Matthew and Elizabeth Milliron are parents of rare identical triplets, and as Elizabeth puts it, it still feels like a dream!
On October 18th the couple was blessed with three boys – Nicholas, Blake and Caleb born two months premature at the Medical University of South Carolina. Since then life has not been the same for the family.
“I just keep feeling like I’m in a dream,” Elizabeth said. “Right now I really have my hands full.”
The three babies need 24 diapers a day. With Mathew being an anesthesiologist and Elizabeth being a pediatrician, the two alternate between work shifts and looking after the babies feeding, caring for them and changing diapers.
Thankfully, they also get a lot of help from friends, family and co-workers. There are also pair of nurses that visit twice a week so that mom and dad can get some rest and also look after their two year old son, Mason.
“We wouldn’t be able to do it without them,” Elizabeth said.
“It’s kind of been a rollercoaster since we found out we were having triplets. They’re doing great, much better than we could have expected or hoped for,” said the father.
But Mason is probably the one who is the most thrilled in the family. The couple says he could not believe initially that he was going to be an elder brother to three baby brothers at once.
“Our older son is having a blast. He’s got his own little fan club,” Matthew said.
“They’re going to be such great friends,” Elizabeth said.
The chance of having identical triplets naturally is one in 80 million to 200 million and Elizabeth says that she sees it as a blessing.
“You have a better chance of winning Powerball,” she said. “It was a miracle.”
The Millirons found out in the seventh week of pregnancy that they were having triplets after an ultrasound. Because it was a high risk pregnancy, Elizabeth was placed on bed rest at 24 weeks.
The babies were born at 31 weeks and three days with Nicholas and Blake weighing 4 pounds, 2 ounces and Caleb 3 pounds, 15 ounces. On Friday, Nicholas weighed 9 pounds, 12 ounces, Blake 9 pounds, 8 ounces, and Caleb 10 pounds, 1 ounce, Elizabeth said.
Luckily the babies were only in the MUSC neonatal intensive care unit for a week right after their birth before being transferred to East Cooper Regional Medical Center, where they stayed for five weeks.
The triplets now have breathing and heart-rate monitors at home, and their feedings are “paced” to prevent choking.
Their mom explains that being premature some babies may have periods when they forget to breathe.
“Sometimes they also have trouble choking with feeds and it causes their heart rate to drop and them to stop breathing as well,” she said.
The monitors therefore sound an alarm if a baby is not breathing for more than 20 seconds or their heart rate drops.
“This lets the parents know so that they can stimulate the baby to breathe again or alerts them that they may be choking,” she said.
What is interesting is the way the parents have tried to make their life a bit easier when they need to give individual attention to three identical babies. To tell them apart, they paint the triplets toenails each a different color.
The busy mom plans to return to work in the Spring.
“I love what I do,” she said.
Currently, she is more than happy caring for her very own rare and beautiful triplets.