Shortly after getting everyone home we had family pictures taken. I had been looking at newborn photos of triplets throughout my pregnancy as a sort of motivation to get through the rough parts. We were so lucky to get beautiful pictures that capture the miracle and blessing of our triplets. (Photo credits to Kelli with Bearfoot Photography in Bettendorf)
Our first weeks home with Myles, Jack and Colton were a blur. In fact, they still are a bit blurry but I will start from the beginning. We were on a three hour schedule for feeding them and everybody stayed on that schedule. Yes, that meant we often had to wake a sleeping baby… Really, they didn’t do much in between eating other than sleep and, well, you know… We changed at least 24 diapers a day and prepared and washed 24 bottles. Our life existed in 12 hour blocks of time which was spent trying to prepare for the next 12 hour block of time. Luckily, we had a lot of help! One of our neighborhood friends helped during the day and John’s mom stayed to help at night so we were really never alone. I had the goal of trying to nurse at least one or all of the triplets but it was a struggle to fit that into our already busy routine. Instead I pumped every two hours and they took all their feeds by bottle. In the beginning, I was able to produce about 2/3 of what they needed and we supplemented with bottles of formula at night in hopes of them sleeping longer.
About two weeks after we all came home, right around their one month milestone we started seeing Myles struggle with eating. It started with him spitting up more and progressed pretty rapidly over a period of only a few days. The spit up increased to the point of him throwing up a good portion of his bottle at times even though other times he could take the bottle well only to throw up a few hours later. I knew something wasn’t right but it didn’t make sense why at first his symptoms seemed to come and go. By the next day, he was barely keeping anything down and was more tired and just seemed less alert. We took him to our pediatrician who said it could be either reflux or pyloric stenosis. He ordered an ultrasound to rule out the latter but it turned out to be positive. We were informed we were to go back to the University of Iowa Children’s hospital as it would need to be corrected surgically. I cried. The thought of my tiny little baby who hadn’t even reached his actual due date yet going through surgery had me terrified. We packed our bags and headed back to the children’s hospital and all the emotions that went along with it. That night Myles was hooked up to IV fluids and laparoscopic surgery was scheduled for the next day.
Thankfully, all went well with his procedure and he spent the next 24 hours being monitored and returning to normal bottle feeding. It was a two day stay and then we were discharged home. And so began the next chapter of our journey which I will not so fondly refer to as “the month the pyloric stenosis diagnosis kicked us in the rear…”
We brought Myles home and tried to find our new normal again. He struggled with chest congestion for the week following the surgery but otherwise returned to his old self. I brought him back to our pediatrician for his one week post op check up and all looked well. I even looked the doctor square in the eye, smiled, and gave a hopeful promise he wouldn’t see us again until our two month follow up with the triplets. It was not to be. One week after that both Colton and Jack started spitting up a little bit more. This time I thought for sure it was just reflux but scheduled an appointment just in case. After all, I was told pyloric stenosis was not that common of a diagnosis. We went to our doctor on Friday and were prescribed reflux medication which we started that night. On Saturday morning, I had myself convinced that Jack was showing the same symptoms that Myles had but was instructed to give the medication a day or so to start working. Colton seemed to be staying about the same and I figured he was just going to be one of those “happy spitter” kids. Jack went on a downward spiral quickly and by Saturday night wasn’t keeping much of his bottles down. We went straight to the ER and requested an ultrasound. It, of course, confirmed that Jack also had pyloric stenosis. Since it was the weekend, we were instructed that we had to go through the Iowa City ER to get admitted. Once there, the pediatric surgeons said it was logical that Jack would get it as he was identical to Myles. Poor Jack went through the same procedure. He was not as tolerant of it as Myles though and he did not appreciate the night he had to spend on fluids and not eating. Thankfully the nurses were kind and Jack was cute and they snuggled him at the nurses desk while I managed to snag a few hours of sleep in between the crying. It was terrible to see another one of my babies go through something so uncomfortable. John would visit during the day and then go home at night to take care of the other two boys and Kylie with his mom. Jack was discharged on a Tuesday and I felt so happy to once again walk out of that hospital but I was fearful it wasn’t the last I would see of the place.
That Saturday we got lucky with a good deal and finally bought our minivan! We took Kylie with us and she was thrilled to be a part of this major family accomplishment. Kylie of course wanted to ride in the van with daddy while I followed them home in the car. I laughed as I followed behind John in that van because it reminded me of a time 10 years ago when he bought his first truck. At the time, I thought there was something kind of attractive about a guy driving a truck. This time I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself because…there’s something pretty attractive about a guy who owns a minivan 😉 I was so happy because this purchase felt like our last step in our transition to a family of six.
That night, Colton took a turn for the worse. He started the classic projectile vomiting after his bottle in the evening and when we woke him to feed during the night he just continued. This time we were smart enough to know that we just needed to go straight to the Iowa City ER since it was during the weekend. Once there, we shocked the pediatric surgeons who consulted with us with a third diagnosis of pyloric stenosis. We returned to the children’s hospital. I spent another two days sitting in a rocking chair holding my sick baby while watching HGTV and eating pop tarts.
I told the doctor this made me question if Colton really was the fraternal triplet or if they were all identical. They really do all look the same. The doctor said he would be highly suspicious of them all being identical. He said he sees this often in twins but has never seen triplets that all three had pyloric stenosis. So, I’ve ordered a simple DNA test to find out. Stay tuned!
In the meantime we’ve hit the two month milestone! Myles and Colton weigh 9 lbs 4 ounces and Jack weighs 9 lbs 14 ounces. We are still going strong on a three hour schedule. They go through about 90 ounces a day now but I’m only able to provide around 50 ounces. We can go about 4 hours (5 on a good night) in between bottles at night but there’s still a lot of time spent patting and shushing and finding pacifiers. In all reality, they are super good babies… it’s just that there are three of them to keep things exhausting! It’s starting to get pretty fun now though as they are becoming more alert and interact a little bit. We are starting to see the smiles and hear the coos and the snuggles make it all worth it. They are really calm most of the time but they all like to be held. They get a little more fussy in the evenings so that can get a little more hectic while trying to convince a two year old that going to bed is a good idea. We have a crazy life right now but we’re surviving! It helps if John and I just agree not to speak to each other in the wee hours of the morning. And there are times all we can do is laugh at the amount of us crying at one time! Even in the chaos of it all we know we have a lot to be thankful for and we are grateful for the little milestones that make it worth it!