Tales from Triplet Parents
When the doctor says there’s not one but three babies, life gets exciting pretty quickly! As a triplet mom myself, I realize what a unique experience this truly is. Local triplet moms join me in sharing our unique triplet tales.
When I found out I was having triplets, I hyperventilated a little bit! We brought our one-year-old son, and I kept looking at him thinking about how young he was at the time. We were going to add three more babies. My husband was all smiles, but I suppose he wasn’t worried about carrying three children in his stomach either. How did you feel when you found out you were having triplets?
Katie Dallimore: Oh my goodness, what did I not feel? First, disbelief because the week before I was told it was twins. I couldn’t wrap my brain around how three babies were going to fit in my small frame, not to mention what was going to happen to my body. I also felt overwhelmed and terrified! I have two hands. How do I feed and carry three babies? My husband was a little calmer and he kept saying it was going to be “controlled chaos.”
Sara Duhe: When my husband and I went for our first ultrasound, we were told we were having twins. I told my husband, “We could totally handle twins, right? So many people have twins!” As the ultrasound tech started moving around, we discovered baby number three. We were having triplets! I immediately started laughing through tears–the crazy, scary kind of laugh. I’ve never felt so excited, nervous, and overwhelmed. My husband just sat there with his hand over his mouth, speechless. His eyes were wider than I’d ever seen them.
Krystal Howell: “I think there’s a third.” That’s what the ultrasound tech said to my husband and I when we went in for our first ultrasound appointment. Complete shock set in at that very moment. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing or seeing. But there they were up on the screen…three little heartbeats. Never in a million years would we have ever dreamed we’d have triplets, but God had other plans for us. My shock lasted for months.
One of the first things that was unique about having triplets was getting used to leaving them in the NICU. It was a completely different experience having children with developmental delays, but we adjusted to our new normal. Tell me a little about your NICU experience.
Katie: I am thankful for the time my children spent in the NICU. It takes a special person to care for these pint-sized humans, and they are so good at their jobs. Babies don’t come with an instruction manual, but in my case, mine did. They put my babies on a schedule that I stuck to religiously, taught me how to do everything for them from bathing and feeding to umbilical cord and circumcision care. They charted everything for me and sent each baby home with their own binder.
Sara: All of our babies were in the same suite which made visiting easy. Because the triplets were very healthy, they were in the NICU for growing, feeding, and learning to regulate their body temperatures. While we were there, the nurses taught us how to feed our preemies, which was more challenging than we expected and left me feeling defeated. It’s hard as a mother when you feel like you cannot successfully feed your kids and someone else has to take over for you. But the nurses were so positive, helpful and reassuring during this process.
Krystal: Our NICU experience was nothing short of amazing. Although the girls were born at 32 weeks, our pediatrician referred to them as “super babies.” Their stay in the NICU was a relatively short one, considering a premature baby usually stays in the hospital until their actual due date. But our “super babies” stayed less than two weeks in the NICU.
My triplets were my second pregnancy. Hunter was not quite two when we brought the triplets home from the hospital. We try to make sure he feels special by giving him one-on-one time and acknowledging him when people ooh and aah at the triplets. If your triplets have siblings, how do you try to make sure they feel special, too?
Katie: After the triplets’ first birthday, I found out I was expecting my fourth child. Eighteen months later, we had four children under the age of two–two girls and two boys. My older son is the most doting brother and never once has my youngest not felt like he was a triplet too. I suppose, at some point, we are going to have to break the news to him.
Krystal: Kathryn was four years old when they were born. Adjusting to three babies taking over the house and everyone’s attention can be hard, but we’ve always made sure that she has her own special time with us. She takes part in fun activities like soccer and dance. She spends one-on-one time with each of us. When we are out in public and someone asks us about the triplets, we make sure to acknowledge what a wonderful big sister Kathryn is to her little sisters.
I find myself questioning if I’m doing the right thing as a parent of triplets. When they were smaller and we were in survival mode, I would realize at the end of the day that maybe I didn’t hold one of them as much as another one and become really emotional about it. Now that they are in school, I have questioned about keeping them in the same class or separating them. What is the most difficult thing about raising triplets?
Katie: After getting through that first year of life, the most difficult thing has to be logistics. When I was pregnant, someone told us that we would never get out of the house with multiples. My husband and I made a promise that we would not be those people. We didn’t feel it would be fair to our children to never go anywhere just because getting out may be a little bit harder than it may be for the average family. We live a very active lifestyle and are constantly on the go with our kids, but it is not easy.
Sara: It seems like everything during the first few weeks is difficult. It was hard functioning on just a few hours of sleep while pumping milk every two hours. I was changing diapers and feeding triplets around the clock. Not to mention the bottles. And laundry! I felt like I would never get sleep again because there was a never ending cycle of things that needed to get done. When I made the difficult decision to stop breastfeeding, and I was finally able to get more sleep, everything just seemed to naturally get easier from there.
Krystal: Because our girls are identical, our biggest challenge is making sure that each girl is acknowledged as an individual. Many times, they are referred to as “Hey Triplet,” because no one knows which one they are. We encourage everyone to ask them their names. My husband and I work hard to make sure that each girl knows how amazing it is to be an identical triplet, but that they are amazing individuals first.
Whenever I meet a fellow triplet mom, I reassure her that she will sleep again. I also like to let her know that she will be able to leave the house one day and take them all! What advice would you give to other triplet moms?
Katie: Don’t panic, be confident, and be informed. You’ve got this! Sure, the pregnancy isn’t super pleasant and the first year will be rough, but you’ll get through it. Make a schedule, stick to it, and be consistent. Try not to wish the time to speed by to get to the next milestone, because it will, and in a flash, they will be in kindergarten.
Sara: Start assembling your village early. Family and friends will be your life support. You will need people to help take care of your house, cook meals, drive you to the hospital when your babies are still in the NICU, wash bottles and laundry, help feed the babies, and watch them while you get some sleep. Accept any and all help, because you will need it. Find other moms of multiples. You will have many questions, and they can relate to what you are going through and offer advice.
Krystal: Don’t be hard on yourself. Parenting is the toughest job there is, and we are our own worst critics. As a mother of four with a full-time job outside of the home, I know the demands of everyday life and how hectic things can become. We have to remember to take care of ourselves so that we aren’t running on empty. I remind myself that if today didn’t go like I had hoped, I can always try again tomorrow. Isn’t that a beautiful thing?
I think the part of having triplets that surprised me the most was how quickly my heart expanded from loving one child to four. What has surprised you most about being a triplet parent?
Katie: How rewarding it would be. We have so much fun together. It’s said that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle, and, while I disagreed with that throughout my pregnancies, it couldn’t be more true!
Sara: My husband and I are both surprised at how quickly you learn to adapt to raising three kids at one time. At the beginning, we didn’t know how we would be able to manage three newborns. It seemed like a daunting and impossible task. Now, it’s just second nature. I can’t imagine my life any other way.
Krystal: The most surprising thing is the unique bond that exists between them. Not many people understand it. The bond between siblings, in general, is usually strong, but when you’re a triplet, it’s something more. When you’re an identical triplet, well, it’s indescribable. They are their own unique club. After all, three started as one. It’s as if there is an invisible string that still connects them.
My triplets are always so proud to be a triplet. I’ve enjoyed watching them grow and experience life as a team with individual personalities. What have you enjoyed most about having triplets?
Katie: Watching them interact with each other. Their imaginations are unbelievable, and it is such a joy to watch them play, learn, and experience new things. Rarely do I need to entertain my children because they always have someone to play with.
Sara: The past few weeks have been very enjoyable watching their little personalities start to shine. I love seeing how each baby is developing their individual little quirks and nuances. I can’t wait until they start talking!
Krystal: Being the mother of four girls is nothing short of a miracle. Every day is full of new adventures with them. They add so much to our lives, and they have taught me so many lessons. I hope to teach them that kindness is key, love is essential, and God has a plan for each one of them. ■
Excellent. So interesting.