30 Fingers and 30 Toes: These Moms Talk What It's Really Like To Have Triplets

30 Fingers and 30 Toes: These Moms Talk What It's Really Like To Have Triplets

How many heartbeats are there? Three? You must be mistaken.

By Marianne Garvey
Plucking a Baby's Eyebrows

Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh are now parents to triplets, and it was surprising news, but it likely won’t be unmanageable, being Pharrell and all with access to all the around-the-clock baby help you need. But what if you’re a not a wealthy celebrity, and you’re just a regular couple working hard, and you discover you’re having triplets?

Personal Space spoke to two moms who have given birth to and are raising triplets, and they tell what it’s really like to live with three tiny people who take up all of your time and energy. Both say it’s crazy, yet rewarding.

Desiree Fortin, 30, a photographer hasn’t had much time to take pictures of anything but her three babies since giving birth to triplets 18 moths ago. She and her husband Ryan, a Physical Education teacher, had to move in with her parents in Encinitas, CA., in order to save money on rent and get some help from Desiree’s mom, a school teacher who is helping throughout these hectic early days.

“It is such a blessing and a lot of work,” Desiree, who writes about life with triplets on Our Journey To Parenthood, says. “Life has changed pretty dramatically, we had to move in with my parents, we primarily live off Ryan’s income. It’s been crazy and exciting.”

Desiree is open about her struggles with infertility and tried to get pregnant for a few years before doing IVF.

“They put back two eggs, and said there was a five percent chance one would split into twins,” she laughs. “Well, both took and one split. Two of the babies are identical boys.” The third is a girl.

As it turns out, both Desiree and her husband both have a twin, she has an identical sister and her husband has a fraternal sister. But they were still shocked.

“The doctor told us ‘you’re having twins,’ then said, ‘oh wait there’s a third heartbeat’ and we were completely speechless,” she says. “I didn’t think that would happen to us. There’s so much to think about, financially we do the best we can, we’re fortunate to live with my parents. My sister had just moved out and I said ‘mom how do you feel about a family of five moving in?’”

Desiree’s mom helped feed them through the night, as the family learned to adjust. “They need to be on one tight schedule, that’s our saving grace,” Desiree says. “Sometimes I wonder what’s it like having one?”

She laughs that she sometimes cries, and says getting out of the house can take 45 minutes.

“it’s like going someplace everyone has their shoes on, by that time someone then has their shoes off,” she laughs. “I have to think about where I take them, for now it’s only enclosed places, because I need to see them.”

The couple found the triple-wide stroller her husband’s coworkers gifted them was great, but couldn’t fit through doors, because it was so wide.

“You can’t fit in an actual door,” she laughs, adding they had to buy a “long one so we can fit through doors.”

And the attention the family gets is sometimes exhausting.

“When we go places people always stop us, I’m in Target and have to be in mommy mode. Ihave to be prepared they have questions ‘are they triplets?’ ‘are they natural?’” she says.

In order to keep her sanity, trips anywhere are a welcome respite, like last week when she got to escape to Home Depot for paint.

Alone time is rare,” Desiree says. “They’re napping and do I want to do laundry, or maybe shower?”

But she wouldn’t trade it for anything.

“I feel like I have the best life,: she says, “it’s such a joy. There are so many things you hope for, this is what it is and we soak it all in. It’s a dream.”

New Orleans native Pam Kocke, writes about life with her identical triplets Linus, Oliver, and Miles, and her husband George on Pyjammy.

“We found out we were having triplets at seven weeks,” she says. “I wasn't doing any type of fertility treatments, and in fact, I wasn't even having much morning sickness, so I was nervous about seeing one healthy baby, much less three! But there they were.”

New Christmas jammies! #hannajams #triplets

A photo posted by Pam Kocke (@pyjammy) on

Pam says things only became uncomfortable in her third trimester, when the simplest tasks got infinitely more difficult.

“The worst part, though, was the stress. I was worried we'd lose a baby somewhere along the way. Or I would go into premature labor. Or they'd have a long stay in the NICU. But we were extremely fortunate that they were born at 33 weeks, 2 days, and only needed to stay in the hospital for a couple of weeks to get a bit stronger,” she says.

“We waited until they were born to find out their gender (we just knew they were all the same, since they're identical) so we didn't really even come up with names until after they were born. We started with a list of about half a dozen names for girls and half a dozen for boys, and once they were born, we narrowed them down to Linus, Oliver, and Miles. Their middle names would have been the same no matter what, so that made things easier.”


A photo posted by Pam Kocke (@pyjammy) on

Pam says at first it seemed so easy, because the boys just “slept and ate and pooped.”

“Eat, change diaper, swaddle. They slept almost around the clock,” Pam says.

But as they hit their due date at about seven weeks old, they "woke up" and became normal newborns.

My sporty boys.

A photo posted by Pam Kocke (@pyjammy) on

“They cried. Sometimes just one, sometimes two, but often all three,” she says. “We didn't have help through the night anymore, so we both got up when it was time for a feeding. Whoever was unlucky enough to get to the nursery first was the one who'd be feeding the first and third babies, so it paid to be slow so you only had to deal with one baby. But at about six months, they started sleeping through the night, and life got a lot easier. Well, we were more rested, anyway.”

But for Pam, it’s worth it too.

“Ah well. In the end, it’s really not that bad. Mostly because it’s all we’ve ever known.”

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