After becoming parents of triplets in 2016, Jessica Kennedy, Kristen McCloy and Jeri Wright returned to Missouri Baptist Medical Center to share what they’ve learned during the past year.
All nine of the children were born a few weeks apart, and all were patients of Dr. Michael Paul, a maternal-fetal medicine obstetrician. While the moms were in the hospital on bed rest during their pregnancies, they formed a bond that strengthened as their babies recovered in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and continues now as the team of nine have become toddlers.
WORKING AS A TEAM
As the first mom to deliver her triplets, Jessica and her husband, Ben, both high school teachers, found that teamwork has been key this past year. Their identical sons, Reed, Knox and Finn, have all fit right into their family, along with big brother Cohen and big sister Laine.
Because both parents work outside of the home, they have an au pair who takes care of the triplets during the day. “It’s been crazy, but we got lucky. The boys are well-behaved, and the older two help out with the babies and love playing with them,” Jessica said. “I’ve learned that there are going to be good days and bad days, but you can’t let it get to you. I wish they would sleep a little better, but I try not to take the long nights too seriously.”
Jessica said she and Ben think of each other as a team. “We’re both pretty laid back, which helps. Sometimes they’re going to get bumps and bruises, and you go with the flow,” she said. “We do the best we can together, and it’s nice to know you have someone there to always support you.”
KEEPING A SCHEDULE
Since becoming a first-time mom to babies Emalyn, Lucas and Colton, the most important advice Kristen can give to any new mom, but particularly one of multiples, is to stay on a schedule. “Treasure the schedule the NICU helps you set and stick with it as long as you can,” she said. “You have to make tweaks as they get bigger, but we still follow a general schedule for feedings, naps and the day-to-day routine. It makes life easier.” As a stay-at-home mom, Kristen said she and her husband, Michael, work together when he is home from work. She’s always grateful when he is on hand, especially when they need to go somewhere with all three babies.
With two identical boys and the only girl among the trio of triplets, Kristen said each baby has reached expected milestones like rolling over, crawling and walking, but her daughter has shown she’s in charge. “Emalyn is the sassy, bossy one. She lets the boys know that, ‘I’m the girl, I’m the oldest and everything is mine,’” Kristen said. She’s grateful for the support and advice she gets from Jessica and Jeri. “We remind each other it’s important to remember you know your child best,” Kristen said. “You are the best advocate for your children, and you can take other people’s opinions, but at the end of the day, you have to follow your heart.”
TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME
With four toddlers under the age of three, Jeri and her husband, Aaron, have their hands full. Their triplets — Oliver, Finn and Beckett — also have an older sister, Betty, who is two and one-half years old. She agreed with Kristen about keeping a regimented schedule when possible and said it is easy to get overwhelmed, but she just “takes it one day at a time.”
“Having triplets is fun, but it can be exhausting,” she said. “Everything changes in the course of a year, so it’s good to touch base with Jessica and Kristen about what works. Whether it’s schedules or sippy cups, it’s helpful and therapeutic to have one another.”
Jeri recalled the early days when she and her husband felt overwhelmed just getting four little ones dressed and in the car to go someplace, but now she says it’s a lot easier because she’s learned to let things happen at their own pace. “You have to be flexible and a good multitasker with multiples,” she said. “If it doesn’t get done in a day, there is always tomorrow. You just have to let things go.”
Since having the triplets, Jeri decided to be a stay-at-home mom for now, and she’s glad she did. “I didn’t know how I would like it, but having schedules and activities keeps us busy, and I’ve embraced it.”
Another aspect of having four little ones that has been important to the Wright family is to provide each child with individual attention. Their daughter attends a Montessori school a few days a week, and the triplets are each spending a few nights with grandma on their own. “The kids have completely individual personalities,” Jeri said. “Every day is a blessing, and I take time to enjoy the moments.”