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How different families deal with similar situations

Struggling to get Pregnant Sammantha and Michael Stephens, Benjamin, Isabella, and MaKenna (19 months) Much-Wanted Babies — Sammantha and her husband Michael tried for more than nine years to become pregnant. It was on their second and final round of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) that she conceived the triplets. After so many years of trying unsuccessfully, they had decided that perhaps being childless wasn’t such a terrible thing.

Emotional Much? — Sammantha was very cautious early in the pregnancy. She had conceived on her first IVF attempt but miscarried right before six weeks so she entered her second IVF pregnancy with some trepidation.

Pregnancy Style — Her pregnancy was pretty normal up to a point. She didn’t have a lot of morning sickness or fatigue, but during her 21st week of pregnancy she began developing complications. At 23 weeks, she was admitted to the hospital for complete bed rest.

The Birth — Sammantha’s original due date was Feb 14, 2011, but the babies arrived on Nov 11, 2010, at 26 weeks, 3 days gestation via emergency c-section. Isabella was born weighing 1 lb, 5 ounces, Benjamin weighed 1 lb, 9 ounces, and MaKenna was the heavyweight at 1 lb, 14 ounces. Benjamin was the first baby released from the hospital on Jan. 29, 2011. MaKenna followed on Feb. 14, and Isabella came home on Feb. 19. Despite being born prematurely, the triplets have developed normally given their adjusted age. None qualified for First Steps or any kind of developmental intervention.

The Early Days with 3 Newborns — Knowing she would have three babies, Sammantha was encouraged by other moms of triplets to adopt a fairly strict schedule and keep all three babies on it. When one baby goes down for a nap, the other ones go down for a nap as well. Sammantha says, “You do not get the same leeway with triplets as you do with a single baby. I can’t rock all three babies, even though I may want to with all my heart.” I Get By With a Little Help — Sammantha’s mother lives with the family to assist in caring for the triplets, and Michael is a very involved dad. Sammantha notes that one of their catch phrases is, “If you got free time, you can change a baby.” Michael’s mother often babysits as well. Challenges of Toddlers — Benjamin, Isabella, and

trying to get more calories in them such as using butter and heavy cream in her cooking. Now that the children are mobile, Sammantha has to contend with sneak attacks. She says one child will take off and the other two go in the opposite direction, as if they have coordinated a strategy for getting at something they want.

Daily Life — Sammantha and the triplets spend most of their days at home simply because of the logistical challenges of getting three toddlers ready and into the car. Sammantha says that when she does go out with them, “I am exhausted by the time I get out the door.” She says that she gets very little done when running errands because she is stopped by so many people who want to “ooo” and “ahhh” over the triplets. Taking Care of Momma — Sammantha tries to take Jazzercise classes during the week and get out by herself on weekends to do some shopping or have lunch with friends.

MaKenna are all fairly small in size, so Sammantha has been 36 June/July 2012 444 /todaysfamily 444 @todaysfamilynow

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