You had a difficult road to parenthood after your first child was born, can you tell us a little bit about it?
Our first child (our son) was born in December 2000. The triplets were born in 2007. The six years inbetween our son’s birth and the triplet pregnancy, were extremely painful and emotional for me – we had 2 ectopic pregnancies (back-to-back within 7 months of each other), then 3 years of unsuccessful trying on our own, and a 3rd loss resulting in a stillbirth.
At that point, I really believed that we were meant to have one child – that, that was what God had planned for us. (I grew up in a large family and had always wanted a large family of my own – I had always envisioned having 5 children). You go through life believing that you can do anything that you set your heart and mind to – and then you try to have children and your health and body take over. It was devastating.
The triplets are truly a miracle. At 23 weeks in my pregnancy, I was 1/2cm dilated and starting to efface. I was put on hospital bedrest for the duration of the pregnancy (and had a Kindergartner at home!!) The girls were delivered at 34 weeks 5 days. 4lbs 4oz, 4lbs. 2oz, 4lbs. 9oz. Two of the girls were only in the NICU for one night, the third was in the NICU for 1 week. The girls were exceptionally healthy – they were eating and breathing on their own from birth! We are truly, truly blessed. While the pregnancy itself was an incredible journey, life now, with three 3-year-old girls is nothing I ever imagined. So gratifying and yet, at times, so unbelievably frustrating. One of my best friends (who also has twins) reminds me of what one of our wonderful nurses (we share the same OB, same hospital and had the same nurses) said to her, “God gives you what you can handle.” With that, we also live one day at a time.
Were you surprised you were pregnant with triplets?
Surprised, shocked and stunned! My husband said he looked at the ultrasound screen and he knew there were 3 sacs, even before the doctor told us. I had an inclining we would have twins – because the nurses who had done a blood test (prior to our ultrasound) had indicated that my (hcg) levels were high – higher than expected for a singleton. But I never thought of the possibility of triplets.
How did your older son react to the news of triplets?
Our son was 5 years old, and was old enough to understand the concept of three babies in my tummy. However when we told him the news, he was not really suprised nor shocked, but was inquisitive – how would they fit? During the pregnancy, we would tell him where each baby was situated (where their heads and feet were, and how each baby was lying on top of the other) – and how each baby was labeled, as Baby A, Baby B, Baby C. All he would say is, “I KNOW Baby B is a boy!” (He really wanted to have a baby brother). When we found out that we were having three girls, we didn’t tell him. Towards the end of the pregnancy, we tried to explain to him how cool the possibility of three girls would be – that he would be sooo special because he’d be the only boy, and their big brother – their only brother. It was (still is) a delicate situation because the girls get so much attention.
What are some of your favorite family activities?
Now (and more recently) as the girls approach age 4, this is an easier question to answer because we’ve been able to do more together, i.e. this Winter the girls actually started to learn how to ski. Before, we’d have to divide and conquer; my husband would take my son, and I’d stay home with the girls. In the summertime, we all love spending time on the beach as a family. Before the girls were 2 years old, they didn’t want to put their feet in the sand, or go anywhere near the water’s edge. The past two summers (last summer they were 3) the girls LOVED the beach (except one, who loved playing in the sand, but was afraid of the water). Those activities are how we’ve spent our family vacations. But on a day-to-day basis, anything we do outdoors and all-together (even just going to their brothers’ soccer and lacrosse games) is a great activity for us. And if I had to pinpoint ONE activity, I’d say spending time with our extended families (we both come from large families – with lots of cousins) – our kids love their cousins – we don’t have to be anywhere special, just with family.
You’re relaunching your Interior Design business, what’s your favorite design tip to give people?
Buy what you love (for your home). It’s those pieces that will stand the test of time – even when your styles and tastes, or color choices change – those will be the items that will always find a place in your home; that will add character and have a story behind it. I have a red, antique barn stool that I bought years ago at the Brimfield Antique Fair (in Brimfield, MA). It wasn’t even for sale. The booth owner was sitting on it, and when I asked if it was for sale, she said it wasn’t, but she’d sell it to me on the condition that I’d let her sit on it for the rest of the day (and pick it up when the fields closed). It was a deal. The stool has had several different uses in different rooms of each of our homes (since I bought it 9 years ago). I’m sitting on it now (at the desk in our kitchen) as I write to you, and it is the ONLY red item in our kitchen. I think that many times, people hesitate before they make a purchase – where will this fit? will it match (color and decor)? I say, go with your gut. If you love it, you’ll find a place – it doesn’t need to match – if it’s artwork, or something modern, an antique, bright orange, it doesn’t matter.
The other advice I love to give, is really my mother’s advice (she is an interior designer). She always says to buy the best piece of furniture you can afford (make an investment purchase). Again, those pieces you’ll have forever. An example would be with my children’s rooms. I tend not to buy “children’s furniture” (i.e. toddler beds or painted furniture in children’s colors) – but buy the pieces that they’ll have in their rooms throughout their lives. When our girls moved out of their cribs into “big girl beds,” I had custom, upholstered headboards made for them. Upfront it’s more money than you’ll want to spend, but over time, if it’s a quality piece, you’ll get your money’s worth.
What question(s) do you have for the other families in the community?
Many days I carry tons of guilt – that I didn’t spend enough one-on-one time, with my kids. With our son (our first child, and only child for 6 years), I read 3 books to him before bedtime, every night. I did arts and crafts with him, and took him to museums, the aquarium…. The girls are lucky if I can read each one of them even one book at bedtime. Often times, they get tucked in and that’s it! Life goes by so quickly and our days are so busy (not so much because of their activities, just even getting the house/laundry in order), I find myself playing referee, or disciplining them – and at the end of the day think, did I spend any quality time with them? How do other parents balance this?