During my pregnancy, I was under the impression that once my girls were born, they would automatically need NICU time. I did not expect to have any take home babies and after the devastating still birth of my first daughter, I wasn’t upset that I wouldn’t be taking any babies home with me. My wish was for them to be born alive and healthy.
The statistics were recited to us: 32 weeks is the average gestation for triplets. My goal (set by my doctor) was to make it to 34 weeks. Well, 34 weeks came and went. After flying by 35 weeks (I make it sound easy, don’t I?) and having a date and time scheduled for my c-section, we began to realize that we may be taking one or two of our little pumpkins home with us. (I should note that Anna was diagnosed with spina bifida in utero and was scheduled to have surgery on her spine immediately following her birth so NICU time for her was automatic.)
My girls were born at 35 weeks and 6 days. Allie and Emily spent two days in the Special Care Nursery before being released to my room. They were discharged with me from the hospital two days later. My husband and I set up a pack-n-play at the end of our bed and planned to both sleep in our bed with each of us taking a baby for feedings. That did not go over so well. As preemies, we were told to feed on demand so although Allie was ready for a bottle, Em would not be. It seemed like Rich and I would sleep for an hour and then start the whole two hour process all over again. An hour to feed a baby and then another hour to feed the other baby. We were losing ridiculous amounts of sleep.
My husband returned to work a few days later. I offered to care for both girls all night while he slept in another bedroom. My mom (thank goodness!) offered to stay the nights with us as well. Over the next weeks, I cared for Allie and Em during the night waking my mom if they both needed to be fed at once. In the mornings, my mom (and usually another family member or friend) would care for Allie and Em while I would sleep for three or four hours.
And then Anna was released from the NICU.
We tried a variety of sleeping arrangements but none seemed to work and everyone was left exhausted. I was speaking to a friend a mine with one year old twins and she told me that one of the arrangements that had worked out well for her was for each adult to sleep in a separate room with a baby.
So we gave it a shot. And again, thank goodness that my mom was available, ready and willing to help out. We would each take a baby and sleep in separate bedrooms. My girls had some reflux issues and were never really interested in eating so each feeding would take about an hour. We were given the go ahead to allow them to sleep longer at night and not wake for feedings when they were fairly young so if you were lucky, you may have a three hour stretch of sleep.
We continued like this until the girls were six months old and we moved. At that point, they began to share a room and I felt like we were dealing with newborns again. But that’s another post for another day.
What sleeping arrangements did you use with your newborns? Any tricks or helpful hints?
Sarah is the mother to two and a half year old identical triplet girls – Allie, Anna and Emily – who were born at 35 weeks and 6 days. She works full time as a Tax Director for Big Financial Institution and enjoys sharpening her photography skills with her daughters’ help. You can read more about her crazy life raising triplets at The Great Umbrella Heist.