No matter how prepared you are for the arrival of your new baby, there's always something
that you didn't plan for that happens. For my wife Sara and I, that was the case with the
birth of our triplet girls.
It started on Monday May 12th when Sara went in for a weekly checkup, one week prior to
the scheduled c-section date for our upcoming triplets. When her doctor checked how far
she was dialated, she stated "almost a 5". That meant today would be the day.
Sara promptly called me and told me to get home so that we could pack up our bags, arrange
care for our boys, and install car seats (yes, we thought we still had a week to prepare).
So, we did get to experience the panicked expecting parents rushing to the hospital
We arrived at 3:00pm and Sara was checked in. Probably the biggest difference than with
our two boys births was this time I had to get dressed in scrubs (c-section). Everything
was scheduled for 5:00pm, so we didn't have to wait around very long.
After Sara was wheeled into the room where the c-section would happen, I had to wait in
the hall for a short while . I could see a group of nurses gathering on the other side of
the doors I had to wait behind. They started to talk about the number of people and the
size of the room. Clearly, this was a big event about to happen .
When it was my turn to go in, I was directed to a stool to sit on next to Sara behind a
curtain along with the anesthesiologist. I was told that once things started to happen,
then I could stand up and watch. The room itself was impressive with 20 people, not
including Sara and myself.
When the big event started to happen it became obvious to me that it would be a challenge
in where to direct my focus, as well as my camera (certainly not the case with one baby).
Things went fast and with the number of people in the room, I could not move around
quickly, as each baby girl was born a minute apart.
Sara was able to glance at the third baby girl, but shortly after they were born, they
were all whisked away to the NICU. The neonatologist asked me if I wanted to follow him
to the NICU, so I did after scrubbing in. Meanwhile Sara finished up in surgery and was
taken to her room.
In the NICU, the three girls were divided up between two rooms. Once again I found myself
walking back and forth, not exactly sure who to focus on and who to ignore. While we did
have names selected, at this point the girls were known as Baby 1, Baby 2 and Baby 3.
The girls did require some breathing help (extra fluid in the lungs), so they each were
hooked up to a c-pap, along with an IV and other monitoring wires. The girls weren't
small by any means at 5lbs 2oz, 5lbs 6oz and 5lbs 12oz, so I didn't feel overly worried
about anything. I stayed with the girls for a while, then went back to see Sara.
After Sara was feeling ready after the c-section, we both went back to see the girls. At
this point we decided who got which name. Instead of Baby 1, Baby 2 and Baby 3, we now
had Ava, Iris and Greta. We spent time with them for a while, but then had to return to
Sara's room. This was one of the biggest differences with our sons births. Once the baby
is born you usually spend every minute with them. That would not be the case this time
The girls were doing very well and Greta had her c-pap removed around midnight. Ava and
Iris had theirs removed during the night. Over the next few days they also had their IVs
removed as well as being moved into the same room. During the first few days we went down
every three hours. After a few days of this, we were both very exhausted.
Over this time we met with many nurses and doctors, between Sara and the girls. There was
some frustration with having to learn the nuances of different nurses and doctors. We
didn't necessarily have any bad experiences, it was simply the differences and having to
tell our story over and over again that made things frustrating at times. It also hard to
get any rest, and squeeze in meals.
On Friday, Sara was discharged. This was a very emotional day. Usually when you
discharged you go over baby safety, check your car seats and are escorted out. None of
that happen this time. We arrived with three empty car seats and departed with three
empty car seats.
While we do live in Bend, our house is on the opposite side of town from the hospital.
Certainly not as big of an inconvenience if we lived out of town , however still enough of
a hassle for the frequent feeding schedule with the three girls. Thankfully, we were able
to get a room at the Ronald McDonald house to use as a home base close to the hospital.
Over the next few days we adjusted to a schedule that had us at the NICU during multiple
feedings during the day and night. Around that we had to fit in meals, rest and, of
course, time at home with our two boys and Sara's mom. The hardest part by far is having
your heart strings pulled in different directions between home and the hospital.
In the NICU each feeding session had a set routine. With one baby, you can go with the
flow, but with triplets you can't mess around. It usually went like this: Unwrap Greta,
vitals, take her temp, change diaper, remove sleeper, unhook monitoring wires, weigh ,
nurse for 20-30 min, weigh, dress, bottle feed or through the feeding tube, then repeat
for Iris, and then repeat for Ava, then Sara would pump. Generally we would complete this under
The tough part for Sara that during this time there was pressure to get the feeding done
within the allotted time, and there was very little general snuggling time with the girls.
Because we had to fit in rest, meals and visits at home, we usually couldn't stay in one
place very long.
The schedule was a grind, and after six days we were both feeling pretty exhausted, as
well as defeated when feedings didn't go as well as hoped. Meetings with multiple
neonatologists, we also were not getting a hard date for release from the NICU. This
added to the pressure during feedings. Not exactly the environment you want during these
bonding moments with your baby.
When the girls were first brought into the NICU, Greta had a roommate. This baby's
parents are also staying at the Ronald McDonald house. For their little guy, he is
expected to remain in the NICU another month. For us we know the day is soon approaching,
but prior to this experience with the girls it was hard to truly empathize with parents
with a baby in the NICU. Truly until you've been there, you don 't know what it's like.
Over the last few days we changed the feeding routine to one baby nurses, and the other
two bottle feed. This created a much calmer environment and took the pressure off of
Sara. The girls have all become champs with their bottles and that appears to be the
final benchmark for them to reach to be discharged.
Over the last few days the girls passed their car-seat tests, stopped receiving additional feedings through their feeding tube, and are just about ready to come home. Soon we will all be ready to adjust to the next
phase. Certainly the adventure has just begun, and there's plenty more in store for our,
now, larger family.