Friday, May 22, 2009

What I Would Have Told Her

When our babies first came home from the NICU we had a baby nurse for the first 2 weeks. In addition to learning the ropes of first-time parenthood, I was still recovering from my cardiac issues and my husband was working. Three women took turns coming to stay around the clock to help us get acclimated to life with preemie infants. This transition period was invaluable!

In the five years since, I have received a handful of phone calls from women expecting triplets, who are checking out references for this particular group of baby nurses. Yesterday I received a voicemail from a woman in Raleigh, NC. 

I realize I am sappy, as it is the eve of my children's 5th birthday party, but her call took me right back to that place of fear, overwhelm and expectation as I attempted to get my own ducks in a row in preparation for our trio's arrival. I remember calling to check references myself and wondering what it was really like for those busy mothers on the other end of the line. Would they even have time to answer the phone--or were they haggard and overwhelmed, just trying to keep their heads above water?

I returned her call this morning and was disappointed to have to leave a message. She is probably grateful, because had I gotten her, I would have talked her ear off with unsolicited advice. There was so much I wanted to say!

I wanted to tell her that I vividly remember thinking my world was about to be rocked--but having no clue just how much so--the challenges, the sleep deprivation, the stress would be beyond what I had thought. But the same would hold true for the joys. They would exceed my every expectation.

I wanted to tell her that I resisted purchasing a triplet stroller because I was certain I would never go anywhere alone with my children--ever. Yet, when they were 4 months old, I started taking them to the park to stroll every afternoon alone. How I wished I had a triplet stroller in those days, as I wore a baby bjorn and pushed the other two in a double. 

I wish she understood how confidence building it would be for her as a mother to realize that she could care for them alone. I am sure it would shock her to know how quickly she would learn to do things like manage the grocery store with three infants or take them all for vaccinations--and that she could feed three babies at one time. It is the burping that gets tricky!

I would tell her to stock up on diapers and wipes. I would advise getting a crock pot in the nursery so she could warm three bottles simultaneously and to invest in a large mixing pitcher for the 24 bottles of formula she would need to prepare each evening for the next day.

I would assure her that no matter what people tell you, you will be able to tell them apart...even in the middle of the night and over the monitor by the distinctly different ways they will each cry.

I would tell her to read books and compare notes with other mothers, but in the end to trust her instincts. I would assure her that NO ONE has all the answers--and to not trust anyone who pretends they do. Every first time Mom has felt just as insecure and alone. She will be fine as soon as she learns to trust herself.

I would laugh as I told her how quickly the novelty wears off and what once seemed unfathomable--three babies at once--will just be her family and she won't quite understand why people find it so unusual. 

I would remind her that her three greatest assets are her prayer life, her marriage and her sense of humor. 

And I would tell her that as crazy as it seems it will be no time at all until she is planning a 5th birthday party for three completely unique and amazing little people that she won't be able to imagine ever not having had in her life!


Ashley said...

Oh I hope the trio's 5th birthday is super fun! 5 years old, I have been reading your blog since they were 2. I feel blessed by your walks down memory lane and your honesty about motherhood, the good and not so good. Oh how I pray I get the chance at motherhood, the single days get mighty lonely. I have to remind myself of seasons, even this one that at times seems unbearable. I pray tomorrow if full of laughter and joy! Happy Birthday R,K and P!

Blessings from Texas,

Tashie said...

That was a beautiful post. I am especially teary for this birthday...this one is hitting me harder than 2,3,& 4. Their first birthday was really emotional for me as well. My boys are just turning 5 too, and we are celebrating on Sunday.
It just feels like no time at all has passed and now they are big boys. All the best to you and your beautiful children.

Love Being a Nonny said...

Happy Birthday K,P and R!

J, what a heartfelt post! I know this new mom with benefit from the things you wrote here...EVERY new mom would. Sometimes it's just nice to know you aren't alone. How sweet you are to take the time to share. Have a blessed weekend with your three! Angela

ACC-mom said...

I loved this post. You really brought me back. What great advice you would have given. :)

Happy 5th bday to your beautiful triplets!

dee said...

Makes me cry-how touching and so true, especially trusting your instincts! Happy Birthday K,P,and R!! I know you all will have a super day. We can't wait to see the excited smiles in the pics. What a fun age!

Just Another Ordinary Miracle said...

Happy Happy Happy
Birthday Birthday Birthday

HW said...

What a sweet post.

I always get nostalgic at the end of a school year and here we are at the end of another one - my son ready to be a senior and my daughter a sophomore. I see all the preparations for graduation going on and I know I will blink my eyes and it will be my son graduating and then leaving our home for the Marine Corps.

Happy Birhtday to your precious children!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

This is a very sweet post, J. Birthdays are celebratory with a touch of melancholy for mothers -- all the more when you're celebrating three at the same time, I imagine.

Happy, happy, happy birthday.

Mandy said...

Oh, I so agree with all you said. Have a wonderful birthday. I know how you are feeling. My trio turns 6 at the end of June and as I begin planning their party, I remember all of the wonderful things that once overwhelmed me. Having triplets is definately a triple blessing! Enjoy! You deserve it.


Colored With Memories said...

wow! i sure hope she calls you back...your wisdom and wit will surely bless her...and your willingness to pass it all along!

happy birthday to your trio...can't wait to see some celebration pics!

Aubrey said...

Oh, I am tearing up and my heart is bursting for you. It does pass so quickly, and what once seemed impossible becomes so routine that you just don't know what kept your life full before children.

Happy Birthday, K, P & R!!

Marva said...

Wow! You read my heart. I feel all of those things even with twins. When you become Mommy, you learn so much about yourself. Thank you for sharing your heart!

Happy, happy, happy birthday K,P and R!


Shannon and Carey said...

You said: I would tell her to stock up on diapers and wipes. I would advise getting a crock pot in the nursery so she could warm three bottles simultaneously and to invest in a large mixing pitcher for the 24 bottles of formula she would need to prepare each evening for the next day.

So true. I remember mixing formula in a big jug, shaking it and making sure it all mixed. Then pouring bottles every night to be ready. Opening the fridge door and being greeted by 16 bottles. lol.

Happy Birthday to K, P and R. Man are they ever so sweet.
Give them B-day high fives!
Shannon in Austin

peapodsquadmom said...

My three start pre-k this fall and I have been so emotional about it. This post brought many tears to my eyes...and warmed my soul at the same time.