Becoming a mother was a hard-won dream, but one that I totally enjoy 99 per cent of the time.
I’m sure I’m not the only parent who would feel this way; it’s the lost sleep in the early years, juggling everything through to the whinging and fighting. I wouldn’t change it, of course, but I wish I had an extra arm so I could hold all three of my children at once.
You might think that’s a weird thing to say until you realise I have triplets.
Before you ask what it’s like to have triplets, I’ll let you know that it’s incredible having three babies at once, but I really don’t know what it’s like to have one baby at a time. I imagine it’d be lovely to be able to cuddle one baby and not feel the other two were missing out. As my three have grown, I realise if I’d had one baby after another, the older ones could have helped a little or they could have amused themselves a bit playing with toys while I fed the baby.
This was not to be our life, but again I wouldn’t change what we have.
Finding out we were expecting twins and then finding a third baby was certainly a shock, the roller-coaster ride continued during the pregnancy which was high-risk for me and the babies due to the complications that having more than one baby at a time bring. We quickly connected with our local Australian Multiple Birth Association (AMBA) club for support, information and community and they helped us with our journey into the unknown of parenting multiples.
The first few weeks were a blur as we learnt about life in the NICU with premature babies; even though we knew they were coming early, it was still hard to adjust to seeing your babies in humidicribs. We were able to bring them home after three weeks and that’s when the reality of life really hit us.
Sleep deprivation is a form of torture and we totally felt tortured with the three-hourly feeds that took ages to complete and then seemed to be back upon us so quickly. Breastfeeding premature babies is hard work, but I did my best and managed eight weeks before I had to give up.
My husband and I were a great team and managed pretty well overnight although I must say that there’s not much on the TV to help while away during the hours that we’d normally spend sleeping. During the day we were really grateful to friends and family who helped out around the house and with the babies. I remember feeling blessed when I was able to go to the washing line by myself and not worry about what was happening inside. As you can imagine, the washing line features heavily in our life and, yes, there are many times that I’ve wished for another washing machine.
Leaving the house with three babies required major coordination; we had three capsules lined up and, as each baby was clean and fed, they were put into their capsule. Once all three were in, we then shuttled each of them to the car to head off on a great adventure with a pile of nappies, bottles and changes of clothes.
It’s great to reminisce about the early months of our life as we’re now approaching the kids’ 7th birthday; they are at school and thriving. They are very aware that they are triplets and, while they realise it’s very special, they know lots of other sets of triplets which helps ‘normalise’ their life a little. They are individuals and are treated as individuals by everyone, which is very important to their wellbeing.
Our association with AMBA has continued over the years and we’re really grateful for the amazing support, information and community that we’ve received. I now volunteer for AMBA to ‘give back’ and I love the opportunities and learning curves that I’ve had since taking on various roles. I feel that my children have opened up my world enormously and that I’ve been to the university of life since becoming pregnant.
– photograph by Helga Dalla from Twins of Australia
The Australian Multiple Birth Association (AMBA) is celebrating its 40th anniversary and 40 years of support for thousands of families with multiples. Visit www.amba.org.au