A Word on Sick Babies

I’m pretty sure that mothers everywhere (and some fathers) know there is nothing more miserable than having a sick baby. I don’t just mean the exhaustion you experience after a sleepless night (or several) or the frustration that you feel because your child won’t stop crying. I am talking about the helplessness you feel when you look into their sad little faces and know they are in pain and there’s nothing you can do about it. And most of the time, they can’t even tell you what hurts.


How sad is this face?

Now I don’t know what it’s like to have just one baby, but I can imagine that it’s just as miserable when that one baby is sick as it was when all three of ours come down with something. But I will say that when Henry, Jack, and Sophie were sick last week, it was one of the first times I thought to myself, “Man, this would be a lot easier with just one!” I won’t pretend that having triplets is easy, but it’s all we know. We’ve been told that our trio is very well-behaved, and for all we know, they are. When all three are crying it can feel pretty uncivilized, but so far, those moments have been few and far between.

There are other things besides the crying that make having three babies a bit challenging. I’m certain we spend more time feeding, burping, diapering, swaddling, and soothing our babies than most, and it is still hard to get used to listening to the cries of one hungry/wet/uncomfortable baby while you are dealing with the other. The window between feeds is shorter when you are feeding more than one, and you can’t necessarily count on “nap time” to last as long as your little one will sleep. It will only last as long as your worst sleeper will sleep. With one baby, deciding what stroller to get is more a matter of personal preference and less about what does and doesn’t fit in your elevator. Still, all of these things are pretty manageable with a little patience and an extra set of hands when you can snag them. But no amount of patience or help can lessen the sting of your sick baby’s (or babies’) cries when he or she (or all three) are sick. And I do think I would settle for having only one sad face to tend to rather than three.

For all that our Henry, Jack, and Sophie have been through–born barely over of two pounds, feeding tubes, IVs, sonograms, x-rays, blood transfusions, all in the first 65 days of life–they sailed through their third trimester outside of the womb with very few hiccups. Was walking in on Henry getting his central line placed on Day 4 traumatic? Yes. Did I cry when they had to stop his feeds because he was bringing up bile? Yes. Did the contact precautions after the infection in the NICU make me miserable? Absolutely. But through all that, our little trio was still doing better than the average 28-weeker.

Last week’s sickness was probably just your run-of-the-mill virus (although it felt pretty terrible when I experienced it!) but it was harder to bear than much of what I wrote about above. I suppose (hope) it will get easier, for I am certain this will not be the last time the trips get sick. A huge thank you to Nana, Grammie, Aunt Hartley, and all of the other friends and family who chipped in to help us battle the virus. Here’s hoping we have a long reprieve before the next one 🙂

In case you’re still reading this and feeling sorry for us, you should know that the trips (yes, even Sophie) slept for nearly seven hours straight last night. I don’t want to say too much about it for fear that I might jinx it, but there you have it. Longest stretch to date. More pictures next time, I promise.


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