop flat areas on their heads. It is well known that babies skull bones are very soft until about one year of age.

Further, multiple birth babies can be at a greater risk for occipital plagiocephaly (and/or torticollis) due to “stacking” in the womb, i.e. the lower baby may be engaged in the birth canal with one, two or more babies above it.

The combination of increased pressure from above that lower baby combined with gravity, can place a lot of pressure on the lower baby’s head and neck. In addition, prematurity and supine sleeping (i.e. placing a baby on its back to sleep) increase the liklihood of there being a risk of a flat spot occurring on the baby’s skull.

What is Occipital Plagiocephaly of Positional Orgin?

“Occipital Plagiocephaly” is a medical term for the flattening of one side of the back of the head, often caused by lying with the head in the same position. A flat area may develop very quickly or over several months.

Visually, your child may have one ear that is shifted forward of the other and may also have facial changes, e.g. forehead protrusion or cheek protrusion in more severe cases, on the flat side of the head.
Head Shapes (looking down from above at the top of the baby’s head)

original head shape positional plagiocephaly
Normal head shape Positional plagiocephaly

What can I do if my baby(ies) has a flat area on her head?

With proper positioning encouraged by the parents, the baby’s head shape usually quickly improves on its own. When a flattening of the head is noted, or you notice that your baby(ies) has a strong preference for always turning to the same side, it is important to take some action to rectify the situation.

After discussion with and agreement by your doctor, the following are some ideas for you to try to keep the baby off of the flat side:

  • Make sure that your baby(ies) is placed off of the flat area at all times. This can be accomplished by placing a small, rolled up blanket under your baby’s shoulder, on the same side as the flat area. This will help keep the baby’s head turned away from the flat side. Make sure that the baby’s underside arm is out so that there is extra protection against the baby accidentally rolling on its tummy.
  • Babies tend to look towards the door while lying in their cribs (as they wait for a parent to appear). Move the crib often to change the view of the door. Move toys and mobiles around and away from the flat side of his head. This will encourage your baby(ies) to look towards the toys. You could also regularly change the ends of the bed when putting your baby(ies) to sleep.
  • When holding, feeding or carrying your baby(ies), make sure that there is no undue pressure placed on the flat side.
  • With the new style of baby seats that go from table to car to stroller frame, your baby(ies) can potentially end up spending long periods of time sitting in the same position thereby increasing the chances of a flat spot developing. Be aware of this danger and avoid long periods where your babies may remain sitting in the same position.
  • Provide your baby(ies) with lots of SUPERVISED play on their tummies. This helps build and strengthen neck, shoulder and arm muscles. Appropriate toys can be used to encourage tummy and side lying play.
  • Provide lots of SUPERVISED time to play in a sitting position and in an ‘exersaucer’ as soon as each baby has achieved good head control.
  • Pay attention to bottle-feeding. It isn’t necessary to change a baby from side to side once the spot has been noticed, but the person feeding the baby(ies) will need to make sure that there is no undue pressure placed on the flat spot. For prevention of a flat spot occurring, change your baby(ies) from side to side at each feeding.
  • If you notice that one or more of your babies has difficulty turning her head(s), she may require some neck stretching exercises. Consult your physician who can refer you to appropriate physiotherapists, if this is the case.
  • For the best results, positional therapy needs to be started before the baby(ies) is four months old.

How do flat areas occur?

Before Birth:

  • One or more of your multiple birth babies may be born with flat areas on their heads due to lack of space to change positions in the womb.
  • One multiple birth baby may be engaged in the birth canal while the other(s) is “stacked” on top, putting pressure (gravity) on the lower baby’s head and neck.

After Birth:

  • As newborn skulls are very soft and malleable to help ease the baby through the birth canal, it is not unusual for newborn babies to have an unusual shape to their heads, due to the pressure of birth. This will generally rectify itself by about six weeks after birth.
  • However, some babies show a preference for sleeping or sitting with their head turned in the same position for the majority of time.
  • Some babies may have the additional problem of torticollis, a neck muscle problem, that prohibits them from properly turning their head to another position.
  • Premature babies have softer skull bones.

Does having Positional Plagiocephaly cause problems for my child?

In the majority of cases, having a flattened area will not affect a baby’s brain growth or mental development. When the hair grows in, it will cover the flat spot and it will not be visible. However, if there are visual changes in the baby’s appearance, i.e. one ear may be shifted forward of the other one, on the same side as the flattening, this can make a difference cosmetically with perhaps reduced perceived attractiveness and there is a potential for teasing and/or rejection amongst peers.

What do we do if positioning doesn’t help?

If positioning exercises do not help, it may be necessary for your child(ren) to wear a helmet(s). Your physician will guide you, if this is the case. Each case is different and each child unique but you may count on your child(ren) needing to wear a helmet for six to eight months from when it is initially recommended.

To Sum Up

  1. It is possible that more than one of your multiples may show signs of occipital plagiocephaly.
  2. With routine change of baby’s head position right from birth, the problem can be prevented;
  3. With early recognition and treatment after birth or at two to four months of age, positional therapy may be all that is required in the majority of cases;
  4. Only in the more severe cases will the use of a helmet be indicated.

Definitions

  • Occipital Plagiocephaly: a one-sided occipital flattening that results in marked skull asymmetry.
  • Torticollis: shortening of the neck muscles on one side of the neck, making it difficult to turn the head. Rectified by stretching exercises.
  • Uterine Constraint; Uterine Packing; Stacking: All of these terms may be used to describe the positioning of multiple fetuses within utero. I have chosen to use ‘stacking’ in this text.

Additional Resources

  • Najarian, S.(1999). Infant Cranial Molding Deformation and Sleep Position: Implications for Primary Care. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 13, 4, 173-177.
  • Neufeld, S. and Birkett, S. (1999). Positional plagiocephaly: A community approach to prevention and treatment. Alberta RN, 55, 1, 15-16.

Websites

Adapted from a pamphlet prepared by: The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa and from: “Your Baby’s Head Shape”. 1999. The Alberta Infant Cranial Remodelling Program – Stollery Children’s Health Centre (CHA) and Alberta Children’s Hospital (CHRA)

With guidance and input from Karen Dube, Nurse Practioner/APN, Ottawa, Ontario.

Suggested Reading List for Parents Expecting Twins, Triplets and More!

Forever Linked: A Mother’s Journey Through Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, Erin Bruch, Philatory Ink, 299 pages, $14.95US, ISBN 13: 978-1-936519-02-6

Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is a disease of the placenta and can affect monozygotic (identical) babies, including within triplets or more when there are monozygotics. It has a spectrum from mild to severe and if left untreated, can result in death for one or both babies, or put in jeopardy the complete pregnancy for triplets or more.

Erin Bruch explains what TTTS is, how it can happen, the need to have the diagnosis as early as possible in a multiple-birth pregnancy, about managing it and what it feels like for the parents and families to go through, sometimes with the loss of one or both babies. In addition, 21 mothers’ stories of their twin pregnancies are followed from finding out their babies had TTTS, the worry that knowledge carried, through their births and outcomes. Bruch has included a drawing of what a TTTS placenta might look like. It is a helpful visual in understanding what is happening with the babies and why their struggle with TTTS can be a life and death matter. I also find both the cover pictures to be important visuals of what the babies go through with their unequal sharing within the womb.

If your babies have or had TTTS and if you like first hand accounts, this is definitely a must-read book.

Twice the Love, compiled and edited by Susan H. Heim, in collaboration with TWINS Magazine, 2007, ISBN 1-891846-31-0, 208 pages, $13.95 US

Includes 82 stories from families with twins and more, and in some cases singletons as well. It is well worth the read. Pick it up and open it anywhere to enjoy entertaining stories, tales, joys, challenges, and adventures that belong to families with multiples. Or if you prefer, Heim has chosen to group the stories by subject, e.g. Becoming a Family, Trials and Triumphs, Mischievous Multiples (no kidding!). You are not alone in your journey and the bonding that goes on with other families with multiples in this delightful book proves it!

It’s Twins: Parent-to-Parent Advice from Infancy Through Adolescence, Susan M. Heim, Hampton Road Publishing Co. Inc., 2007, ISBN 13: 978-1-57174-531-6, 306 Pages, $17.95 US

From the first few weeks through to 17 years, Heim covers many of the bases parents could expect to face and she doesn’t shy away from the tough discussion such as when bottle feeding is best for you and your twins. Two of my favorite Chapters addressed the advantages and disadvantages of being twins when the kids have reached adolescence. Even if you haven’t reached that stage yet, here are some thoughts for you to prepare yourselves. Another nice touch is each section has Points to Ponder with writing space for the reader to address those topics which are pertinent to them.

I liked that this book addresses the whole spectrum of raising multiples and did not just focus on the early weeks, months and years. Birthday party planning is important as is encouraging them to play with others, but so is dominancy, disabilities, when they mature at different rates, college – together or separate? and my favorite certainly as expressed to me by other parents with monozygotic (identical) multiples, the Old “Switcheroo.”

I found this book uplifting, informative, thoughtful and I wasn’t beyond laughing out loud at some points from understanding and having “been there, done that.”

Emotionally Healthy Twins: A new philosophy for parenting two unique children, by Joan A. Friedman, Ph.D., 2008, Da Capo Press Books, soft cover, 245 pages.

I am SO excited about this book! There, that’s off my chest. For anyone expecting or raising multiples, this book needs to be on their recommended reading list! There are several very good books which focus on the early (and intense) years of raising multiples. Friedman’s book addresses the early years’ challenges and explores the parenting scenario beyond, into the multiples’ young adult years and does so with insight and personal knowledge.

As someone working with multiples and their families for over 2 decades, I was pleased to note that Friedman encourages parents to look beyond their multiples’ unique bond and to focus as well on what makes them individuals. Every child, even if they arrive more than one at a time, needs and deserves the chance to discover his or her unique potential, and have ample opportunities to nourish and develop their individualities. Parents set the tone in their multiples’ development and Friedman asks them to honestly evaluate their contribution to encouraging their twins to become self-sufficient. Friedman provides several examples of twins whom have flourished within their “twinship” but floundered or were impeded when they needed to separate from each other. Her messages are some that every parent raising multiples needs to hear.

Friedman is a twin herself and has twin sons and 3 singletons, so she has many support bases covered. This book is an important addition to the reading resources for anyone raising their multiples.

Womb Mates: A Modern Guide to Fertility and Twinning
, by Gary D. Steinman, and Christina Verni, 2007, Baffin Books Publishing, 121 pages, soft cover

Any couple looking into infertility treatments to assist them in getting pregnant would benefit from reading this book before they begin their treatments. It thoroughly sets the stage for such families to understand the chances of them conceiving at least twins, how that might happen and the many possible ramifications. Dr. Steinman describes, in easy to understand language, how twinning occurs (the controllable and uncontrollable factors) and explores such topics as the risks of a multiple-birth pregnancy for the mother and babies and the different types of infertility assistance. Important issues for prospective parents to consider.

Healthcare and related professionals, researchers as well as some parents could get a lot out of this book. In other words, this book is very technical. I don’t think that it would be as valuable to parents who desire to learn how to get their babies on the same schedule or how to deal with sleep deprivation, for example. For most parents looking for ideas and answers in handling their new families, this is not a book I would recommend.

Nevertheless, this book belongs on the shelf of anyone involved with teaching multiple-birth prenatal classes, doulas, midwives, lactation consultants and those wanting to better understand how to better meet the needs of their clientele.

One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I’ve Learned About Everyone’s Struggle to Be Singular, by Abigail Pogrebin, Double Day, 2009, hardcover, 275 pages, $26.95 US; $33.00 Cdn.

I’ve read a lot of books about multiples, and this one I could not put down.  It is one thing to raise multiples and address the unique challenges, joys and pleasures of doing same, but quite another to be a multiple.  In her research, Pogrebin has not only drawn on her experiences and journey with her monozygotic sister, but interviewed a plethora of well-known experts in the field of multiples (many of them being multiples themselves) as well as speaking with many sets of multiples across the U.S.  In addition she attended the International Society of Twins Studies Conference in Belgium to gather more data and attended the annual Conference of Twins held in Twinsburg, Ohio.  As most of us in-the-know are aware, this Conference is a melting pot for multiples from all over the world.
What follows is a riveting, entertaining, informative, insightful and educational journey which is MUST read not only for multiples themselves, but also for the parents who love them.  Pogrebin presents the many nuances of being a multiple, some complicated, some simple, how multiples are “entangled” and how both parties will usually attempt to seek individuality within their multipleship and when (e.g. marriage).  And some can’t see themselves apart, even for a moment.  In addition, she explores the unique circumstances around when one dies and what that event can mean for the survivor.

I could not put this book down, really.  For anyone involved with multiples in any form, this book is definitely the crème de la crème!

Blender Baby Food, Nicole Young and Nadine Day, 2005, Robert Rose Inc., 189 Pages, $19.95 Cdn., $18.95 US, softcover

For parents wishing to make their own baby foods or wishing to have some fun choices to offer toddlers, this book is a must have! It is broken down from when babies need to begin solid foods through 12 months and older and includes suggested meal plans for each age. There are 125 delicious recipes included for babies beginning solids, with hints and tips in the margins on how to “upgrade” each recipe for older children.

The authors begin with steps on how to recognize when your babies are ready to begin solids, address food consistency at each age and stage, answer safety with food issues (such as with eggs), choking hazards, storing, freezing and thawing prepared foods and offer a list of the equipment you can expect to use when preparing your own baby food. There is even a section covering salt, sugars and The Picky Eater. It couldn’t be easier.
Another great point – it’s a Canadian book!

The no-cry potty training solution: gentle ways to help your child say good-bye to diapers, Elizabeth Pantley, McGraw Hill, 2007, 174 pages, softcover, $12.95 US, $16.95 Cdn.

Here are two goals which can bring joy to a parent’s heart: “sleeping through the night” and “toilet trained.” For the latter, Elizbeth Pantley has scored again with her newest book on potty training. It isn’t unheard of for parents to find themselves in unpleasant, close enocunters of the potty-training kind when trying to train their toddlers. It doesn’t have to be so and Pantley gives us suggestions, not the least of which is to recognize the signs of each child’s readiness to be trained. If they are not physically ready and able, training can quickly move to a battle of wills, with no winners insight.

Right at the beginning, Pantley sets out a Readiness Quizz so that we know what signs of readiness to look for in our children. She addresses topics such as keeping it natural, making it a game, getting to the bathroom quickly (kids tend to leave it to the last second and when they say they “need to go,” time is of the essence), bathroom safety, how to teach your child to wipe properly and wash their hands afterwards.

There is a chapter on bed-wetting which is extremely helpful. Bed-wetting is more common with boys and during the night, the kidneys may not be sending appropriate messages to the brain to signal the need to go and/or the bladder is not fully developed enough to go through the night. Bed-wetting can sporadically last for years, or not. She provides constructive ways to handle bed-wetting and to help keep your child dry, without them losing their self-esteem in the process. Pantley even includes some suggestions for toilet training children with special needs.

While her book focuses on training singleton toddlers, there reference about training twins and more. She gives us notice that our children may not be ready to train at the same time – and haven’t we heard that before in other contexts! – and reminds us not to compare them regarding successes and failures – yet another common theme for parents with multiples. Each child having their own potty ensures that when the time is right, there will be no waiting in line for a turn and perhaps subsequent accidents.

While toilet training is long-past with my own children, I really appreciated Pantley’s easy writing style, identifying the challenges and offering suggestions, and positive approach to a topic which can be a challenge for parents as well as toddlers. She takes the pain out of it all for everyone and if your children are nearly ready to toilet train, this is one book you don’t want to miss reading.

Your Premature Baby: the first five years, by Nikki Bradford, 2003, Firefly Books, 208 pages, $19.95

An excellent Canadian book offering detailed information regarding your premature baby. Why does premature birth happen?; What can you do?; how a premature baby may behave (looking at the body language of a premature baby), how the hospital can help, bringing them home, and feeding a premature baby are some of the topics covered in detail. The photographs of these special babies are simply fabulous. This book would be a great resource for those with a premature baby.

Expecting, twins, triplets, and more: a doctor’s guide to a healthy and happy multiple pregnancy, by Rachel Franklin, M.D., M.O.M.* (*Mother of Multiples), 2005, St. Martin’s Griffin, N.Y., 221 pages, $14.95 U.S.; $21.95 Canadian, ISBN 0-312-32823-0

Read my full review of this book

Dr. Franklin has a light-hearted, easy to understand writing style, generously laced with humour. Her book takes you through each stage of the pregnancy. She includes Chapters on learning the news “…and What To Do About It”, she addresses issues you might expect to face in each trimester of your pregnancy, focusing on nutrition, exercise, and preparing for the babies. .

Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding Twins, Triplets or More by Karen Kerkhoff Gromada from La Leche League

Covers every possible breastfeeding topic, with good photos and is very encouraging to breastfeeding mothers. Lots of other topics of interest to multiple birth parents.

Raising Multiple Birth Children – A Parent’s Survival Guide, by William and Sheila Laut, 1999

I haven’t yet read this book by parents of triplets but it has come highly recommended to me. Includes practical tips for getting organized, baby gear you will need, coping with sleep deprivation (I like it already!), gift ideas, funny stories (we can always use those) and more!

When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads by Dr. Barbara Luke and Tamara Eberlein, 1999, Harper Perennial

Twins From Conception to Five Years by Averil Clegg and Anne Woolett, 1983, First Ballantine Books

Multiple Blessings by Betty Rothbart, 1994, Hearst Books

The Art of Parenting Twins by Patricia Maxwell Malmstrom and Janet Poland, 1999, Ballantine Books

Finding our Way: life with triplets, quadruplets and quintuplets, Web Com Canada 2001

Double Duty, by Christina Baglivi Tinglof, 1998, Contemporary Books

The Joy of Twins and other multiple births by Pamela Patrick Novotny, 1994, Crown Trade Paperbacks

Twins: Pregnancy, Birth and the First Year of Life by Connie L. Agnew, Alan H. Klein and Jill Alison Ganon, 1997, Harper Perennial

Twins, Triplets and More, by Elizabeth M. Bryan, St. Martin’s Press, N.Y.

New Father Book by Wade F. Horn and Jeffrey Rosenberg, 1998, Better Homes and Gardens Books

Feeding Your Baby the Healthiest Foods by Louise Lambert-Lagace, 2000, Stoddart Publishing

The No-Cry Discipline Solution, Elizabeth Pantley, due for release: June, 2007, McGraw Hill, softcover, 235 pages, Expected price $16.95US

Elizabeth Pantley has, thankfully, added another book to her “No-Cry” series. This latest one offers discipline solutions for toddlers and children, aged 2 to 8 years. All types of potentially difficult situatons are covered such as bedtimes, tantrums, not brushing teeth, hitting, bitting, meal times, inappropriate language use and more. She covers not only what the child might be feeling but also the parent’s feelings. A very helpful section looks at anger, what it means, possible triggers and how our own anger can affect the situation and sometimes make things worse. Pantley offers useful suggestions on keeping one’s own emotions in check, turning the situation around with distracting methods (make a song out of what you want done, use humour) and offers appropriate consequences when or if necessary.

My favorite section has to be Part 4: Specific Solutions for Everyday Problems.

When my girls were small (twins and a singleton 22 months their elder), I just didn’t have time to read psycyologically-based, drawn-out solutions for situations which generally had one child, one adult and the general message “follow this advice and all will be well.” Yeah right! Not in my house where the parents were outnumbered by little ones feeding off of each other’s behaviour. I needed quick, helpful, supportive feedback with several possible suggestions to consider in turning things around. Flying by the seat of your pants and/or “learning as you go” doesn’t always equal good parenting skills.

Pantley clearly and concisely states a situation, for example Sibling Fights. Each begins with a story from a frustrated parent. Pantley asks us to Think About It (in this case Sibling Fights) and addresses what such fights can mean for the child. She then offers step by step ideas on What to Do and, perhaps more importantly,What Not to Do. Pantley cross-references to other areas of the book for additional suggestions. In this case, Biting Other Children; Bossiness, Hitting, Kicking and Hair Pulling; Playtime Behaviour. Most topics are covered in two pages, making it quick and simple to grab the book (topics are alphabetically listed), peruse the appropriate area, absorb some techniques and get back to the home situation, all in a timely fashion. That’s my kinda guide!

If you have kids aged 2-8 years, this book is a must have. I hope that Pantley will soon add a “No-Cry Discipline” focused on preteens and teens.

NOTE: Don’t just limit yourself to books on multiples. There are some wonderful books on babies out there and here are a few examples:

  • What to Expect When you are Expecting
  • Dr. Spock’s Book – describes childhood diseases and incubation periods
  • The Mother of All Pregnancy Books, by Ann Douglas – an all-Canadian guide
  • Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, by Tracy Hogg with Melinda Blau

DVD Reviews

Fascinating DVD regarding conception and gestational journey of Twins, Triplets and Quads. A must view for parents, grandparents, researchers, healthcare professionals and any one else with an interest in multiples.

Check it out at:  http://www.rocketrights.tv/womb/multiples.php?
PHPSESSID=15b23a92713177aa2c4be1065cfc2eb4

Your Babies’ Journey: Twins, Triplets, Quads, approx. 100 minutes

This amazing DVD out of the UK will no doubt be very well received not only by parents (and grandparents) expecting multiples but also by the healthcare professionals who look after them. The photography, graphics and sonagrams lets the viewer into the womb to watch the babies’ growth, development and interactions. It’s breathtaking and I was glued to the screen throughout. I found myself jettisoned back to my own pregnancy and was thrilled to observe what our girls were doing prior to their delivery. This fascintating documentary is an important and enlightened resource for anyone with an interest in multiple-births.

If I were to comment on anything, two little things stood out: l) Society often refers to vaginal birth as “natural birth.” Does that make a necessary c-section an “unnatural birth?” I think not. A “natural birth” is, in truth, any birth that ensures a healthy Mom and baby(ies), and that includes a c-section. Many families whom need to have a c-section feel guilty about having to do so and by changing our vernacular, we could make a positive difference. And 2) I would have liked to have heard more direct references to the fathers and their roles. Two parents are ideal in any parenting situation and this is partiacularly true in the case of multiples. Dad, an important part of the parenting equation, is almost completely absent from this otherwise stunning DVD.

I am a mother of quadruplets

I am a mother of quadruplets.  The excitement over carrying four babies carried me through a miserable pregnancy.  I dreamed of four cribs, four bouncy seats, and of four children playing ball in the backyard.  Everyone was so excited.  We had tried for three years to have a baby, and God blessed us with four.

I started having contractions at sixteen weeks, and was in the hospital more or less for two months.  I prayed and asked others to pray that I could hold my precious babies inside “just a little bit longer” and for a while…I was able to, but then what was meant to be…happened.  At 25 weeks Alexander, Benjamin, Callie, and Donovan were delivered by c-section into a world that was not ready for them.

I was told that my babies probably would not live through the night.  If they did live through the next three days, they had a thirty percent chance each of leaving the hospital.  As much pain as I was in, I forced my husband to bring me my wheelchair…call the nurse…and [we] went up to the NICU to see my babies.  I had to see them…in case they did not make it…

For three weeks, our little fighters were incredible…inspirational…and wonderful.  My husband and I were so proud of our little darlings.  I lived at the hospital…literally..for those three weeks.  I occupied a room right beneath the NICU.

We got news that our Alex was very sick.  They ran antibiotics..and he seemed to be responding…but then took a turn for the worse.  He had renal failure…and was bloated up to three times his size.  (He was one pound and four ounces at birth…and was close to three pounds at this time.)  The ossillator’s oxygen and pressure levels were so high, they talked about using another machine.  Finally, it was determined that the infection was in his central line.  They pulled it.  The infection went to his heart, where it made an enormous blood clot.  All organs began shutting down.  His brain swelled.  My husband and I agreed to take him off of support.

Our family waited in a sterile room, private from the NICU.  It was the room surgeries were performed in.  The same room two of my babies had the opening between their lungs and heart closed….just hours before.  It was so quiet…so final.  A nurse in tears brought my swollen baby boy to me in a blue gown and blanket.  He was off the ventilatior.  He was dying.  She tucked him in my arms. The room exploded in sobs, but I was so numb…that I just held him…kissed him…and said goodbye.  He sucked his last exhausted breath in my arms.  He smelled like death.  He was cold.  The doctor came in to pronounce the time of his death.  My husband and I passed our son’s body around the room to same family members who were unable to see him in life because of the restrictions in the NICU.

We had the funeral two days later.  Our three survivors made it home.  They have an Angel in heaven.

Melissa, Texas

A lot of pain mixed in with far too little joy…

Dee and I are two of the luckiest people we know… great jobs, surrounded by a wonderful family, great friends and absolutely emphatically in love with one another after 5 years of marriage … however, there is still one thing that continues to elude us… to have our own family. We tried having a family the old fashioned way and after 4 miscarriages, relied on a little help from the medical profession… as a result of Gonal-F, progesterone, heparin and a little good luck we were elated to see 3 fast beating hearts at 8 weeks… we were very excited…

We would be able to have our whole family at one time and be able to be part of a wonderful club of multiple birth parents… most importantly we thought that this would allow us to put a lot of our pain behind us and never have to go down that scary road again…

At 16 weeks, our excitement grew even larger when we found out we would be blessed with two boys and a girl… we felt that if this would be our family it would be great to parent at lease one child from either sex…. During the course of the pregnancy Dee had been lucky enough to become connected with a local group of triplet moms… they took her under their wing and helped to prepare her mentally for what was to come… Dee had done everything she could for out children… she gave up a great deal, all without complaining, always knowing and looking forward to her final goal… various books had told her to take on a significant number of additional calories and so she ate when she couldn’t eat any more… sometimes getting out of bed at night just to eat a granola bar and glass of milk…

On September 16th, Dee began to feel a mild and unusual pressure that was new… thanks to the warnings of the other triplet moms, Dee knew that it was best to contact the doctor… he instructed her to go to the hospital where they then hooked her up to a contraction monitor… upon seeing that she was having some contractions they began to do all the things they could to get them to stop… magnesium sulfate, antibiotics, everything… after 48 hours her contractions had appeared to have slowed and they backed off on the mag drip….

On Friday morning Dee’s water unexpectedly broke… she had dilated to 10 centimeters and there was no going back… at that point, 21 weeks, there was nothing that she or I or any of the doctors could do… our triplets would not remain in the womb… Declan, Noelle and Wyatt were born in the early afternoon of Friday… this was, without a doubt, the most horrible thing that has ever happened in either one of our lives… our children were just too small… their lungs were not developed… they could not breath… they tried… they tried so very hard… my wife and I held and cried and talked to and soothed and touched and loved our children from the very moment that they came into this world until they passed into the next…

Wyatt, the smallest of the three, held out the longest… even when he was in utero we knew that he’d be a scrapper!!! I don’t know what we would have done without the help of our nurse Fran… she shepherded us through this difficult day… she encouraged us to hold, to talk, to bath, and to cloth our babies… she gave us the chance to parent our children if only for a little while… we got to hold their little hands, to kiss their little feet, to give them all the love we had… I can’t imagine going through that day without being encouraged or able to parent our children… the grief and pain has, at times, seemed insurmountable but at least when I cry I can still feel their little hands curled around my finger, see my wife kiss their bums… just like she promised she’d do when they came into the world…

There is nothing anyone can say to ever make it easier… our lives, our hopes, the plans full of love and anticipation all evaporated and were replaced with emptiness, loneliness and fear… even as someone who has been there I can’t tell you that it will get better or that time will heal your scars … it still isn’t better for us… it still hurts as bad some times now as it did on that terrible September 19th… but hopefully time will take a little bit of the sting out of the memory and hopefully you were left with positive images that do not fade… and if we get a little lucky and the stories are true, we’ll all be together again someday in a place of love and warmth… and get the chance to hold their little hands again.

Thank you for this opportunity.

Nigel and Dee, Buffalo, New York

Tragic Loss

My name is Elaine and in October 2000 my husband and I went through IVF and conceived triplets (identical twins + singleton). We were thrilled, yet cautious because I knew the risk went up significantly with multiples. I was very very ill with OHSS* and in hospital for one month with blood clots in my lungs.

I eventually recovered from the OHSS and things seemed to be going along okay when, on February 20, 2001, one of the waters broke and I discovered that I was in labor (no real symptoms other than back ache which I was told was probably going to be normal for me during this pregnancy). Unfortunately, all three of our precious boys were born that day and lived for just a few hours each. We did not see or hold them because we just had no idea what to do and no one really came to talk to us and tell us how important this would be to us or gave us some idea of what our boys looked like. Fortunately, the NICU nurse took pictures, footprints and handprints, and kept their wristbands, etc. so we do have these precious momentos.

In the past year and a half I have done a lot of reading and research on tragic loss, grief, and perinatal bereavement and wish there were some way I could get more involved in helping people in this situation and educating the public. I am doing some volunteer work right now with planning a Walk To Remember to be held in October and I am part of the Parent-to-Parent Support Group in my hometown.

My beautiful boys have taught me so much. Thank you for listening.

Yours truly,

Elaine, Mommy to Rem, Declan and Dawson (b/d Feb 20, 2001 at 21 weeks)

* OHSS is Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome which can occur with IVF. It is caused by the hyperstimulation of the ovaries through medication. When the eggs are harvested the fluid in each follicle leaks into the abdomen (this happens naturally during ovulation). Because of the number of follicles produced, a significant amount of fluid results. When severe, it can cause the body to dehydrate and the blood to thicken. This is why I developed blood clots that went into my lungs (pulmonary emboli).

Elaine has created a website for her sons at: www.geocities.com/fawns2001

Three

The birth of my triplets, and the subsequent loss of one of my three sons occurred in 1998. In my mind, it seems like only yesterday. I gave birth extremely prematurely at 24 weeks gestation shortly after my water broke. My first of three sons was born on April 26th, 1998 at 9:00pm, and he needed to be resuscitated following delivery. I held on to my other two sons for one more day, but then labour started.

I went in for an emergency C-section (because of their positioning) on April 28th, 1998 at 2:30pm. My second two sons had to be ventilated immediately after birth and they were taken to NICU.

Our first son survived for three weeks. He encountered almost every complication related to prematurity it seemed. He fought hard and endured as long as he could. After three difficult weeks, our first baby boy died peacefully in his father’s arms. I still remember that day. It sunk in that we no longer had three sons. Our other sons survived the crucial weeks ahead and we took them home 102 days later.

Thank you for reading my story about my three sons.

Carole, Calgary, Alberta

Triplets: Luke, Trent & Brandon Clawson

Dave and I had been trying for over 2 years to get pregnant. We were on our 6th try of artificial insemination with fertility medication. On this magical 6th try I had been told that we would get on the waiting list for invitro 5mths early. Just hearing this made my stress level drop tremendously. Finally, I felt the pressure lift. Like every other time

I went into the clinic with Dave’s magical swimmers hoping it would work. I had 7 eggs ready and I felt like that was a heavenly number. So on 30Mar07 I was inseminated with Dave’s swimmers. I went home and went about life just like I had before, but this time it was different. I had 4 babies growing inside of me. At exactly 2 weeks later, I took a pregnancy test at 0615 in the morning. I didn’t wait to miss my period like I normally did because I actually had a symptom of being pregnant, wait make that 2 symptoms. I was unusually tired and my breasts were tender and sore (which hadn’t happened since we started the fertility treatment). So as I watched my urine absorb across the result window I noticed 2 lines and not just one. I immediately ran to Dave and woke him up and exclaimed “We are Pregnant!” He asked me “are you sure, you better take another one to be sure” I knew I didn’t need another one because as a lab tech I know that false positive pregnancy tests almost never happen. I told him I would get another one done when I went into the doctor

I immediately got dressed and went out the door to the OB clinic at WHMC. It wasn’t even 7am when I arrived at the clinic. I was then told I had to wait until 0830 to have the test ordered. So, being a lab tech I just marched upstairs to the lab and went ahead and had them draw my blood so I wouldn’t have to wait to have it done later. Once the test was ordered I had to wait one hour for the results. I wasn’t worried, just excited to see the results in the computer that I was officially pregnant. A quantitative test was ordered and when the results came back I almost fainted because the number that came back was a sign straight from God to me that everything would work out. The number was 714 which is my birthday. All of my life that number has meant good things for me and I knew this case was no different. The reassurance that number gave me made me feel so loved by God. At this time, we had no idea more than one baby was growing inside of me. To confirm pregnancy a scan was done on me at 7wks and while we were waiting to hear word from the doctors doing the scan I felt worried something was wrong. Instead of asking what is wrong I decided to take a positive approach and ask if there was more than one baby and they said “There are 3 babies” At that moment I felt great, not overwhelmed at all because I knew it was a blessing. Then Dr. Retzolff did the scan again and found a 4 th heart beat. All of a sudden I was terrified. I had known many triplets to carry a long time, but quadruplets? I wasn’t sure how long they could be carried and what problems could arise. He called the high risk clinic right away and let them know my situation.

My first appointment at the high risk clinic was the next day. They explained to me all of the risks and problems associated with quadruplets. They also explained to me that it might be better to selectively reduce to triplets or twins. Deep with in me I knew there was absolutely no way I could do that and once I confirmed Dave felt the same way I knew we would have 4 babies. At 9 wks the infertility clinic did another scan to confirm multiples and at this time we learned that the 4 th baby had reduced on it’s own. We felt very sad, but we knew it would be for the best. Triplets are born so much healthier. We trusted that God knows best and in our situation it must have been best for us to have triplets and not quadruplets. We did mourn the reduced baby and Thanked God it happened as early as it did instead of later.

We had our next appointment at 13wks and everything was going great and from that point on we had appointment every 3 wks until 20 wks. At 18wks we got to find out that we were having 3 Boys!! We called everyone we knew to tell them about the boys growing inside of me. I felt much better about telling people that didn’t know at this point. I was already showing so much, so everyone I worked with and came across could tell. I would kindly ask everyone that knew to pray for us because we needed it. I know prayers get answered and the more people that prayed the same prayer of healthy 36weeker triplets, the more attention God would pay to our prayers. At 20 wks I started to feel them move on a regular basis which to me was the best part of being pregnant. It is a connection I know I will never feel again (unless I get pregnant again).

At 25wks I felt a dull constant pain in the left side of my upper belly for over an hour. I decided to go in to the triage nurse and get checked out. I was not sure if I was having contraction and Thank God I wasn’t. It was too soon to be having our babies. I was sent back to work and told that if I felt tightening of my lower stomach that would be contractions. Once I got back to work, my boss decided it was time for me to be on half days. The half days were an absolute blessing because I was so tired. I would take a nap everyday after work as it was.

At 29 wks I started having contractions regularly at work, so I walked over to the hospital to get checked out again. This time I was indeed having contractions and they decided it was best to admit me and monitor me for 24hrs. My contractions were not regular enough for them to think I was in active labor, but they were concerned. They gave me Turbuline to stop the contractions. The medicine worked and I stopped having regular contractions, so the next morning they released me to bed rest at home. Dr. Striteman informed me that if I came back in for contractions they would admit me.

I was thrilled to be on bed rest, but I knew it would be very boring. I wasn’t suppose to do anything but lay around, go to the bathroom and sleep. I of course could not follow the strict orders I was given. I still cooked for myself and Dave sometimes. Dave did most of the work though; I really couldn’t do any house work. I would usually go outside and sit in the sun for about 15 minutes a day (this helped my mood tremendously). I watched a lot of TV. I got hooked on TNT which had Prime Time in the day time, so I was not watching soap operas. The babies moved all the time so that kept me entertained most of the time. If they didn’t move for awhile, I would push on my tummy where I thought they were to make them move.

During my 33rd week I got up to go to the bathroom and as I was walking to the bathroom I slipped and fell on my side. Thankfully I did not fall straight forward. I was still worried something could have happened inside to the babies, so I called the triage line. I was told to come in and get checked out and be observed for 4 hours. My mom was visiting, so we all went into the hospital. I thought for sure they would have to admit me. I had my bag and everything. I was having some painful contractions, but after an hour or so they subsided. They released me after about 6 hours. My blood pressure was a little high so I had to do a nasty 24-hour urine collection to check for protein. Thankfully it was normal and I did not have pre-eclampsia at the time. I was good to stay on bed rest at home. Every day I stayed pregnant was so good for the babies. I was at the point of average delivery for triplets.

I had one more growth scan to check on the babies at 34wks. Each baby estimated about 5lbs which was mind blowing. We were so blessed. Just had two more weeks to go to reach our goal of 36wks. Plus my mother-in-law would be here during the 36 th week so we really hoped I would have the boys during her stay. She arrived on Sat. the 17 th to stay until Sun. the 25 th

We all went into antepartum testing on 20Nov07 to make sure everything was ok with the boys. I was 35wks and 5 days along. Upon checking my blood pressure, they discovered it was a little high (which can indicate pre-eclampsia). They had us wait in the waiting room. Dave went to the chow hall and got us some lunch, Thank God because unknown to me it would be my last actual meal until Friday. The doctor’s decided to admit me and run a 12hr urine protein. Before I even started the test, Dr. Shields decided to induce labor that night. I still completed the urine and it indeed came back high, so I had pre-eclampsia. I called my mom to let her know what was going on. She decided to leave early the next morning to get here to be with us. She arrived the next morning around 9am.

Around 9pm on November 20 2007 I was given prosatglandins to start the induction process. Early the next morning they decided to do a foli-bulb because I had only dilated ½ a centimeter. Once the foli-bulb came out on it’s own that would mean I was dilated 4 to 5 centimeters. The foli-bulb process was pretty intense and it took a good 6 hourrs for it to come out.

At 330pm on 21Nov07, the doctors decided it was time to try and speed the process of labor up, so they broke Luke’s water. Around 7pm I got my catheter and epidural put in. They started Pitossin as well. The epidural stopped working around 4am on 22Nov07 and I really felt the contractions. The contractions would start in my back radiate around to the front. It was beyond any pain I had ever experienced. Before the shift changed at 0630 the doc came in and told me I was 7 centimeters dilated which was good. Then, around 0830 the next shift of doctors arrived and the doc that examined me said I was only 5centimeters. I asked how long I could go without delivering and I was told a couple of days. I was really worried about infections for Luke at this point and in so much pain. I asked for pain medicine because my epidural was not working no matter how much medicine they gave me in it. I received the pain medicine around 0900 and at 1000 Dr. Retzolff came in and told me it was decided that a c-section would be best since I was not progressing. I felt so relieved because I knew the longer I had waited for labor to progress the higher the chances for Luke to get an infection. I hadn’t showered in 2 days, so I knew my normal flora was getting out of control. The last thing I wanted was for my newborn baby to have an infection that could have been prevented.

At 1115 I was taken to the OR to get set up and have the c-section. Dave was able to walk down to the room with me, but he had to wait until I was prepped to enter the OR. When I was wheeled into the OR, there must have been 20 doctors in there and it was not a big room. They had 3 warmers with a team of doctors and nurses for each baby ready for them. They switched me from my hospital bed to the operating table, had me place my arms down and placed blankets on them so I wouldn’t accidentally raise them during the surgery. They cleaned my stomach with iodine, shaved my pubic region, gave me all kinds of numbing medicine thru my epidural, gave me another iv for more anesthesia and once I was all set up they let Dave in the room. They checked to make sure I was numb enough. My right side was completely numb, but my left side was not. They decided I was numb enough to perform the surgery. I remember feeling the sensation of being cut open, but not any pain.

Once I was cut open, they started pulling and tugging on all of my insides to get to the babies. Then at 1149am my first baby was born and like the most heavenly music to my ears was my Luke’s cry. They showed him to me and not even one minute later Trent was born and again I heard his beautiful cry. It seemed like forever until Brandon was born because I was so tired from the pain medicine, anesthesia, epidural and the process of labor. However, only 2 minutes had passed since Trent’s birth to Brandon’s birth. And once again I heard the beautiful cry of another healthy baby boy. After Brandon’s birth I fell asleep for a few minutes and woke to the slight pain of them cutting out Brandon’s placenta. I fell back asleep and woke up in the recovery area. All of a sudden I was so thirsty and all they could give me was a couple of ice cubes because they were waiting to see if I was going back to the OR. My uterus was so stretched from having 3 big babies in it that it was tired and wasn’t contracting and clamping down like it should.

So, I was bleeding and not stopping. I must have been stable enough to make it to the recovery room, but things could change at any moment. I am not sure how long I was in the recovery room because time seemed to stand still. I just wanted to see my precious babies and hold them like I knew everyone else was getting to do that was there at the hospital with me. Not that I didn’t want anyone to hold my babies, but I wanted to hold them. I had worked to hard to have them and I felt jealous that everyone else was getting that chance and not me. I knew I was so blessed that they were born healthy and at that point in the recovery room I didn’t even know how healthy they actually were. I wanted to get out of the recovery room and get to my room where someone could tell me what was going on with my babies. If only I could have gotten out of my bed by myself. Plus, I knew once I returned to my room I could get something to drink and I was so thirsty that if I was able to get up from this bed I felt trapped in I would walk to my room demand to see my babies and get something to drink.

The ladies in the recovery room were very nice and only doing what was best for me. They checked my blood pressure again and I stabilized even more so they called the docs to find out if I could return to my room to continue my recovery there. They got the okay from the docs, gave me a few more ice cubes to suck on and wheeled me up to my room.

Once I returned to my room, only my Mom was there because Dave had taken his Mom to see and hold the babies. I felt so tired that I fell asleep and woke up to 2 doctors telling me how low my hematacrit was (21%) and that I needed blood. So by all means give me the life-saving blood I needed; they was no need to ask me. I received two units and while receiving the second unit I woke up and as the blood was going in it stung. I informed the nurse and she said that was normal, so another sigh of relief. Once Dave returned he told me all about our beautiful sons. I wanted to see them so badly, but I didn’t have the energy to go to the NICU. I asked how much they weighed. What a Miracle They all weighed over 5lbs. Luke weighed 5lbs 4oz, Trent weighted 5lbs 14oz and Brandon weighed 5lbs 7oz. I was absolutely amazed and so Thankful to God. I made it to 36wks exactly. We were told that our triplets were the healthiest triplets ever born at Wilford Hall. Since they were so healthy, they got to room in with us after only 12 hours in the NICU which is unheard of.

My sister, Dione, and my brother, Matthew, arrived around 8pm. Dave’s brother had been in San Antonio for 4 weeks so he was also at the hospital.

The babies finally were brought to my room around 11pm so I could hold them. They were so beautiful! They were wearing crocheted Christmas hats, little Wilford Hall t-shirts and all wrapped up in blankets. They were wheeled in a cradle. So, sweet and tiny! How could anyone love so much? I was so happy to finally see and hold our baby boys. They were so sleepy. I didn’t blame them, we had a rough few days. We finally had our family.

The nurses had to take the babies back to the NICU for another hour (hospital policy). Dave had to go down there to prove he could take care of them. It took him 52 minutes to change all three diapers! I even called him to see what was taking so long. He finally brought them back to the room. The NICU nurses were so nice and helpful. They came to our room every couple of hours to check on the babies. The hospital staff was absolutely wonderful to us. We couldn’t have asked for better. We were released together 3 days later on Sunday Nov. 25 th. When we got home Dave, Dione, Chris and my Mom started moving furniture so we were better set up to take care of our new babies. Dione left later that day. My Mom stayed for one week. Then Chris went back to Germany on December 6 2007.

After that we were on our own. We handled it pretty well for about a week, then it got too hard. We decided to go to New York for the Holidays and get help. We were absolutely blessed we were able to go. We had a wonderful time there and we got the help and rest we needed. We came back to Houston so I could stay with my family and Dave could go back to work and get the house ready for us to come home. We finally felt like we could take care of them ourselves once we left Dione’s. We have been doing great ever since.

We thank God everyday for the blessings he has given us and our beautiful family. We are so very happy.

Mommy (Destiny) and Daddy (Dave) Clawson