So I have gone apparently three years without focusing on my own health at all, according to my writing anyway. It's not too far from the truth! My triplets are three years old now and are happy, active, and totally healthy, thank God and the doctors in the NICU. They are getting a bit more independent and I feel like I finally have some energy to direct back to myself!
The first year was tough. They were in the NICU for 101 days. I lived with my parents near the hospital for most of it. Then when they came home, I was so so lucky that my mom and mother-in-law were able to live with us in turns for 5 more months, although that made the transition into parenthood a little different than I expected. Due to the risk of contracting RSV, a common virus especially dangerous to compromised preemie lungs, we remained in isolation for the whole year -- no contact with other kids, no stores, no church, no strangers touching them, no nursery or daycare. I did not take them anywhere in the car without another adult. Keeping three extremely premature babies alive is no joke, which I'm sure everyone with even a bit of imagination can believe.
I wasn't able to transition them to direct breast feeding, but I did keep pumping and give them breast milk for a year. I pumped 5-9 times a day, including during the night, for literally a year. I did not sleep more than 6 hours at a time for 9 months. At one point, I was pumping 90 oz a day (a baby will typically eat around 25 oz). That's 1800 calories of milk that my body was creating. I was starving all the time! But any time I tried to cut calories from my diet, my production dropped. Let me tell you, there is a long list of things that are more important to me than being skinny, and feeding my kids is pretty high up there. So my diet became "whatever I want to eat".
When I stopped pumping, we went through another round of FET (frozen embryo transfer) with our single remaining embryo from the cycle that gave us the triplets. I got pregnant but lost it around 6 weeks. And with that, we closed up shop. Three children is enough, and the emotional, physical, and financial cost of trying for more became too high. Although it stung to end on a miscarriage, in some ways I'm relieved I can devote everything to the ones I do have.They've already had to share so much with each other.
As far as exercise, the first couple of years we went on daily walks in the neighborhood in our awesome triple stroller. The same weekend that the last baby was discharged from the hospital, my sister-in-law, L, moved on to our actual STREET with her daughter, who is just 9 months older. 18 months after that, she had another cousin for us! L has been my faithful walking buddy this whole time and was the only adult interaction I got some days when we were in RSV isolation. I can't say how thankful I am for her, and how glad I am that I didn't let my bitterness ruin our relationship when she got pregnant in the midst of my hardest struggle with infertility.
Now the kids weigh nearly 100 lbs all together, and we don't go for many stroller walks anymore! Long walks have been replaced by hours at the park with our friends, watching them play and having sweet, irreplaceable talks with other women. More active for the kids, less active for me. :)
I started trying to write about my physical health over the last few years, but noticed how I keep coming back to my mental and emotional health. These last two years have been healing me from the intense pain and isolation of infertility and the difficult pregnancy and the NICU stay and the first year and the last loss. Each year gets better and better. Everything that infertility took away is slowly being restored. I have the family of close-in-age (very close), blonde-haired, dark-eyed children I wanted -- we took a different path, but we're there!
So that's what my body and I have been doing for the last three years!