Steven and Keeley Mott, Springfield, Oregon
Identical triplet daughters
Keeley Mott’s father is a twin, so she knew there was a chance her second pregnancy would result in more than one addition to the family. But she and husband Steven hadn’t contemplated triplets – until an ultrasound three months into the pregnancy detected three tiny heart beats instead of one or two.
“It was a huge shock,” Keeley said. “There was one placenta, so we knew they were identical girls.”
Identical triplets conceived without medical intervention are a rare phenomenon, occurring once in every 500,000 pregnancies. Many of those pregnancies are at risk for complications, but 21-year-old Keeley had no problems. Well, except for one.
“I got so big so fast,” said Keeley, who was 5-feet-2-inches tall and 115 pounds before the pregnancy. “I couldn’t lift my 2 year old toward the end, and it was hard because he didn’t understand why.”
Obstetrician Vern Katz, MD, provided Keeley’s prenatal care. He had scheduled a Caesarian section for July 15, 2010, at 34 weeks gestation.
But the girls were eager to enter the world, apparently. During a June 28, 2010, appointment, Dr. Katz determined that Keeley had begun to dilate and admitted her to Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend for the remainder of the pregnancy. It was good timing. That night, her water broke and labor began. Igor Gladstone, MD, delivered the triplets just after midnight the next day.
Kloee Michelle was born first, weighing in at 3.5 pounds. Dylan Shyann came next, at 4.4 pounds. And Liley May arrived last at 4.6 pounds. All three babies were pink and healthy, but required extra support due to their early births and relatively small size. They were transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on the fifth floor at Sacred Heart at RiverBend, where they stayed for 16 days.
Older brother Taven visited his sisters twice during their stay, and kept pictures of the girls at home. “He kisses the pictures of the girls and calls them ‘my babies,’” Keeley said at the time.
The children’s father, Steven, 23, split his time between the hospital and the Springfield insurance office where he works. “I can’t believe they’re mine,” he said. “I’m so proud.”
On the eve of the family’s homecoming, the couple spent the night in the NICU with the girls, as a kind of dry-run for what was in store. They alone were responsible for feeding and changing the babies, and Keeley confirmed they got little sleep. It’s a process that NICU Nurse Maureen Beringer called “rooming in,” and it’s designed to make new parents feel confident that they can care for their babies outside the hospital.
The couple has a strong support network – their mothers grew up together and remain best friends, and their large family lives locally. That network was vital when, in October, four-month-old Kloee was diagnosed with a hole in her heart that required immediate surgery. Pediatrician Anita A. Geisler, MD, identified the problem and referred the family to the Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel in Portland. The family traveled north and stayed at the Ronald McDonald House for a week while Kloee underwent successful open heart surgery. The smallest of the three girls, Kloee has thrived since the operation and she’s catching up with her sisters in weight and development.
In fact, all three are thriving, Steven said. “We’re lucky to have non-colicky babies, non-fussy babies,” he said. “Our son is adjusting well. It’s been an all-around great experience.
“It really has been a blessing and the best thing that has ever happened to me,” Steven added. “With all sincerity, thank you to the wonderful men and women from RiverBend, who are the very reason we are able to kiss our kids goodnight every night.”
To help with the cost of the birth, Kloee’s surgery and running a household with four children under the age of three, the Motts have established the “Mott Triplet Fund” at Selco Credit Union.