Raising Multiples, a MOST Community, Family Spotlight

Cindy’s Triplet Story

My story is eight years in fertility clinics across five states, two forced menopauses, two endometrial surgeries, thirteen inseminations, four IVF, two GIFTs, an approved adoption application, and “let’s just try one more time to conceive.”  That last effort involved getting fertility drugs in Mexico at a significantly reduced cost.  (Tip—same American lab makes the medications that are available in all countries, stronger in strength, at a cost of about 10% of what we pay here in the states and it is legal if you follow Custom’s rules.)

At 36 years old, I knew I was either pregnant with multiples or having Rosemary’s baby because I was throwing up stuff I ate in high school.  Once I learned there were three, two girls and a boy, I was so excited because I was done with the fertility game. We had exhausted all of our savings and vacation days.

A church friend of ours was a hospital administrator and he immediately took us on a tour of the NICU.  I saw little ones who were smaller than my foot.  I got an appointment with the best perinatologist and my successful journey began. I would be a model patient.

At 18 weeks I became homebound.  At 23 weeks I became bedridden with bathroom privileges.  I laid on my left side, drank endless amounts of water, and ate 4,500 calories a day.  I gained 47 pounds and had a 54” waistline.  I phoned in my contraction monitoring twice a day.  An organization called Sideline got my number from the doctor’s office.  They called and counseled.  Most importantly, they gave my name and number to a relatively new organization (back then) called MOST.  That was when I met Maureen, who called me regularly and explained in detail everything that was happening and supposed to happen.  Maureen was always there with needed advice and helped my long, boring days by giving me titles of reading materials that would help prepare me for all that was ahead.  This was pre-cell phone, pre-home internet and cable TV had limited channels.  I have never met Maureen in person, but I count her as one of my dearest friends.  We are 1,600 miles away, but one of the things on my bucket list is to meet her, win the lottery and give the money to Raising Multiples, a MOST Community.

At 37.5 weeks, we scheduled a C-section.  It was the day after Thanksgiving.  Everyone in our community had the day off so 100 people were there to welcome our little ones into the world.  They all weighed over 5 pounds and went to regular nursery.  Haley, Suzanne and Beau were ready to come home from the hospital before I was. I started running that dreaded fever and had to restrict all visitors.  Once home, Maureen was a phone call away, answering all the questions that no one else could.

I had always wondered why I had to wait so long to have a family.  When the triplets were a year old the answer was revealed to me as I was filling bottles and washing clothes at 2:00 am.  God’s plan was for us to have triplets and he was waiting for us to be mature enough to handle it.

My children were very healthy—never missed a day of school.  Prior to school age, I stayed active in our local Mothers of Multiples club.  There were seven sets of triplets and dozens and dozens of twins.  There was a great deal of swapping clothing and toys.

My children stayed together in the same school classroom.  Their first grade teacher was a triplet and ironically shared the same birthday.  This was pretty special for all of us.  In fifth grade we changed school districts and were required to split up.  A new financial realization resulted.  Each child had 25 kids in his or her class and each kid in the class had a birthday party.  For mom and dad this was giving 75 birthday gifts a year.  Financially, raising multiples is tougher than we imagined.  But if given a do-over, we would not change a thing.

We never required our triplets to attend the same university.  Our only rule (besides not going to a really expensive private school) was that they could attend any Division I school that was not more than a day’s drive.  We visited 20 something schools.  Surprisingly, they all choose the same one even when sibling rivalry was at its peak.  The school was a 10 hour drive from home.  They did not ever live together, each one joined a different Greek society and all majored in different areas of study.  After their freshman year they scheduled a weekly dinner together.  They lived their own lives but had the comfort of knowing the other was just a phone call away.   Sometime between the junior and senior year they settled into a close friendship and kinship.

I guess my journey is now becoming part-time.  Last week my husband and I attended college graduation.  One would think at the same school it would be easy.  Nothing about having triplets is easy (except maybe the amusement park were everyone likes the same age level rides).  At graduation, they all walked at 11:00 a.m. at three different locations on campus.  So dad went to one, mom went to one and grandparents went to the other.  All of us had a video camera in tow to capture the moments for later viewing.

As adults, they are now grappling with their first hard look at separation.  Older adult multiples tell me it is somewhat like a divorce when they have to leave each other.  Not sure it is that bad, but the feeling appears to be more like losing a family pet.

My three are leaving the nest, all with great jobs.  I look forward to becoming their friend and not having to parent so much.  My friends talk about “how fast the time went.”  I don’t think it passed fast, but it is over before I want it to be.   I’ll admit, my husband and I sometimes feel we are too old to have kids this young.  However, for 22 years, when feeling totally exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally, I have repeated to myself something I read in one of the old MOST newsletters.  It is good advice for any age:  “There is never a day so bad that can’t be fixed by a good nap.” – Cindy H.

Please help us continue to provide information, advice and support for multiple birth families nationwide by making a donation online today. Or you may call the Raising Multiples office at 631-859-1110. We’d love to hear from you! Thank you.

Fights with Spouse May Affect Relationship with Kids

Arguments between parents may damage their relationships with their children, according to a recent study in the Journal of Family Psychology.

Parents in more than 200 families were asked to make daily diary entries for 15 days. At the end of each day, mothers and fathers rated the quality of their marriage and their relationship with their children. On days when parents reported conflict and tension in their marriage, their dealings with their children were also strained.

However, there were notable differences between mothers and fathers. Marital conflict affected mothers’ relationships with their children for just one day.

“In fact, in that situation, moms appeared to compensate for their marital tension. Poor marital quality actually predicted an improvement in the relationship between the mom and the child. So, the first day’s adverse spillover is short-lived for moms,” study author Chrystyna Kouros, an assistant professor in the psychology department at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, said.

It was a different story with fathers. “[Dads] let the marital tension spill over, with the result being poorer interactions with their child, even on the next day,” Kouros said.

The study shows that the quality of their marriage affects each parent’s ties with their children.

“We see from the findings that the marriage is a hub relationship for the family,” Kouros said. “The quality of that relationship spills over into each parent’s interactions with the child. So if mom and dad are fighting, it will show up initially — and in some cases on the second day — in a poorer quality relationship with their kids.”

Adapted from the article in MedlinePlus.

Are you discarding your booster seats too soon?

It’s hard for parents of multiples to adhere to the recommendations for infant and booster seats for a lot of reasons, a main one being having trouble finding a car that can accommodate all the seats! And a recent survey shows we’re not alone in our willingness to bend the rules.

“Children should use booster seats until they reached the height of 57 inches and weight of 80 to 100 pounds, but the Safe Kids Worldwide survey showed that 86% of 1,000 parents of children ages 4 to 10 reported moving their children to seat belts earlier. Seven out of 10 parents surveyed said they did not know the height recommendation.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “every 34 seconds, a child under the age of 13 is involved in a crash and more than a third of children killed in crashes were not in car seats or wearing seat belts. ”

In an effort to improve compliance, NHTSA recently launched its new Car Seat Finder Tool, designed to help parents select the right car seat or booster seat for their child.

Full Story

Raising Multiples, a MOST Community, Family Spotlight

My husband and I had a two year old daughter and when we were told we were expecting twins, I thought, “I can do this.” I am a behavioral health therapist and teacher and consider myself to be pretty confident, calm, and organized. Over the years I also helped manage younger siblings (I have 7, including twins) and loved to babysit; I had been a residence director for a large college residence hall and a housing director at a small college. I thought, “I can do this!” A few weeks later, when another ultrasound revealed a third baby, I thought, “We cannot do this alone.”

I went searching for resources online and found Raising Multiples, a MOST Community, then just called MOST, right away.  I accessed the forums and met some moms and some nurses who were giving great support and practical advice. MOST helped me plan for the pregnancy and the arrival of our girls as well as our life after. Our life was about to change drastically and I knew I needed real life expectations and to be prepared for the joy, the challenges and the exhaustion. I was able to connect with some moms who were just a few months and years ahead of me and they were so encouraging! I felt supported and confident that I had a resource of experts to help me through anything. I received information and support for:  the pregnancy, what supplies we needed, bed-rest, the birth and those nights of sleeplessness. There was even great info about how to best care for our older daughter.

I really appreciate that Raising Multiples, a MOST Community, supports the entire family along the entire journey–it isn’t just for the birth and early years. I have accessed information that gives me insight into school issues, different abilities and activities, birthday parties, friends, etc…, and I am sure when dating and the high school years hit I will be turning to Raising Multiples again.

I was able to be a volunteer for a time so that I could reach out to others in my state. Raising Multiples, a MOST Community, is a fantastic organization!  My husband and I are proud parents of four great daughters: Maddie, aged 15 and Grace, Katherine and Jacqueline aged 13; and we are very grateful for all the support. – Mikell

Please help us continue to provide information, advice and support for multiple birth families nationwide by making a donation online today. Or you may call the Raising Multiples office at 631-859-1110. We’d love to hear from you! Thank you.

Multiples Moms and Post Partum Depression

Letter from a mom in 1998 -

I have received 4 personal emails messages from women who are on Prozac for depression. No one seems to want others to know.  Is this a common diagnosis with multiple birth moms?

I wonder how can someone go through infertility, fertility treatments, miscarriages, a long scary pregnancy and the rough schedule of taking care of multiples without feeling stress (and then depressed)? The hormones alone get you! And should we be ashamed of this? Now that I have looked back at all that I have been through I am sort of proud of how sane I still remain. I’m not talking about postpartum depression (PPD). I am talking about after the babies are 6 months old or older. Do you know anything about this and is this common?

Back in 1998, we did not have a lot of solid information and resources to offer other than to let her know that these 4 moms who wrote her were SO not alone! What she was hearing from a few moms we were hearing on an almost daily basis from moms across the country and as far reaching as England and Japan. So we did a LOT of research. We looked at postpartum depression, but also looked at the full first year of life and beyond the infancy and toddler years.

Medical practitioners now know that PPD affects 10-20% of all new mothers and generally occurs within the first year following delivery, peaking between 10-14 weeks. According to our 2003 MOST survey on PPD, PPD appears not only to affect a higher percentage of higher-order multiple birth mothers, 29%, but may occur at a later time, as late as 18 months to 3 years post-delivery, and go undiagnosed and untreated in a significant percentage of new mothers of multiples.

We found that as certain aspects of your life as a mom of multiples become easier, those issues of loss and sadness that you may have kept on a back burner because you were dealing with massive stress and daily obligations creep to the forefront. Because you have been under such pressure up until this time, your mind/body protected you and allowed you to run on bits of adrenaline until there came a time that you either ran out of that adrenaline, or life got a little bit easier and you took a moment and exhaled.

When the babies started to sleep through the night or when they began to hold their own bottles. When they learned to feed themselves or “help you” take off their clothes (and maybe even help to put them back on) some of the sadness or anxiousness could have crept in.  It may not have happened until they went off to nursery school or kindergarten and you had more than just a moment to breathe and all sorts of unfamiliar emotions started creeping in. Some women feel very, very angry and may not be sure as to why they feel this way or what they are angry about. Other women have described themselves as having this overwhelming feeling of sadness but are not really sure why. Still others have become exceptionally anxious when at other times in their lives they may have been very confident and felt secure.

Thankfully over the last few decades the stigma associated with looking for and receiving the help and support a mom may need when these feelings may arise has been significantly decreased. We still have a few hurdles and thankfully Raising Multiples, a MOST Community, and so many other wonderful support networks and professionals are now aware of these needs and are prepared to help.

Resources:

http://www.preemiebabies101.com/2014/08/postpartum-stress-mental-health-after-a-preemie/

http://mchlibrary.info/KnowledgePaths/kp_postpartum.html

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/  800-273-TALK (8255)

http://pediatrics.about.com/library/quiz/blquiz_ppd_scng.htm

Raising Multiples eNews: April 2015

  • National Safe Kids Day
  •  MOMs Weekend Gathering
  • Anti Depressant Use During Pregnancy
  • HOM Fact
  • Stories from the Heart Blog

 

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Continue reading Raising Multiples eNews April 2015

It's Important to Babble Back to Your Baby

When parents listened and responded to a baby’s babbling, infants began to form complex sounds and started using language more quickly, according to a study published recently in the journal Infancy.

Language skills developed more slowly in babies whose parents didn’t make as much effort to understand their babbling, but instead sometimes directing their infants’ attention to something else.

“It’s not [just that] responsiveness matters. It’s how a mother responds that matters,” study corresponding author Julie Gros-Louis, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Iowa, said in a university news release.

The study shows that “social stimulation shapes at a very early age what children attend to…they are learning how to learn,” study co-author Andrew King, a senior scientist in psychology at Indiana University, said in the news release.

Full Story

Raising Multiples, a MOST Community, Family Spotlight

There are moments in life, good and bad, that take your breath away. Finding out I was pregnant with three babies at once was one of them – a great, overwhelming moment, a blessing. It happened again in 2011, when our beautiful babies were actually born and my husband, Jimmy, and I officially became parents.

Shortly after their birthday in 2013, there was yet another moment that took our breath away. It was when we learned Jimmy had colon cancer. Again, we were overwhelmed with all sorts of emotions. But we figured it out and did what we had to do. It was hard on us financially, emotionally and physically.

We found great comfort in the love and support we received from our extended family at Raising Multiples during that time. They helped make Christmas that year for us a bit brighter. We will always be grateful. I am truly thankful for the Raising Multiples family we have. The love, support and understanding is endless and it means so much. – Erica

Please help us continue to provide information, advice and support for multiple birth families nationwide by making a donation online today. Or you may call the Raising Multiples office at 631-859-1110. We’d love to hear from you! Thank you.

IVF Advances

In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is one method couples experiencing infertility use to try to have a baby. But a single IVF cycle is expensive and only has about a 32% success rate. So, doctors often implant multiple embryos to increase the odds of conception, also unwittingly increasing the chance of a multiple birth. Multiple birth pregnancies are high-risk and can have serious complications for both mothers and babies.

Two new techniques may improve the chance of conception from implanting a single embryo.

The first technique is pre-implantation genetic screening. In this procedure, cells are removed from the embryo on day five to see if the normal amount of genetic material is present. Embryos with extra or missing chromosomes are considered less viable because studies have shown they can cause miscarriage. This process is different from genetic screening for specific diseases or disorders, called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis.

The second technique is time-lapse imaging, a less invasive method of evaluating embryos. With time-lapse imaging, thousands of pictures are taken to record a fertilized egg cell dividing. Eggs dividing atypically are unlikely to survive. “The embryo’s fate can be determined very early in development,” says Barry Behr, director of Stanford University Medical Center’s IVF laboratory.

Dr. Behr co-wrote a study identifying three markers that determine if a four-cell embryo (on day two) is likely to reach blastocyst, a critical stage where it has divided into about 120 cells (on day five) and has a better chance of implanting in the uterus.

Time-lapse imaging may also work in tandem with chromosomal screening, since it provides information about an embryo’s metabolisms unavailable through genetic testing. Both of these techniques are expensive and more research is needed.

Adapted from the Wall Street Journal, September 14, 2014

Raising Multiples eNews March 2015

  •  Daylight Savings Time – Spring Forward 
  •  MOMs Weekend Gathering
  • Fun Fact
  • Stories from the Heart Blog

 

 

Excited about snow!

Daylight Savings Time

It’s that time of year…time to spring forward the clocks. This Sunday at 2am, the clock springs forward to 3 am.  Many children adjust easily but don’t be dismayed if yours do not!  Most families adjust the schedule by 15 min increments over the course of a few days.

How much sleep do your children need? Look at Are Your Kids Getting Enough Sleep?

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 MOMS Weekend

Time to start thinking of the  MOM Weekend. This gathering of moms usually occurs in July. NYC was a blast last summer. This is a long weekend of fun, being with others who “get” you.

Willing to help plan? Let Diane know at Diane@mostonline.org.

Where should we go?   Chicago?  Kansas City? Hope you can come join us.  

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Fun Fact

Number of tiny toes and fingernails to be clipped in one sitting:

  • twins – 40
  • triplets – 60
  • quadruplets – 80
  • quintuplets – 100
  • sextuplets – 120
  • septuplets – 140
  • octuplets – 160

 

Stories from the Heart Blog   

Check out the recent articles posted on the MOST Stories from the Heart blog. Feel free to share, pin or link your favorites through Twitter, Facebook, by email, or using your favorite social networking site with family members, friends and professionals. Each post has an easy-to-use ‘Share’ button at the bottom. The most recent titles include:

Have an idea for an article you’d like to read about? Have an article to share? Please let us know.  Here are some helpful links associated with the MOST blog:

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MOST Membership

 New members receive the FREE BOOK  Expecting Multiples: The Most Comprehensive Guide to High-risk Twin & All Triplet, Quadruplet or More Pregnancies (2nd Edition)
What does MOST offer? Some of the programs offered include one-on-one support, the MOST website, in-depth blog articles, advocacy efforts, outreach programs, development and provision of quality resources and more.
We invite you to join us! Join MOST for one-time only dues of just $45.00.
Help us spread the word about how economical it is to become a permanent part of MOST’s thriving community of multiple birth families.
*All MOST members are required to abide by the MOST Forum Terms of Agreement to maintain forum access.
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Find MOST on all your other favorite sites:

MOST Amazon Affiliate ProgramFollow MOST on TwitterMOST's Facebook PageMOST's YouTube ChannelMOST LinkedIn GroupMOST Families Group on Flickr

Medical Updates for Moms and Babies

Single-Family Room NICUs Benefit Babies

Most of us do not have access to a single-family room (SFR) style NICU. But a recent study in Pediatrics certainly makes it seem worth advocating for! The study reveals significant benefits for infants in NICUs with single-family rooms compared to infants in shared, open-bay arrangements. The SFR babies weighed more at discharge, gained weight more rapidly, required fewer medical procedures, had increased attention, and had less stress, lethargy and pain. According to the study’s lead author, the privacy, lighting, and having nurses who work one-on-one with the mothers in the SFR facility made for a more relaxed environment. Further, he explains, “there’s more maternal involvement than in the open bay and more maternal involvement leads to better behavioral and medical outcomes.”

Routine Bed Rest No Longer Advocated    Please check with your doctor. Many perinatogists for HOM pregnancies DO advise bed rest.

Were you on bed rest during your pregnancy? It has long been recommended for a number of potential complications, such as preterm contractions, short cervix, preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, placenta previa, and multiple gestation. The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) recently released a new guideline that recommends against the routine use of bed rest in pregnancy. The recent guideline references the results of several studies that did not find an improvement in maternal or neonatal outcomes with the use of activity restriction, but did find an increase in maternal morbidity. The guideline cites numerous side effects of restricted activity including loss of muscle and bone mass, cardiovascular capacity, and an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

Thanks to our friends at the National Premature Infant Health Coalition for passing along this information!

Device-free Dinners Important for Child Development

Are you constantly checking your phone for messages during dinner? A new study finds that mothers’ use of cellphones and other devices during meals was tied with 20 percent fewer verbal and 39 percent fewer nonverbal interactions with their children.

“This study documents what we clearly see to be true — that is, that everyone is connected to an electronic interface way too much and ignoring real-time human relations,” said Dr. Ron Marino, associate chair of pediatrics at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.

“Children must have the emotional physical and verbal presence of a loving caretaker,” he added. “When a mother is distracted by electronic media, the opportunities to develop language and social cognition are diminished or lost.”

Raising Multiples eNews February 2015

  •  Children’s Dental Health Month
  •  More Adopt a Family Thank You Notes
  •  Stories from the Heart Blog

triplets in fancy valentines

Children’s Dental Health Month

 

Managing the cost of medical care for multiples is often difficult. Luckily, February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, sponsored by the American Dental Association.

Through the Give Kids A Smile program (which is available year-round, but highlighted during February), families can access quality dental care at little or no cost. To find a program in your state and to see if you qualify, visit Give Kids A Smile.

The ADA also has some cute activity sheets for kids available to download (in English or Spanish) that might help make a first visit to the dentist less scary. (scroll to bottom of page. Available in English and Spanish)

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Adopt-a-Family Update

THANK YOU   to the individuals, families, groups, and organizations that donated money, clothing, toys and gifts for our multiple birth families.

Two more notes we received from families that were in the Adopt A Family program this past year.  Over the next few months, we will share more.

  • Yesterday I received a wonderful package from a MOST angel. I can’t put into words how much I appreciated the surprise. I had to go to the post office to pick up the package (I wasn’t home when they tried to deliver it). I got in the car and opened the package – I am sure a few people thought I was a little crazy when they walked past my car. Most people don’t cry and smile at the same time.    Happy Holidays
  • Dear Friends,Thank you so much for the Wal-Mart gift cards. We were shocked to receive this example of generosity. This past year has been a struggle and this gift certainly does help at the right time. We have no idea where this initiated, but please send our most sincere gratitude. We are humbled & overjoyed.   With Christ’s Blessings    Thank you again

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Stories from the Heart Blog   

Check out the recent articles posted on the MOST Stories from the Heart blog. Feel free to share, pin or link your favorites through Twitter, Facebook, by email, or using your favorite social networking site with family members, friends and professionals. Each post has an easy-to-use ‘Share’ button at the bottom. The most recent titles include:

Have an idea for an article you’d like to read about? Have an article to share? Please let us know.  Here are some helpful links associated with the MOST blog:

___________________________________

MOST Membership

New members receive the FREE BOOK  Expecting Multiples: The Most Comprehensive Guide to High-risk Twin & All Triplet, Quadruplet or More Pregnancies (2nd Edition)
What does MOST offer? Some of the programs offered include one-on-one support, the MOST website, in-depth blog articles, advocacy efforts, outreach programs, development and provision of quality resources and more.
We invite you to join us! Join MOST for one-time only dues of just $45.00.
Help us spread the word about how economical it is to become a permanent part of MOST’s thriving community of multiple birth families.
*All MOST members are required to abide by the MOST Forum Terms of Agreement to maintain forum access.
_____________________________

Find MOST on all your other favorite sites:

MOST Amazon Affiliate ProgramFollow MOST on TwitterMOST's Facebook PageMOST's YouTube ChannelMOST LinkedIn GroupMOST Families Group on Flickr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Parents Report Children's Disabilities

Parents are reporting their children’s disabilities more now than a decade ago, according to a study published online in Pediatrics. Analysis of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) records found that reports of physical disabilities have declined and neurodevelopmental or mental health disability reports have increased. Also of note, the increase in reports is largely attributed to “socially advantaged” families. Read the full report. Thanks to our friends at National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition for passing this along.

Adolescence: Multiple Madness?

BY: Elizabeth A. Pector, MD     Dr Pector is a board certified family physician in Naperville, IL and a member of the MOST Advisory Board. Her letters and articles have been published in medical journals and lay publications. She is married, and is the mother of David, born in 1991, and twins Jared and Bryan, delivered in 1997 the day after Bryan’s death from a cord accident. She has spoken on bereavement and special needs in multiples to local and national audiences, and remains interested in issues facing multiple-birth families including parent stress, prematurity, special needs, and cultural beliefs about multiple births.

Adolescence is a challenging time. Physical, mental and social development occurs at a whirlwind pace. Helping two or more children together through this transition to adulthood is both gratifying and mystifying to parents. Fortunately, most multiples have no greater trouble than singletons in navigating adolescence, and some find it easier. Twin studies in Finland revealed that twins smoked less, drank less alcohol and were more physically active than singletons, so teen twins may actually be healthier than their peers! (Ed. Note: It would be nice if this is true for higher-order multiples as well but such studies have not been done yet.)

Continue reading Adolescence: Multiple Madness?