Friday, March 31, 2006

A stay of execution.

Great news!! The hospital has unilaterally decided that Breda and I are unfit parents and should not be allowed to have the children. They have decided that it would be better all round if the kids were adopted by Angelina Jolie so she can complete her collection.

Obviously this is not without a certain degree of financial recompense to ourselves. We also retain visiting rights and will certainly stretch ourselves to sailing over from our private island for Christmases.

The really great thing is that Breda doesn’t even fancy Brad Pitt and, as a quick glance at photos of me will show, it’s easy to see why she wouldn’t fall for his cheap, flashy good looks.


Ahhhhhhhhh…I remember when my fantasies could just focus on Angelina without being blindsided by childcare issues.

Alas it’s time to wake up and smell the super-mega-bucket-sized cups of coffee. The kids will soon be here and we will have to put our fears behind us and come to terms with our new lives.

We have managed to move the days that we will spend in the hospital A.L.O.N.E with the kids. Given that they must all learn to drink from bottles first, (our last chance here is that they are really slow learners. Like, maybe not till they’re eighteen), we should be spending next weekend in a state of high panic and low sleep.

The delay is needed as poor old Breda has got to go in for an operation on Wednesday to get her blood-clot umbrella removed and it seems a bit unfair to throw her into looking after triplets the very next day (as originally planed).

Breda and I are both very fascinated and excited at the chance to see the doctors insert a large tube into her neck, then watch on the TV screens as they feed a long wire right down inside her body, until they latch on to the filter and then slooowly pull it back...

What?

Oh…

I see…

Well, I thought…

No.

Yes, I suppose that was very silly of me…

Sorry…

Apparently it’s just me that’s very fascinated and excited about this.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Oh, I almost forgot...

SOS - Sophie we will call you soon!!

OK – take a deep breath and hang on tight…

I went up to the hospital alone today. I wanted Breda to have a break from visiting the kids to try and get some rest. It was the first time that I have actually had all three kids to myself.

Up to now I haven’t had any problems with feelings of inadequacy (at least as far as the kids go…), but to my surprise I found being alone with the kids (alone if you ignore the four nurses and three other parents), was a bit overwhelming. I found I couldn’t decide which child needed my help the most and just wandered from cot to cot in a – there’s only one word for it – dither. It’s likely I’d still be there now if Lonan hadn’t come to my rescue by being violently sick all over himself.

Once I started dealing with one of the kids the feeling of being overwhelmed disappeared and I felt in control again. Lonan, perhaps spurred on by his earlier success, made certain I was alright by pukeing over me a couple more times.

I’d only just got him settled when Ava started to have a bit of a grizzle so I picked her up for a cuddle. Midway through removing her from her cot one of the nurses casually said…(and for future reference can I just recommend to all nursing staff that you don’t make this sort of casual remark until Dad has sat down and is less likely to drop said baby)…’‘Did you see in the Doctor’s notes that the kids will be going home next weekend?’’

Arrrrggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh - My mind immediately went into self-preservation mode, screaming - Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! It’s too soon! We’re not ready! We can’t do this!

I’m happy to report that I managed to cover up my momentary panic by nonchalantly remarking ‘’Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! It’s too soon! We’re not ready! We can’t do this!’’ I pointed an accusatory finger in Lonan’s direction ‘’Look, that one’s still sick!’’

A couple of people have commented that they find this blog funny, well, judging from the hysterical and, I felt, somewhat cruel, laughter from the nurses, I’m a lot funnier in person than I am in print.

I tried several other arguments along the general theme of ‘’Look, honestly, we’re crap’’ but the upshot is that the hospital thinks the kids will be ready to come home – so the kids will come home. I finished up with Ava, rushed upstairs and rang Breda and was gratified to hear a horrified silence (in as much as you can hear a silence), as she digested the news. Of course I, with the benefit of shocking-news-absorption-time, took advantage of the situation to show how composed and cool I was. I may have ruined this illusion slightly by joining in with her as she muttered ‘’Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! It’s too soon….’’

Happily there are certain conditions to be met before the kids will be released into our (hopefully) tender mercies.

First – they must take all their feeds by bottle. Personally I don’t understand this. Feeding them through a tube in their noses is quicker than by bottle and causes less wind. Why can’t we just keep feeding them that way until they are ready to move onto solids? And then stop. Or get a bigger tube.

Second – we must spend at least two nights in the hospital with the kids. We have to do all their cares (feeding, changing…ummm…what the hell else do you do?). I reckon this is our ace-in-the-hole. There is no way we will be able to cope with this without running out to the nurses every couple of seconds for help. Eventually they will realize that we are totally unfit to be parents, revoke our licenses and send the kids off to be chimney sweeps in some alternative 18th Century London.

Third – dammit, there isn’t a third. How the hell can they just let people like us take babies home? Don’t they know what we’re like?

So, that’s it then. We live on borrowed time, fugitives from having-a-life. One thing I do know – by God, but we’ve got some serious shopping to do this weekend!

Monday, March 27, 2006

ClanWars (well, no actual wars, but I liked the title too much not to use it).

Breda’s folks are over for a visit and, finally, all the kids managed to get a cuddle at the same time. It was the first time that Breda’s Dad had met the kids, particularly of course, his namesake, John Patrick.

The Ryan Clan meets the Ross-Ryan Clan.

Breda with Ava, Grandad Ryan with Lonan and Granny Ryan with Jonty.


Me with Lonan - I just thought this blog needed more photos of me - you know, pick the tone up a bit.

Lonan. No reason other than he just looks so cute in this picture.

Speaking of Ava, I may have made some small reference within this blog that she can be a bit, well, fractious, at times. Happily we have figured out why this is.

It had been suggested to us that Breda might like to make a tape of some favorite music that could then be played while she was in the labour room. Breda put a lot of thought into this, (leaving the technical, actually sorting it out, stuff up to me – bless), and came up with an inspired choice of music to have triplets too.

Titles such as ‘The first time ever I saw your face’, ‘All I need‘ and ‘Sexy boy’ make good sense when applied to childbirth, while ‘Don’t dream it’s over’ and, tellingly, ‘Swollen’ related more to her pregnancy.

The upshot of this song collection was that Jonty – placid, easygoing (possibly manic-depressive?) little Jonty – was brought into this world to the mournful sounds of Radiohead singing ‘Street Spirit’, which, even for Radiohead, is quite a depressing little dirge. It must have been like aural valium to the boy.

Ava, however, made her appearance to ‘Adagio for Strings’. While you would be hard pressed to find a more beautiful piece of music, I only had the version which featured in the film ‘Platoon’. Therefore instead of her first sound being the soft kiss of a violin, she entered the world to the sound of Huey gunships laying down napalm on Charlie.

No wonder she’s a little highly-strung, if you look into her eyes you can see her thinking ‘You wouldn’t understand – you weren’t there, man’.

On the positive side, Ava having an independent will has its advantages. When we change the nappies on the boys, they are very docile and willingly allow us to get on with it. Ava, on the other hand, does not. We can get her out of her sleeper suit without any trouble but as soon as you start on her nappy she locks her ankles tightly together and resists all attempts to remove it.

Personally I think this bodes well for the future.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Comments - an easy guide to the leaving of.

A couple of people have contacted me via email and said that they would like to leave a comment but do not want to create an account. The process is quite easy (and we do so looove to hear from you). I could post some instructions on how to do this or, alternatively, and much easier, I could just steal the instructions a mate posted on his site instead.

I haven't actually asked him if I can do this, but he is, as I say, a mate. Therefore in the grand tradition of blokes everywhere I am automatically entitled to everything he owns - with the exception of his wife and last beer. And, to be honest, that wife thing's not really written in stone either.

So, with credit to Dougal and Libby at END Productions I give you comments-leaving-instructions (some people may feel they would like to point out that it would have been quicker if I had just written the instructions myself rather than steal them and then spend all this time explaining my actions. Those people are really not grasping the point of this blog).

You do not have to log on or be a blogger!

1. Click on where it says "Comments" just under this post - this will bring up another screen

2. Type your message in the box (sweet/funny/plain silly/whatever)

3. Click on 'Other' under the choices for 'choose an Identity'

4. Enter your name / secret alias

5. click on 'Publish Your Comment'.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

So, how many of you clicked on the 'tripletsupforanything' link in the last post? You know - just to be sure.

Hmmmm?

Breda's back home at last.

So that’s the big news first. Breda is out of hospital and back home – albeit still as an exhausted mess. She is very tired and still quite sore but it’s great to have her home as the ironing has really been piling up and the windows aren’t going to wash themselves you know…


Other news is that Ava has also moved out of her incubator and into a cot. That’s all three of them living life outside the bubble now.

Ava in her cot…sleeping


Lonan in his cot…also…sleeping

Jonty in his cot…also…ummm…sleeping

Alright, look, it seems to me that there must be a limit to the amount of photos of our kids lying around doing bugger-all in various plastic tubs that you people can stand. I mean, I took some video footage last night and half way through realized that I might as well just stick with stills as, let’s face it, they’re not exactly dancing the hornpipe here.

Now, I can sit and watch the kids all day, going ‘Oh look he/she is wiggling his/her little finger/foot/nose/genitals, how cute/fascinating/frankly quite disturbing’.

However I think it is a bit much to expect anyone else to retain the same level of limited brain-width for very long. I fear that I risk overexposure and that the kids will become the Ant and Dec of the triplet scene. Therefore given that this blog is a democracy (yeah, right), I thought I’d throw the question open to you lot.

Please respond as appropriate:

  1. Oh God yes - photos of your children lying around doing absolutely sod-all is the highlight of my day.
  2. Yes more photos – but perhaps you could wait until they do something interesting. Like open their eyes maybe.
  3. OK, so they are kind of cute but really, I have a life away from this blog you know.
  4. I have no opinion but I like to vote in polls.
  5. Fewer photos and, while you’re at it, learn to write shorter sentences.
  6. For the love of God stop – I would rather watch The Sound of Music in French than see another photo of your bloody children.
  7. I’m sorry - I was looking for http://www.tripletsupforanything.com/ and fell in here by mistake.

Answers on the back of a cheque or money order please.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Woohoo. It worked!

Couple of quick photos for you then I really must dash as I’m supposed to be doing other things and only stopped in here on my way from hither and before yon.

Lonan and Jonty sharing a cuddle in Lonan's incubator. Given how squashed they must have been in the womb this must be quite palatial. It's just a bit cute too.


Feeding time (again!). Me with Lonan and Breda with Jonty. Poor Ava misses out on cuddles today (we still feed her though - honest).

Breda compensating for yesterday’s neglect by giving exclusive cuddles to Ava.


More of Breda with Ava.
Big News Flash! The boys are out of incubators and into cots! Here's Lonan dressed in real clothes and sleeping without a roof for the first time. Note the teddy - thanks again girls.


And here's Jonty in his cot - did I mention that they're all a bit cute?


'Our' corner of the Special Care ward. We have pushed and shoved our way into the prime spot. 'Excuse me. Parents of triplets coming through'.


Bloody blog

Just a quick note to say that everything is fine here but that I am having problems posting pictures at the moment. Sometimes the blog just doesn't work properly - pretty poor performance from a wonderfully completely free service don't you think?

Will try to post (again) in a bit. Meanwhile please hum soothing 'on-hold' music to yourselves or, alternatively, press 1 to talk to an operator.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Confession & Correction.

Had to go to work today and didn’t have my camera when I went to the hospital so no photos today.

Instead I shall take this opportunity to set the record straight on a couple of points.

First, I must confess. I have been misspelling Ava’s second name. It is not Margarita (like the drink); it is in fact Margerita, or maybe even Marguerita – apparently final spelling is still in contention.

Personally I like Margarita. In the short time I have known her I believe that Ava has a fair bit in common with a tequila plant, (the blue agave plant - agave azul tequilana, to be exact. This blog is also available as an educational toy), the outside is a bit prickly and spiky but if you take the time to dig a bit deeper then you will discover the soft and warm centre – which is filled with a prickly and spiky fluid that causes you never-ending headaches. That’s my little Ava.


Secondly I have to make a small correction to an item I posted earlier. In my birth announcement post, (It’s a boy! And another boy! And a…girl?), I made the comment that Breda was a bit ‘stiff and sore’ following her caesarian. I have been reliably informed that this was not absolutely correct. I believe the exchange went along the lines of -‘’Stiff and sore!?’’ I was in bloody agony you great fool! ‘’Stiff and sore’’ – what a typical bloody male comment. How about I rip your guts open and drag your testicles out through the hole – let’s see how ''stiff and sore'' you are then. And while we’re on the subject don’t think I’ve forgotten that time on 15th May 1989 when you said that other stupid thing or that time when we were visiting my Mum and you…’

Perhaps I paraphrase slightly, but you get the general idea...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

A Red Letter day

What, as the song goes, a difference a day makes - but then since a single day equals about 20% of their short lives this is not surprising.

Lonan is eating well and will be up to 4ml/ph by tonight. Even better he has done a HUGE poo, so his system seems to be working. Also his and Ava’s time under the UV lights has been productive and they are due to come off these (meanwhile Jonty is due to go on!).

Bigger news though – Ava and Jonty have moved out of the High Care unit and into the next one down (Special Care). Babies are only moved into this area once they are off all drips and getting all their fluids from feeds. This is great as they are now mixing with babies who are not in incubators – perhaps they’ll pick up some pointers. With a bit of luck, Lonan will be able to join them towards the end of the week.

However these were not the only reasons why this was a good day.

Breda got to hold TWO babies!!


Breda with Ava and Lonan. If she looks exhausted it’s because she is. Hospital is no easy ride at the moment and she is not getting any sleep or eating enough. She is making herself sick she is so tired. Of course, her main concern is that I’m taking photos without her hair done, make-up on etc…


Ava (left) & Lonan (right)

BUT, even better, Breda got to hold THREE babies!!!

OMFG – We’ve actually got TRIPLETS!!!

This is the first time we have got to hold all the kids at once and the first time the kids have been in contact with each other. They seemed to love being so close and even Ava stopped wriggling about for a second.


Left to right - Ava, Jonty & Lonan. Jonty is supposed to be covering up Breda's tattoo but instead seems to be pointing to it!

I got a go with all three as well. They are pretty heavy when all together.

Left to right - Lonan, Ava & Jonty.


Dad (sporting the standard-issue English suntan), with Lonan, Ava and Jonty (making a break for freedom).


After our cuddles Jonty and Ava were put in a pram for their trip next door - I thought they'd just carry them - but no, things are done properly here.


Jonty and Ava. Little babies in a big pram.

Unfortunately that's the end of the easy stuff. I'm back at work next week and although they are being brilliant at helping me have time off it is still going to be a lot more exhausting juggling a job as well.

But who cares - we have triplets!!!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Ireland beat England in the rugby and won the Triple Crown.

Just thought you might all like a bit of non-baby news for a change.

Right; enough of that – to business.
.......................................................................................

Lonan:
Despite three hours and the best efforts of the specialist the long-line has not gone in properly. What we have is a short-long-line situated in Lonan’s upper thigh. This is workable but not ideal as any spills could cause problems.

Lonan has had the enriched formula fed through this all day, however as I was leaving tonight they were having problems and have stopped the drip until the doctors can have another look. His poor little arms and legs are riddled with needle marks and covered in bruises.

Happily he has been taking milk all day and his dose was increased at 1800 to 2ml/ph. Although this is good news we will have to wait and see what happens to all the milk going in. Previously his stomach just filled up until he vomited all the milk back out. What we really want is the milk to come out the other end – and so, our parental fascination with poo begins.

In the meantime Lonan continues under the UV lights and with his feeds – we meanwhile continue to cross our fingers and take an enormous amount of comfort in the messages of support that we have received. Thank you all – you’ll have me sobbing into my keyboard if you keep it up!


Lonan alone under his lights but with his teddy for company from his special aunties (all the kids have these in their incubators - they love them - thanks).


Lonan. I know that expression from somewhere...

..................................................................................

Jonty:
Here’s a boy that needs no introduction to the baser bodily functions. He had his first real poo today, (are you sure you wouldn’t rather talk about the rugby?) and it was a cracker. He is up to 9ml/ph and is managing to maintain his jaundice levels just below the level where UV lights are required.

Jonty is the archetypical baby at the moment. He is quiet, well-mannered, eats on time, poos well and is tolerant of whatever is done to him. More than one nurse has commented that he has the look of an old soul about him. Like he has been through all this before and knows the score.
It is hard to argue with this as today when he was wide awake and, for the first time, watched my fingers wiggle he had a definite look that demonstrated both fascination and an air of ‘Oh God, it’s the waving fingers crap again’.


Jonty watching the world go by. I can't seem to get a really good photo of this boy - he always looks a bit pissed at being disturbed.


Jonty with Breda's hands.

.........................................................................................

Ava:
This one is trouble.

Not to be outdone by her brother, Ava pooed in her nappy, all over her sheets and incubator when her nappy was taken off, and, cheekily, in her new nappy before I’d even finished doing it up.

Trouble I tells ya.

Unlike her brothers who will happily lie in any position they are put in, Ava is never still. She is constantly wriggling her arms and legs and tries desperately to be anywhere but where you want her. She is continually testing her boundaries and is already trying to lift her head and body from the bed. She has the loudest cry and is happy to use it. She also makes an appealing soft squeak which I fear translates into ‘I want a pony, Daddy!’


Ava having some 'skintime'. The last 24 hours shows on my face and I wasn't feeling very happy. Breda was hugging Ava but she thought I needed the hug more. She was so right.

Breda spending some time with her daughter.

And again...

.....................................................................

There is a certain ‘celebrity’ status that goes with being the parents of triplets. Everybody knows us in the hospital and we are often asked how things are going by complete strangers. I had not realized how used to this I had gotten until I was re-heating Breda’s dinner tonight. Her ward has a small kitchen area and one of the cleaning staff was washing up while I used the microwave. I was having a few problems as the turntable in the microwave was loose and kept tilting.

After a bit of muttering I got it figured out and a few minutes of silence passed before the cleaner asked ‘How is it going?’

‘OK’ I sighed, assuming my standard proud but concerned father expression – the one that I hope shows worry, parental love and, perhaps, just a touch of heroic exhaustion. ‘Things are going as well as can be expected. All we can do now is hope’.

Such an utterance is usually greeted with sympathetic tuts and wishes of luck – on this occasion it meet with a very blank stare. After a couple of moments of staring at each other I suddenly realized she was talking about the microwave.

‘Oh’, I stammered quickly ‘I mean it’s going fine…thanks…ummm…I need to go over there now…’

Fame is such a fickle mistress.


Friday, March 17, 2006

Not such a very good day

Lonan is not eating.

Although he was the first one to start taking milk he has not progressed beyond 2ml/ph. In fact he was taken back to 1ml/ph, which is the minimum they give, and last night taken off feeds altogether. His little stomach just cannot handle food yet. Meanwhile Jonty and Ava are on 7ml/ph each and increasing their feeds by 1ml every 8 hours.

Although Lonan has remained on an intravenous drip this does not supply him with everything that he needs. The hospital has an enriched formula that they can give him but this is not without its own risks. The current IV is fed through a needle in his arm, however the enriched formula cannot be given this way because, as has already happened to all of them, if the needle pops out of the vein the fluid will pump directly into the tissue. With normal IV this is not a problem because, although the limb swells up (and looks awful), no lasting harm is done. If the enriched formula does the same though, it will cause a chemical burn that at best will scar and, at worst, can lead to loss of use of the limb.

For this reason the doctors like to put in a ‘long-line’ which travels right through the body and ends in a major vein near the heart – very like Breda’s clot-stopping operation. Of course if the long-line erodes, (i.e. works its way out of the vein), then the formula is pumped directly into the internal tissue – which is not so good. There is also the possibility of introducing infection into the body. The risks of these events occurring are small – but are risks nonetheless, and ones we would be happy to be without, but Lonan has got to get his nourishment from somewhere.

Breda and I were obviously upset by the turn of events and left the room to let the doctor work – which should have taken an hour. I checked back an hour and a half later to be told that the doctor had not managed to get the long-line inserted properly and the specialist was going to try. The sight of poor little Lonan all covered over with a white sheet and squirming in obvious pain while the specialist worked on him absolutely broke my heart. My little boy was scared and in pain and there was nothing I could do but sit and wait and somehow hope he knew I was there.

I know that what the hospital staff do is done because it is needed but how it hurts to know that all my children have experienced since birth is the pain of needles and tubes. They are so small and vulnerable and I cannot protect them.

The specialist eventually succeeded with the long-line and then Lonan had more trauma as he was x-rayed to see if the tube was in the correct place. When everyone had finished with him I went to hold him and for the first time he flinched away from my touch. He thought that I was going to hurt him some more.

While this was going on Breda was not feeling well (she is very swollen and sore) and I had to take her over to the other hospital for x-rays (which, thankfully, didn’t show any major problems). On our return we discovered that Lonan’s x-rays hadn’t worked and he had to have more done. Meanwhile Ava had thrown her IV line and it took several nurses over an hour to get a new one into her – so she was crying and bleeding as well. Also, despite the UV light her jaundice has gotten worse and she is now under double lights. Lonan is also jaundiced and under lights.

By the time I left the hospital there was still no decision on whether the long-line is in the right place as the doctors were all called away to deal with the emergency delivery of pre-mature twins. In the meantime Lonan has been put back on 1ml/ph feeds to see if he can cope. While it is important to push him a bit, if he is forced too much it can cause part of his stomach to die and then we have real problems. All we can do is trust the people who are taking care of our babies to do their best.

Although it has been a very long and emotional day we must remember that our babies are pre-mature and that they will have problems. Nothing that they are experiencing is out of the ordinary for pre-term babies and there are other children in the wards who have gone, or are going, through much worse. But we have only had our kids four days and it is much too early to have to confront the reality that we may not be lucky enough to bring them all home.

We have to remember that some days will be just that little bit harder than others.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

It’s all about Ava.

What a big day for a little girl!

Ava spent the whole day off her CPAP and managed to only forget to breathe a couple of times. She was so good that she was allowed out of her incubator for her very first cuddles.

Happily Ava’s improvement coincided with Breda being able to move around a bit and she was able to enjoy a few ‘firsts’ with the kids. Breda got to have the first cuddle with Ava and also gave her a small feed through the mouth (as opposed to through a nasal tube). Ava is the first of the kids to try feeding this way, but if the look on her face was anything to go by, she’d prefer milk to be poured through her nose, thank-you-very-much. (Breda also got to change her first dirty nappies – a job she handled with aplomb).

Unfortunately Ava got a bit carried away with all her firsts and was also the first to need to go under the UV light – although I like to think this had more to do with getting that perfect St Tropaz tan, rather than jaundice problems. Despite this though as I was leaving the nurse told me that Ava is going to be moved out of ICU and into the Special Care Unit. This is great as it means we get to have all three kids in the same room.

So, in honor of the great strides taken by the little lady, I would like to proclaim this ‘Ava Margarita Day’. Please show your appreciation by dancing naked in the streets and fields whilst waving small flags embossed with Ava’s face.

Alternatively, if you –

a) weren’t raised by hippies
b) have an embarrassing birthmark
c) don’t have easy access to a meadow

- then feel free to celebrate in the style of her second name by ingesting large amounts of tequila based drinks – until you inevitably end up dancing naked etc etc (or perhaps that’s just me?).

In other news Jonty is breathing well enough to be off his CPAP permanently (hurrah). And Lonan was not pooing so had a large suppository poked up his bum (where else can you get news this interesting?). As a Dad I was proud to see that he bawled his eyes out at the suppository - but didn’t blink an eye when they stuck a needle in him. The boy seems to have his priorities right.

Jonty is also not pooing properly and I warned him what would happen if he didn’t get cracking overnight. I warned him, I warned him – you are all witnesses.


Mum having the very first cuddle with Ava. Is it just me or is she still a bit stoned?

Hah. Thought so...


Dad with Ava. Not so much smiling as grimacing here - had enjoyed hour long cuddles with Jonty and Lonan earlier and my arm was killing me. Thank goodness they are not going to get any bigger...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Three days old...yawn..been there, done that.

Ha, as if!!

Some more photos for you all.

This first one was supposed to be last but I keep forgetting that I need to load them in reverse order.


This was taken about two hours after they were born and shows Lonan gripping my finger (sniff...lip quivering all manly like) in his little hand for the first time(sob...OMG where are the bloody tissues?). Is it any wonder he's my favourite?



Jonty (aka John - so we don't get him confused) moved out of ICU this morning and is having two hour breaks from the CPAP. I managed to grab him for a quick cuddle (he actually seemed to enjoy it more than it looks like here - he's just playing it up so he can have a go at me when he's a teenager).


Jonty without his CPAP (I say that, but really I could have just put a photo of Lonan here and, given that they're identical, you'd never know any better. I could just be messing with you - think about it, how well do you really know me?).

So, assuming that this really is Jonty, this is the first time we got to see his face clearly. He's so cute - don't tell the others but he's my favourite!


Breda with Lonan. Although she looks a bit more clear-headed now, if you look closely you can still see the traces of the morphine in her eyes. The woman is stoned in charge of a baby -someone call Social Services!

On the Big News side of things Breda got to change her first nappy today. It was only a wet one though - I was most disappointed.

Lastly, here's little Ava fast asleep. She has been having little breaks from her CPAP as well so it's the first time we've got to have a good look at her too. Ava is still in ICU as she continues to forget to breathe.

All pre-mature babies do this (they stop in the womb where it doesn't matter and they continue to do so when outside - which matters quite a bit more). The nurses are very relaxed about it and just give them a little shake to remind them that breathing is pretty key to all of us having a good day. Nonetheless it is pretty awful to watch your kid stop breathing and start turning purple. The whole bloody bunch of them did it to me last night - one after another when I went down to say goodbye. For God's sake kids - have pity on your old man!

It is also normal for pre-mature babies to have a coating of fine hair which will fall out as they grow. This is good news for Ava as it is so hard for a girl to find the right shoes to go with a hairy back.

I am just so pleased to have a little surprise girl and, obviously, she is my favourite.

If the kids look a little orangey it is because they are, just a wee bit, jaundiced. Again this is normal as they have to break down a large amount of baby red blood cells which their tiny livers struggle to do. So far they do not need any help but it is likely they will all need at least one turn under the special UV lights to help out. You know how it is - if one has a go then they will all want a turn.

Right, that's me off to bed now. Just a quick extra note to say thanks to everyone for the lovely comments and emails. One day I hope to be able to sit my kids on my knee(s) and, weeping softly at my memories, show them this site and listen as their soft voices say 'Oh Dad, you're sooooo lame. Now drive us to the pub'.

It's a Boy!! And another Boy!! And a...Girl!?

Just a quick update as things are, funny enough, pretty busy.

First item of news – WE’RE PARENTS!!!

Yes, the little mob is really here.

Doctor Ross examining Breda before the operation 'Yes, I'm pretty certain it's just wind'.

The second bit of news is that one of the boys was, in fact, a girl (the sneaky little minx).

So – vital statistics are:

1st born – John Patrick Ross – 4lb 6.5oz

The name is traditionally handed down in Breda’s family (for the last 900 odd years) and it was her father’s 80th birthday just before the kids were born – so John Patrick it is.

2nd born – Ava Margarita Ross – 4lb 3.25oz

This one threw us as we weren’t expecting a girl. However we had discussed girl’s names before and already liked this one. The Margaret bit is for Breda’s sister, Breda’s Granny and my mother and the Rita is for Saint Rita who Breda was praying to.

3rd born – Lonan William Ross – 4lb 1.5oz

This name was my one. Lonan is an Irish name which means ‘Blackbird’ – no particular reason for this except I like it. William is for my Grandfather – a man who has been sunk twice, blown up once, fathered his own three boys and is a great bloke to share a beer with. Lonan is getting all the attention as he is the only one we can cuddle at the moment and see he face clearly. The little poser!

The greatest surprise was getting a bonus girl but it did mean that we lost one boy’s name which would have covered a couple of other people including my Dad. Sorry, but don’t give up hope as we still have confirmation names to come!

All the kids are doing well. Little Lonan (the runt of the litter) has been breathing without any aids since he came out (which meant I got a cuddle straight away!) and was moved from ICU into Special Care within the first 24 hours (hurray for the runt!!)

John and Ava are also doing their own breathing, albeit with a CPAP giving a little assistance.

Breda is fine but a bit stiff and sore. She lost a lot of blood and by all accounts a multiple caesarian is considerably worse than a singleton. I got the chance to have a good look at the big hole in her belly during the operation – wow! Could see all sorts of organy bits – looked a bit painful though. Hopefully she will recover quickly so she can lend a hand with the nappies!

Mum having her first cuddle with Lonan - John in the background being poked and prodded.


Proud Dad with Lonan.


Breda with John.


Ava Margarita


Lonan William (x 2) - the poster child!

I will try to post some more very soon but for now I've got to get on with the several hundred other things to be done.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

B-Day

We got the word tonight that there are some spare incubators for us and so, barring any emergency cases arriving overnight, we should be all systems go tomorrow.

So that’s it then, no sudden onset of labour, no emergency midnight dash to the hospital – hazard lights blinking, horn blaring, jumping every red light and dieing to get pulled over by the police in the hopes of getting a blue light escort.

Feel a bit ripped off really.

Still, Breda is ready, the kids seem ready, the doctors are ready - and me, well I have a gut feeling it’s not going to happen till Tuesday - history will be my witness. Of course I could just be in denial and in for one hell of a shock tomorrow morning.

It’s only as I started to write this that I realized the title ‘B-Day’ (a clever play on ‘D-Day – God, but I’m a wit), will in fact be just that – the kids Birthday. The word takes on a whole new meaning - Birthday.

It’s only as I started to write the above paragraph that I also realized B-Day sounds quite a lot like Bidet – which isn’t quite the mood I was going for.

Having now lowered the tone of my children’s impending birth to the level of a sanitary convenience, I will head off to bed and, laughingly, try to sleep.

Wish us luck.

Not even born yet and already a failure as a father.

I’ve started looking at car seats. Is there anything better designed to make a man feel like a failure in life than child car seat brochures?

Every brochure I have shows tall, swarthy, Italian model type men (for those unfamiliar with heterosexual Italian fashion – think well-dressed gay man in any other culture). Each Adonis (actually Adonis is Greek – please substitute whatever the Italian equivalent is), is shown posing in his top-of-the-range convertible sports car. Beside him in the passenger seat (airbag turned off of course – not only unbelievably good-looking, but sensitively caring as well. The bastard), sleeps his perfect child, secure in his, insert-manufacturers-name-here, car seat. Occasionally the photo shows his (drop-dead gorgeous, obviously) wife in the passenger seat with the, still saint-like, baby in the back.

Where does this man stow the nappies; bottles; stroller? The Lotus Elise doesn’t even have a glove-box for God’s sake. How does he manage to look so chipper? Doesn’t the vomit stain the leather upholstery?

Since I assume the majority of the World’s dads-to-be are more like me – desperately trying to fit three car seats into the back of a 2000 reg Nissan Primera in a futile hope of staving off the cost of a 7-seater MPV tank for another nine months – it would be nice if car seat manufacturers brochures could reflect this.

Perhaps they could show Italian-man, large bags under his eyes and a dribble of spit down his £200 shirt, locked in a ferocious argument with Model-girl as he struggles to jam his screaming child into the two-inch space that forms the back seat of most sports cars.

This wouldn’t make my situation any easier - but it would give me a laugh.

At least now I understand why baby car seats are designed as they are – that five point harness is not to contain the child in the case of an accident, but rather to stop the poor thing being blown away by the 0-60 acceleration of Daddy’s Ferrari.

Breda at 32 weeks with her sister Mairead (Geighie). Can you guess which one is having the triplets?

Us - the calm before the very soon approaching tempest.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Itsy bitsy teeny weenie triplet baby belly

Breda at 31 weeks & 5 days.




No more I say.

No more will this blog ramble on (an expectant intake of breath around the world – dare we hope?) about how big Breda’s belly is (a collective sigh of disappointment).

Given that she is now carrying 15lbs of babies plus approx 5lbs of placentas – that bump is virtually a six-pack.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Ignorance is…?

I spent yesterday doing a bit of wondering about why exactly our specialist wants to bring the kids out at only 31/32 weeks? If Breda is doing fine and the kids are growing well – what’s the rush?

Had a chat with Breda about this, (with a bit of trepidation least she tell me to stop butting in!), and discovered that she had been doing some similar thinking (although she still thinks I worry too much – an accusation that I find difficult to defend).

I wanted to know if bringing them out now would make them more susceptible to aliments like asthma in later life (as their lungs are still not fully developed). If they are brought out now, what are the chances of bleeding on the brain, long-term disabilities etc, etc?

Breda agreed to ask our specialist a slack-handful of questions during his rounds this morning to put my (our!) mind(s) at ease.

So here’s the reasoning:

i) The amount of amniotic fluid surrounding the babies is reducing as they grow and levels are getting low.

ii) One of the twins is not growing as well as the other two. Although this twin (let’s call him Harry) is still an average size for a triplet at this stage, he has always been smaller than Tom and Dick. Now poor Harry is unlikely to find the room to grow much more with the other two hogging all the space (I already feel quite protective of little Harry – comes of having an elder brother I guess).

iii) Breda’s blood tests show her white cell count is going down. No one knows quite why this is as all her other tests are fine.

iv) Breda is starting to look (and feel) a bit more like a woman who is getting close to pre-term labour. What we really don’t want is to suddenly find ourselves in another emergency cesarean situation.

Given all these facts, I’m right on-board with the specialist – let’s get ‘em on out of there.

Trouble is there is nowhere else for the little tikes to go at the moment; all the neonatal wards are already operating above capacity. Our specialist is trying all the options for us but unless some space opens up we might find ourselves in Portsmouth or even London (assuming there is enough room there).

The inns are full and there’s not a manger in sight.

As it stands at the moment we are looking at early next week – as soon as a vacancy opens up, we’re there! However given our track record it is almost guaranteed that it will all go horribly wrong about 0300 on Sunday morning.

In the meantime we wait - and I worry. It’s just what I do.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Close enough to taste.

Settled at my desk, thoughts gently wafting away like the cold drizzle outside my window.

The phone rings.

It’s Breda, suppressed excitement in her voice. ‘Any chance you can get up to the hospital in the next hour?’

Oh my God, the babies are coming. It’s too soon. I’m not ready. Have I got everything? Where are my keys? I haven’t finished the house yet! What am I going to do about the dog? They’re coming, they’re coming!!

‘It’s just that they’ve got a slot to do a scan today so thought we’d move it forward. No panic’. I can almost hear her grinning.

Honestly, sometimes I could kill her.
………………………………………………………….

So we had an early scan, today instead of Friday. Our specialist wanted to have a quick check so he could start badgering the neonatal ward for three incubators.

Everything appears to be fine and the kids are very active. The singleton has always been the most mobile and we assumed this is because he has the most room. Turns out he’s actually getting a good kicking from the twins instead.
That boy is going to come out swinging.

The plan is still to pull them out early next week and we should have a date by Friday. Oh bugger me, but it’s getting close now!

Weights at 31 weeks & 3 days:

Tom – 5lb 4oz

Dick – 4lb 12oz

Harry – 4lb 3oz

After the scan we popped into a coffee morning for parents of babies that were born pre-term. It was encouraging to see how well the babies were doing that were born earlier and smaller than ours will be. One of the babies was about 5lb 7oz and it is hard to believe that Breda has three kids that are almost that size inside her.

My respect for her grows daily (as, indeed, does her belly).

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Our fifth wedding anniversary.



A couple of views of ‘Breda’s Big Belly’ at 30 weeks and 5 days.


We are delighted to be spending our anniversary with Breda in hospital – and with the kids in Breda! (Note how very well looked after she is. Flowers, cake, champagne, cards etc etc. Maybe even a little spoilt?)