I am feeling a little emotional tonight.
I think the moment I found out I was having triplets, the negativity related to a high-order multiple birth was rather deep and traumatic. I felt these girls were being punished for being born together. Having to come into this world premature and smaller than their peers, not getting a fair shot at being breastfed successfully, then having to share everything from the placenta, space in the womb to their cots, and then having an older sister to contend with. In some ways, it makes them a little more rugged. They were socialised a lot earlier than singletons and also had to develop faster in the womb because they were going to be born earlier. In other ways, it also puts them at a disadvantage because they didn’t get an optimal start to life and their parents just had to survive because taking care of high order multiples is really tough. The fact that conversations revolved around whether we should selectively reduce them when we found out we were pregnant with triplets tells you how the journey into triplethood started quite rockily.
I’ve gotten so used to worrying about my babies and their development that its sort of deeply imprinted in my brain and psyche. I recently told a friend that a high order multiple birth is not something I wish even for my worst enemy. And Lucia, my smallest triplet who suffered restricted intrauterine growth, encapsulated everything I worried about when it came to having a high order multiple birth. 15 months on and she’s still shorter than Lysbeth and Liora and almost a kg behind both of them even though Lysbeth is her identical twin. She was so teensy when she came out, her head was the size of my palm. I was afraid to hold her because she was so small.
Then today something happened that changed my entire outlook on these little babies and how strong they really are.
I’ve been bringing them to the playground more routinely lately because I promised myself to give them plenty of outdoor time once they walked steadily. And Lucia, whose sort of always had a rather cautious personality (like she is always the last person to try things out of her comfort zone) climbed to the top of a playground structure that was clearly meant for older kids and went down a very steep slide all on her own. My heart was racing the whole time and my instinct was to remove her from the top instantly because there were all these points around the structure that had no side railings and she could easily fall and hurt herself. Even as I showed my friends the video I took of her climb said that they felt fear for her. Through it all, my brain was full of self-doubt. It kept telling me, but she’s still too small for this. She’s going to fall any minute. I need to help her. But my heart challenged my brain and said, no look at her, she’s looks comfortable and confident. She can do this. Let her.
And I fought against my instincts to rescue my littlest child from heights and let her take a risk. She wobbled a bit here and there, looked down from really high, struggled a bit to get seated comfortably at the peak of the slide and released herself to slide down and burst into crazy giggles probably from the adrenaline. Soon after she descended, her sisters tried to do the same climb and descended down the same slide. They enjoyed it so much they did it again and again.
At that moment, I felt like crying because for once I can see that the girls have finally arrived. They are okay. Everything is okay. The trauma of the pregnancy and their newborn days are behind us. Everytime I feel like holding them back because I fear they are too small, I will remember this.