Thursday, September 1, 2011

Year One.

“Our girls are turning one.” That’s a phrase we’ve been saying a lot lately, many times with a sense of disbelief that it’s been a year since they were born. I’ve been staring at this blog for a week, trying to think of a way to sum up our year. Many of the past entries came naturally; there was something we needed to share, so we shared it. This one is a big deal, how do you put it into words? I don’t know that I can, but I’m going to try.
 We were looking through some early pictures, a lot of them for the first time since they were taken. I didn’t realize how hard it would be. Some of the pictures took us right back to a place that we didn’t want to be. We had prepared ourselves for a short NICU stay, which is pretty common for triplets, but nothing can prepare you for the ride we went on. I think it’s safe to say the pictures of Brenna were the hardest to relive, followed closely by the emergency baptism ones when we didn’t know if they would survive. Those images really reminded us how blessed we were to be able to bring all three girls home.

Angie and I talked a lot the first few months about what it would be like when we got the girls home. There were a lot of mixed emotions when Anna and Lucy got to come home. We were thrilled they were doing well enough at 36 weeks to be able to go home, but having to leave Brenna while starting our lives with Anna and Lucy was excruciating.   Splitting time between the hospital and home was a tall order. How would we be able to handle it? The situation, complicated by the fact it was winter, really made those last three months Brenna was in the NICU seem longer than they were.
Brenna came home January 31st, 2011. It was one of the best days we have experienced as a family. Finally having everybody together, was a fantastic feeling. It was also really strange. Imagine doing something every day for 5 months, then one day, it’s done. For the longest time, whenever I was driving on 235, I had the urge to take exit 8A, because that had been our life for 5 months and Mercy had been our home.
With everybody home, the focus of our conversations started to shift from, “I can’t wait for them to be home” to “I can’t wait for everyone to meet them.” We had always had Easter in the back of our minds as the time we could take them out. We *might* have jumped the gun a little early and gone to church on Palm Sunday, but hey, it was only a week early, right? Being able to get out and go really did a lot for us as a family. We have always said we want to try to make life as normal as we can for our girls. Just because there is three of them doesn’t mean we can’t do things. It might just take us a little longer to get ready. Have you seen how much stuff is required to take triplets anywhere? Short answer: a lot.
We have had a busy spring and summer. One thing that really stands out to me as something we hope to continue is the March of Dimes walk, which took place in May. Angie had mentioned it before the girls came home and we started talking about it more seriously as spring got closer. Angie did an amazing job with it, and for those of you who don’t know, Team Kamps^3 ended up as one of the top fundraising teams this year. It is a tradition we plan on continuing, so thank you to all of you for participating, and we look forward to seeing you all again next year.  Some other high points include the always fun Slater Fourth of July, a short vacation at the Honey Creek Resort, and trip to KC to visit Uncle Ryan.  It’s been a wild summer, but it’s been fun.
Team Kamps^3 March of Dimes 2011
Before Brenna’s last surgery, Angie talked about the term “miracle” and how she doesn’t use it lightly. Statistics show that 50% of 25 weekers don’t come home…we were blessed beyond belief to have all 3 girls stick around. I’ll never forget the mission mile preemie signs along the March of Dimes route that read “surviving triplet”, that was almost our story.  Being able to bring all of them home, despite their trouble, certainly qualifies as a miracle in my book. Our faith was absolutely shaken in the last year, but we are trusting in Him that this is His will for our family. God put some amazing people in our lives to get us through the last year. We would not have made it if it were not for you. Thanks to all of you friends and family who offered your help and support and prayers. You will never know how much it meant to us. And our nurses…I’m sure you’ve heard it time and time again but I don’t think you can even imagine the gratitude we have for you.  You took care of our precious babies and us most times.  You had to tell us some of the worst news of our lives yet you also were our best friends.  We miss you terribly and will always, always consider you part of our family.
Today is September 1st, 2011. The last year has been the most difficult, most rewarding year of our lives, and we are stronger for having endured it. The girls still have to play catch up due to their extreme prematurity, but we have no doubt they will get there. They are making progress and that is all we can ask for right now. To sum up our year in numbers; 152 days in the hospital, 7 surgeries, 3 babies, 2 minivans, and 1 complete family. We have been blessed with these three little monkeys, and life would just not be the same without them. For now, we have to go. We have a birthday party to plan, our girls are turning one.