We received the following casting call for expecting moms, pregnant with quadruplets or more, and either in your first or second trimesters.
Note, we cannot attest to the legitimacy or this request, having received it by email unsolicited.
Are you expecting a baby? Is there such a thing as a ‘straight forward’ or ‘easy’ pregnancy? Do you think you’re having – or you’re likely to have- an exceptionally interesting pregnancy?
Few mums-to-be would say that pregnancy is easy or stress-free, but for some women, having a baby presents very unusual challenges.
Cineflix Productions have been commissioned by Discovery Networks International to make 6 x 60 minute episodes on the subject of pregnancy (our working title is “The Pregnancy Project”).
We’re looking for mums-to-be from all over the world, who are juggling the usual excitement and anxiety of a typical pregnancy, with an unusual situation or condition.
If you’re pregnant in an extraordinary situation (for example, you’re acting as a surrogate for a family member or having a baby as an older mother), you’re experiencing pregnancy with a pre-existing condition of your own (such as dwarfism or visual impairment) or if you have a condition brought on by your pregnancy (like extreme cravings, or severe morning sickness) – then we’d love to talk to you.
We’re also looking for mums-to-be who might have previously been told they were unlikely to conceive due to unusual gynaecology.
From sharing the news with your loved ones, to medical appointments and baby showers – right up to the big day itself – we want to explore the realities – the highs and lows, the excitement and the inevitable anxieties that being an extraordinary pregnant mum brings, and help you share your pregnancy story.
If you’d be interested in an informal chat with a member of The Pregnancy Project production team, please email us firstname.lastname@example.org.
I met my husband in an area of Illinois known as the Quad Cities. We were both working at a TV station. I was a reporter. He worked behind the scenes in production. We were friends for a long time and then a romance blossomed.
When we married in 2001 we knew we wanted to have children, but we didn’t want them right away. By this time we were living in Ohio and working in a town that had been suffering from a lockout at a major employer. Morale throughout the town was low and we had no desire to begin our family in this particular area. We moved to Michigan in 2002, became homeowners and knew we were ready to start our family. If only it were that simple.
During a “routine” check up with my new OB/GYN it became clear that something wasn’t right. The doctor told me I either had ovarian cysts, endometriosis or ovarian cancer. Having lost my mother to breast cancer about a year before this check up, I felt myself slipping into panic mode.
Not cancer. Surely it can’t be cancer. Fortunately it wasn’t, but it turns out endometriosis is no walk in the park.
Endometriosis occurs when tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus (the endometrium) grows outside your uterus. In endometriosis, displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would. It thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. Because this displaced tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped. Surrounding tissue can become irritated, eventually developing scar tissue and adhesions.
Growing up, my friends always complained about how bad their menstrual cramps were. Mine were ridiculously painful, but I just assumed all females had at least one day of the month where their cramps were so bad they didn’t want to move. My lower back would ache all through my cycle.
On the advice of the obstetrician I had laproscopic surgery to remove the buildup of scar tissue caused by endometriosis. One year later I was no closer to being pregnant and we were referred to a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE).
I went through yet another laproscopic surgery to remove the scar tissue that had built up during our year of trying to become pregnant on our own. Then we turned to Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). Fortunately, our insurance covered most of the tests and medication leading up to each IUI attempt. After three failed IUIs the RE told us In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) was probably our best chance at conceiving.
It took us time to decide what to do. We knew IVF would be expensive. We knew there were no guarantees. We had already started exploring adoption and had attended an initial meeting with an agency that works with other agencies outside the United States.
In the end, I decided to give IVF one go. I didn’t want to live with the “what ifs” of not doing it. The process leading up to the actual embryo transfer was brutal. The hormones made me a mess. I was either in tears or yelling at people. I had night sweats from the medications. One of medications had to be injected in my lower back/hip area, so my husband, who hates needles, had to give me the shot.
Like IUI, the majority of tests and medication leading up to the embryo transfer were covered by insurance. But there were other expenses to consider… the 2 ½ hour drive to the clinic for every appointment, the hotel room we had to stay in the night before the IVF procedure and the cost of the embryo transfer.
When my embryos were removed to be fertilized there were three viable ones. All along the plan had been to transfer two embryos. On the day of transfer the RE recommended transferring all three because the third one likely would not survive being frozen and thawed. He pointed out that this would increase our chance of multiples, but said the chance of triplets was slim. We transferred all three and then played the waiting game.
After the transfer I spent three days on bed rest, bored out of my mind, hoping to never spend this many days in a row in bed ever again. About a week after the transfer I went in for a blood test and then the call came. I was pregnant!!!! Don’t ask me what else was said in that phone conversation. I know the nurse said my hormone levels were high, but I can’t tell you the number. I focused on the important part of that phone call… I was pregnant!!!!
Three weeks into the pregnancy I became very ill. I can’t call it Morning Sickness because it was All Day, Round the Clock Sickness. This coincided with my first follow up with the RE. On the way to the appointment I told my husband we should be prepared for twins because of how fast and hard my Morning Sickness came in. (I realize this may in no way be a sign of multiples, but my skills of logic and reasoning were severely distorted due to constantly vomiting).
At the appointment the woman who did the ultrasound didn’t initially point the screen in a way that I could see it. A funny look crossed her face. “How many embryos did we transfer?” she asked. My heart sank. I knew she was going to tell us something was horribly wrong. She left to get the RE. He came in, looked at the screen and said “Yep, four heartbeats.” Four? Yes, four heartbeats. I would love to tell you my husband and I had some epic freak out or spouted profound words of wisdom but really, we didn’t say much, although we smiled a lot.
Three embryos transferred and four heartbeats? That’s right. One of our embryos split into two viable embryos, going on to become the identical pair among our otherwise fraternal quadruplets.
Becoming pregnant was just the beginning of the story. I was diagnosed with severe hyperemesis and was put on bed rest 5 weeks into the pregnancy. For most of the pregnancy I would go to the hospital every other day for IV fluids. Luckily I only spent one week of the pregnancy on hospital bed rest. At that point I begged my obstetrician to admit me because I couldn’t even keep down Twizzlers. Fortunately, after a week of round the clock fluids in the hospital I was able to go back to my own bed, where I would spend the duration of the pregnancy.
Our plan was to get to 32 weeks. My water broke at 28 weeks and 2 days and four teeny tiny wonderful girls began the fight of their lives. They weighed between 1 ½ pounds and 2 pounds at birth. Two girls left the NICU after 63 days. A third came home after 74 days and the fourth one finally left the NICU after 89 days.
Here we are 8 years later and I know I am truly blessed. I have four amazing daughters and a husband who is an equal partner in raising them. When diapers needed changed he would do it. We both worked during their first year of life so he readily took on some of the overnight feedings. Even now he pitches in to make school lunches or help with homework. This life would not work if we were not both on board.
It annoys my husband to no end when people ask how we ended up with quadruplets. I get his annoyance. It’s really no one’s business. But I’ve found more often than not after I answer I tend to find myself talking to someone with similar struggles. If I can lend an ear or a shoulder to cry on to another woman or couple struggling with infertility, then I do what I can.
Keep in mind as you contemplate my story, it could have had a much different ending. The area where my husband and I met was originally called The Quint Cities!
This post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.
If you had asked me many moons ago if I ever thought I’d have triplets, I’d laugh and probably ask you to share some of whatever you were drinking. Ha! I’m betting it was pretty tasty. 😉
Fast forward to now, and look at me!
Never in a million years did I think I’d be where I am today, much less writing about it. The only two pregnancies I’ve had (that counted at least), resulted in second trimester losses; my first being in 1998, which is where this journey all began. If it weren’t for a drunk driver, I’d have followed in my Mother’s footsteps and become a teen Mom. In a way I’m thankful for that day, yet for the most part it’s a sad memory – from what I can recall of it.
As a direct result of that fateful day, I’ve spent the last decade (and then some) attempting to procreate in what has been a very exhaustive and emotionally draining journey. While my path isn’t known by all, I’m hoping my voice will be one of the many that will change that. The topic shouldn’t be taboo – yet it is.
But I digress.
IVF is expensive. A cost neither my husband nor myself could even fathom in the beginning. I can’t imagine how some can afford to do it multiple times, when we could barely swing the first. When we did finally get to that point (you can see my journey/timeline here), we all but exhausted our financial cushion. Along with that went the majority of what peace was left, within our marriage. After countless sleepless nights, almost every tear shed that my body could produce, and quite a few needle pokes, we had our first round of IVF. Let’s not forget along the way, the seemingly endless surgeries – which were apparently a must – prior to taking this leap of faith.
According to my medical team, I was a textbook candidate for success with IVF. Our only factor was my tubes. While I have “acute PCOS,” no one believed it was a contributing factor.
Success on the first round!
Lastly, I was pregnant. Again. This time, I didn’t think that there would be any issues. Considering how many times we attempted naturally, I felt like I won the battle. Like so many, I took the pregnancy for granted. In a matter of moments, I went from being excited about the new find for my soon-to-be-son at a local posh consignment store, to being hooked up to IV’s & monitors left and right and fighting with doctors to save my baby; all while confined to a hospital bed due to pPROM (preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes).
My body failed me yet again.
That was supposed to be my happy ending, but it wasn’t. I ended up going into labor and losing my son at 5 months pregnant. It was a devastating blow.
All of 2012 was spent in and out of offices, stirrups, and I swear I put more miles on my vehicle in a matter of a couple of months, than most people do in one year! After my “WTF” appointment (as so many of us un-lovingly call it), it was determined that my cervix was going to be a problem going forward.
Transabdominal cerclage or “TAC” surgery to the rescue!! The Cadillac of all cerclages (closure of the cervix) was to be my knight-in-shining-armor. According to my MFM, it would grant me a 95% chance of bringing home a single baby, provided that my cervix was the underlying cause of my last miscarriage. I was still at risk for pPROM again, but at this point, 95% seemed like music to my ears, so I wasn’t even thinking about the other negatives at this point.
Everything had been bad for so long, I was ready for the good.
After the surgery, we were cleared to resume fertility treatments. We did attempt a frozen transfer that failed. Not only was it uncomfortable, but it was a disaster. My body had been under so much in the past few months (hell, years…), that in looking back, I just don’t think the time was right.
Back to drawing board! In September of that same year, we started the process all over again. Fresh cycle it was to be. This truly was our last shot. With so many expenses on the table and a failing business that desperately needed my attention, we just couldn’t afford much more of this – emotionally, physically, or financially.
Success! With the 9 retrieved, 5 were beautiful. We implanted 3 and froze the remaining two. A few short weeks later and voila! Pregnant. Ultrasound confirmed there were 3. Yes, I said 3.
In a nutshell, after a very long and strenuous 33 weeks, I delivered 3 beautiful, healthy, and much anticipated baby boys who are now just shy of a year old. Man, time flies!
While my journey is just beginning into parenthood, my battles with Infertility are far from over. Everyday, I will look at those miracle boys and be reminded of both the gift and the curse of this dreaded disease. It will forever be imbedded in my soul and the scars are a constant reminder of what it took to get here.
Follow Bree’s journey at Thought Provoking Moments. She’s a new-ish Mom to almost 1 year old triplet boys, after a decade plus battle with infertility. She’s a wife, ex-soldier, mompreneur, compulsive organizer, dark chocolate addict, and tea lover! She’s a shoe sinning señorita, and an avid supporter of fellow strugglers. You might say she’s odd or outside the norm, but her norm is her life. She’s suffered several losses along the way, lived hard and experienced first-hand much heartache and strife. Her blog has morphed from a “lessons-learned” type blog to a full on “mommy blog.” Bree is forever learning and can also be found on Pinterest
This post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.
When people hear that we have triplets, often one of the first comments is “I don’t know how you do it!” So I wrote this post to give folks a better idea of what our typical day looked like for the first couple of months after the NICU. I figured it was fitting to share this post from our blog here on How Do You Do It blog for Twinfant Tuesday.
We read a lot of triplet blogs during the pregnancy and honestly, not very many people keep up the detailed posts after the babies are born. It is mostly just pictures, which I completely understand! (And obviously, I know that’s why most people follow our blog!). But as we prepared for our trio’s arrival, I found myself searching for the details and wanting to ask each family “No, really, how do you do it?!” So this post will give you some idea what our days were like for the first month or two. Most importantly, for any families who are expecting, or just had triplets, this post is for you!
When writing this post I had a hard time figuring out where to start “the day!” Our days didn’t exactly start at 6, 7, or 8a.m. but it seemed weird to start at midnight too! So I decided to start with a “normal person’s” morning (albeit pretty early for most normal people!) and go from there.
**side notes, so the schedule below makes sense: My wife and I both have “M” names so M&M means both of us are on duty. Oh, and we’re both breastfeeding because I was able to induce lactation to solve the “more babies than breasts” problem!
Here was our schedule for the first couple of months that I pulled from our blog
5am-Both M&M feed babies
5:30-One of us feeds baby #3 while the other starts changing diapers. (If we have a helper for this one, Michelle usually sends me to bed so I get an extra bit of sleep because the late night/early mornings are the hardest times for me.)
6:00-Swaddle and soothe babies and put them down to sleep
6:15-M&M pump to maintain/increase milk supply and get milk for next feeding’s supplements (We had to supplement each nursing session to get enough calories in)
6:30-Wash pump parts and supplement contraption, prep supplements for the next feeding, & take any extra milk to the fridge
6:45/7ish-M&M eat a snack & lay back down to catch an hour or so of sleep before starting all over
8ish-Babies start stirring again and we start the feed, change, swaddle, pump, clean/prep cycle all over again (We often have a helper for this cycle so it tends to go a little faster…sometimes done in an hour!)
9/9:30ish-M&M eat a quick breakfast and either lay down for another snooze or take a shower or do one small productive task like put in a load of diaper laundry, tidy up the zoo of a bedroom, or do dishes.
11ish-Babies start stirring and repeat. This cycle is either followed by a nap or lunch or breakfast if we prioritized sleep the previous cycle!
2ish-Samesies-almost always followed by a nap-particularly for Michelle whose hardest time is the afternoon.
5ish-Surprise surprise…we do it all over again! Mari might start this one solo to give Michelle an extra half hour of sleep or might do it all alone with a helper handling the diapers and prep.
6:30ish-M&M eat dinner–generally something a helper prepared for us or that we heat up from the freezer. Prep night time nursing snacks and bring them to the bedroom.
7ish-M&M lay down for a short snooze before the 8pm cycle. Or, if we’re not feeling sleepy we might actually hang out with each other, check in, & talk over our plans, if any, for the next day.
8pm-Hungry hungry hippos are ready to eat again (did I say hippos?! I meant babies, of course!) and the feed/change/swaddle/pump/clean cycle repeats. We try to do this one quickly and with as little light as possible, trying to help them get the idea of night time = sleep time. So far it doesn’t seem to be helping and they are just as likely to be wide eyed after this feeding as any other. A helper takes baby duty during this time, soothing them if they stir, so we can both get a nice solid uninterrupted hour or two of sleep going into the night.
11pm-Repeat. Same as 8pm with low light and as quickly as we can manage.
2am-Here we go again…This is the hardest one for me and Michelle has had to wake me up for this feeding some nights! Half the time I feel like I’m sleep walking and struggling to stay awake while nursing. Sometimes I have to stand up and move around the room to keep myself alert and functional.
And then it’s on to the next day! Whenever we had help, one or both of us tried to go sleep in the guest room so that we weren’t disturbed by the little stirrings/rumblings/cries of one or more babies as they cycled through lighter periods of sleep since they were sleeping in our room. The above schedule is like a rough draft. We were not hard core about the clock and the babies really led the way. Oftentimes our lovely 3 hour cycle was shortened to 2.5 hours because of hungry tummies. And occasionally, they’d stretch it to 3.5 hours! This only happened a handful of times, and of course, only once at night. It was amazing how different that extra half hour of sleep made us feel! For triplet parents to be, our triplets are now 5 months old and I will tell you that we regularly get more than an hour of sleep at a time, but I’d be lying if I said we got enough sleep!
When I was browsing the lovely photos on MathiasQuads.org yesterday for this morning’s post, my daughter M took great care to read the names in each photo caption. She wanted to be sure to match each face to the right name. As an identical multiple herself, she understood how important it was to see Mary Claire, Anna, Grace and Emily as individuals.
M, aged 7, observed that they were rarely in the same order between photos.
M: There’s 16 ways for them to be lined up. Me: How did you figure that out? M: Because there’s 4 sisters and 4 spots and 4 times 4 is 16. Me: That’s a very good deduction, my mathematician girl, but it’s actually 24. Can I show you how?
Is 7 a little young for combinatorics? Sure, but M showed an interest in it, so I dug back into my 8th grade math memories. I drew her a picture to show her how to think of permutations. She picked the colours for each sister.
Me: There are 4 sisters who can go in the first spot. I’m just going to draw one of them. Once she’s in her place, there are only 3 sisters left to go second. M: Then 2, then 1! Me: Exactly. So there are 6 orders available for each sister who goes in the first spot. M: And 6 times 4 is 12 and 12 is 24. Me: Which is also 4 times 3 times 2 times 1. M: Well, that was easy.
We’ll probably chat about combinations tonight during bath time.
I’ve always taken this approach to educating my daughters. If one or both of them is interested in something that illustrates a larger pattern or important skill, I explain it to them at a level that is pertinent, interesting, and within their abilities. Later on, when they’re more intellectually mature, I’ll come back to it. In a couple of years, I’ll show M how to use factorial notation.
My teacher friend Kaylan tells me that the eduspeak term for this is “spiral learning.”
What sparks your child’s interest? What’s your approach to teaching?
Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school and also blogs at Adoption.com and Multicultural Mothering.
We just returned home from our family’s 4th annual trip to Twinsburg, OH for the Annual Twins Days Festival. My Twin Boys are three, we went the first time when they were 9 months old. I have written here on HDYDI about Twins Days before, but it is just so much fun I wanted to share it again. Every year the festival is the first full weekend in August in the Ohio town of Twinsburg. (Near Cleveland) Twins (and triplets and more!) come from around the world to celebrate their twinship, meet other twins and partake in the festivities. It is such a fun weekend and we have met so many amazing people. So many adult twins we have met have shared how special the weekend is to them, and one duo we met said how the rest of the people in their family have weddings and birthdays and celebrations, but for them, Twins Days is their best time.
We drive from Chicago for the weekend, leaving early Friday morning, arriving in time for the Welcome Wiener Roast for twins and their families on Friday evening. Waiting in line that evening to pick up our registration packet for our boys, a new mom of twins behind me in line said she couldn’t stop giggling and staring, she said it felt like the Twilight Zone where there was two of everyone. I told her we felt the same way our first year, as non-twins my husband and I actually felt sad at the end of the weekend to not have a twin. We loved how much everyone enjoyed and celebrated being a twin, and we wanted our boys to share in that celebration. We’ve been back every year since then.
Our boys are young and don’t really understand what it means to be a twin, so for our family, the highlight of the trip is always the Double Take Parade. Any twins who are registered for the festival are invited and encouraged to walk in the parade. Each year the festive has a theme, generally announced a few months in advance of the event. This year’s theme was fairy tales “Twice Upon a Time” so everyone was decked out in their finest fairy tale costumes. There are some that are quite elaborate with costumes and outfits, turning wagons and strollers into mini floats, but some twins just walk the route in matching street clothes. That’s the fun thing about Twins Days, even the adult twins dress alike for the weekend.
Here are some of my favorite shots from the parade. My boys are in Prince Charming outfits I made for them, and they even had tiny glass slippers they tried to fit on nearly every pair of princesses they could find. It was pretty, well, charming.
The parade isn’t like most. There are floats for sure, but the first few waves are just pairs of twins, usually in matching themed costumes, walking down the street. And the street is lined with people, shoulder to shoulder, some twins, others just locals coming to watch the parade or grab some candy.
After the parade there are plenty of photo opportunities. One set of twins generally asks another for a photo, then more and more join, two by two, until it is a huge group. These Cinderella and Prince Charming pairs were happy to include their tiny doppelgängers for a group photo. (and be sure my kids tried their glass slippers on those princesses too.
After the parade the festival opens, there are carnival rides, lots of food vendors, free Twin Pop popsicles, research study opportunities, a craft fair, a beer garden, and contests. My boys were in the theme costume contest. (the didn’t win.) but there are also contests for most-alike and least-alike twins, oldest twins and youngest twins, twins traveled from the furthest distance and more.
The youngest twins in Saturday’s contest were 3 weeks old, the oldest are 98 years young!
Then in the afternoon there is a break in the contests to take a group photo. We’ve been lucky the past two years to meet some very helpful older twins to wrangle mine for the photo since it takes about 30 minutes to get everyone into place for the group photo. My kids are sitting in the middle on the laps of their new friends.
A Charming Weekend indeed.
If anyone else was in Twinsburg this weekend and wants to share photos or experiences, we’d love to hear them. And mark your calendars for the first weekend in August next year, it’s definitely something every twin family should see at least once!
Yes, they are “natural”! Although most people don’t realize that asking if a set of multiples is ‘natural,’ most of the time they are just expressing their amazement at our double, triple, or even higher blessings. And while the occurrence of spontaneous twins (particularly fraternal) is not that uncommon, spontaneous quintuplets happen in one in several million pregnancies.
This article about a 23 year old Czech mother awaiting her quintuplets is a must read! She has one son already, and was initially told she was expecting twins–then it was amended to quads–and then last month, a fifth baby was revealed.
Alexandra Kinova, the MoM to be, says she’s had no real complications during the pregnancy, and she looks beautiful and healthy. Her C-section is planned for this weekend, although the article doesn’t mention how far along she is. She hopes to breastfeed her new babies as she did her firstborn child.
These will be the first set of quintuplets in the Czech Republic.
If you love Valentine’s Day, you’ll love this story. On Valentine’s Day last week, a Texas couple welcomed the new additions to their family–all four of them. Tressa Montalvo gave birth to the couple’s second through fifth sons last Thursday at The Woman’s Hospital of Texas after carrying them for 31 weeks.
The couple were originally told they were expecting twins before hearing four heartbeats. The verdict? Two sets of identical twins! Conceived without any fertility treatments, the chances of this happening are one in 70 million. According to the mother, their plans for this pregnancy “succeeded a little too much.” The boys, named Ace, Blaine, Cash and Dylan (A-B-C-D), are healthy and could be going home in the next four to six weeks.
I can only imagine the comments people must be throwing at them…from “double the double trouble” to the obligatory “you’ve got your hands full,” to the well-intentioned “now you’re done!” But you might be surprised at Manuel’s reaction to the last one. He’s still hoping for a girl!
Congratulations to the happy family! Who knows, maybe soon we’ll be seeing them around HDYDI?
Ok, so I imagine that most people don’t walk into the gym already sweating. Then again, I am continually reminded that my life is not that of most people! But I was determined.
So the triplets are walking, sometimes running now. There are battles over toys, sippy cups & affection from mommy. There are regular attempts at escaping their corral every day. There are minor injuries, whining and a sudden increase in the most foul-smelling of diapers. (??) There is teething and hair pulling and the flailing of food in every corner of the kitchen. And PS – we’re moving. So there are boxes everywhere (though it looks like I’ve barely made any progress at all). Oh, and our 7 year old now has to be at football practice…four nights a week. And guess who’s helping out with coaching those four nights a week? You’ve got it…my darling hubby! Add that to his one late work night a week & that’s FIVE nights a week I don’t have my tag-team partner enter the house until after 8pm.
Need I say more? I was desperate for a break. I was tired of being tired. I was tired of the tension headaches & the fatigue. I was tired of not seeing the scale move, despite the rare chance I have these days to sit down to a meal. I was tired of STILL not being able to fit into my pre-multiple-pregnancy jeans. I was tired of feeling trapped in our house. So I was determined, single-minded, unwavering – I was going to the gym & all four kids were comin’ with me!
Now I had to be quite strategic about this venture. The child care center at the gym is only open for certain hours of the day and those hours could not conflict with meal or nap time. (We don’t mess with naptime.) It would have to be immediately after breakfast – admittedly the easiest meal of the day – no problem.
Time was ticking. All four kids are fed without any fuss. One by one, the triplets are deposited into the corral to play, whilst mommy cleans up the kitchen. (please take a moment to imagine just what that entails…) Ok, so our eldest is self sufficient & after repeating myself only three times, he eventually follows directions & gets his teeth brushed & himself dressed. I’m already dressed (it’s easy when you go to the gym in the same shorts & t-shirt you wore to bed the previous night – hypothetically speaking, of course). So it’s just a matter of changing & dressing the triplets, packing their diaper bag & loading everyone into the car. ‘I just might pull this off’, I’m thinking. I get everyone changed & dressed & as I run into the kitchen to grab sippy cups, I remember – SHOES! Oh, how I hate shoes. I swear, part of the reason I stay home with them sometimes is to avoid having to put shoes on those six fat, uncooperative little feet. But I can’t let them go the gym barefoot – so I run up to sort through the shoe crate in the nursery, praying for matching pairs & perfect fits. Two out of three go well & after going through two pairs on the ‘eldest triplet’, everyone’s shoed up!
At this point we’re only 10 minutes behind schedule. I grab my iPod, my water bottle & the diaper bag, bark at my eldest to go to the bathroom, go myself & head into the family room to grab the first baby to strap into her carseat. Truly, those three were left alone in there for mere minutes, yet I returned to find that one had taken her shoes off, one had taken the elastic out of her hair & the other had decided he would choose that as the perfect time to, well – dirty his diaper…again! I was this close to throwing in the towel. But then I thought about how good it’d feel to be on that elliptical, iPod blasting in my ears, working off this triplet bod…I was resolute! I deserved this, damnit & I wasn’t giving up! I sighed heavily, prayed for patience & did what I had to do.
20 minutes behind schedule & everyone’s in the car. The gym is just around the corner from us, and as I approached it, I wondered just how I would get everyone inside. I’d left the triple stroller at home, deciding that it probably wouldn’t fit through the gym doors anyway. So I manage to nab the parking spot closest to the door & quickly advise my eldest of the game plan: he would walk his brother in, firmly holding his hand and not leaving my side – I would carry the girls & the diaper bag.
As I said, most people don’t walk into the gym sweating, but I sure as heck did that day! What a sight we must have been. Name tags were distributed, brief instructions were given & within minutes, I was warming up. I couldn’t believe it! Sure, I kept an eye on the doorway from the elliptical machine, expecting one of the child care providers to drag me away for one reason or another, but no. I got in nearly an hour before I went back to claim my kids. It was a success and I felt great! And you can be sure I included that pre-gym prep time in total calories burned that day!
Ok, let’s state the obvious – life with one child vs. multiples is, well – completely different. I have to say though that as a parent, I’d always felt pretty confident in the area of discipline. I have a general approach or style of parenting about which I have great conviction – a happy medium that falls somewhere between ‘because I said so’ & merely treating my kids as peers & allowing them to run the show. It’s a delicate balance and takes work & commitment, but ultimately, we’re quite pleased with how our eldest is turning out! And then, there are the triplets…
Part of me feels silly for using the word ‘discipline’ when referring to 14 month olds, but I must confess that I’ve been feeling a little anxiety about the whole thing. It’s not to say that my first didn’t give me any trouble at all but man, I really don’t remember it all being so draining! Again, keeping in mind that we are just entering the toddler stage here, I completely accept that most of what we’re dealing with here is ‘typical’ for their age. It’s just that with our eldest, I never felt that I was dealing with so much redirection & repetition so soon.
‘No, don’t touch that!’ ‘No! No pulling hair.’ ‘No – no throwing.’ ‘Do nice.’ Are the triplets just simply not as well behaved as their big brother? No, I know that’s probably not true. So (for my sake) let’s put it in perspective…
The fact is, I AM repeating & redirecting a lot more – after all, three is more than one! For that matter, there wasn’t a pint sized playmate for our eldest – someone whose hair was begging to be pulled, someone who would fight you for a toy, someone with whom you had to share mommy & daddy’s attention. And so with multiples, there is more, shall we say, antagonism for them to deal with. Ok, got it.
It was very validating to discover that there’s even a name, a very formal name for one aspect of this – it’s called TES or Twin Escalation Syndrome. Can you guess what it is?? That’s right – it’s “the tendency of multiples to intensify & expand their behaviors in reaction to each other”. We’ve all been there. Little Susie starts banging her cup on the highchair & so Little Bobby bangs his…only louder! Little Joey throws a toy into the coffee table & Little Annie throws hers too – until all of the toys have been emptied out of the play area. The list goes on & on…
Then there’s the whole concept of having a captive audience. Why pay attention to mommy’s reprimands through gritted teeth when my little buddies over here are laughing at me??? I’m funny! And hey, mommy’s giving me her undivided attention!
So it really is a unique dynamic…one that is challenging & potentially quite stressful. I’ve been disappointed so far at the lack of information available ‘out there’ that addresses this issue for parents of multiples. Although these articles were somewhat helpful:
In the meantime, simply reminding ourselves that it is a challenge & that it will get easier can begin to take the edge off. (It has already for me!) Perhaps this falls into the category of so many other things related to life with multiples – things that we have to keep in perspective & take in stride. They are learning & so are we.
I’ll be attending my first twins/triplets club toddler meeting later next month, where the topic will be discipline. I’d be happy to share any other pearls of wisdom we discover there.
So what works for you? Are there any resources specific to multiples that you’d recommend?