I engaged in all the nesting activities during my pregnancy with Abigail. We set up the baby's nursery in soft, neutral tones. I purchased a few clothing items in pastel yellows and greens. My mom threw me a baby shower where friends and family gifted us with all the baby items we could possibly need. The big ticket items (car seat, crib, stroller) we purchased were researched and carefully selected. We didn't know if Abigail or Caleb would be joining our family, but we were certainly prepared.
During that routine ultrasound at 20 weeks, we had opted out of learning the baby's sex. We wanted it to be a surprise at birth. A few weeks before my due date, I was sent in for another ultrasound because my OB thought that the baby was measuring small. The technician asked if I knew whether I was having a boy or a girl. I told her no, we were going to wait. But I was tempted to ask. I'd always wanted a little girl and I scrutinized the ultrasound screen, looking for hints. The technician announced that she wouldn't tell me. I'd waited that long and in a few weeks, we would find out just like we had planned. I always think back to that ultrasound. That last chance to see that something wasn't right. The baby measured within the normal range, slightly small, but normal. There were no other concerns.
I bought nothing for the girls, the triplets, until after they were born. I know what it's like to return home from the hospital without a baby and be faced with a house full of baby things. The unused nursery and baby clothes and blankets, crib, bassinet, car seat. I wasn't going to live through that again so I asked, begged, demanded that no one give us any baby clothes. That's what they were all itching to buy and I didn't want any of it. We can all say that material items are just that - items, things, stuff - but sometimes there's more to it than just that.
The girls were discovered at 17 weeks during what was supposed to be a routine ultrasound. After the devastation of having to learn that our first baby was a girl after she had already passed away, we had decided to find out the sex of this baby right away. We thought that it would help us in getting to know the baby ahead of his/her birth and honestly, if something went wrong, we didn't want to find out the way we had with Abigail. Instead, we were so incredibly overwhelmed with the discovery of three babies and the terms "shared placenta" and "spina bifida" and "fluid on the brain" that we completely forgot to ask boy or girl. It didn't even occur to us until much later that the babies would have to be either all girls or all boys.
Christmas was a few weeks away and I spread the word - No baby things, please. When you've lived through a stillbirth and doctors tell you that they are "cautiously optimistic" with a high risk pregnancy, you want to believe in fairytale endings but you know what can happen. The last thing I wanted to deal with was an empty nursery full of more baby things. During our next ultrasound (and there would be plenty of ultrasounds this time around), we asked and were told that the babies were girls. We passed two big milestones - 24 weeks and 28 weeks - and I still refused to buy anything.
What do babies really need? I argued. We have a crib, a bassinet and a pack 'n' play so they'll have somewhere to sleep. Triplets on average are born at 33 weeks, which means chances are high that they won't be coming home with us. We'll have time to buy clothes then. We already have clothes now! And diapers and blankets and everything else. What do babies really need?
I finally relented and agreed to the purchase of two additional infant car seats. But I asked that they remain unopened. Those two boxes stood piled one on top of the other in the front hall for a very long time. I walked past them every time I left the living room or came down the stairs. Rich asked to open the boxes a few times and I said no. Finally, with a c-section date scheduled, he took it upon himself to get them set up. What are the chances that any of these babies will be coming home with us? Triplets aren't released from the hospital after four days.
Well, I wasn't expecting to bring two babies home with me. I hadn't even packed any baby clothes in my hospital bag. I asked my mom to find outfits in the closet of baby clothes and gear in our home. She searched and found the smallest newborn clothes, but they were still huge on my itty bitty babies. And so it was. Allie and Emily were brought home from the hospital in yellow and green outfits that were much too big for them. They are living proof that you can survive without the perfect coming home outfit.
What do babies really need?
What do kids really need?
I realize my blog, etc. isn't wildly popular for several different reasons but one being that my kids don't always look perfect. Hell, I hardly ever look perfect. I see what's popular on IG. I'm not blind. I just can't do it. I've never been able to do it. I still harass Anna every morning to comb out her hair and the end result would horrify many but it's combed and she's happy with it.
What is important?
Still to this day when I see others setting up nurseries and buying tiny newborn outfits, it hits me that I'll never have that innocence again.