I am a biological father to triplet girls plus one more, finding my feet on the path of fatherhood. First Rule of having Triplets.....have absolutely no expectations of what it will be like to have triplets
This is my Mum the morning of our wedding in Dubai. It was touch and go whether she would make it out as she had been getting gradually worse in health. Her sister – my Auntie liz who we lost before the triplets were born flew out with her to celebrate our day. A month after the wedding Mum was taken into hospital where she stayed without a diagnosis. Three months later she was finally diagnosed with an aggressive cancer that had spread to her brain. My wife and I sat with her while she was given that news, it was devastating. She was moved that day to a different hospital on a specialist unit to begin treatment.
She fought. She sat in tears and told me she wasn’t done. There was more she wanted to do. It was a heartbreaking time for all of us. The odds were not looking good.
By some miracle she began responding to the treatment and little by little improved. There was light beginning to shine through. My Mum’s a tough cookie. She has been through the wringer of life and has never been knocked down by it. I respect her strength.
Today she has been completely discharged by the doctor after making a full recovery. And although sadly we lost her sister who never made it to meet the triplets. Mum is here and going strong as Nanny to our girls. It’s a wonderful day for Nanny Sarah and wonderful that the triplets, and we have her in our lives.
I was surprised during the pregnancy when my wife announced she wanted to breastfeed the triplets, my first thought was ‘how’? Two boobs and three babies didn’t seem to add up. I also found it hard to comprehend that she would be able to produce the milk needed to satisfy the triplets.
Stacey loved breastfeeding Frankie, not only from a bonding perspective but as the most natural way to feed them, as she says, it’s what they are there for.
I had no problem with it, if it was to be, my wife didn’t have expectations but was determined that it was how she wanted to feed them.
I remember well around the 3rd day they were born after constant pumping those first drops of milk coming through, it was exiting times. Blakely then was struggling to hold down the formula as her digestive system hadn’t fully developed to tolerate it yet, so any milk expressed went to Little Blakely.
Soon Blakely was solely on Mum’s milk, tolerating it and strengthening well. Ava was then the first to latch. It was then a case of them all latching before we went home with them. I was honestly amazed by the whole thing, nature knew what the babies needed and Stacey’s body delivered.
It wasn’t always easy, there were times she had to struggle with the pain, but with gritted teeth continued.
For me it was hard in the beginning as I wasn’t able to help feeding them. It wasn’t long though after being home that we began giving them expressed milk in a bottle for the last feed of the day. It meant I got to be involved and enjoy those moments together with my wife.
There was rarely a time Stacey wasn’t either feeding or pumping for the evening feed. At night I would sit up and keep her awake while she fed the babies one at a time, sometimes tandem. She was constantly exhausted from it.
Now at ten and a half months it has come to an end. Partly because of the Babies teeth and distractions in their surroundings, and partly because the supply has dropped. It’s a sad time for my wife in many ways as it was the last time she will ever breastfeed. But I take my hat off to the strongest woman I’ve ever known, for keeping our babies alive and healthy through sacrifice, pain and joy for the most important time they would ever need it. It’s an immense achievement and I will always be proud of what she has physically and mentally accomplished to bring our babies to this point. The glass of wine she enjoyed last night was well deserved.
There were occasions, especially during the first six months that I would leave work, park up at home and get hit with a sense of defeat at the mere thought of walking into the house. I would be already exhausted from a lack of sleep the previous nights and from work that day.
I would turn the engine off, rest my head on the wheel and take a deep breath. I knew exactly what was coming. My wife would be exhausted herself from breastfeeding and dealing with the girls. My day was no where near over. Occasionally in those moments I would feel a twinge of bitterness rising from the feeling of being stuck on a relentless roundabout that showed no signs of slowing.
It’s difficult for Dads not to feel on the outside looking in at times. Everyone wants to feel appreciated but in the middle of a highly stressful situation there isn’t much time for pats on the back. My wifes focus was completely tuned to the triplets and Frankie. And rightly so. We both had jobs to do. There would be plenty of time to regroup when the dust settled.
I had to stay awake to the temptation to get lost in my worries and observe my rising anger. The meditation I practice kept me in a position where watching it rise without it overwhelming me was possible (there’s a link to it at the bottom of this post). I had become a multiple parent and had no choice but to remain consistent in myself.
However you dress it up or play it down, self pity is an ugly thing in a man. No matter what emotional struggle my wife was experiencing it was my job to keep the family together. I needed to bring the stability, my wife had enough to deal with. I also knew that where I was and how I felt wasn’t permanent. We were both experiencing a massive adjustment on every level.
The problem with negative thinking is the internal struggle that it creates. No one makes sound decisions when overwhelmed with anger. It festers like a rotten infection influencing how we react to the world and the people in it. We put everyone on eggshells when sat in resentment. Peeling ourselves off the self pity potty when we catch ourselves having a little sit down is vital if we are to remain useful. Meditation is one way to detach from it.
Staying out of arguments is impossible when anger takes hold. We lose any courage and authority; the ability to remain patient and tolerant with loved ones dissolves fast. If conscious I can bring balance to my home, even during the hardest of times. if lost in self pity and justified anger and unconscious all I will bring is hell on earth.
So if anxiety, anger, over thinking, bitterness, frustration and self pity are forces that are taxing you regularly. If temporary solutions like prescription medications or getting piss drunk only add to the stresses on the family and home life. Here is a free, permanent solution to meeting stress properly and strengthening from it without mentally struggling constantly. Because if Dads okay. The family will gain strength from that alone.
The triplets are developing into their own individual little characters now and it’s fascinating to watch them grow.
Lacey here is the most inquisitive. She moves in the blink of an eye by rolling, non of them have quite worked out crawling yet but rolling is something they have all mastered. The other two are happy to stay in the same spot and play, not Lacey, this little lady is going places.
Ava is as cheeky as they come. She’s has an infectious little giggle and laughs at random things that really aren’t funny. A real fidget and chatterbox. She loves waving. All three now will wave back at us. I’m sure It won’t be long until they are answering us back. I got a feeling Ava may be the one who instigates a few adventures further down the line. She has that twinkle in her eye.
Blakely still is, and probably will remain the smallest of the three. She has been a little behind the others with development but usually catches up within weeks. Ava and Lacey alternate between who is in front in that respect. They have both become affectionately aware of each other over the last couple of weeks, they share toys and watch each other closely as they play. They both sit up beautifully on their own whereas Blakely has struggled to sit unaided. She has lacked the strength to hold herself up to the point we were a bit concerned.
This weekend they were all well and free of coughs and colds. Which lifted their moods again so we had our happy trio back who are more than happy to entertain themselves. And on Saturday Blakely finally made the giant leap to sitting by herself. It took a lot of practice, and a lot of falling over but she’s now in line with her sisters and can happily sit and play.
I have had more proud moments as a man than I can remember this last ten months seeing my daughters developments. To see my little chicken sit up on her own was a big one. She may be small but she’s determined.
I feel almost as proud as she does now. A wonderful long weekend was spent watching my family. And I have an amazing bunch of little ladies watching back.
My wife and I have become a well oiled machine when it comes to home life and dealing with the triplets routine. We both know exactly what our jobs are and we both work hard together without complaint.
Teamwork is the core of parenting three babies plus the bigger one. We have got to this stage through trial and error and without pulling together I’m not sure sort of chaos we’d be living in now.
In a sense we have fallen into the roles of co-workers more than we feel like husband and wife at times. Tiredness hits us both by early evening, added to the constant demands of the babies there is a mental exhaustion that fills a relationship.
The first six months was a challenge of massive proportions that required our full focus and emotional strength. There was little time for each other. Since then it has been more settled and there have been a few more opportunities to regroup.
Making time for each other just to talk and be a couple has been tough. Finding the time is not easy but is crucial to our marriage that we make the effort. Our relationship as Mum and Dad is the most important one in the home. How I treat my wife, the effort I put into our marriage, and how my girls see me in the that role is so important. As a multiple parent I have found everything takes work. Especially in these early days.
We had another opportunity this week to go out for dinner just the two of us. It’s only the third time since the arrival of the triplets that it’s been possible. Mainly because it’s not easy to find someone who knows and can cope with the triplets. Stacey’s Mum is visiting and is amazing with the girls so we took advantage while she’s here to get a date night in.
It’s the perfect opportunity to relax and catch up in a way, and also to take stock of where we are and how we’re doing. It’s like stepping out of the tornado temporarily and taking a good breather. It’s a chance to remember why we’re together in the first place, and how much we’ve achieved as a couple and a family.
It may be a while til the next one but they are appreciated when they come. Nothing has brought us more together than the triplets, but it can also pull us apart at times just through the daily routine and grind.
Like everything else, It is another factor of our lives that requires work, communication, balance and kindness.
There’s no escaping a child’s watchful discernment when it comes to being observed by them as a parent. Although finding her own way through the changes of a ten year old, when it comes to me, my inconsistencies and my shortcomings, my daughter on the ball. She doesn’t miss a trick.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt In the years raising Frankie with my wife it’s that as a parent I am constantly teetering on the edge of hypocrisy. Partly because of old behaviours, usually justified with ‘I’m the grown up’. Which is incredibly childish in itself.
For example. I used to swear, lots. Every other word out of my mouth was a cuss. Not intentionally, probably more to do with where I came from in the point in my life that I met My wife.
Frankie didn’t like me saying naughty words. At first I brushed it off, partly because it was a hard habit to get out of, but I would also find myself making excuses for my self. For my ignorance in a way. My daughter had asked me to stop doing something that made her uncomfortable. I realised i had to respect her. Wether she’s a child or not. It took me a while and a vigilance in my own awareness to pull it back but I did. I had an example to set to her.
Sure as a parent she needs to respect me. But I would lose that respect fast if she saw continually inconsistent behaviours in me and constant excuses for why I’m allowed them. She’d grow up thinking the difference between children and grown ups is that grown ups are allowed to excuse make and do what they want at the expense of others. It’s the conclusion I reached as a child. Respect is a two way street.
Frankie pulls me up a lot. She knows when I haven’t been meditating properly and my awareness slips. She points it out because it affects her, she knows by my moods. I don’t mind her doing it either because what she sees is important. Her moral sense of right and wrong needs to stay in tact so she makes the right choices further down the line. Especially heading towards teenage years.
So I am judged, a lot by my daughter. And she has every right to speak up when she sees something that isn’t right. The same as I do with her. And If there’s one thing I know, it’s that nothing can sting your pride more at times than an honest child.
I have been wanting to do a nice update on the developments and changes that occur on our journey with triplets. It is one of the reasons why I write. To share our experience. It seems this last month or so to have been a difficult task to write about anything without danger of becoming whinging blogger statistic with regular content dragging you along on a weekly misery trip of snot and coughs.
It’s not where I wanted to end up.The only really funny thing that occurred over the weeks was when Ava puked on the dogs head, but I’ve already written about that so where do I go from there?
Once In a while it’s inevitable that illness will hit. But this house has had a bad run since Easter. Not just the triplets but the whole family. So I have had little else content in which to offer. I have been in no headspace to write anything I felt of worth to give.
As I write this we’ve had little sleep again; with three babies, myself and Stacey unwell ourselves. Myself with a virus that has drained me all week – and my wife and babies with ongoing coughs and temperatures.
We were lucky to have one weekend with two of the triplets relatively content and out of the grizzles. But it’s hard to avoid as a parent. It’s just been hard work.
Without sounding like a dying swan. Here’s where we are.
I have found myself getting stuck a groove of concern without noticing til now. As the breadwinner of the house I have lost time from work through illness. I have struggled with hip pain which has now been discovered as a hernia.
Only now I am realising how disconnected I have been feeling from the bigger picture in my life. Pain has drained me. It’s unavoidable as I am on my feet from 5.30 – til my day is done around 9pm. Without knowing the problem it has raised doubts about my ability to provide for my family. Creeping doubts when run down can be amplified to overwhelming problems yet to exist. My family need me – not lost in worry.
Fear has pierced me through tiredness, pain and a lack of consciousness. Meditation is extremely difficult when drugged up to the eyeballs on gabapentin and tramadol. Staying watchful of negative emotions becomes impossible. The frustration got real.
The hardest thing about being run down with triplets is that there is no real opportunity to rest and gain strength. The days are relentless. For my wife it’s been even harder as she’s had to cope with me at home on the ropes all week. She’s been amazing.
So although we are still all suffering at the moment at some level. I’m in a better position to get back on with life without the constant worry nagging at me. I know what is causing the pain and a solution is on the horizon. A return to consciousness has brought me back to the light. The fog is lifting. I feel present once again.
With a bit of luck the rest of my bunch will be back to good health soon. Because watching my babies all ill is tough going. Feels like we need a break. Or maybe this is just parenthood.
I think it’s safe to say that long-tough winter is over. It felt seemingly never ending as were the bugs and illnesses that came tied with it.
The weekend following Easter the little chickens came down with a norovirus. An afternoon out at the bowling alley turned nasty in seconds. Unfortunately non of us escaped the brutality of that virus, even the dog got puked on thanks to a lucky shot from Ava. My hope is that they don’t hit our household too often. Looking after triplets and Frankie whilst being ill ourselves was no joke. It was hard work.
Thankfully it passed quickly. I’ve also been struggling with pain since my vasectomy and have managed to survive prescription painkillers, unfortunately they turned me into a dribbling mess so I haven’t been able to string a coherent sentence together so writing has been on hold. But I finally feel back in the land of the living.
There is sunshine on the horizon, there always is. Last weekend brought a sunny warm day to Blighty so we loaded up the Babies and the bigger one and headed to the coast for the day.
It was good to be feeling good and the babies love a trip out. We get bombarded by passers by still; but it’s hard to avoid the circus when it’s in town.
Since Easter, all three have teeth now, Lacey is sitting up unaided and the other two are not far behind. They remain healthy content little bambinos. Developing fast.
They still sleep through 12 hours which blows my mind. I’m amazed at how happy they seem. It’s taken a lot of work and commitment from us both to keep them in a calm environment. Stacey is just phenomenal with them. As is Frankie. It’s been hard on her but she loves them to bits. A very proud big Sister.
So we’re looking forward to some warm weather, good health, bbq’s and the triplets first birthday.
The 4th of July will definitely be one to remember.
I don’t really remember a time as a kid when I wasn’t experiencing some sort of fear or anxiety. Being on the autistic spectrum I struggled with others from an early age. Relationships took a tiring effort which I failed to understand the workings of, I eventually settled on the idea that approval was the aim of the game so I did what I thought was right to gain approval. But I was never really sure who was the best persons approval to gain. So I constantly switched between friends, usually bluntly at the cost of friendships, sometimes nastily to gain the approval of my new pedestal placed target.
Add to this we moved on average every 12 months which meant leaving my experimental social arena of school before I got a chance to settle. Also before any teachers had a chance to discover I had problems, that I wasn’t just a – problem.
My mind raced constantly at 1000 revs from the moment I awoke til I slept. Mostly my fantasies were about how I’d one day maybe pull a family to safety from a burning car wreck, then during the tv interview on the news , all the teachers that embarrassed me, the kids that bullied me, my Dad and everyone else would eat their words and see I wasn’t bad. They would be lining up to apologise for burning me as weak and stupid. My mind never stopped.
At home I lived with the tension and suicidal threats of my opioid addicted father to whom I was a burden. I blamed myself for his steady decline and the falling apart of my family. He would reinforce my feelings when he would lose his temper, the truth was in those moments his anger was more likely caused by his disagreements with his doctors. But I was little and didn’t know that.
At about the age of 11 I began self harming, I got relief and liked the pain, the very act brought with it a sense of rightness and control.
By the last time we moved as a family; my fears had become anger. But it was suppressed as I was terrified to show it, I controlled it with my secret self harming and growing unhealthy obsessive behaviours.
The first time I discovered alcohol I had what felt like a spiritual awakening. There was no question it would forever be my solution and friend as it took away all my internal Conflicts and never let me down.
I slowly gave up on friends and began dissolving into myself and my world.
The last threat my father made to kill me was different, the family doctor had already warned my mother by that point to get us away from him.
So I left home before the age of 16. Entered the world knowing only depression, anxiety, paranoia, fear, anger, bitterness and shame. My world would get a whole lot darker. I had no idea how to live a normal existence and didn’t believe I would ever be free from those conflicts.
This is why I have the right to comment, and also offer a solution to anyone suffering as I did.
Seems a while since my last post. It’s been another busy period of adjustment, life goes on and we are rolling nicely with it at the moment.
All parents need a break sometimes, with multiples this hasn’t really been possible with my wife breastfeeding and the simple fact three babies need caring for. Since the triplets arrived we have been out for dinner alone twice. Both times were memorable and needed.
The girls are coming up 9 months now so have changed a great deal since we last went away for Christmas. Even then, having Stacey’s big family to help out my wife and needed to keep them to a routine.
We have travelled again to Stacey’s parents for Easter. The 5 hour drive went fine without crying or dramas. The girls seem content looking out the window at the ever changing view between naps. We stopped to feed them lunch and all went well. I love those journeys as my wife and I are both relaxed and it gives us time to really catch up, evaluate and take in the life we now have.
It’s been a wonderful time. With the babies now at a stage where they are more and more interested in what’s happening around them, they have enjoyed all the family time and interacting.
We are both much more relaxed letting others take over the meal times and baths. Everyone is still amazed at the calm and relaxed little personalities they all have. It’s been staying consistent with routine and keeping the home environment as stress free as possible that has added to their wellbeing. The work has payed off to this point.
I have managed to rest for the first time, and even had a chance to work on my writing and the book which I hope to release next year. There needs to be more for expectant fathers out there, especially dealing with high risk multiple pregnancies and all that follows.
Our lives have changed beyond anything we could have imagined. Every now and again my wife and I look at each other and just laugh at the reminder that we have triplets.
I hope you are all enjoying a peaceful break where-ever you are in the world at this time.
God bless from my family to you x
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