Her first pregnancy still fresh in her memory after only two years, Galina playfully complained to her OB/GYN about being so much more tired and hungry this second time around. Bilha Zomer, MD of Valley’s Women’s Healthcare Clinic who delivered Galina’s first son Levi, played along as she laughingly said it might be twins.
A month later when it was time for an ultrasound, Dr. Zomer found that second heartbeat and no, wait…could it be? A third one too! “My husband thought I was joking,” says Galina when she delivered the amazing news of their naturally conceived triplets, a rarity only occurring once about every 9,000 births.
Multiple pregnancies are considered high risk as the incidence of gestational high blood pressure (preeclampsia) and diabetes for mom increase significantly. For babies, they are often born early before they have fully matured and with lower birth weights. Because of potential complications, mothers pregnant with multiples, like Galina, also regularly see a physician specializing in higher risk pregnancies. Galina saw Joseph Hwang, MD of Valley’s Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic.
Monitored by both physicians, Galina’s pregnancy progressed normally. “Everything was so easy, as easy as two years ago,” says Galina. Several weeks before her scheduled C-section at 34 weeks, Galina began to feel as if getting out of bed was a workout. When Galina checked in with Dr. Zomer, she was diagnosed with preeclampsia and her delivery date was moved ahead. Sons Malachi, Judah and Ephraim were born within minutes of each other, healthy and all delivered by Dr. Zomer who also suggested Malachi’s middle name, Luka. “The babies looked so huge when I saw them the first time,” says Galina. “It was hard to believe I carried them all inside me.”
Like most babies who are born early and still need to develop the skills to eat independently, the family moved to Valley’s Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. “I thought I knew everything after having my first child, but I’m needing to relearn everything with these three. The nurses are all so helpful,” says Galina. “They developed a schedule for us to keep on so it’s easier for everyone. And they’re helping me learn how to change diapers more quickly. They give me updates and signs of progress. My boys are healthy and doing really well.”Once the newborns have successfully learned to chow down using their bottles, they’ll be ready to move from the support of the NICU staff and go home with Galina and her husband. “We’ve got a strong family support system,” says Galina, who by that time might just be the fastest diaper changer in all of South King County.