With Cassie heading back to work and Nanny Cathy at the ready, it was time to settle into a daily "routine" around here. For the first several months, everyone told us, "it'll get easier! Then harder. Then easier!" The nights definitely got easier, with each baby sleeping about 4 hours at a time (never the SAME 4 hours, but at least we could get 1-2 hours of sleep in a chunk). During the day, however, the girls now wanted a lot more interaction and "play". This is great, of course, as they were developing beautifully and happily. It did make for finding time to maintain the household a continued difficulty. It seems minor and silly, but you never realize how nice it is to have an hour to clean your bathroom until you don't have that hour anymore!
So, what would a "routine" with triplets look like? Well, unfortunately, the babies create the routine. Try as you might, there's only so much the parents can mandate. We have a few things that have helped however. We do baths EVERY night. Even if they don't need it, they at least get to hang out in the warm water for a bit. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, it let's them know that it's time to start thinking about bed. THEY might not be thinking about bed, but we sure are! Second, after not seeing them all day, this gives Cassie some one-on-one time with each girl. She has a cute little dance she does with them in front of the mirror and a song once they hit the water. They love it. Then we play their "nighttime" music (which has become a bit maddening after all these months), turn down the lights, give bottles, read stories, and crash out. Of course, once the gals are in bed, we hit the floor running to get everything ready for the night and the morning. Bottles cleaned and re-poured, garbage and diaper pails emptied, laundry and dishes finished up, and then getting ourselves ready for bed. It's a process!
Until the girls were about 5 months old, it seemed we were at the pediatrician's office about 3 times a month. Now, I'll readily admit, some of these visits were because I have severe First-Time Parent-itis (One of my pediatrician's more recent comments, "Yes, it is very serious. I'm glad you brought her in right away. This... is dry skin." Sigh.), but there were a few concerns that seemed a bit unusual, at least to me. Because of their position in the womb, Delaney "sat" on Devynn. This resulted in Devynn having torticollis. It is essentially a twisted neck. It was quite subtle, but her propensity to favor holding her neck in one position was creating a flat spot on her head. The only treatment she required was physical therapy, fortunately. It's completely gone now and her little noggin is as round as a pumpkin!
Meanwhile, we'd noticed that Drew's ears were strangely developed. When we asked the doc about it, she ordered an ultrasound of her kidneys. WTH? So, a-googlin' I went. Turns out that the ears develop at the same time as the kidneys in utero. If the ears have unusual folds, it may be a sign of underdeveloped kidneys, Turner's Syndrome, or a few other maladies. The ultrasound found no abnormalities, but again, just a little something to turn my hair gray. Oh, and her ears are growing nicely now.
Other fun things we've seen the doc for: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (all three kids), innocent heart murmur (Devynn), low birth weight related anemia (Dev and Laney), neonatal jaundice (Drew), blocked tear ducts (Dev and Drew) and persistent external yeast infections (Dev).
Mary Bridge Children's Hospital (where all three kids were born) has a great neonatal follow-up program for kids who were premature or borderline preemie. Every few months we trek up to Tacoma and meet with physical therapists, social workers (to make sure we're not losing our minds and, therefore, posing a threat to the kiddies), nurses and the like who check out everything that's anything. It's very helpful and educational and keeps us motivated to focus our activites around physical play and learning activities with the girls. All three gals are still at risk for future developmental delays, so the sooner we catch any abnormalities the better.
When we visit Mary Bridge, we see children who are not as fortunate as our kids. Their health issues are much more serious and debilitating. They are so precious and delicate. Each day I am so grateful that we, and our gorgeous daughters, have the gift of health.