Parents Still Shocked by Triplets
Bill and Tara Ehrensperger were first told they were expecting one child but, at a second ultrasound, found out they were having three.
Bill Ehrensperger’s babies may be six days old, but the Cherokee County resident said he still hasn’t completely come to terms with the fact that he and his wife, Tara, now have triplets.
“I’m still dealing with it,” the new father said. “They’re here, and I’m still dealing with it. I’m still in a little bit of awe right now.”
That’s probably because when Tara’s pregnancy was discovered when the couple returned from a trip to Paris to celebrate their first wedding anniversary, the ultrasound technician told her she was carrying one baby. That was a shock in itself, as the couple was planning to start another round of the fertility drug Clomid. Though there is a higher chance of multiples while taking the drug, fewer than one percent of patients conceive triplets.
“These things are still rare on that drug,” he said. “Very rare.”
During a second ultrasound two weeks later, a different technician pointed out a second baby.
“She said, ‘Oh look, there’s your twin,’” Ehrensperger said. “We were like, ‘What?’ My wife was laughing hysterically, and I was freaking out.”
Then, Ehrensperger saw a third black mark on the ultrasound screen.
“I said, ‘What is that? What is that?’ She said, ‘You guys are having triplets.’ My wife started screaming. I started screaming, crying and laughing. There were probably 10 people running into the room thinking someone had just died. That was basically how we found out.”
Tara Ehrensperger was in and out of Northside Hospital-Cherokee during her pregnancy, and she spent seven weeks at Northside Hospital in Atlanta until the babies were born on May 15 at 31 weeks and 6 days gestation, just one week and one day shy of 33 weeks, the typical gestation for triplets according to Parents Magazine. With six doctors and 12-15 nurses in the delivery room, Emma was born at 5:31 p.m. Brother William arrived at 5:33 p.m., and the youngest, Johnathan, was born at 5:34 p.m.
Johnathan had jaundice and breathing problems, but two days after their birth, all three had come off their CPAP machines.
“That’s amazing for kids that are preemies like that,” Ehrensperger said. “Usually they’re on them for weeks.”
For now, the babies are in different rooms in Northside’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and having to choose which babies to visit has been difficult on the parents.
“It’s hard to divide up where we go each night,” said Ehrensperger, who commutes to Atlanta from the couple’s home just outside Holly Springs to visit his babies. “We want to be with them all, but we can’t. It’s hard to choose. We want to give each baby time but it’s hard when they’re in separate bays.”
Ehrensperger said the babies likely will come home in a month. Emma will probably come home first, he said, because she was the larger of the three, weighing in at 3.7 pounds at birth. William weighed 2.7 pounds, and Johnathan was 2.2 pounds.
“Emma seems to be doing the best,” Ehrensperger said. “She was (taking) all her brothers’ nutrients (in the womb).”
For now, Ehrensperger balances visiting his children with working two jobs – his full time job at Delta Community Credit Union inside Kroger in Hickory Flat and a part time job delivering pizzas – which he said has become necessary since his wife lost her job after being out on leave for an extended time.
“They have to let you go if you go beyond that because they have to replace you with someone else,” Ehrensperger said. “Hopefully, they’ll hire her back. Without her income it’s kind of hard. It’s really hard. It really is.”