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Triplets

NICU Awareness Month part II- Let's Tell Your Story!

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NICU Awareness Month part II- Let's Tell Your Story!

By Summer Mobley

The hospital the triplets were born at didn’t have private rooms in the NICU when we were there. Instead, they had multiple bays or pods.

Pictured here is Isabella at 2 days old, weighing approximately 3.5 pounds. She’s inside an isolette. She was hooked up to a pulse oximeter, a heart rate monitor & an apnea monitor. She was also on CPAP & had an umbilical catheter. I promise I’ll explain all of these in another post

Pictured here is Isabella at 2 days old, weighing approximately 3.5 pounds. She’s inside an isolette. She was hooked up to a pulse oximeter, a heart rate monitor & an apnea monitor. She was also on CPAP & had an umbilical catheter. I promise I’ll explain all of these in another post

Imagine a rectangle & around the edges of the rectangle were isolettes (or bassinets or cribs depending on the baby in each station). There were approximately 10-15 babies in each pod. Down the center of the rectangle were sinks for handwashing & computer stations for the nurses. I’m sure there were other things down the center, but frankly, I wasn’t paying attention to those details.

When a baby is admitted to the NICU, it was protocol that only one baby could be admitted to a specific pod at a time. Which meant the triplets were each taken by their respective receiving teams to three different pods.

What this meant for us, was that each time we visited the kids, we’d have three stops to make. Or when we called from home to check on them, we’d have to make separate calls to each pod & each nurse.

It wasn’t like there was a mile in between them - they were essentially 50 feet from each other an&d through another set of double doors, but they were still separated. And thank God for my husband, because I was in such a fog the first few days, I couldn’t remember who was where or how to get there.

After I was discharged, & we would go to the NICU, we’d have to pick who to see first – Baby A (Xander), Baby B (Ellyse) or Baby C (Isabella). We’d arrive to the NICU, wash our hands & arms, put our cell phones in plastic bags & call their nurse to make sure it was ok for us to come back. Because they weren’t in private rooms & we shared a large space with many other babies & their families, if one baby in our pod was going through a sterile procedure at the time, we would be told “No, I’m sorry, you cannot see your baby at this time.” And so we’d wait. Or we’d move down the list to the next baby & pray that we could see one of them. Sometimes, it made me so mad knowing I had to ask for permission to visit my kids & mad that someone else was essentially in charge of the well-being of my children. Most of the time, this wasn’t an issue. And even in my anger, I was and still am SOOOOOO grateful that our kids were under such great, safe care.

The triplets were born at 1:27am and 1:30am. Xander was born 1st, Ellyse 2nd and Isabella 3rd. Izzy and Elly were born in the same minute, practically together, but Elly’s feet came out just before Isabella, so she is considered 2nd born of the trio.

It was so hard to follow anything that was happening in the Delivery Room that night.

Pictured is just a sliver of the people present in the Delivery Room the night of the triplet’s birth.

Pictured is just a sliver of the people present in the Delivery Room the night of the triplet’s birth.

Ray counted 22 people in the room with us. Each baby had a team of 4 or 5 people with them (their receiving team). The team consisted of a NICU doctor, a nurse, a respiratory specialist and a neonatal specialist. There were two anesthesiologists for me, my two doctors, a slew of other nurses and I’m sure I’m missing someone of importance.

After they were born, their respective teams did the norm – weighed them, took measurements, took that “first” picture, the nurses held the girls next to me, so I could see them and then whisked them away. Ray followed the girls down to the NICU because he had a bunch of paperwork to sign.

Xander stayed in the OR for a long time after the girls left and I realized the next day that I never got to see him before he went to the NICU. You see, Xander was born not breathing and it took his team an extended amount of time to stabilize him enough to go to the NICU. Ray and I recall knowing this, but we were told so much information those first few days, it was impossible to keep any of it straight.

Xander was in the NICU for 2.5 months. After discharge, I read his paperwork over and over and over again and it wasn’t until right after he turned two years old, that I noticed something. Xander had been intubated while in the Delivery Room. So, I dug further into his charts and discovered that he had been resuscitated three times while in the delivery room. To tell you how shocked I was when reading that is an understatement. I still get emotional thinking about how close we were to losing him and we didn’t even know it.

Xander had a much harder NICU Journey than my girls did. But if you saw him (or heard him) now, you’d never know it. He has an ear-piercing scream that is a constant reminder that his lungs work and work well. 😊


After the triplets were born, I wasn’t able to go see them right away.

I spent a few hours I recovery, then back to my L&D room, before I was transferred back to the High-Risk floor. It was at least 16 hours after delivery before Ray could wheel me to the NICU. he had already been a few times and was well versed at the routine and protocol.

We planned to see Xander first, so when we arrived at the NICU, we checked in at the desk, put our cell phones in plastic Ziploc bags, washed our hands and arms up to our elbows, called our nurse and headed back. When I got to Xander’s isolette, I was so taken back by his size, by the wires connected to him, by the CPAP mask on his face, by the noises the monitors made as his heart rate rose or dropped or his respiratory rate went crazy. It was so overwhelming.

Somehow, I was keeping it together. Until a woman walked by. Her name was Tara Irvine. We had never met before, but we knew each other’s names because we were part of a Mom’s of Multiples (MOM) group where we lived. MOM’s are band together in a way that I cannot explain.

Tara walked by and recognized my name. She introduced herself and gave me a hug. When I saw the badge she was wearing, I instantly knew who she was. It was at that moment that melted from the emotion of what was going on. Being known by someone who had walked thru what we were walking through meant so much to me that day. I don't recall seeing Tara again after that day and our triplets were transferred to a different hospital 10 days later.

Tara was a NICU Volunteer and it was my first time encountering someone who did this. But it wasn’t my last.

There were volunteers throughout our journey who held our babies when we couldn’t be there; who brought me water while I was doing skin to skin; who sat and talked to me like we were old friends; who sang to my son in the evenings when he was most uncomfortable. I am not sure the volunteers we encountered will ever know how much the giving of their time meant to our family.

Because of the impact the NICU (our nurses, admin staff, doctors, specialists, volunteers, lactation consultants) had on my family's life, I now volunteer at our local NICU.

If you are a volunteer, or have ever volunteered, anywhere for any reason...Thank You. Thank you for loving on others.

You are appreciated more than you know.


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NICU Awareness Month part I - Let's Tell Your Story!

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NICU Awareness Month part I - Let's Tell Your Story!

By Summer Mobley

September is NICU Awareness Month.

This picture is of Elly’s, our Baby B, as she was being admitted to the NICU following birth.

This picture is of Elly’s, our Baby B, as she was being admitted to the NICU following birth.

Our triplets were born at 30 weeks gestation and spent 37, 37, and 70 days in the NICU. In honor of this month, I will share bits and pieces about our NICU journey - including our ups and downs, how we balanced time at how with our, then, five-year-old and how that time has eternally impacted our family.


Two is the number of times I went into labor with the triplets.

The first time was the day after Thanksgiving in 2015. My husband’s brothers and sisters and their kids were all visiting because I was on bedrest. That morning, the boys had taken all he kids to go hunt for a Christmas tree (the story of the tree deserves its own post). When they came back, we decorated the tree. That’s when the contractions started. I sat, quietly, timing them. After an hour I texted Ray, who sat across the room from me and confessed I’d had seven contractions in the last hour. He immediately stood up and told me to get my bag, call my doctor and load up in the car to head to the hospital. Fast forward, we were lucky enough that my doctors were able to stop my labor. I was 29 weeks pregnant at the time.

I went into labor, for the second time, a week later. This time, there was no stopping it. The babies were coming. (To this day, I blame Xander. I think he was tired of getting kicked by his feisty sisters.) I was 30 weeks pregnant.

This picture is of me with three Doppler’s, monitoring the babies heart rates before being taken to the operating room.

This picture is of me with three Doppler’s, monitoring the babies heart rates before being taken to the operating room.

A few hours before the babies were born, one of the neonatologist who worked at the NICU came to speak with me and Ray. This had happened the week prior when I went into labor, so we knew what to expect from him, yet even so, his words were so hard to hear.

He spoke of what we could expect to find after the babies were born. Things like brain bleeds or holes in their hearts to respiratory distress and the need to be intubated. What it really boiled down to, is that the doctors really had no idea what shape our 30-week gestation triplets would be in upon birth. He promised that the team caring for our kids would do everything they could to make sure things were ok. It was so scary, yet so peaceful at the time. And not peaceful in the sense that I’m sure your brain jumped to, but peaceful in that we knew beyond a shadow of doubt, that no matter what, God was good, and God was in control.

Approximately 12 hours after my labor started the second time, the triplets were born at 30.4 weeks. They weighed 4lbs, 6oz; 2lbs, 15oz and 3lbs, 13oz.

Three is such a crazy number when I think back to our time in the NICU.

Of course, the obvious is that we had triplets. And yes, for the crazies that look at me like “Huh!? WTF?! Did you really just say tri…??” Yes, I said it and meant it. And yes, that means three babies. Thank.You.Very.Much.

But three had so many meanings, as a result for us.

Three times the amount of people in the operating room (Ray counted 22 people).

Three receiving teams (which I will get into on a future post).

Three Pods that the triplets were divided into.

Three phone calls we had to make to three different nurses every time we called the NICU for an update.

Three hands-on times, each spaced 30 minutes apart, and repeated every three hours.

Three also signifies the number of days post-birth that I got to go home. Except, I went home without the three children who occupied my body for 30 weeks. The three children who sent me into labor twice. The three children who I’m positive learned to fight each other in utero (and one who proved her karate skills by dislocating THREE of my ribs while I was pregnant). Three days after giving birth, I had to leave three HUGE chunks of my heart inside a hospital and we had no idea how long it would be until they’d be able to come home.

Three of us at home, waiting for the other ½ of family to grow big enough and well enough to join us.

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Three months before our whole family would be home, together, for the first time.

And in three months, from this moment, the three teeny tiny humans that I get to call my kiddos, will turn three years old. The time has gone so fast.


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