Editor's note: This article appeared in the April edition of Capital District Parent Pages.
A tornado settled in the middle of my house more than five years ago. Daily, I look around at the chaos and react accordingly. Special needs parenting creates a heightened sense of awareness, as if the other shoe is going to come from the whipping winds of the tornado and hit you when you least expect.
When my husband and I learned that my pregnancy was a triple play, a storm began brewing in our minds — his regarding finances and needing a vehicle to fit three car seats. My storm was loud, fierce and pulling me is so many directions that at times I felt like I was being torn apart. This noise and fear was about the terrible unknown. I realized later that the unknown wasn’t nearly as terrifying as reality.
Our triplets made their debut nine weeks before the average 40-week mark. The cesarean section delivery was as easy as any surgery could go. All of our babies were in good health and only stayed in the NICU for a short time. When we carried the three of them out of the hospital, we felt brave, small and very much unprepared.
The first child born we named Olivia. We knew before she turned two that she had severe nut and seed allergies, was allergic to cats, and had seasonal allergies and eczema. We learned how to use an Epi-Pen, special creams for her skin and give her daily allergy medications. Now she also has asthma, and we give her daily asthma treatments to prevent a big asthma attack.
We can do this! We’ve just had to learn to juggle a little.
Benjamin is our second of the three. I sigh deeply when I think of the struggles he has overcome. I remember to breathe and offer small prayers for the obstacles he may face as he gets older. Benjamin will persevere; he knows no other way and he has an amazing spirit. Benjamin has Sensory Integration Disorder. He has issues with tactile sensations, noises and lights. He has epilepsy. He has absence seizures. He has received occupational and physical therapy for the majority of his life. He has idiopathic muscle problems that require braces on both legs. He has ADHD. He wears glasses. He has allergies and is lactose intolerant. Medications are involved. We juggle a little harder — now with chainsaws greased with petroleum jelly.