Friday, July 14, 2017

Happy Seven Months

Oh my gracious, it's been SEVEN months.  Seven months since we first heard our first born cry.  Seven months since we sat in the NICU and sang Christmas carols.  Seven months since my fear of a having a family first dissolved.  What a road it's been! Here's a trip down memory lane.  Cue the tears!!

I definitely owe you an update on the baptism from a few weeks ago.  Here's a teaser!


One of the most frequent questions Michael and I get is "So are you getting any sleep?" Since we've been now been trying to let the kiddos sleep through the night for the last several weeks, I figured this would be a good time to answer that question (read to the end to see how that's going) and tell you our sleep story.

Last fall, as Michael and I began to come to grips with my quintuplet pregnancy, we did what we do best--we studied.  We read books.  We took notes.  We went to class.  We watched videos.  We nerded out on all things multiple birth.  

The sleep class that we attended with Cara of Taking Cara Babies was outstanding.  She now offers this class online, so you can take advantage of her expertise from any location.  I HIGHLY recommend it.  Here's the direct link to the class:  In taking Cara's class we learned about Dr. Harvey Karp and his book Happiest Baby on the Block.  This immediately rang a bell with me because I remember my friend Mairi reading this book when her sweet boy Henry was born.  She swore by his techniques.  But Cara also told us that Dr. Karp recently designed  a product call the SNOO Smart Sleeper   and she highly recommended that we look into it. So we contacted the company and explained our situation. Dr. Karp and his staff were so inspired by our story that they gave us the opportunity to test these products on the quints. Well, Cara was right. This invention is literally life changing!  If you've visited the quints in person, you've seen how much we love (and use!) these bassinets.

These bassinets have a built-in swaddle that makes is SO simple to properly swaddle your newborn. And it ensures that your newborn doesn't accidentally suffocate against the side of the bassinet. Moreover, they have built in white noise and motion.  They also have sensors built into the bassinet so that if your baby starts to stir and/or cry, the bassinet responds and immediately rocks/shush your baby back to sleep. You can connect the bassinet to your phone, so if you hear your sweet babe waking up in the night, you can reach over, open the app on your phone, and increase the rocking/white noise to help your baby fall back asleep.  ALL. FROM. YOUR. BED.  Unfortunately, the bassinet does not have a robot arm to replace the baby's pacifier - you still have to get out of bed to do this - but it wouldn't surprise me to see that in a future version! 

Now, as to how the quints are doing. From the get-go, our biggest concern was letting the kiddos get accustomed to being picked up when they cried at night because we would never be rock them all. Instead, SNOO can rock all of them. And it has been very effective - if the bassinets fail to rock the kids to sleep after a few minutes, we know something else is going on that needs our attention. Since we decided to drop the middle of the night feeding, Clara, Luke and Millie pretty much sleep through the night. Even Isabelle, who has always HATED to sleep (she seems to think she might miss out on something fun if she closes her eyes),  eventually succumbs to the SNOOs rocking action most nights. Only Ava still seems to wake up regularly during the night. But even so, she rarely needs to be completely taken out of bed for long stretches to settle. 

All of this to say, we highly recommend Dr. Karp's techniques and especially his genius-quality product, the SNOO.  We are thrilled that our kids no longer require night feeds and are all pretty close to sleeping through the night.

Here are some photos of our kiddos snuggled in.  The great news is these bassinets come with three sizes of swaddle, so the bassinet can accommodate your growing baby!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Devil in the Details

You guys know me well enough by now to know I'm a details person.  I'm a do-er.  In several of the news stories that have featured us, I seem to come off as a sort of task master.  Several people (who of course don't even know me) have criticized me on social media for being so focused on the details that I don't show gratitude for the blessings that I have.   I get it--I'm obsessive.

There are 24 hours in a day with 48 30-minute increments.  The au pairs can work 45 hours a week each week, therefore 90 hours of childcare.  I have 2 other women who I pay to help out with housework and childcare.  We have 5-7 volunteers who communicate with me weekly about our childcare needs.  Every day, we wash at least 20 bottles, each bottle with five parts.  We give 5 doses of vitamin D and probiotic supplements.  We change at least 20 diapers.  We restock at least 40 diapers.  We pick out 5 outfits and 5 sets of pajamas.  I prepare and serve dinner to at least 4 adults.  I empty three diaper pails.  I fill two vaporizers.  I feed our dog two meals a day in addition to comforting her when the kids overwhelm her.  I pay our bills, manage our investments, grocery shop, pay the folks who help with childcare, all while running my college planning practice and attempting to be a good friend and daughter to those that I love.

Sometimes it's too much.  Sometimes it feels like I'm holding it together with both hands. So yes, focusing on the schedule and the details sometimes comforts me.  Because you know what, this life--this life that I have now--it's scary.  I'm afraid of how we'll afford a life with five growing babies.  I worry about affording braces, prom dresses, and gas.  I worry about giving them an opportunity to see the world while protecting my husband's and my retirement.  I worry about college education, grad school, and weddings.  I worry about being able to protect my children from addiction, violence, and obsession.  I worry about time, lack of time, and too much time.  I worry about my children being a spectacle instead of special.  I worry about my children being treated as a unit instead of individuals.  I worry about my sweet puppy Ellie and how I can make her feel special in the wake of all of this. I worry. I worry a lot.

But then, I'm reminded of how I got here.  I worried about being childless. I worried about a big, creaky house that lacked the pitter patter of baby feet.  I worried I would miss the giggles, the sticky fingers, and the bear hugs.  I worried I would miss the joy.

So, today, I choose to overlook worry.  I choose to focus on the now.  On the gifts.  On the giggles.  On the good. I have no idea how we are going to make all of this work, but I do know that we've faced bigger challenges.  I have faith.