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!