Monday, May 19, 2008

5 weeks old

Hello all! I currently have a rare moment where all three boys are currently napping during the day and I am going to try and complete this update in one sitting. It has been two weeks since I posted last and the boys are really growing fast!

During week 4, we were all blessed to have three additional sets of hands on site to take care of our family and home. Grandma Peggy, Ms. Donna and Harley were a welcome addition to the on site team and the boys were most appreciative to have some available to take care of their needs without having to wait in line!!! While the boys were happy, Mike and I were really happy as well. I was able to get a full "night" of sleep each morning. I felt recharged and able to take on the challenge of the next week when it was back to zone defense of mommy/daddy vs. boys. They boys are currently winning but we are all quickly learning how to survive and even thrive as a family. Our house also appreciated your visit as the front of the home received a little "curb appeal." Thanks to Grandma Peggy and Ms. Donna, the front of the house received it's facelift! It was a great week and we hope you all will hurry back to Florida.

During the week, we started to notice some white milky spots on Andrew's tongue. What started as a few spots on the tongue, quickly grew into a full on "yuck mouth." After researching on the internet, we discovered that he must have thrush. As soon as we discovered what he had, the same thing started appearing on Jared and Wesley. The boys are definitely learning to share starting with their first infection. When we called the pediatrician, I told them that all three had thrush and her reply was "all three?" followed by a chuckle while stating this is not the first illness that will pass among each other. We were told to apply Gentian Violet to their mouths three times daily. Well, during the first application, we learned of the "dangers" of Gentian Violet. I am sure experienced mothers out there know about this stuff but in case you do not, this stuff WILL STAIN!!! However, it does create some photo opportunities. Jared was our first victim so he got the most and taught us about Gentian Violet. We were much better when Wesley received his dose and he even looks proud and fabulous with his purple lips! It is as if he is saying, "how do I look?"

Since the crew from Texas returned home, Mike and I have been going it alone, Grandma free. We have benefited from the group at CGI (my work) providing us prepared meals that we just heat up. This has been really helpful in the evening so Mike can focus on baby activities like making bottles for the next day, relieving me to take a shower and spending time with each of his boys. I really appreciate him as a father as we have really taken a team approach to parenting this trio. Mike has become exceptionally good at one activity... putting the babies (and himself) to sleep. Over the past week, I have been able to capture moments of him spending time with each of his boys. While you may think these photos are all taken on the same night, they were taken on three different nights. They sure are cute!!!

On May 12th, the boys hit their one month birthday!! It is really hard to believe how fast time is passing. The boys had their one month doctor's appointment on Thursday, May 15th. At the doctor's visit, all three boys were given a clean bill of health. The boys were really great on this outing. They were calm in their car seats and were not fussy at the doctor or the remainder of the outing. In the photo, Andrew is at the top, then Jared and then Wesley is keeping his eye on Daddy as he takes the photo. During the outing, we went to the doctor's office, stopped at a Notary to get some paperwork notarized and then through a drive through to get lunch. They were great during the entire trip. When we stopped at the office for the notary, we brought all three boys inside and the office emptied out into the lobby to see them. In addition, they did not charge us for their services because of the triplets! Mike commented on how I like the attention we get in public. I, of course, enjoy showing off my boys!!
At the doctor's visit, the boys growth was measured. Here is how we are doing:

Weight - 7lb 1oz (3rd percentile)
Length - 20" (5th percentile)
Head Circumference - 33.9cm (less than 3rd percentile)

Weight - 7lbs (3rd percentile)
Length - 20 1/4" (8th percentile)
Head Circumference - 35.4cm (15th percentile)

Weight - 6lbs 10oz (less than 3rd percentile)
Length - 20 3/4" (20th percentile)
Head Circumference - 34cm (less than 3rd percentile)

Andrew remains the heaviest of the bunch but Jared is quickly gaining on him. Jared must have not liked the nickname of "the baby" as he has really packed on the ounces since his last weight check. I think most of his weight has been gained in those cheeks! It's almost like those cheeks appeared overnight. Wesley, who was the heaviest at birth, has now become the smallest of the trio. Regardless of their weight, they are all doing well for their "adjusted age" of one week (age based on full term due date which was May 13th). Developmentally, they are on target. Jared is still having a little trouble lifting his head. At the doctor's I joked about this being harder due to the size of his head. The doctor said this probably is the cause of him having a little trouble. Don't worry Jared, you will grow into those cheeks!!!

Here are some other photos of the boys from the past two weeks (I have learned most blog readers just look at the pictures anyway):

Andrew poses for close-up photo. Below is a picture of Andrew following his bath. While his brothers are much calmer during their baths, Andrew still does not enjoy the bath. His screaming fit results in a very exhausted Andrew after the bath (is this really that bad?).

Jared, aka. "the baby," still holds onto his nickname of the baby. We also call him "baby J." While he has shaken the designation of the smallest of the trio, he is still the baby of the bunch. He is very quiet compared to his brothers. You can always count on Baby J to patiently wait his turn to eat or to go to sleep with ease. When preparing for the doctors appointment, I was reviewing how much each baby is eating, how often, how many wet and soiled diapers. Well, it was interesting to see that Baby J has eaten the least of the trio but gained the most weight. Below you see him in his car seat... again, where did those cheeks come from?

In these pictures, you see Wesley sitting in his bouncer with his mittens on. He has been scratching himself a lot recently so he now gets to wear mittens while hanging out. I love this photo because it looks like he is covering his ears in an attempt to block out the cries of one of his brothers. Then, he is pictured in his car seat, ready to roll! He was hanging onto the straps as if he was getting ready to ride a roller coaster. His face has great expressions and it looks like he is really trying to say something. Watch out world once he is actually able to talk!

Well, my goal was to complete this update in one sitting, I failed. After many breaks, I was finally able to complete an update for everyone. I need to finish quickly though as the boys are set to wake soon for their first night feeding. Last night was a big night for us.... it was their first night in the nursery. Prior to tonight, the boys have been living in a crib below the TV in the family room. We are now trying to introduce a nighttime routine that will hopefully lead us to a full night of sleep in the future. So far (one night) it appears to be better than family room life. Last night, they went 4 hours between each feeding! This is a big improvement over the every 3 hours as it was in the family room. Hopefully this pattern will continue.

I hope everyone is doing well!

Take care,


Saturday, May 3, 2008

3 Weeks Old

It is so hard to believe that the boys are 3 weeks old today! It seems like yesterday that I was anxiously awaiting their arrival while confined to my hospital room. Time really does fly when you are having fun and boy oh boy oh boy are we having fun!

Over the past two weeks, the boys and I have been getting healthier and stronger as we all recover. During our second week, the boys made two visits to the pediatrician for weight checks. At the first check on April 21st, Andrew weighed 5lb 1.2oz, Jared weighed 4lb 8.8oz and Wesley weighed 4lb and 15oz. Jared had only gained .8oz since the first check 3 days prior but he gained weight so we were still doing ok and he retained his title as "the baby."

On April 25th, the boys were 13 days old and we returned for another weight check. The target weight for 2 weeks is to return to their birth weight. At this visit, Andrew weighed 5lb 4.6oz and Jared weighed 4lb and 13.8oz. Both of these boys had surpassed the target of returning to their birth weight. Wesley weighed 5lb 3.6oz at this visit which was 1.4 oz less than his birth weight. The nurse was confident that based on his weight gain during the week that if he were to be weighed on Saturday, he would also be at his birth weight. As we had met our targets for weight gain, we were released from additional weight checks and did not need to return to the pediatrician until their one month appointment on May 15th. We are so proud of our big boys' accomplishments!!!

As the boys had returned to their weight at delivery, I thought it would be fun to have Mike hold all three babies to gain an appreciation for what I was carrying at the point of delivery. While he was a wonderful caretaker throughout the entire pregnancy, I still wanted him to hold all three babies to feel what I had physically experienced (pictured to the left). Let's just imagine Mike pregnant for a moment...

While we are talking about weight gain, I just want to take a moment to mention my weight loss. As of the date the boys reached their birth weight and I had reached my pre-pregnancy weight. I gained a total of 69 lbs during my pregnancy and as of April 25th (13 days post delivery), I had lost 71 lbs... yipee! During week 3, the weight loss had slowed considerably and I only lost 2 additional pounds. I hope to keep loosing to reach a much healthier weight. Taking care of these boys is turning out to be a great weight loss program!

I also had two visits with Dr. Dixon to continue to monitor my blood pressure and that darn "spot" that had become infected above the incision area. At my first follow up visit regarding the "spot," Dr. Dixon's assessment was that it was getting better but prescribed yet another antibiotic to fight the bacteria. At my visit this week, Dr. Dixon was pleased with the "spot's" healing and we were released from weekly visits and my next appointment is the regular 6 week post-partum visit on May 23rd. My blood pressure was 132/86 and Dr. Dixon is confident that at my 6 week appointment, I will be completely back to normal... how very exciting!

Over the past two weeks, we have had a lot of great moments with the boys. The boys were able to meet their Great Grandmother Pooka and Aunt Joan. Pooka and Aunt Joan were able to spend time with all three boys. The boys were all very comfortable with Pooka and were soothed to sleep the moment they were in her arms. Pooka, where are you when the boys are awake and fussy during the middle of the night??? We need to bottle a little of that Pooka magic. The picture to the left is Pooka with Wesley. The picture to the right is Aunt Joan feeding Jared. We all really enjoyed your visit.

The downside of the visit was that they were here to visit with the boys and to give Grandma Sally a ride home. So, at the conclusion of their visit, it was Mama and Papa Darnell on their own with the trio and Papa had already returned to work. From Wednesday to Saturday, we had an opportunity to experience life as a family without any additional hands on deck. Let's just say we survived but we were very happy to hear that Grandma Sally was ready and willing to return on Saturday evening and Uncle Lance was eager (or at least willing) to drive her back to Tallahassee.

As all three boys have lost their umbilical cords, we have started to regularly bathe the boys. This activity is so much fun that I had to mention it. I attempted the first bath in the baby bath tub when I was caring for the boys alone. It was a good thing that there was not another adult in the house or he may have been compelled to call 911 as he could have assumed the boys were being tortured based on the cries that were coming from the kitchen. I have now nicknamed the bath, the "torture bath" time. One would swear the boys are being tortured based on their reaction to bath time. During their first bath, I had one baby in the bath and the other two were still in their crib. Once the baby in the bath started to scream, the boys in the crib started to scream as if they were screaming for me to stop causing so much pain to their brother. The good news is that after bath time, all boys are relaxed, smell like angels and appear at peace... or it is exhaustion from the intense reaction to the bath. The other good point is that with each bath, they are getting a little calmer. I hope that they will eventually learn to enjoy bath time. If anyone out there has suggestions on how to improve the bathing experience for the boys, I am open to suggestions.

Chewie is finally starting to warm up to the boys... or at least he is acknowledging that they exist. He is still not excited about the boys when they are crying. There have been a couple of times when a baby has been crying in the swing or the bouncer and Chewie has started to bark at the baby. I am not sure if he is trying to alert me to the crying (as if I did not hear it on my own) or he is trying to tell the baby to be quiet. Either way, the additional barking does not help the calm the situation.

The boys have started to be more and more alert each day. When the boys are alert, we have started "tummy time" with them. Wesley forgot to read the memo that told him he was a premie baby and should be a little behind in development. He is very active on his tummy. He is able to move his head from left to right and back with ease. He is also starting to hold his head up and to my surprise, he rolled from his stomach to his back. He first did this two days ago and I thought it was a fluke. Today, during "tummy time" he did it twice. Andrew is also active during "tummy time" and is able to move his head from side to side and has brief moments of lifting his head. Jared is once again, more interested in sleep than any activity. We are not sure he knows what he is supposed to do because when we lay him on his tummy, he wants to go to sleep. I am really proud of anything they are able to do at this point because we should all remember that they are still about a week away from their original due date.

One action all three of the boys have mastered is the art of the spin. Using their feet and legs, the boys are able to spin their bodies in full circles. This activity along with the boys' desire to be close to each other has resulted in a new phenomenon occurring in their crib. The boys have started to use each other as leg rests.

Pictured to the left is Wesley with his legs propped up on Jared. The funniest part about this is that they were both sleeping soundly when we found them like this. Wesley was comfortable and Jared was undisturbed by his brother. We have noticed that Wesley is our big "cuddler" and we always find him moved over into Jared's crib space. The boys were originally assigned spots in their crib with Andrew on the left, Jared in the middle and Wesley on the right. This was done to help everyone keep track of who is who. However, once we continued to find Wesley and Jared cuddled up, we decided to move Andrew to the middle so he could get some brotherly love. Let's not forget that Andrew was the baby in utero that was on the bottom of the other two and was somewhat isolated. With Andrew in the middle, Jared decided to repay the foot rest favor and we found Jared with his feet resting on Andrew. Once again, both boys were sleeping soundly when this picture was taken.

Then today, the sweetness and innocence of the leg resting turned ugly. Andrew was still sleeping in the middle with Jared on his left. I was feeding Wesley while Andrew and Jared were in the crib. I am not sure who started it but the scene in the crib took a turn for the worse. First, I saw feet out from underneath their blankets. Then, I heard the sounds of frustration from both boys. I continued to feed Wesley until the sounds of frustration turned into all out cries. I then got up and discovered Andrew kicking Jared in the head and Jared kicking Andrew in the body. In the picture, Andrew is on the right and started out sleeping straight up and down. He had turned a full 90 degrees to get his feet up to Jared's head. Mark the date of May 3rd as the date I had to break up the first Team Darnell fight! I am sure this will not be the last time I move the boys to their own respective corners to "cool down." Don't worry, the boys have kissed and made up.

Other memorable moments and cute photos:

Andrew in his bouncer. During the first week, the boys were unsure of their bouncers. Since then, they have learned to enjoy time in their bouncers. There is one small issue with the bouncers. The issue is that the vibration mode lasts for 10 minutes and then shuts off. Well, the boys really like this and it is difficult to keep hitting the button every ten minutes when caring for two additional babies.
This is Jared after finishing a bottle. Ahhh, so content!!!
Wesley taking a breather during "tummy time."

The past two weeks have been wonderful!! We have really appreciated the help provided by Grandma Sally. Today, the team from Junction, Texas arrived to meet the boys and lend a helping hand. The team consists of Grandma Peggy, her friend Donna and Donna's daughter Harley. The boys are so happy to have the group here (as are Mike and I) as they are all getting held a lot which has not been the case when there is only one set of arms to hold them.

While in the hospital, the boys had their pictures taken. If you would like to see them, you can view them online at Once on the site, select the link to the Web Nursery. It will then ask for the birth date for the babies, April 12, 2008. There will be two listings for Kellie D. The password to access is Team Darnell. The first listing contains pictures for Wesley and Jared. It will first display Wesley (taking an oath). To view Jared, change the name in the dropdown at the top of the page labled "viewing." The second listing of my name contains the pictures for Andrew.

This should bring everyone up to speed on what is occurring within the Darnell household. I hope everyone else is doing well.

Take care,