Parents of triplets enjoying new baby chores times three
Joshua and Kalie Kuhl are changing at least 30 diapers a day, mixing and administering 24 bottles, and getting their sleep in one-and-a-half to two-hour chunks.
They’re perfectly happy with that.
“How much sleep we’re getting seems pretty minor compared with all those other things,” Joshua said Tuesday in the couple’s peaceful, breezy living room as identical triplet sons Brodin, Gavin and Trevin napped following a first visit to their new pediatrician.
“All those other things” have encompassed a long, stress-filled journey that most new parents never need to face.
The triplets were born May 20 at Rockford Memorial Hospital after surviving a rare and perilous defect called twin-to-twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, which drained blood and fluids from Brodin and Trevin and overloaded Gavin, enlarging his heart. They had a risky surgery while still in the womb to correct the problem. Kalie spent 16 weeks on bed rest before their birth, including six at the hospital.
Gavin, the largest, got to leave Rockford Memorial’s neonatal intensive care unit June 13. Brodin and Trevin made it home from the hospital June 18.
Kalie said the first week at home has been easier than she expected.
“They sleep and eat; that’s pretty much their day,” she said.
The Kuhls already have feeding and changing down to a system. Each of the boys’ bottles is color coded — green for Gavin, blue for Brodin and red for Trevin — and premixed for the night so each gets the right amount. Matching color-coded ribbons encircle each infant’s ankle in the crib they share for now.
“We just grab whoever is awake first and start feeding,” Joshua said. “Then, the one who’s done first goes and changes that one, and gets the third one.”
That constituted some fine tuning from their first attempts.
“We started out changing diapers before we fed them,” Joshua said, “but that wore them out because they cried. Now we’re changing the diaper after we feed, so they have all their energy to eat.”
The boys, born at 32 weeks gestation, are growing fast but still wear preemie diapers and clothing.
Tuesday’s pediatrician visit showed Gavin tipping the scales at 6 pounds, 5.5 ounces; Brodin at 5 pounds, 1 ounce; and Trevin at 4 pounds, 12.5 ounces.
“The pediatrician never made any mention of the twin-to-twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome,” Kalie said. “They’ve officially started their lives as real babies instead of hospitalized patients.”
Physicians have advised the Kuhls to keep the boys close to home for a month until their immune systems are stronger.
“I’m chomping at the bit,” Joshua said. “I want to take my boys out and show them off.”
Deborah Austin may be reached at 815-987-1352 or at email@example.com.
Kuhl triplets timeline
November 2007 — Joshua and Kalie Kuhl find out Kalie is pregnant.
Dec. 19, 2007 — The Kuhls discover they’re expecting triplets.
Jan. 31, 2008 — The Kuhls’ Rockford perinatologist Dr. Paula Melone diagnoses their unborn triplets with twin-to-twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome after viewing an ultrasound. The dangerous defect, caused by fetuses sharing some blood vessels in the placenta, is draining blood and fluids from Trevin and Brodin and overloading Gavin giving him an enlarged heart. Melone performs an emergency amnioreduction to tap fluid from Gavin. Kalie is put on complete bed rest.
Feb. 22 — Dr. Julian DeLia of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare in Milwaukee performs in utero endoscopic laser surgery to interrupt the blood flow between the babies.
April 9 — Kalie is admitted to Rockford Memorial Hospital when tests show a shortened cervix and contractions. She will live at the hospital on bed rest until the babies’ birth.
May 20 — Brodin, Gavin and Trevin Kuhl are born at 32 weeks gestation at Rockford Memorial by Caesarean section.
May 23 — Joshua and Kalie share their story during a news conference at the hospital. Kalie returns home. Brodin and Trevin are breathing on their own.
May 24 and 25 — The Kuhls first get to hold their babies. Gavin begins breathing on his own May 25.
May 27 — The babies have ultrasound tests on their heads to check for bleeding and scar tissue in their brains. All results are normal. A cardiologist tells Kalie that tests show Gavin’s heart also is normal.
June 2 — Special intravenous lines, which supplied the boys with extra nutrients, are removed. Their digestive systems have matured enough to take all nourishment by feeding tube and some bottle feedings.
June 3 — The Kuhls get to hold all three of their babies together for the first time.
June 9 and 10 — Gavin and Brodin are removed from their Isolettes, and can maintain their own body temperatures.
June 12 — Trevin is removed from his Isolette.
June 11 — Gavin starts taking all his feedings by bottle.
June 13 — Brodin and Trevin are taking about half their daily feedings by bottle. Gavin gets to go home.
June 17 — Brodin and Trevin start taking all their feedings by bottle.
June 18 — Brodin and Trevin get to go home.
Kuhl benefit scheduled Aug. 2
Friends of Joshua and Kalie Kuhl are organizing a spaghetti dinner and silent auction to help with medical bills and other expenses related to the births of their sons.
The benefit will be held from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at the Veterans Club, 121 S. California St., Sycamore. The silent auction will last for the duration of the event. The spaghetti dinner will be served from 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.
The event will be open to the public.
If you would like to attend or help, or have items to donate for the silent auction, please e-mail your message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to help
Funds to help Kalie and Joshua Kuhl and triplets Brodin, Gavin and Trevin have been established at:
Blackhawk State Bank, 9609 Forest Hills Road, Machesney Park, IL 61115, c/o Kuhl Triplets
National Bank and Trust Co., 230 W. State St., Sycamore, IL 60178, c/o Unger-Kuhl Triplets