Raising Multiples

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About Raising Multiples

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So far Raising Multiples has created 126 blog entries.

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.

May 27th, 2015|Testimonials/Fund Raising|

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.

May 19th, 2015|Parents of Multiples|

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

May 5th, 2015|Parents of Multiples|

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.

April 28th, 2015|Testimonials/Fund Raising|

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

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