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.

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