Cash, Zane, and Cade

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Pace

Greetings from Baby Land. My last blog was some sort of Charles Bukowski stream of consciousness thing that looking back on was pretty fun to write and for the sake of a permanent record, I'm glad it exists. It's definitely in the moment. Today I have a bit more perspective. Maybe. Three infants in the house is a strange thing. It's like we've been invaded by aliens, except that the aliens are our offspring.

I realize that we never really made the announcement that they came home or how that went down exactly. Well, last Thursday night, Carrie and I went to the hospital to spend the night with the boys in a "transition" room. The boys slept in cribs in the room with us. They cried a lot and it was a pretty rough night. They had all just been circumcised, and they weren't really happy about that whole thing. We fed them every three hours as per usual, and then the next day we were allowed to check out and head home. We made the drive with the boys from Temple to Austin, and they really didn't make a sound during their very first car ride. It was also their very first breath of outside air. When we got home, we took them in the house and they met their dog. Their first dog visit went well. Tess feels personally responsible for their well being. They also saw their cats, their room, and their awesome closet.

Although we had planned on them coming home and we had talked about what it would be like when they did, we really had no idea what to expect. Then when they finally were home, and we had them here, we quickly realized one simple fact. Carrie and I came to the conclusion at about the same time. This conclusion was:


Within an hour of them being home we asked each other questions like:

"Where do we put them? In their bouncy seats?"

"Do I hold him? Why is he yelling?"

"Do you think he wants his pacifier?"

"Is it too hot in here?"

"Is it too cold in here?"

Needless to say, it was a crazy day. I felt like I had been hit by a truck. We did know one thing for certain. We were going to keep them on their NICU schedule. Babies that are this size and premature apparently need to be fed every three hours. Their feeding times are as follows:

7:30 am
10:30 am
1:30 pm
4:30 pm
7:30 pm
10:30 pm
1:30 am
4:30 am

Repeat ad nauseum.

Here is how one typical feeding goes, at let's say 7:30 pm.

7:30 PM - Place first bottle in warm water.

7:31 PM - Change Baby - Cash is batting first right now.

7:35 PM - Start Feeding. Feedings can take a while. Sometimes they are
fast, other times they are painfully slow. Usually it takes around
30 minutes to feed them and make sure they have properly burped.

8:00 PM - Place bottle number two in warmer

8:31 PM - Change Baby 2 - Zane is up second these days

8:35 PM - Start Feeding. Now you have to be aware of baby number one and make sure he hasn't projectile vomited all over the place or just spit up
on himself.

9:00 PM - Change Baby 3 - Cade is last at the moment. He is usually asleep
when feeding time starts. Now you have two other babies to watch for
spit ups and other events.

9:30 PM - Finally all three babies are done. Now you get to log all the activity into the computer. This is to make sure that you know who got what and did what when. Then you clean and refill those bottles and put them in the refrigerator for the next feeding. We have bottles in constant rotation and a jug of formula to fill them up.

10:00 PM - You have 30 minutes to relax before it all starts over. You can kick back and do things like clean up the house, do laundry, eat while standing over the sink, try to remember how to do math, mix up some formula, or just sob uncontrollably.

Right now, this goes on around the clock. Someday we will get to move to every four hours and that will be like a vacation compared to now. The person that is hit the hardest is Carrie. She has an internal Mommy clock that wakes her up all the time. She doesn't get to eat much, and needless to say she doesn't sleep a whole lot. It's so brand new, that I don't think the shock has worn off. First of all, you marry me. That's a big leap of faith. Next, you have three Mini-Mikes to take care of 24 hours a day. Some people would rather face a firing squad.

To top it all off, on Saturday the Air Conditioner here at the Krug Ranch began to falter. Awesome news. It's August in Austin, Texas, and the forecast is for like 102 degrees for the next two months. Fortunately, my buddy Rich Henderson from Tulsa, Oklahoma walked me through exactly what to do to get it going again. Rich is an AC guy and is a great friend. After that, I decided to immediately add insulation to the attic to keep everything and everyone a lot cooler. Thanks to Joe Miller and Carrie's Mother Ethel for helping me on that one.

This whole thing may seem insane, and it is. However, we have so many good things going for us it's amazing. First of all, all the boy are healthy. They all passed their eye and hearing exams. They are all awesome. Second, they were put on a schedule by the NICU Nurses and that continues to be a life saver. Third, we have an unbelievable support system of friends and family who are willing to do anything for us. Finally, Carrie and I have each other. I knew I was quite fond of her, but through this experience I have discovered that I didn't know that it was possible to love another human being as much as I love my wife. Watching her be a Mom is just a really cool thing for me.

All this work may seem like a chore. However, I try to think of it in a different way. There is a limited number of bottles that I will get to feed my boys. There is a limited number of times that I will get to kiss their foreheads and put them in the same crib together. There is a finite amount of times that I will get to feel them squeeze my finger and watch them look around and discover the world they find themselves in. Every single bottle, every single look, and every single everything is a gift that I'm not sure what I did to deserve, but I'm very thankful that I get these moments.

Now for some photos.

Here are the boys with three of their nurses just before they were discharged.

I don't have the words to say how I feel about the NICU Nurses at this point. I'm working on it.

This is one of the boys laying around at home.

This is one of me playing some songs for them. They seem to like it. I look look really bad here, but who cares? Tess Dog is pumped too.

Here is one of Zane, Tess, and I. Zane is on the right.

Finally, we have the best picture ever...

Stay tuned. We will have a new video up soon.


E. Merritt said...

From a fellow mom of triplets, the trick is going to be learning to feed all the babies AT THE SAME TIME. It is possible and we started this the day ours came home. It's a little tricky at first, but it will keep you sane. I would put two babies in bouncers on either side of me and then hold one in my lap on my knees. Well the boys are a little bigger you can use bottle proppers or towels to prop the bottles. In the meantime, just have all three set up and feed two, while one takes break. Another suggestion we heard from a twin mom at the beginning was to learn to do the feedings by yourself so one of you can get 6 hours straight sleep at night. For example, I would stay up late and do the 12:30 feeding and then go to bed. My husband would go to bed before the 12:30 feeding and get up to do the 3:30 feeding by himself. I hope this helps!

Carrie said...

Last night I did two at a time. I'm going to try it again here in a minute. Three at a time will be a trick. We will have to wait until Cash is a little better at breathing during his feeds. Thanks for the tip! Mike

Scott B. said...

The picture of you playing the guitar with the dog watching is contest-worthy. Awesome.

Because I remember what it was like taking care of two at once, I really, really felt for you guys. We always joked that having twins was so crazy we had no idea how higher order multiple parents could do it. I guess that's why I was suggesting to "line up the help." There's no bonus prize for doing it yourself -- just surviving is a feat no matter how much people help. I'd continue to solict help from your friends and family and never turn it down. :-) We had both mothers with us at the beginning and that was extremely helpful. I think I cried when they left. :-)

Your picture of the three boys wrapped up in blankets next to each other brings back such great memories. I remember our two next to each other in the same basinet (sp?). Now they're next to me fighting over the computer.

Take it one day (or hour or minute) at a time and do your best to help each other (which it really sounds like you're doing). Before you know it, they'll be getting on the bus for the first day of school. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Cute pictures! I love the one of all 3 of them swaddled up. My husband and I have twins and when they were that age and it was so crazy we would constantly say that we can't even imagine how triplets would be!!! Soooo much harder. My MIL said twins were more work than 2 single babies, they were 3 times the work, so I can only assume that 3 babies are equal to 6 singletons! Congrats on your babies.

Desiree & Scott Boxberger said...

Your blog definitely brings back memories for us. I pretty much figure if you have twins or higher order multiples you can do just about anything imagineable.

The sleep deprivation is tough for about the first 6 months. I hardly remember anything because I was in a constant state of fog from the sleep deprivation. My advice would be always accept help, find a routine that works and take lots and lots of naps whenever you can.

I'm sure it's definitely tough having 3 babies with only 2 arms. I always joke with people and tell them when you're pregnant you should grow an extra arm. You may want to try bottle holders ( to coordinate feedings all at one time.

The good news here is that every day it will get just a little easier than the last.

Thank you for taking the time to share your wonderful story and pictures of your blessed family. :)

Travis Brock said...

Mike - The last paragraph from your "The Pace" blog really touched me (".... Every single bottle, every single look, and every single everything is a gift that I'm not sure what I did to deserve, but I'm very thankful that I get these moments."). Its so appropriate for all of us to think of our lives this way, to live in the now, and appreciate every moment. Keep up the writing and keep up the great attitude you and Carrie have for this momentous time in your life. Hope to see you and your brood sometime soon.

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