The reality of having triplets in the NICU is that they may recover and develop at different rates. This means that you may not be able to take all of your babies home at one time, and some babies may have to stay for weeks or even months. This can be a difficult and trying situation to be in, especially if you live far from the hospital or have limited transportation.
What can you do?
Choose a hospital and birth team that can support your needs as a family having multiples. This would include a hospital that has a NICU with multiple levels, so that your babies do not have to be transported to different hospitals, if possible. It’s also important to establish a relationship with the hospital social worker to discuss your unique situation.
Talk to your healthcare provider about the right breastpump for you. When your baby(ies) are in the NICU, you will need to pump if you are choosing to breastfeed. Be sure to have your breastpump ready as early as possible in case of premature delivery.
During Labor and Delivery
Share your birth plan with all birth team members prior to labor and delivery, or at least make sure your partner is aware of your wishes so they can be communicated. Be aware that one or more of your triplets may not be stable enough for skin-to-skin contact and may need to be transferred immediately to the NICU. Remember that each triplet is different and may vary greatly, even at birth.
You will most likely be discharged from the hospital without one or more of your babies. It may be heartbreaking to drive away with your flowers and balloons and leave your little ones behind. Rest assured that you usually will be able to call the hospital at any hour to check on your baby(ies).
Make sure you know what the visiting policies are and try to visit as often as you feel able. If you don’t feel up to it, that’s okay! Enlist the help of family and friends for whatever you need.
It may be complicated to bring one or more newborns with you to the hospital to visit the NICU. You may want to check out what arrangements they have for bringing your newborn(s) with you to the NICU. Some hospitals have an adjoining hotel where you can stay overnight if needed.
Some parents are relieved to establish a routine with one or two of their triplets while others may find this more difficult than taking them all home at once. You may be able to negotiate with hospital staff if the difference in their recovery is small to keep them together longer and take them home together. It may take time to bond with your triplets so don’t fret if you feel detached at first, especially from your babies who are still staying in the hospital.
As distressing as it may be to be separated from one or more of your triplets, take comfort in your support system and seek help freely as needed. Consider contacting a multiples support group for information and resources. Above all, try to stay positive and remember that this is only temporary!