Three times a lullaby: Triplets charm Wyoming Medical Center for first time since 2010

By Kristy Bleizeffer Jan 13, 2016

Every time a baby is born at Wyoming Medical Center, a lullaby plays through the hospital's overhead speakers. Shortly before 1 p.m. on Monday, the lullaby played four times in a row.

Three of them played for the daughters of Anne and Jason Jolliff: One for Helen Elizabeth, one for Lena Marie and one for Charlotte Beth. The other played for another baby delivered just minutes before the triplets.

These are the first triplets born at Wyoming Medical Center since 2010 and only the second set since 2001, as far back as records are immediately checkable.

“We both have twins in our families, so we thought twins would be a possibility. During our first ultrasound, when the woman said, ‘Oh. There’s twins,’ we were pretty excited,” Anne said. “Then she said, ‘Wait. I think there’s a third one in there.’”

This is the Casper couple’s first pregnancy, and they were conceived naturally. They found out Anne was pregnant three days before school let out for summer and just a few days before a planned vacation to Alaska. Anne is a sophomore and senior English teacher at Natrona County High School.

Nurses and doctors wait for the delivery of triplets inside the C-section suite in the Ruth R. Ellbogen Family, Mother and Baby Center on Monday. The list of caregivers includes several nurses for each for mom and babies, respiratory therapists; an anesthesiologist; two OBGYNs to perform the surgery; and a pediatrician for each baby girl.

Her doctor, Samuel Vigneri, M.D., expected her to start bed rest at Thanksgiving. But her pregnancy went so well, she was able to teach until Christmas break.

“Really, I am just thankful. It was a ridiculously easy pregnancy,” Anne said.

Added Jason: “She mostly scooted around on a chair.”

The average gestational age for triplets is 32 weeks. The Joliff girls were born one day short of 35 weeks. Dr. Vigneri scheduled Anne’s C-section for Monday, when he knew Wyoming Medical Center would have two pediatric hospitalists on site as they changed shifts.

To the Jolliffs, it seemed like an army of caregivers inside the operating suite including several nurses for each baby; a couple of nurses for mom; an anesthesiologist; respiratory therapists who'd been planning for many days; Dr. Vigneri and OBGYN Sam Scaling, M.D., to perform the surgery; and a pediatrician for each baby girl, including pediatric hospitalists Jeffrey Brown, M.D., and B. Kiran Koduri, M.D., along with pediatrician Melissa Knudson-Johnson, M.D., of Mesa Primary Care who will be their girls’ pediatrician once they leave the hospital.

The room was marked by moments of calm interrupted by the cries of a newborn baby as they pulled out another one. Helen came first followed in quick succession by Lena and Charlotte. The last two were born in the same minute, one at the beginning, one at the end.

Anne and Jason Jolliff pose in the Ruth R. Ellbogen Family, Mother and Baby Center on Tuesday. Jason is wearing his "dad cubed" T-shirt, a gift from his wife.

“I think that everyone did an amazing job of caring for these babies after they were born.  Their mother and Dr. Vigneri did a great job of making sure the babies were taken care of while in-utero,” said Dr. Knudson. “I am honored that the parents have chosen me to care for their children. As with all the infants I take care of, I love watching as they grow and reach their milestones. It is such a privilege to be able to care for children and watch them get older."

With its new Level II Nursery, which opened November 2014 in the Ruth R. Ellbogen Family, Mother and Baby Center, Wyoming Medical Center is able to care for some babies of a younger gestational age. Including more sets of multiples that may require extra care at birth. It was a huge source of relief to learn that she would be able to deliver her triplets at Wyoming Medical Center and keep them here afterward, Anne said.

“I think what kept those babies here, when maybe they would not have stayed two years ago, was that nursery and the Level II advancements that we’ve made,” said Jennifer Gallagher-Cockrum, R.N., clinical education coordinator for obstetrics. “I think we were able to do a more efficient job because we have our own operating room on our floor, and we have our own PACU (post-anesthesia care unit) so we were faster at getting the babies back to the family, but it was absolutely Monica’s doing in the nursery. The work that she has put into the nursery is why those girls were able to stay.”

Monica Money, R.N., the nursery’s education coordinator, says most of those advances comes from training and better specialized equipment, like respirators and other ventilation capabilities. It’s also having pediatric hospitalists on site 24-hours a day to provide the level of care such babies require.

“Once we got the hospitalist program, we revved up our care and education so that we could provide the level of care we have now,” Money said.

As for Mom, she’ll likely be released on Thursday, but the babies will stay a while longer. Mom and dad will come for visits and feedings, since Anne is breast feeding her daughters.

The biggest change so far is that they learned that three car seats didn’t fit in their Subaru Forester, so they had to go car shopping about a month before the birth. They settled on a 2016 Honda Pilot or “the cool soccer mom car,” Jason said.

They realize that everything will happen in threes from now on – music recitals, sports games, cars and weddings. Anne thinks prom is going to be interesting. They know they’ll grow out of their house pretty quickly.

But, in the meantime, they have an attic full of diapers and a wide network of family who wants to come and help. Whatever’s to come, they’re just happy it went so well.

Tuesday, Jason wore a special shirt for the occasion of visiting his new daughters in the nursery. It was one Anne had found a while back and had to get. It just fit so perfectly. It reads: Dad3

Translation: Dad cubed.

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