It’s been a week since I gave birth to the triplets, and it wasn’t as harrowing as I expected. My husband’s work schedule and the government granting a longer paternity leave since 2013 has allowed him to be with us for 12 whole days. A luxury for Singaporean standards. And it’s made a world of difference. When we had Livia and learning the ropes of parenthood, it was quite an emotional and physically challenging roller-coaster from the start, and back then he only had a day of paternity leave so he was back at work right after I came home from hospital. Nevertheless that experience really helped this time round even though there was a lot more work with three newborns and a toddler. We didn’t have to look up Google all the time, learn how to use all that baby equipment, and wondered what we were doing wrong and never seemed to get anything right. The moment the triplets got home, we immediately got started on putting them on the same schedule, and it was tough the first day but by the second day they fell into predictable eat, sleep, diaper-changing clockwork. And unlike the first time round where there was a lot of, “It’s your turn to get up!”, this time round my husband is always the first to take initiative since I am still on the road to full recovery. He said there was something vulnerable about looking at me laying on that operating table and that I’ve made a huge sacrifice for the family and he’s thrilled to do what he can now before going back to work full-time. I know, thrilled. He really hasn’t shown much fatigue except in the very early wee mornings.
We had visitors for the first few days and I found that really interrupted breastfeeding because I had to dress appropriately and entertain people, so by the second day we told everyone that visitations were tentatively over until further notice. We didn’t even let our next door neighbour see the triplets. Breastfeeding is still going slow, as expected with the triplets coming out a month early, me still on painkillers, having a C-section and delaying milk and on top of it, triplets whose mouths are so tiny and with weak sucking reflexes. I don’t expect to breastfeed successfully but I will keep giving as long as there’s milk to give. However, I do not have engorgement problems like I did the first time round. With Livia I was engorged an entire month and constantly fell sick while this time round, I knew what to do to prevent it.
I still get very sore and my mobility is curbed from the C-section incision. But its still not as bad as carrying the triplets. What bothers me greatly is the water retention. Its still there! So my legs continue to be like tree trunks and I discovered it will continue to be like this for another week or so. Its driving me up the wall. I am getting stitches removed this coming Friday and I am hoping there’s some shortcut to removing the water retention. I suppose my case is a lot more worst considering how much larger my uterus stretched and how much more fluid it carried and how much more it blocked circulation to my legs.
The only eventful thing I can really report on was the tussle to bring Lucia home from nursery. The NUH paediatrician team insisted to keep her there for further monitoring due to her weight. They felt her growth was restricted in the womb due to her position in my womb and sharing a placenta with her identical twin sister. I found it strange that the gynaecological team marvelled at their birth weights, because they are truly big and far along for triplets but the paediatrician team felt that their weight, especially Lucia’s, was not good enough. There was absolutely no problem with Lucia except she lost a bit of weight and wasn’t gaining weight at all the three days she stayed in nursery. We insisted that they release her from hospital because I did my research with preemies and although my babies were preemies, they were not behaving like preemies at all. Two of them were as big as ordinary newborns who are 40 weeks full-term. Their lungs were developed, they could feed from the breast and bottle, and they were growing. Lucia and Liora were taken directly to the nursery after birth and all further tests done on them (which I felt were unnecessary), they passed. I felt Lucia wasn’t gaining weight in hospital because first, she was separated from her sisters when they really should be co-sleeping since its an arrangement they are familiar with from the start. Second, she isn’t getting love and nourishment from nurses when at home she is getting constant kangaroo care and being with her family who can give her more loving attention. Third, when she cries, we respond immediately whereas in a nursery they probably adopt a CIO method because there’s only so many babies a nurse can give attention to. In fact, while in hospital Lysbeth dropped 30% in weight and Liora dropped 200 grams. I know newborns tend to lose weight right after birth but Lysbeth’s one day stay at NICU caused quite a big weight loss. As parents we knew instinctively that we were right to insist Lucia’s release from hospital, though we made a compromise with the doctors (or consultants as they like to call themselves now) that we will get her weight checked at the polyclinic and update them. Sure enough, just after two days at home, she returned to her original birth weight and I am sure by Thursday when she goes for her next polyclinic appointment, she would have already surpassed her birth weight. She’s sleeping and eating as often and as much as her siblings, though I would say we give her a lot more kangaroo care. Lysbeth and Liora have also regained their birth weights and Liora, the chubbiest of the three on account of having her own placenta for 8 whole months, is looking more like a full-term singleton newborn.
So that’s our first week with the triplets. There hasn’t been any crazy tears and mad exhaustion YET. I will be having another round of transition when my husband returns to work this weekend. And maybe the crazy tears will start. We had a couple of practice rounds where I was left on my own with the girls but they were only for a few hours. I managed them okay all those practice rounds except for the one time when they were all crying and I was lost, and it turns out they wanted more milk despite getting a feeding already.