Sunday, May 31, 2015

I Left My Brain in San Fransisco

We are going go have to make this a weekly post as babies, work, and sleep are taking up the majority of my time. I will try to post every Sunday to keep everyone updated on our craziness.

Before I begin, I just wanted to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support. Since we have been home, many kind people have gone out of their way to lend a helping hand, whether it was to help feed the babies, do laundry, or bring us a meal. We are humbled by the generosity of our friends and the community and we are so grateful for them.

From left to right, Ruby, Everhett, Zadie
Lincoln feeding Everhett 

 Feeding Ruby 

Okay, here we go.

According to the US Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments in cognitive and motor performance equivalent to the legally prescribed levels of alcohol intoxication.

Lacey has not had a drink of alcohol in her life so she can't juxtapose sleep deprivation with the sensation of mild to moderate inebriation.

I, on the other hand, have had my share of experiences with alcohol when I was younger. Although I am far removed from the impetuous lifestyle of my youth, I seem to remember a mild to moderate state of inebriation as being more fun than our current status of moderate sleep deprivation, which can only be described as a fresh helping of hell piled high and deep.

Parents with newborns can empathize with our exhaustive plight. Our problem is that we are undertaking this tiresome feat  with three little munchkins instead of just one.

Lately, the following has become our new routine:

Lacey and I wake up every 3-4 hours to tag team feed and change the kids.

Next, we burp them. This can take several minutes.

Finally, we swaddle them and place them gently in their respective bassinettes

After this wave has ebbed, we happily resign ourselves to our pillows and attempt to get some needed sleep until we have to wake up a couple of hours later. Lather, rinse, and repeat.

This has been our lives since we have been home. I wish I could give you something a little juicier than this but this is the life of parents with newborns. Plus, the kids are only newborns. There's not much to report. It's not like I can tell you about Everhett's overwhelming anxiety about his upcoming decision regarding which college he should attend or the drama that ensued after the girls unwittingly wore the same outfit on the same day. The babies are essentially cute little potato sack blobs. They eat and sleep a lot. That's about it.

I'm not complaining about losing sleep to help take care of my babies. I love them so much and I am happy to have the privilege to do this. It's just that I'm not exactly a young parent anymore. This type of work would take a toll on anyone, but especially a middle-aged parent, such as myself. I'm not old per se but, as a father rounding the bases to 40, I'm definitely not a young parent anymore. The problem is that I feel old and, apparently, I look old. Just four weeks ago, I attended a business conference in Austin and I was asked by two different individuals on two separate occasions if I was retired. Retired? I'm not even 40. I am not even protected by the age discrimination laws. Technically, I can still be fired due to my age without any recourse.

Meanwhile, Lacey has the energy and the face of a 28 year old. I am paranoid that people think Lacey is significantly younger than I am, when in reality, we are only 2 years apart. When we venture off into the public, I can usually hear people thinking, "Awww, that's so nice of that lady to go out to the park on a daddy-daughter date with her father".

Maybe this paranoia or perhaps collective observation is due to the fact that Lacey generally seems to handle life with much more grace and elegance than I could pretend to have. I spend most of my day trying to con people into believing that I am a functional human being.

However, Lacey and I currently share one similarity, and that is we are both starting to sound old. I find that lately, we are asking each other questions revolving around pills at an alarming frequency. We are constantly asking each other things like, "Where are my pills?" or "When did I last take my pills?" I'm also complaining more frequently about my hip hurting. It's popping all of the time and feels out of place. These topics make me sad.

As a 100% sober person, it is hard to admit that I sometimes exhibit behaviors that would usually only be exhibited by the mentally ill or toddlers. These behaviors are unintentional but are completely devoid of rational forethought. For example, during one of my common space-out spells, I once placed a perfectly good, cold  gallon of milk in the pantry where it would inevitably spoil. I also once placed  some frozen chicken I the same cupboard cabinet where we kept our pots and pans. The misplaced chicken was eventually discovered hours later, only after salmonella-filled chicken juice started dripping through the cabinet doors.

Do you see why I and others should be concerned about me? This type of Josh behavior is part of my default programming. If you add interrupted sleep, there is no telling what may happen.

When I was about the age Lincoln is now (7), I had a pet guiny pig named Lucy. She was also my first pet. If you guys don't know what a ginea pig is, it is like a combination between a large hamster, a groundhog, and an obese rat. They are the craziest looking things. To top it off, they make these pig-like squeals, especially throughout night because they are nocturnal.

Anyway, when I was a kid, I used to sit down in the middle of my living room with Lucy on my lap. I would feed her fresh lettuce and carrots and then she and I would play a game of hide and seek. I would close my eyes for about a minute or two and just let her roam free all over the house. She would find some of the greatest hiding spots like behind the couch, under the fridge, or under my bed. Sometimes it would take me half and hour to find her.

For those of you who don't know me very well, my sense of direction would horrify and appall you. My father used to say I could get lost in a closet. It's true. To this day, I can get turned around in my home town. Some of my closest friends and family can attest to this.

When Lacey and I lived in Tennessee while I was attending graduate school, one of my brothers from another mother, Mike Stuteville, would have me drive most days when we would go on our daily lunch outings. He thought it was an adventure because, like I did with Lucy, he just wanted to see where we would end up. For Mike, the idea that we could end up anywhere was exhilarating. For him, it was a fun adventure filled with anticipation and wonder. We could end up in Bowling Green Kentucky and we would miss the rest of the work day but Mike would just laugh the entire way knowing that he had a great story to tell everyone later.

Okay, now I am supposed to discuss how Lincoln has terrible judgment. This is a terrible segue. How am I going to criticize Lincoln's judgment after what I just wrote and after the fact that I wrote about bacon for an entire paragraph in our last post? At least Lincoln has an excuse. He's 7 and his pre-frontal cortex isn't fully developed.

Not to give a biology lesson, but the pre-frontal cortex is the area of our brains responsible for judgment and decision-making. Most researchers say your pre-frontal cortex isn't fully developed until you hit your early to mid twenties. This is why we see young people do stupid things all the time. So when you see some kid recklessly drag racing down the street or you hear some teenager say something like, "I can totally jump that", you can just tell yourself that they have a broken pre-frontal cortex.

I haven't talked about Lincoln much. Lincoln is....Lincoln. He is so excited by the fact that he is now a big brother. He loves his sisters and brother immeasurably. He has the biggest heart of any kid I have ever known. Although he is obstinate and tunes Lacey and I out constantly, he loves everyone. There is not a mean bone in his body. He has never excluded other kids from play, he is friends with everyone, and he is so popular among his peers because, like his mom, he makes room for lots of fun in his life.

Lincoln has also been a great help since the babies arrived. He is always eager to hold or feed the babies. He is also a naturally talented diaper changer.

I remember the first time we let him hold Everhett in the hospital. He eagerly sat down in a chair and shot out his arms. His palms were turned upward and his elbows were bent at a 90 degree angle. He resembled a human forklift. Instead of anticipating the baby, he looked as if he were ready to catch a large bass that he ordered at the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle and which was currently being hurled at him from a 20-foot distance.

Holding Everhett
Ready to eat some Pizza
Feeding unidentified child (Everhett?). Don't worry, she/he lives here.

There are, however, some frustrating parts to being the parent of a sweet but obstinate 7-year old. Let's review some of the broken pre-frontal cortex behavior exhibited over the last week, shall we?

Exhibit A: While we were still at the hospital, I was helping Lincoln transport his personal belongings from one caretaker to another. As I was escorting Lincoln out of the hospital, he felt compelled to play the infamous game we now call "The floor game". The floor game is simple. It entails getting from point A to point B without stepping on the cracks in the flooring and/or while staying within the same floor coloring. Lincoln learned this fun game about 2 years ago while we were on our family vacation aboard one of the Disney cruise liners. If I could go back in time, I would find the nice gentleman that taught him and the other children this game and I would capsize him off of the stern of the ship.

The game is nice in theory, but when put into practice by a 7-year old, there are problems. When people, especially new mothers in wheelchairs, have to swerve out of the way so my son can avoid the cracks in the floor is a problem. It's also a problem when all you hear in the postpartum floor of the hospital is dinosaur-like stomping.

Exhibit B: One of our friends gave Lincoln a portable artist lap desk. You know, one of those small surfaces with the beanbag base that you can comfortably rest on your lap so you can draw or write?
Anyway, someone gave him one of these things and he thought it would be an ingenious idea to carry his ice cream on top of this desk from the hospital room to the car. Furthermore, he thought that carrying the desk like a waiter carries a trey to his customers would be a nice touch. And he did actually look like a waiter carrying a trey....if the waiter was horrifically drunk and only had his index and pinkie fingers to carry the trey. Obviously, Lincoln couldn't manage to balance the trey for more than a second or two. The frustrating part was that we had to literally argue with him about not carrying the mini-desk in this manner. The trey even had a handle built into the stupid thing for ease of carrying and he still argued with us about the manner in which this new nightmare would be carried.

Exhibit C: This was Friday. Lincoln was mouthing off to me on this particular morning. He was being argumentative  and frankly, a little disrespectful. I patiently told him that if he didn't start listening and stop arguing, I was going to remove the cookie I just placed in his lunchbox for his lunch that day. As you might guess, the behavior didn't cease. In many ways, Lincoln treats me like an older brother. I'll get into this some other time. The bottom line is he does not fear me. Not even a little. He is afraid of mom.

Anyway, I finally explained to him that he needed to stop being disrespectful to which he replied, "I don't care."

Without saying another word, I quickly made a beeline for the kitchen. Lincoln knew exactly what was happening. He then started to bolt toward the kitchen. We were neck and neck all while trying to gain a strategic advantage for the cookie by pushing, prodding, and pulling on one another. Looking back, it was as if we were two desperate and manic monkeys in a post-apocalyptic hell racing for the last piece of rancid apple lying on the ground.

With some difficulty, I got to the cookie first, all the while Lincoln was screaming, pulling, and crawling on me. To the untrained ear, you would think that I was stabbing Lincoln with a rusty, blunt shiv.

This made dropping Lincoln off at school humorous. His last words to me after exiting the car and before slamming the door were, "I'm not saying good bye to you because I don't love you". Hell hath no fury like a scorned, cookie-less child. Thanks for throwing that grenade in, Lincoln.

When I came home, Lacey asked what happened. "It sounded like you were beating him, she said with some concern."

Lacey, of course, knew better. I don't spank Lincoln. Lincoln knew this too, which is probably why he takes so many liberties with me.

When I told her that we had an all-out brawl over a cookie, everything then made sense to her. "It sounded like you were beating him or something, she said with a chuckle."

"Nope", I replied. "It was all about a cookie".

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Decisions, Decisions

We wanted to update everyone on momma and babies' situation. More pictures coming soon. I will put a few on Facebook and I will put additional photos on this blog.

Lacey is doing well although she is still in a moderate amount of pain. She was finally able to get up and very gingerly walk around the hospital room on Sunday night. As you all know, she is an incredible woman with such an illuminating spirit. Tuesday night, she had her first long, hot shower, which provided her with some needed respite.

Lacey and Lincoln


Mom with her girls!

All of the babies are doing wonderfully. Almost all premature babies lose a little bit of weight in their first couple of days. Zadie and Everhett lost about 9% of their body weight in the first couple of days and they weren't eating as much as they needed, which was starting to concern some of the doctors. Since then, I am happy to announce they have both closed the gap and are eating like champs.

Home at last

We were astonished to find out Monday that we could be released today with the babies, pending any major issues.

All of the babies look very different but are equally precious. I find myself just wanting to bite their little cheeks or gum on their little hands.

We are starting to see (or more likely imagining that we are seeing) signs of some early personality traits in the babies. Everhett is our stoic but sweet angel. Ruby (aka Roo or Kanagroo) is my little fussy britches and tends to be the most vocal. She is also the oldest so I can see her becoming obstinately bossy plus she is also my big eater so I sometimes call her "boss hog". Zadie is my little sweetie pie but she tends to roll her eyes at me frequently. This is not a good sign. Talk about 3 days going on 16 years old, am I right?


Life at the hospital is like living in a sensory deprivation chamber. I never seem to know what events are transpiring outside of our room, what it's like outside, or have any general semblance of time. The last time I stepped outside of the hospital was on Sunday so I could help my son transport his luggage and personal affects from one caretaker's car to another and I haven't stepped outside since.

Hopefully, most of you out there haven't spent much time in a hospital and will never have to, God willing. I thoroughly hate existence in the hospital, everything from the strong hint of pungent astringent in the air to the horrible food to being treated like a sad, second-rate experiment. Most people that haven't spent time in hospitals think that hospitals are places where people rest. This line of thinking could not be more wrong. When you are in a hospital, your sleep is constantly interrupted by hospital staff coming in and out to check vitals and conduct a billion other routine tasks and tests. However, I have to say that our stay in this particular hospital has been almost pleasant. In addition to the privilege of caring for Lacey and spending time with my newborns, the facilities are spacious and accommodating, the staff is competent and friendly, and the food is above average. Overall, we are pleased with our stay.

As you may imagine, most of our time here is spent feeding and changing babies. Lacey also makes time to have some skin to skin interaction with all of the babies. I will post some pictures of this later. When the kids are in the hospital nursery, we try to get some much needed sleep and I try to get some work done. As I said earlier, Lacey took her first shower on Tuesday and just finished her second last night, which means she has showered two more times than I have. Yes, I know this is gross, especially since I am able-bodied and she has to really work to get to the shower. I am also scruffy and have been wearing my same Texas Bobcat shirt,  pajama pants, and the hospital socks that were issued to me from my stay in the hospital since I arrived. Hey, you don't know my life!

Snuggle time with mom

The day after the triplets were born (Sunday) was an  exhausting day for both Lacey and I because Lacey was in significant pain from the day before and we didn't get much of a break because staff was constantly coming in our room for one thing or another.

Furthermore, working with the newborns was all trial and error and still is to a great extent. Until recently, Lacey wasn't able to produce much milk and she couldn't get out of bed yet so I was sharing the load in feeding the kids formula in addition to diaper-changing, burping, and swaddling.  Basically, I was playing what felt like a sick, demented version of the whack-a-mole game except with babies. Sorry if that came out wrong. It didn't sound scary in my head. But you can probably imagine what I am describing. Every time I finished changing one kid's diaper, another kid needed to be fed. When that task was completed, someone else need to be re-swaddled. It was a vicious, never-ending cycle that started to kill my back.


On top of all of this, we were entertaining a multitude of visitors, which consisted of a mixture of family and friends.

Now to get to this posting's main premise.....decisions.

Almost all of us make dozens of decisions every day. Many of those decisions are benign, like "What tie should I wear today?" or "Do I want pancakes or waffles?"

Sometimes, however, we are required to make decisions with serious implications that affect real people. To me, it seems like we have to make our most critical decisions during our most stressful moments. For example, when we have to make those rare scheduled trips to the hospital, we have to ask ourselves questions like "Should I update my Living Will"? Of course, nobody likes to acknowledge much less tackle the issue of updating your Living Will, so many of us ignore these types of major decisions until a proverbial gun is pointed at our heads.

On Saturday, about 15 minutes before Lacey's surgery, Lacey was  laying in a hospital bed, prepped for surgery in one of the waiting rooms connected to the O.R. It was at this time we had a very interesting conversation with Lacey's attending doctor, Dr. Shirley. Her name isn't really Dr. Shirley but I don't feel right using her real name.

The crowded OR room on B-DAY

Dr. Shirley is an attractive, petite woman, who stands at about 5'4 on a good day. She is probably in her late 40's if not 50, but she could pass for early 40's. She has short, brown hair, big stark brown eyes, is well put together, and always has a smile on her face. She has a great bedside manner and speaks to her patients like they are people as opposed to drooling idiots, like some doctors have a tendency to do.

As Lacey and I were waiting for her to be rolled into the OR, Dr. Shirley comes in and, after we review some of the logistics of Lacey's surgery, she asks us if we want her to tie Lacey's tubes while she's "in there".

Again, I would have preferred Dr. Shirley throw us a softball question? We are already anxious and it's about to get really real in about 15 minutes.

Last week, I went to eat lunch with some former work colleagues. We went to a local mom and pop burger place and I ordered a burger. Go figure. The young lady taking my order asked me if I wanted bacon on my burger. Now we're talking! This is the easiest question of all time to answer. An absolute no-brainer. Yes, of course. The answer is always "yes" when someone asks you if you want bacon on your burger. In all my time spent in hospitals, no one has ever asked me if I wanted bacon. I think hospitals would have a drastically improved response in their customer service if they would just go around and ask people if they want bacon. I don't know if their mortality stats would improve but the patients would probably be happier than if they had no bacon at all. Maybe I'm over-estimating the effect bacon has on people and their overall well-being and level of happiness but I don't see how initiating a program like this could hurt. Regardless, I would have preferred Dr. Shirley simply ask me if I wanted some bacon.

The question posed by Lacey's doctor prompted Lacey and I look at each other. Now, Lacey and I have had many conversations about the fact that after these triplets come into the world, we are done having children. We also both thought that I would be the one sterilized when the time came to make this decision. It is generally safer and less invasive to sterilize me than tying Lacey's tubes. Personally, I had never considered tying Lacey's tubes. However, before we were pregnant with triplets, we never anticipated Lacey having a cesarean.

I asked Dr. Shirley if tying Lacey's tubes added to her pain or time for recovery and the answer from Dr. Shirley was a resounding "no".

Dr. Shirley suggested that tying Lacey's tubes would probably be the logical decision if we were done having children because she would already have direct access while getting the children out. Doing the procedure while Dr. Shirley was "in there" would also prevent either Lacey or I from coming back and scheduling a separate, painful, and costly procedure. Dr. Shirley emphasized that she just wanted to keep us from having an "accident" if we, in fact, didn't want to have more kids.

I'm pretty sure neither I nor Lacey wanted an "accident" shortly after the triplets were born.

In reply to Dr. Shirley's statement, Lacey says in a joking fashion, "We can't have an accident after this. If we do, Josh will fake his death, cash in his life insurance policy, move to Aruba, and we'll never hear from him again."

So Lacey and I agreed that what Dr. Shirley was saying was logical. We think four Smith kids is the most this world can handle.

Okay, thanks for reading. I will post an update in a day or two. In our next post, I will talk about my son's (Lincoln's) broken pre-frontal cortex. Don't worry, all children have a broken pre-frontal cortex, and some adults for that matter but more on that later.

I'm off to the showers now.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

New World

I woke up at 5am this morning to help the nurses gently lift Lacey up into a sitting position on her hospital bed so she could drink some water and brush her teeth. Lacey's stomach is still very tender as should be expected. She just had three people literally cut out of her belly, which still amazes me! She is finally able to sit up but she is still experiencing quite a bit of dizziness and nausea.

The pediatrician just came into the room to inform us that the kids all seem to be doing well. He is saying that every ones' lungs and hearts are great. Everhett is having some trouble eating but we are told that this pretty common in newborns. He says the next few days will give us a better picture.

Right now, Lacey is very vocal about the remains of her once flat stomach. Already, she has expressed on two occasions how her stomach "looks like the elephant man's face", to which I chuckle and tell her that it will get better. She knows I'm right. Not to compare myself to Lacey, but I have an inkling of what it is like to have your insides ripped apart:

This was me after my surgery at MD Anderson. Lacey calls it my "stomach grumpy face" so as not to confuse it with my "regular" grumpy face. It looks much better now. It currently resembles more of a smug grimace as opposed to a grumpy face.

Rewinding to yesterday afternoon, I will never forget the view when I stepped into the OR to get a front row seat at the birth of our triplets. It was a veritable circus. There were at least a dozen people packed into the operating room (not including me and Lacey). There was a team of three medical professionals for EACH of the children. There were two people at the computer doing something of a technical nature, the anesthesiologist, a surgical nurse, and the surgeon. See below to have your mind blown:

I was given the opportunity every now and again to glance over the curtain where the surgeons were diligently working to extract our babies. It was like watching a scene directly out of the television show "The Walking Dead", one of our favorite TV shows.

Normally, seeing something like this would not sit well with me or my stomach. I don't typically have the physical constitution to endure the viewing of actual blood and guts. I guess this is why I never had a desire to study medicine. However, I just remember being entranced by the view. I was in awe of my wife and how amazing she is.

During parts of the procedure, she was nauseated and she vomited sporadically but she never complained. The fact that she never complained wasn't fully realized until several of the nurses made reference to this point. I guess Lacey is just a rock star. She usually doesn't complain so I don't tend to think of it as a big deal. To the nurses, it was as if they were bestowing this great badge of honor upon her. One nurse proudly said, "You're wife is a soldier. The fact that she went 35 weeks with these babies and she hasn't complained this entire time, even through surgery, is amazing."

When they came out, my first words to Lacey were "Oh, babe. They're beautiful and gross." They were gross. They were grey and bloody.

Then, I could hear them crying simultaneously. It was like listening to a failed rehearsal of an amateur cat orchestra. It's funny because I knew that I would one day hear this sound and I thought that hearing the sound of my childrens' simultaneous crying would make me feel anxious. However, to my own surprise, I felt a sense of calm and pride upon hearing the almost harmonious crying. They were finally here and they belonged to us.

After they were cleaned and swaddled, I was allowed to go over to each child's station, where I could look at them and see their official weights.

Eventually, I was allowed to hold them. Everhett was the first child I was allowed to hold. He was wide awake and his big, dark, brown eyes stared right back at me. He looked calm and curious. It was at this moment that I started bawling like a disturbed child.

This was an emotional moment for both my wife and I. Our children appeared to be healthy and they were going straight to the nursery instead of the NICU, which is a testament to their strength and health. As a parent, you always worry about your kids. You worry if they are going to be healthy, if others will be kind to them, or if they will make good choices throughout their lives. At this point, we were just happy our kids were healthy. When children are born, any number of things can go wrong. This fact becomes exponentially true when you have multiples and Lacey and I knew this.

We were also thankful. We were grateful. I didn't have a quick prognosis after my doctor's diagnosed me with a tumor in my pancreas. It was shortly after my diagnosis that Lacey and I were told that we were having multiples. So for a time, we were in the dark about our future. I can't speak for Lacey, but the question of whether I would live to see my children born was a burden that plagued my heart for weeks.

Most people don't know this but, although I don't typically express outward emotion, I do have a tendency to get a little weepy on the inside.

Rewinding back to Friday night, Lacey and I sent Lincoln off to stay with his Nana that evening so we could focus on packing for our stay at the hospital and have one last date night, which consisted of a quiet dining experience at our local Chili's restaurant. Well....not as quiet as I hoped. Not more than two minutes after taking our seats in the restaurant, we have the abrupt realization that someone sitting directly behind us has a birthday. Of course, you already know how we know this....the entire Chili's staff is singing that insipid birthday song at an alarming decibel level. At this time, I remembered why I don't eat at Chili's. ARGGGG! I hate the fu%$#g birthday song!!! The pariah of sit-down, chain restaurants. I know, I know. You're thinking, "Josh, what the hell to you expect? It's Chili's on a Friday night!" People, give me a break. We had a gift certificate.

When we got home, we finished preparing for the next day and by the time we finished, we were both exhausted. I ended up spilling some water on the kitchen floor and I was so tired and lazy that I couldn't muster the will to walk 5 feet to get a paper towel. Instead, I reached into the dirty clothes hamper in the laundry room, just adjacent to the kitchen, and grabbed my 7-year old son's church vest and used it to wipe up the water with my foot. Don't judge me.

Yesterday morning (the morning of the surgery), we were off to a late start. The Smith family has this uncanny knack for being late to EVERYTHING, which drives me up the wall. People at church have come to expect this, I'm sure. They probably think we're trying to be cool by making a casually late entrance. We're always about 10 minutes late and I can hear the voices in the minds of the congregation saying, "Oh, here come the Smiths. They're too cool to be bothered to show up on time." You might ask, "why don't you just start getting ready 10 minutes earlier". Oh, that IS hilarious. We would still be 10 minutes late and I would just end up losing 10 minutes of sleep. Lacey did want me to mention that we were late to the hospital because of me, which is true.

When we arrive at the hospital, we sit in the waiting room until some random nurse comes out to tell us it is time to go back and do our thing. After about 10 minutes of waiting, random nurse does come out to speak with us, but instead of us going to do our thing, she tells us that we will be delayed for another hour because staff is short due to Memorial Day Weekend and they had already delivered several multiples in the last few hours. This does not sit well with Lacey as she had been fasting since 4am and it is now Noon. As you can imagine, a person harboring triplets in her belly needs food and drink frequently.

At this point, Lacey and I become worried. How much help would we have for our little situation? I had this picture come to my mind in a flash of only one nurse and one surgeon in the OR trying to deliver our triplets on their own. What made matters worse about my flashing vision is that the nurse was completely distracted from helping us because she was babysitting her 4-year old son, who was in the OR with her because dad was working and no one else was available to watch him. The 4-year old was far from well-behaved. He was furiously running around the OR, playing with clamps, gadgets, and swinging from the surgical lighting like some feral capuchin monkey. I'm glad reality almost never takes the shape of my fears.

When the nurses finally called us back, we had to walk down this long, empty hallway where a set of giant wooden double doors marked the end of the hallway and an entrance into the OR preparation area. As we walked slowly down the hallway holding hands, I realized that our walk was a giant metaphor of our long walk to this point in our lives. Once we walked through those doors, things would never be the same again. When we eventually come back through these same doors, things will be drastically different. When we come back through these same doors, we will have three new little ones to take home and the nurses will not be coming home with us.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Welcome to the World!


The Smith triplets have finally arrived! They were born around 2:30 pm on 5/23/2015. They are all beautiful and healthy. All were born over 5 pounds and all went directly to the nursery, which is uncommon. Most of the time, multiples go to the NICU.

The picture below shows momma with all of her babies. The lettering on their caps indicate who came out 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

Out first (A) - Ruby Jane Smith - 5 pounds even
Out Second (B) - Everhett Joshua Smith - 5 pounds, 4 oz.
Out Third (C)- Zadie Lynn Smith - 5 pounds, 6 oz.

Mom is also doing fine. She is a little nauseated but she is recovering just fine.

Above - Ruby Jane and Everhett
Below - Zadie Lynn
We will have more pictures soon. Lacey is trying to get some rest so we ask at this time that you please cease texting or calling at this time. There are many people that want updates and we are trying to provide them as quickly as we can. We ask that you visit our Facebook profiles or preferably, this blog. Thank you. 

Welcome to the New Crazy

Legend has it that the children's television host Mr. Rogers always carried in his wallet a quote from a social worker that said, "Frankly, there isn't anyone you couldn't learn to love once you heard their story."

Please don't misinterpret my opening statement as a challenge for you to care about me or my family. Chances are that if you are reading this blog, you probably already have some small level of affinity for our family. The point of this blog is to provide a narrative of our family- our trials, challenges, and our ongoing adventures. I am very purposefully avoiding the word "journey" because I think the word has become hokey and overused to a laughable extent.

The second reason for this blog is to provide a modestly unvarnished view the ongoing saga of our wonderful family through the eyes of a husband and father of one, about to be a father of four this afternoon. That's right! Today, my family is welcoming triplets into this crazy and confusing world.

Life in the Smith house used to be fairly uneventful and drama-free until last summer. My wife, Lacey, woke up one morning and told me that it was time to sell our home because she didn't feel it was right for us anymore. I was confused but I went along with it because I didn't have much affection for the house anyway. It never really felt like home to me. So.... we put our house on the market.

The next few months would prove to be challenging as we would be thrown several trials. By the end of 2014, both of our beloved family cats, Bevo and Chopper, whom we have had in our family for 13 and 10 years respectively, both passed away. Then a bomb hit us on Oct. 1, 2014..... I was diagnosed  with cancer. It's okay, I'm clear now but I have to go back every 6 months for scans to ensure that I am clear.

This is me at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. We spent 3 grueling weeks in this place.

At the same time my cancer diagnosis waltzed its way into our lives, we were going through fertility treatments to have another child. Since we had my son, we tried to have children for six years but to no avail. Four weeks after my diagnosis, we were told we are having triplets. And the hits just keep on coming. Don't get me wrong, we are excited but also we are also equally terrified.

For those of you who know me know that I am typically quiet until I develop a relationship of trust with you. However, once I get to know you, I rarely shut-up and I will, in all likelihood, grate on every one of your last nerves.

I also have a history of  cynicism that usually comes out in a combined form of creamy thick sarcasm and/or an attempt at self-deprecating humor. My wife, Lacey doesn't mind the inevitable failed attempts of self-deprecating humor but she never orders the sarcasm with which the self-deprecation is sometimes served.

A little about the author: I grew up in the Central Texas area my whole life. I had a very average childhood. I went to college, lived abroad in Australia for 2 years serving as a missionary for my church. I play a musical instrument, I like reading personal finance books, my favorite band of all time is U2, I love my San Antonio Spurs, and I attend a boot camp class twice a week. See, you're already bored. I'm about to fall asleep writing this prosaic crap. Seriously, no one cares, Josh.

Okay, moving on.....

This is me with my beautiful family. We had these pictures professionally done just a few days ago in the middle of a marshy field with a rustic cabin in the background. The smile on my face is actually an evolved grimace as I was being savagely eaten by mosquitos.  

This is my lovely wife, Lacey. Although her face indicates a happy person with a resilient spirit, she is really saying "get me the hell out of this bed"! Here in this picture, she has a dubious amount of straps encircling her belly. These straps are attempting to monitor all of the babies' heart rates simultaneously. As you might imagine, this is really difficult to do.

Lacey is seriously the best person I know. She is kind, fun, fun-loving, and people just seem to naturally gravitate toward her because she smiles constantly and is eager to chat incessantly about anything with anyone.

Let me give you an example of how much people like Lacey. When I go anywhere without Lacey, I invariably run into a mutual acquaintance that Lacey and I have and this is how the conversation typically proceeds....

Random person: Hey, Josh.

Me: Hey

Random person: How's Lacey doing?

Did you notice how the person skipped right over asking me how I was doing? I mean, I can't really blame them. I'm not very interesting but could you at least make some kind of veiled attempt to be somewhat interested in my well-being? I wish I could say this was different with my own family but it usually follows some version of what I just described.

This is us getting married in Houston almost 15 years ago. Isn't she beautiful? Yes, women reading this, she is still pretty.

Lacey's motto is to "always make room for fun", which is why I love her so much. She is extremely fun, sassy, and one of the smartest, most creative people I know. Here is an example of her having fun...

 Lacey thought trying on my vintage Houston Oiler Helmet would be hilarious. This helmet has not fit on my head since I was 7 years old, which gives you some insight into how freakishly small Lacey's head also gives you some insight into the largeness of my head. Understandably, Lacey and I have always been concerned about the head shape and size of our future children.

Here is a recent example of Lacey having fun.... Her YouTube Triplet Mom- Uptown Funk DancingVideo has over 37,000 views thus far. If you haven't seen it, your missing out. To me, it looks like she's smuggling a torpedo under her shirt....

Lacey and I currently have one son...Lincoln.

Lincoln is almost 8 years old and he also likes to have a lot of fun.  Exhibit A...
In the New Year, I was subsequently offered another job that allows me to office out of my house, which is a huge blessing. So now I work from home when I am not traveling for work. Around the same time I started my new job, we were closing on our house and moving into a rental not far away until we figure out what we need to accommodate our new litter.

Experts from various fields say that the most stressful life events include moving, getting married, major illnesses, changing jobs, having children, and getting divorced. We have experienced almost all of these life changes within the last nine months. Fortunately, my wife hasn't yet figured out that she's too good for me and left.

Hi, my name is Joshua Smith. In the last nine months, my family has survived cancer, moving, the death of all of our family pets, a new job, and in just a few short hours, we will literally be doubling the size our family. At 1pm today, we will be the parents of multiples and we have no idea what we are doing. Frankly...I'm terrified. Welcome to our nightmare, everyone! The water is still warm.

Friday, January 9, 2015

60 days Post Op

It's been almost 2 months since Josh's surgery and he is doing remarkably well. He figured out how to manage his blood sugar and insulin levels very quickly, so much so the doctor put him on a fast track to getting an insulin pump. He was just fitted for the pump today and won't have to give himself insulin shots anymore, hopefully for the long term.

His last follow up appointment went well and they will schedule him for his follow up scans in the next couple of months. As long as they do not see anything on the scans, he will not have to have chemo or any other treatments.

We are so thankful to the doctors and nurses at MD Anderson for all their expertise and service. Hopefully we will not have to see them anymore!!! Haha.