Jennifer and Doug Myers enjoyed being parents to daughter, Alli. They hoped to provide her with a sibling, possibly a little boy.
But, to their complete surprise, and shock, one little boy was not to join their family. Instead, the Bakerton couple has welcomed the Three R's to their household.
Reagan, Rachael and Ryleigh Myers had a scheduled due date of Aug. 19. Instead of making their arrival on that date, the identical triplets celebrated their nine-week birthdays.
Doug shared this week that when the couple visited the doctor for the first sonogram, they were told there were twins.
"Jen couldn't see the screen," he said. "The person doing the sonogram wrote 'Fetus C?' he laughed. "I remember saying 'Are you kidding me?'" Another set of eyes was called in and confirmed that triplets were indeed on the way.
The three bundles of joy were given the August due date; however, as is usual with multiple births, they came a bit early. Throughout the early months of the pregnancy, Jennifer continued to work fulltime as the executive director for Jefferson County Parks and Recreation. In April, she informed her board that she would likely have to be on limited duty in the coming months to attempt to bring the babies as close to term as possible.
She was admitted to Winchester Medical Center in May where she spent five weeks on bed rest before the girls decided June 14 was their arrival date.
With a total combined weight of just 9 pounds, 14 ounces, the three remained in the Neonatal Intensive Care unit until they passed certain criteria to be released.
"They all had to be consistently gaining weight," Jennifer said. "They all had to maintain satisfactory temperatures and take 80 percent of their feedings by bottle for at least two days in a row." The girls also had to pass a car seat training session.
Reagan and Rachael were the first to come home as they were the larger two of the three at birth. On June 14, Reagan weighed in at 3 pounds, 10 ounces and Rachael was 3 pounds, 12 ounces. Ryleigh arrived weighing just 2 pounds, 8 ounces. On their Aug. 19 actual due date, the girls had grown to an impressive 8 pounds 12 ounces for Rachael, 8 pounds, 4 ounces for Reagan and 6 pounds 4 ounces for Ryleigh.
The weight gain has come through the super-parent efforts of Doug and Jennifer, who have consistently maintained an every three hour feeding schedule for the girls since they arrived home from the hospital. In a typical day, the couple shared, the girls eat one right after the other, taking about an hour and a half for a feeding. Since Doug went back to work in Frederick, Md., he said he usually stays up to take the midnight feeding with Jennifer getting back up around 2 a.m. and again at 5 a.m.
Also on a typical day, Doug laughed, they girls go through approximately 24 diapers.
"That's a package of 96 in just four day," he said.
The girls received clearance from their doctors this week to eat on demand, which will hopefully allow the young couple to get some much needed sleep.
Despite the challenges of managing the three newborns, as well as big sister, Alli, Jennifer and Doug proudly share their excitement with friends and family. The entire family made a recent appearance at the Jefferson County Fair, where Jen said, it was easier for everyone to see them.
While Ryleigh continues at a little smaller weight, it proves a way to distinguish her from her sisters. The triplets are identical, something the Myers' couple said is very rare.
"We have heard 1 in a thousand, 1 in 60,000," Doug said. "We just know it's very rare." At the time of the interview for this story, Reagan sported some pretty toe nail polish to help separate her from Rachael.
Challenges will surely be many as the household continues to adjust. Jennifer said right now one of her biggest challenges is getting the entire family ready for an outing. Loading four car seats takes about 20 minutes, she said. Right now she said that she can't imagine taking all four of her daughters out alone. Thankfully she has help from family and friends who are enjoying the miracle of these Three R's as much as their parents.