Friday, August 31, 2012

Life As We Know It

It's been hectic lately, so I apologize for the delayed updates!  I'll be making up for it now though :)  Here are a few of my "this is my life now" moments...
  • Doctor calls about Leah and while talking to him 3 babies are crying in the background and Maggie is vomiting on the carpet
  • Someone else calls from the hospital and Caroline is crying in the background.  Lady says she'll let me go because she can hear all of them crying.  I say "Oh, that's just one"
  • If I had a nickel every time someone told me "Bless your heart" we'd have the babies' college covered!
  • Playing our new favorite game: 'Guess Which One is Crying'- bonus points if more than one is crying and you can distinguish between them.  I must say I'm pretty good at this one!  Of course, I am here all the time.  Several volunteers have really got it down too.
  • People's reactions to us during our morning walks: driving slowly and staring, full on stopping in the middle of the street to stare, pointing while driving by, stopping to ask questions and make comments.  Some examples: "Whoa triplets", "Bless your heart", "How many babies you got?", "Are you the lady with the 6 babies?", "Need a nanny?  I'm available this Sunday."  And of course there are the "Congratulations" and "aw what cute babies".  And, no, I did not take the random lady up on her nanny offer.  
And now to answer some FAQ's...

How did you assign names to babies (apparently I never blogged this before- opps!)?

We did it based on birth weight: Big Benjamin, Average Andrew, Little Levi, Colossal Caroline, Average Allison, and Little Leah

What vehicle will you use?  When will you get it?

We've ordered a Nissan NV 12 passenger van.  It arrived on time earlier this month, but they sold it to someone else.  So, we are waiting until mid- September for our re-ordered van.  In the mean time I do have a large SUV loaner.  Our stroller will fit on the back of the van on a hitch- kinda like a bike rack.

How much sleep do you get?

Not much!  I typically get 3-4 hours of sleep a night.  I get slightly more if the babies are being sweet little angels or a fantastic friend stays the night to help.  Dave helps on weekend nights- I let him sleep during the week since he needs to be coherent at work, but he does get up for the 2am feeding.  Although he has "accidentally" slept through it several times :)  We do have regularly scheduled overnight helpers 4 nights a week!  A couple others who do so randomly.

How many volunteers do you have and what do they do?

Everyday is different.  Some days I have a ton of help and other days require more multitasking :) I decided to do our volunteer calendar as open signup.  I was worried if I did set specific shifts people wouldn't sign up if they could only come for an hour or two, and I'll take any help during feeding hours!  So everyday has 6 slots to fill and people sign up and say what time(s) they'll be here.  Some come all day, some stay overnight, some come just for a feeding, some a few hours- so far it's working out.  As for what they do- all kinds of things!! Mostly feeding and entertaining babies.  During nap times someone's always on 'pacifier duty'.  Overnight volunteers take one or both of the night shifts.  We all help with the feedings, but shift work requires responding to crying babies.  It is so nice to get a break from that!  House cleaning, laundry, errands, and yard work are also involved as needed.  I have people who clean, do yard maintenance, and baby laundry on a regular basis which is the best!!  I have a white board as you walk in with lists of Things To Do and Things To Buy that people can check out without me having to remember what to delegate.   I also have a meal sign up 3 days a week.  People have been very generous with the food; we've gotten so much I'm able to feed the volunteers who are here at meal times as well.  

What does a typical day look like?

I like to think it's not as chaotic as people expect.  It is very structured and organized, but can be crazy when all are crying (or 'the chorus' as we call it)- especially right before feedings.  The babies are on 4 hour feedings- 6, 10, 2.  We've been implementing the eat, play, sleep thing for awhile now and some days are better than others.  The babies really do take turns on who has a fussy day and who sleeps well.  For a typical schedule... we do 6am feeding, get babies dressed for the day, and I eat breakfast.  Then I load up the stroller and take babies and Maggie for a walk for about an hour.  They're pretty sweaty from the stroller after the walk, so we do tummy time to air out their backs and work on their back and neck muscles.  The 10am feeding quickly approaches and is usually when my first volunteers show up.  We feed then 'play' until they start looking sleepy and we put them in their cribs for midday nap.  During this nap time we eat lunch and I usually shower and take a short nap or get other tasks done- unless the babies are cranky!  Repeat for 2pm feeding.  The babies are always fussy between 4:30-6pm.  We do baths every other night and start these at 5:30.  If we're not bathing, we still get them ready for bed before 6pm.  We feed at 6 then put them down for bed when they start fading.  Once they're down it's bottle making time!  We make all the bottles at once for the next 24 hours.  This is usually all done between 7:30-8pm.  The babies sleep really well between 8-10, so after bottles we eat dinner and do whatever we want until 10pm.  After 10pm and 2am feedings we hope they sleep well until the next feeding so we can sleep!

How is Maggie with the babies?

She does very well with them!  Her barking does not wake them up.  The main problem is that she licks them too much and we have to push her away.  She actually walks better with the stroller than just her on her own.  When one is crying she does go up to them and lick them- so sweet!  She gets plenty of attention herself too; she has learned to bark at volunteers to get extra treats.

Other random notes:

My rules...  only change diapers at feeding times unless it's poopy or they've peed through it and are completely soaked and no rocking babies to sleep and wash hands all the time.

The babies are so cute in the morning- they are happy and smiling and ready for the day!

The number of babies fed per person varies on how many people are there- if just 2 of us then 1 feeds 3 and 1 feeds 2.  I've gotten many volunteers comfortable feeding 2 babies, but only Dave and I feed 3 at once.  There are several techniques for feeding 2 at once: both in boppies, one in a boppy one in a lap, both in lap, or using bouncy seat instead of boppy.

Once Allison came home we started using the crockpot to warm bottles.  We turn it on low about 45 min before a feed, put all the bottles in 10 min before and they're all done at once- it's great!  We do leave it on all night long because remembering to turn it on at 1am- I don't think so.

I have officially started to wean from pumping.  The hospital told me to stop bringing breast milk because they had too much and I'm out of storage room at home, so after 4 months it's being shut down.  Sure is easier to feed babies without pumping at the same time.

I have the BEST friends, family, and volunteers anyone could ask for.  I am so blessed and I know it!  Everyday I thank God for my babies and all the people He's put in my life who make the day by day possible.  I don't expect anyone to help us and it amazes me that our volunteers give up their free time to come 'play baby'.

Feeding Caroline while burping Levi

Pumping while feeding Allison and Levi

Going for a walk

The 6 (minus 1)

1 comment:

  1. Your babies amaze you, and you amaze me! I pray God gives you strength and endurance to last you through every day with the kiddos!! I give you two thumbs up!