Well we officially survived our first round trip road trip with triplets! We got home a day later than planned but we made it. We got home a little before 10pm, almost 12 hours after we started the 9.5/10 hour drive. The house feels like a chaotic mess which drives both Michelle and I crazy. We had to force ourselves to stop picking up/putting things away after the babies were fed and in bed so that we could sleep for as long as they'd let us, which turned out to be about three hours. We are looking forward to being back in our familiar environment and in our familiar routines. Though we will miss all the extra baby holders!
Before I forget them, I thought I'd jot down a few of the lessons we learned on this trip, both so we can look back on this before the next trip and for anyone else planning a road trip with triplet infants.
1) Don't pack as many clothes, especially when it is Xmas time and you have easy access to laundry. The kiddos mostly rotated between the holiday sleepers and outfits they got as gifts since we did baby laundry at least once a day to keep a clean supply of burp cloths and swaddlers. Also pack an extra set or two of swaddlers. We had one extra, but a few times I wished we'd had two when they peed through or spit up on the one they were wearing.
2) Hotel lobbies are hands down the best places to stop to nurse and change three babies. They are clean, not usually terribly busy, and the front desk people either didn't say anything to us (despite curious glances) or were very nice and accommodating. We stopped at a Best Western, a Hampton Inn, & a Hilton Garden on this trip. As you would guess the Hilton was the best and we got to nurse in front of a fireplace and a TV playing the end of the movie Ice Age. :)
3) Pack an extra bottle or two for tiding babies over while driving. The plus for the minivan was that whenever there was fussing one if is could crawl to the back seat to provide pacifiers or a bottle as needed. Feeding en route is less than ideal, but it can get you through some rough patches until you're able to stop for real.
4) Pack real food for yourself for meals. We had snacks out the wazoo but didn't have lunch/dinner type food packed and that was a mistake. We ended up eating at Arby's and Taco Bell just because it was the fastest food option that would get is back on the road quickly, but that was a first for us in years and made us feel gross. Next time we will make and pack sandwiches and/or salads for the drive. One tip if you do have to do fast food is to send one parent rather than doing the drive thru because then the other parent can just keep driving in circles. I swear I drove ten times around the Taco Bell and I'm pretty sure any cars in the drive thru thought we were nuts (unless they remember having little ones sleeping in the car.). Driving in circles also works well for quick rest stop pee breaks.
5) If you're going to pump in the car, try to get your hands on an AC converter. I mentioned how our batteries died on the way there and it was a major hassle to stop for new ones. On the way back Tracy let us borrow her AC adaptor and that worked much better!
6) Have more than one set of extra clothes easily accessible for the drive. Each of the kiddos had a pooplosion (as we like to call poop explosions), requiring a change of clothes. We also had two spit-up related sleeper changes. By the way, Michelle's autocorrect on her iPhone has now learned the word pooplosion. :).
That's all I can think of right now. As we suspected, the transition back to home and normal routines has been mixed. It's easier to be home where everything is set up the way we're used to it. It is not easy though getting the babies back to napping/sleeping in their cribs and not always being held during awake time after a week of being held so much. I love that they got so much love and cuddle time on vacation but the reality is that at home they can't always be held so I think we might be in for it for a while. Avery, our top traveler, seems to be having the hardest time with the adjustment. Ok, time to try to catch a bit of shut eye.