The Miracles of Modern Medicine

The past ten days have been rough. It started last Tuesday night with a midnight trip to the ER, a dose of racemic epinephrine, and a round of steroids. Jack had wandered into our room, gasping for breath, a nasty bout of croup with stridor having developed in the few hours since he’d fallen asleep.

By Monday, we’d added a trip to Urgent Care plus four rapid strep tests (all negative, thank goodness!), and one pretty sick mama.

Wednesday brought with it three fevers (and no school), and one sleepless night for Sophie, Mom, and Dad. By Thursday, I’d lost my voice (and pretty much all of my energy), and we rounded out the day with a trip to the pediatrician to rule out strep (again) and an ear infection.

There is still a lot of snot and a lot of coughing in our household, and not a lot of sleep. The fevers keep coming and going, and I don’t think anyone has eaten a square meal in over a week.

BUT (and this is a VERY big but), if coughs, and colds, and fevers, and runny noses, and yes, even a trip to the ER for croup is our worst week…then I cannot help but count us all very lucky.

Our road to parenthood was not an easy one. The before, during, and after of my pregnancy involved a lot of doctors, a lot of medicine, and a lot of hope. The photos below are a constant reminder of how far these little people have come, and the fact that their little bodies are strong enough to fend off these viruses makes me one very grateful mama.

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On the top left there is Henry, still eleven weeks before a baby is supposed to be out in this world on his own, barely two pounds, and working to breathe with a collapsed lung.

And then there’s Jack, working hard just to open his eyes a few days after being born.

And finally Sophie. Rocking her shades from the from her phototherapy treatment for jaundice.

It would be days before we held Henry, weeks before the three of them were reunited with each other, and months before they came home.

So I’ll take the sniffles, the sleepless nights, and the multiple trips to the doctor if it means I get to have these three happy humans in my arms, at home, every night. It was a long time coming, and I am just so very grateful that they are here.

 

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Skating Party 2017 – Sophie and Henry’s first time on ice skates

Another skating party in the books. Arguably the hardest one to date, but also the most memorable…first time on skates for these kiddos (2 out of 3 at least)!

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Every day I am reminded that as they grow up, some things get easier and some things get harder.

We made it there (and back) in the wagon thanks to some navigational assistance from Google Maps and a trusted colleague.

We only spilled one cup of hot chocolate, and it mostly missed Maggie’s purse.

We ate brownies.

We stayed up way past our bedtime.

And of course, we have no photos of the skating because the child-to-adult-ratio is still a little mismatched for these very wobbly beginners.

On our way home, Henry, Jack, and Sophie marveled at what it was like to be outside “in the middle of the night.”

They shared their observations about the colors of the sky:

“Why is it sort of brown here?…It’s black when we’re at Nana’s and Grammie’s.”

“Look at it now. It’s more blue and purple here.”

They asked a thousand questions:

My favorite was, “Where did the city go?” as we wandered through Central Park.

And they reflected on the best parts of their evening:

“My favorite part was the brownie, and when [Daddy] carried me around.”

“My favorite part was the hot chocolate and the brownie.”

“My favorite part was all of it. Because I loved all of it.”

And because we’re sharing favorite moments, I’ll share mine. As we were making our way out, into Central Park in the “middle of the night,” and we ran into a parent of some former students of mine. “Oh, what a wonderful thing!” she exclaimed. “It’s a wagon full of Strumolos!” And she snapped this quick photo, our only “memory” of the night.

I don’t know how much longer Will and I will be carting along a wagon full of Strumolos, but I know I’ll be glad to look back at this photo and remember what it was like to pile our kids into the back of our Radio Flyer wagon and wander through Central Park in “the middle of the night.”

It was an epic adventure for just a few minutes on the ice, and I was reminded that I can, when necessary (and it was necessary), still carry two of these rascals at a time, ice skates, helmets, and all.

 

#thedaysarelongbuttheyearsareshort

And then they were three…

They had a party with a bubble machine, cupcakes, and all of their friends from school. They aged out of Early Intervention services. Turning three was a big deal.

April 2 · 

When you try to make a surprise birthday breakfast for three kids who regularly request (demand?) pancakes at 5:30AM. BARELY made it.

#cookinginthedark #turnsouttheydontevenlikecinammonrolls#baconforthewin

 

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When they share a birthday but not an opinion. #tripletproblems

 

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A very happy birthday to this adorable, thoughtful, clever little man. Whether he grows up to be a veterinarian, a mad scientist, a teacher, a dancer, or the president of the United States, he will never stop amazing me with all that he can do. Love this little man.

Happy birthday to this sweet, sensitive, and generous little man. Whether he grows up to be a mathematician, a musician, a soccer player, or a cowboy, I know he will find joy in every minute. I am so grateful for his constant love and affection. Love this little man.

A very happy birthday to this spunky, hilarious, snuggly little girl. Whether she grows up to be a soccer player, a princess, a firefighter, a doctor, or a ballerina, I have no doubt this girl is going to make things happen. I’m so lucky to have her light in my life!

Sunday Funday with the Family. An impromptu tire swing date with a friend, discovering the “BIG slide,” a trip to the zoo, bubbles, and Shake Shack. Simply the best.

April 16 · 

Because everything is color coded. Always.

And because the only picture we could get with the three kids was this one.

#theirnewfavoriteholidayiseaster#thisiswhathappenswhenthreepeopleplayeasterbunny #thanksnana#thanksgrammie #easterwithoutchocolate

 

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April 18 · 

You know you’re in for a long night when at 8:48 one of your toddlers is already asking, “Is it time to wake up yet?” And she hasn’t even fallen asleep yet 🤣

April 21 · 

Some days (like yesterday), you’re repeatedly reminded of all the things you haven’t done: there’s no food in the house, the bill you meant to pay last week is still sitting in your purse, the kids have no clean underwear. Literally.

Then other days you shower (that’s a big accomplishment, folks), and make it out the door to the donut shop in the rain with all three kids before work, and you feel like a rockstar. Did I mention Will was out of town?

And then, you go to leave for work and have to come back THREE separate times because you forgot your debit card, your cell phone, and your employee ID. Oh, and you also threw an envelope of cash in the TRASH last night while you were cleaning up, and you’re just lucky someone else thought to look for it before that trash was taken out for the day. At least we all got our donuts…? 😳🍩🍩🍩

 

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Flying Solo

April 24 · 

Guys, I survived 72 hours alone with the triplets. Well, to be fair, I was at work for 8 of those hours, but really it was 75 hours if we’re counting, so…close enough. There were some stressful moments (what to do at 9pm and 11pm and 12am and 2am and 4am when all they want is Daddy and he’s the one thing you can’t provide at the moment?) and some joyous moments (give these kids a few sticks and a pile of mulch, and they are in heaven. They may not be clean, but they’re happy).

And have I mentioned how much they LOVE the subway? We had a subway adventure (yes, I brought three toddlers on the subway by myself, and yes, I’m slightly crazy), and on it, we got LOTS of stares. We got the “Are you crazy?” stares and the “Wait…are those triplets?!” stares, and the “I feel for you” stares, and the “You REALLY shouldn’t have three toddlers on the escalator/sidewalk/subway platform by yourself” stares.

And then, on the ride back, we sat down next to a family with five adults and ONE toddler, and they looked at us and said, “Wow…are they twins?” We get this a lot. “Triplets,” I replied. “OH! Wow! That’s wonderful! You are lucky! You are blessed.” they said. And they were serious. And you know what? We hear that almost every time we are out with the kids. And sure, it’s one out of the sixty comments/stares we get that day (someone actually took a photo of them in the wagon at the bagel store the other day just because she’d “never seen anything like it”), but it happens, without fail. And you know what? It’s 100% true.

Having three kids is EXHAUSTING. And having three toddlers is BEYOND exhausting. Especially three who have decided sleeping is not one of their favorite past times. But we are SO FREAKIN’ LUCKY that this is our family. And I know that. Sometimes I forget it after two hours of bedtime shenanigans, or when one toddler starts off running in the middle of the sidewalk and I have to decide to leave two to chase the third (remind me to tell you about our “Strangers” talk sometime). But when we are all standing on our chairs rocking out to Coldplay at 7am (and in fits of giggles over the “Ah ooooooooooh” part) or when they write their own song with the lyrics, “I love you, Mommy, oh yes I do!!” it pretty much just melts your heart. And with three of them, I’m lucky enough to get thrice the serenades. Love these crazy kids. And now, to bed.

#loveandlight #choosejoy #tripletproblems

 

April 26 · 

We discovered SnapChat. Thanks, Sarah McTurk MacLeod, for the recommendation. You’re right. LOTS of toddler entertainment. And Mom thought it was pretty funny too. Missing our weekend together already (yes, the sleepless/showerless one).

 

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Story time on an old subway car!

 

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Preemie Strong

The Strumolo Clan has had a rough week. On Saturday morning, the coughs began. By Saturday afternoon the fevers arrived. By 9pm we were on stridor watch for Jack. And by 10:30, we were in the ER.

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One croup diagnosis, breathing treatment, dose of steroids, and stuffed ducky later, we were back at home.

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One sick and tired brother.

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Two sneaky siblings hijacking his crib while he sleeps on the couch.

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Second attempt at naps during illness.

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Third attempt.

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Sophie was next. Down for the count. 

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Rocking the nebulizer. 

This is what three sick toddlers looks like:

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What do you do when everyone has fevers and won’t drink? Popsicles!

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Here they are working on Sissy Pig. I’m not sure what was ailing her, but Jack was definitely giving her a breathing treatment. 

After a thoroughly exhausting week for ALL five members of our family (six, if you count Sissy Pig!), it would be easy to wallow in self-pity (and there has been some of that). But November 17 is World Prematurity Day. And this year, when November 17 rolled around, despite the sniffles, and coughs, and fevers, and sleepless nights, I was reminded how lucky we are that these amazing little people made it into the world and into our lives.

Henry:

Jack:

Sophie:

Hard to believe that just two and a half years ago I could tuck these kiddos inside my shirt…

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With Thanksgiving around the corner, I am feeling incredibly grateful for these little humans. And of course for all the incredible people who helped get them to where they are (serving up corn and hotdogs in Nana’s backyard).