1 year mark!

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So we made it!  One year.

Anyone else who has multiples will most likely tell you that the first year is the hardest.  We were blessed with pretty easy, healthy babies and it was still just a LOT of work.

They are all sleeping through the night now.  7pm-7am.  Quinn and Kai share a room and they always seem to get up earlier than the girls.  The girls, who also share a room, usually like to sleep in about half an hour later than the boys.

NO MORE BOTTLES!!!  This is huge…I feel like I have been washing bottles for the last 3 years of my life (in actuality, it’s only been about 2.5 years of my life).  It’s kind of strange to realize that you are completely done with something.  With Kai, I saved everything, knowing that I would hopefully have to get it all out again for our second child.  Now, I’m packing everything up to send to friends who are expecting and it feels great 🙂

A lot of moms ask me if I am going to miss the baby phase, mostly because they do.  I can honestly say that I loved every single minute of it.  But no, I am not going to miss it to the point where I want to go through it again.  God gave us 3 this time…and doing everything 3 times…well, you definitely get your fix.  I am looking forward to the next stages of life with them (as long as they do not come and go too fast).

So what is next on the docket?  Well, Quinn is fully walking and though the girls can walk if they want to, they choose to knee walk.  I have never seen another baby do it and I’m not sure whether it was Rowan or Vivi who started the hot, new trend but it does not seem to be going anywhere.  Teething.  When you are a new, expecting parent, soooo many other parents warn you about what lies ahead.  The only thing that has ever come close to being as bad as I was warned is teething.  It is absolutely miserable seeing your kids in terrible pain and not being able to do anything about it.  We go through boxes of Camilia and if it gets unbearable for them, I will resort to Tylenol.  We have every freezable and non-freezable teether on the market and free damp washcloths as well.  It took the triplets so long to start getting their teeth that they are now getting 2-4 all at once.  Poor Vivi hardly smiled last week which is tough to witness when she normally smiles about 100 times every 10 minutes.

Kai finished his first year of school.  It was almost surreal.  He started summer school last week and they swim every single day.  He starts his new school right after Labor Day and I’m applying for that school for the triplets next week.  In my head, they would always have a year in between them in school since they are almost 2 years apart.  Because of their birthdays and the school cutoff date though, they will actually be in back to back grades.  Fun for them but Dad is going to be an absolute wreck when they all leave for college almost at the same time.  Marcus tries to console me saying that at least one or two will decide to go into the arts and live at home while the other two are at college.  LOL.

That’s a wrap for their yearly update. 6841B424-D1F4-4FA2-ADF1-084932FD0BD2.jpeg

Xoxo,

Sanford Squad

Months 2 through 5…

So…our night nurse left shortly after my last post and I haven’t slept since let alone had time to blog.   (Kidding…kind of).  Anyway, we have some catching up to do.

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So we made it to two months.  It was my turn to take over night duty and I was feeding the babies every 2-3 hours.  It would take about 90 minutes to feed each one and then, if I was lucky, I would get about 90 minutes of consecutive sleep.  I moved our sleeping sofa into the nursery and just stayed in there overnight.

IMG_4235.pngWe decided to brave our first family outing for 4th of July.  We took all the kids up to Malibu and let’s just say it was WAY easier to take Kai places when he was that little.  For any of you reading this expecting triplets…just make the decision that you’re going to stay home/local for the first 6 months.  You will all be much happier for that decision.  IMG_4170.jpeg

Month 2 did not pass so quickly since I was not sleeping much but we made it and each day was getting a little easier.

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The question I keep getting asked is, “How do you do it?”  I usually give one of two answers depending on my mood.  “What’s my alternative?”  or the real answer…that it’s just like raising one baby, except you have to do everything 3 times.  To say it’s time consuming is an understatement.  3 bottles, 3 diaper changes, putting 3 down for a nap or bedtime, 3 baths.  I cannot possibly give each one the time and attention that I gave Kai when he was young, but I’m definitely trying my best.  And my solace is that they can entertain each other as well.  And that they have the BEST big brother in the entire world.

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What a lot of people who do not have kids do not realize is that each child is born with a unique personality almost from day one.  As parents, we are lucky enough to have the privilege of instilling values and shaping that personality.  We do not, however, create it. My son Kai was curious from the day he was born.  With the triplets, their personality are even more evidenced because I have something to compare them to…Quinn is kind and gentle.  He smiles all the time and when he cries (which is rare) it is as if you hurt his feelings.  Vivi is just a sweetheart…when she smiles at you, her entire face lights up.  She looks at the world with an intelligence that I have never seen a baby possess.  And then there is Rowan.  She is basically me.  She can be the sweetest baby in the world and then if she is upset or bothered…she lets out this unearthly wail.  None of my other kids even come close to the excruiciating sound that comes out of her mouth.  She does not sound like her feelings are hurt or even that she is in some time of pain.  She sounds (excuse my language) pissed.  LOL.  I have a feeling that she and I are going to have some fights in the years to come 🙂

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That catches us up to month five.  I am sleeping in my room again.  Most nights, I put them down by 7pm, sleep feed at 10pm (which only takes me 45 min to an hour now), and then they sleep until 7am.  It’s heaven.  Every once in awhile Rowan will decide that she wants to wake up at 3am just to be rocked back to sleep 😉  But that’s okay.  This is the last time I’m going to go through the infant stage and I am trying to cherish each and every minute of it.  As much as I look forward to taking them all swimming in the ocean or watching them run around and chase each other or having them all be able to get in the car and buckle themselves in…I do not wish for ANY of that to arrive too quickly.  I never felt this way with Kai because every day was a milestone and and I knew I was going to have more kids to experience it with again.  Now that we are done having children…I secretly mourn the passing of each milestone knowing that it is my last (until I have grandchildren).

To anyone reading this who is deciding if you want children.  You do.  Just trust me on that.  To everyone out there who already has children, let me give you a little advice I am learning daily from having 4 kids within 20 months of each other.  One of the most frustrating things, at least for me, is that I try to enforce my will on my children and control them all the time because I think I know what’s best.  Eat your breakfast, it’s nap time, we are ALL going to play over here.  Well…each one of my kids usually has their own ideas about every single one of my opinions.  My advice is to breathe…remember they are little people.  They have their own ideas, dreams, wants, desires…even as young as 5 months old.   Guide them as best possible, but let them be in charge of their own little worlds.  Let the control go a bit.  And enjoy every moment…even the ones where you are at your wits end because one day they will be adults, living in their own houses, leading their own lives, and all you will want is for them to be little again, screaming, needing nothing more than the comfort of your arms so that their world is right again.

Almost 2 months old!

Wow…sitting here with my oldest (and smallest) daughter in my Baby Bjorn staring up at me with the most beautiful brown eyes I’ve ever seen, I can’t believe it’s almost been 2 months.  And yes, I also can believe it.  I wish I had written more the last two months, but then again, there isn’t much to report just yet.  A friend once told me that for the first 4-6 months, babies are like little blobs that eat, sleep, and poop.  Well…for the most part, that’s true.  It’s been a LOT of eating, much more recently.  A LOT of sleeping, though only for 3 hours at a time so far.  And a LOT of pooping.  Actually, not that much pooping.  The triplets are lucky enough to be on mostly breast milk from our wonderful surrogate and my cousin’s wife was kind enough to send me a cooler full of her breastmilk all the way from Florida.  And little did I know, babies can go up to two weeks without pooping if they are on breastmilk because it’s such an efficient source of nutrition.  Just another reason why I am not a fan of formula and especially USA formula.  For anyone looking for a great formula, I use Holle (they have a new version called PRE which has DHA but I prefer to get the regular and add my own DHA from Nordic Naturals).  HiPP is also a good one, but that one isn’t always manufactured in Germany.  Holle is always produced in Germany.  When the triplets had to be on Enfacare, their poop was a dark green and smelled terrible.  There is just no way for us to replicate breastmilk.  Things like live cells cannot be replicated.  DHA even is not as effective in powder form.  And a lot of the components that can be replicated are actually harmful without their counterparts in breastmilk that cannot be replicated.  So…if you’re contemplating, pick breastmilk if you can.  Holle or HiPP if you cannot.  But I digress.

Two months in…it’s mostly routine.  And I’ve had to get used to letting one baby cry sometimes because I can only feed two at a time.  Luckily, there always seems to be someone here to lend a hand.  And Kai (their big brother) is always happy to run over and stick a pacifier in their mouth.  Sometimes gently, sometimes not as gently.  And his patience to hold it there until they start to suck just does not exist yet.

The thing though that makes everything so worth it is the littlest milestones.  The awareness that enters their eyes a little more each day.  The first smiles, even though it’s probably just gas 😉  Being able to lift their head, even if they look like a bobble-head (that thing that used to be a cool thing for car dashboards in the 90s).  I get excited when they start to eat an ounce more than they used to or when they go up a diaper size.  LOL.  Like I said, it’s the little things.  With four kids now, I won’t be going through this baby stage again so I’m trying to enjoy and memorize each and every minute of it.

The babies are calling, but I will definitely be back soon and as there is more and more to share each day.  I hope your days are wonderful and just a reminder with everything going on in the world today.  Be kind, choose to have a positive attitude, and appreciate your moments…don’t just let life fly by.

~Braden

Week 3 with the triplets

Wow…so I wanted to write more often but I’ve been a little busy lately.  LOL.  We are getting in a groove though so I will have the time to sit down and blog more often moving forward.

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Vivi, Quinn, and Rowan

The triplets are now 3 weeks old.  For everyone wondering what that’s like…honestly, it’s easier than I had expected.  They are pretty good babies.  They need to eat every three hours and each one takes about 30 minutes to feed, change, and burp…then they sleep until the next feeding.  So by the time we finish all three, we have about an hour and a half before we start the process all over again.  Doesn’t sound too bad, right?  Well, we do have a very active toddler in the house that we are trying to potty train.

Thank God my mom is here until after Father’s Day weekend.  She manages Kai most of the day, helping me feed and entertain him.  She is a teacher by trade and currently runs an adult day center called Charlene’s Angels for adults with special needs (yes, she’s basically female Jesus) so she is pretty much putting him through homeschooling as well right now.

Speaking of Kai, he has been fantastic big brother.  We really worked with him ahead of time to prepare him for the babies and man has that paid off.  He absolutely adores the triplets and hugs and kisses them whenever he gets a chance.

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So all in all, we are getting through the first few weeks unscathed.  They eat more and more every day and are becoming more aware and looking us in the eye and even smiling sometimes.

I definitely do not pretend to be an expert on raising kids, but I do have wonderful resources at my disposal so if anyone out there wants advice on baby gadgets, how to make life a little easier with kids or just a kid, please feel free to reach out.  I am signing off for the evening…I wanted to keep this short and keep everyone following already updated.  Look for a stories, advice, laughs, and love in the posts to come.

~Braden

Meet the Blogger

Hi everyone!  I’m Braden.  Born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana now living in Los Angeles, California with my husband, 4 kids (under 2), and two Goldendoodles.  And yes, life is a little crazy right now but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

So how did I get here?  Well, that’s a pretty long story but let me see if I can give you an abbreviated version… I went to Indiana University.  Graduated.  Then I worked for a private energy company and shortly after they went public, I decided it was time for me to move to the West Coast.  I stumbled upon a private medical service/tech company that decided to give me a chance and worked my way up the ladder to COO (you will see the relevance soon).

I met Marcus in 2009 and we’ve been together ever since.   We married in 2014 and started down the path to have children.  By the way, it’s not super easy for two men to have children just in case you were wondering 😉

We went though thousands of potential egg donors…I tell my single friends it’s similar to match.com except you get their family and complete medical history.  We picked 6 different young women only to have them not qualify or workout for one reason or another until we were matching with the most perfect woman to whom I am grateful for the rest of my life (there are 4 in this category actually…my mother, our donor, and both surrogates).

We completed our first fertility cycle in 2016 and ended up with a single, perfect embryo.  We implanted him in December and our beautiful, sweet, rockstar son was born in August the following year. The day he was born was my last day working at my company. One look at his face and I knew that I had to take the advice of every single parent that had come before me, “They grow up so fast, don’t miss it.”

My mother faced her own fertility battles when I was young and so I didn’t have a sibling until I was 8 and a half years old.  I love my brother but I always wished we were closer in age so we could have done brother things growing up.  I wanted to give my son the experience of siblings and try and have them close to his own age.  Also, I wasn’t getting any younger 🙂

Our donor was kind enough to do a second cycle for us but it was not in the cards to have any embryos that time.  Though our doctor recommended against trying with her again, she went above and beyond and insisted upon helping us one last time and did everything he suggested and more.  We finally had embryos to try for a sibling a year later.

Now, here is typical Braden.  I should know better.  If something has a chance of happening, it’s going to happen to me.  I mean…I lived my life for the past 36 years.  I should not have been surprised.  They always tell you to put two embryos in if you have them.  It’s only a 40% chance that both would take.  I figured that we should implant one male and one female embryo and let God decide the sex of our next child.  If we had a boy, maybe we would try one last time for a girl one day.  If we had a girl, we would most likely be finished.  If we had both, that would be so exciting!  Those were the only three potential scenarios running through my head.  Unless neither embryo took and we were back to square one.

We waited for the blood test to confirm we were pregnant.  I later found out our surrogate peed on a NUMBER of sticks so she knew pretty early (lol) but I did not want to know until we were certain.  That test only tells you that you are pregnant though…you still have to wait until about 6 weeks to see if one or both of the embryos took.

The Ultrasound:

At 6 weeks, the doctor uses a wand (not the larger handheld device that goes on the stomach…that isn’t strong enough to see an embryo at this stage of development).  So our doctor inserted his wand and up popped an image on the screen of a white circle with a bright, white dot inside.  Now I have been down this road before…the circle is a amniotic sac and the bright, white dot is an embryo.  One took.  I held my breathe to get a heartbeat while I calmed my sadness over our lost embryo.  Then the doctor waved his magic wand a little.  I saw a second white circle with TWO bright, white dots.  No way.  There is absolutely no way.  I kept my mouth shut, but I knew what that meant.  But that was only a .4% chance.    He quickly waved his wand again and we were looking at the first circle once more.  My mind was racing as he said, “Let’s see if we can get a heartbeat.”  We heard it and it was strong.  The doctor then waved his wand once last time and before he or I could speak, our surrogate asked, “Did it split?!”  “Yes.” He answered, “But let’s see if we get heartbeats.”  We did…two of them.  Both as strong as the first.

Now I have been through a LOT in my life.  I thought I had run the gambit of emotions.  When people ask me why I want to have kids, I usually tell them that I have experienced so much in life that some things have lost a little of the joy and a little of the magic.  I wanted to be able to give experiences to someone else and see the world and those experiences through their eyes.  Well…this was one last surprise and surge of emotion given to me by my kids before they were ever going to be born.  I was bursting with excitement, anticipation, and love that far surpassed anything I thought I could feel.  That’s what kids do to us though, right?   And these three were just giving me my first taste of what was to come.

So that’s my story in a nutshell of how I came to be a father of four.  I currently have a 20-month-old, beautiful boy, Kai.  He is the light of my life and the best big brother ever.  Then there are the triplets, Quinton (Quinn) and his identical sisters Rowan and Genevieve (Vivi).  They all have their own stories so far and I will get to those in time.  For now, the four of us had a long day and I’m going to get a little rest.

Thank you for sharing in our story.  I always tell my husband that my number one goal is to bring magic to our kids’ lives.  I hope I can share a little of that magic with you as well.

A different type of parenting blog

First off, I want to thank you for viewing my blog.  I’m new at this…not being a Dad (I’ve been doing that for 20 months now) but blogging.  Enough people have told me to start one that I’ve decided it was time.  Time to offer my advice, share my struggles, and hopefully entertain you.  Please feel free to laugh at or with me 🙂  Whether you are raising kids, raised kids, want kids, or just wonder what life is like with a toddler and newborn triplets, I know you will find something of value in the posts yet to come…