Jessica’s Story: Journey to Joy

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From the moment Jessica Anderson first met with the team at Miami Valley Hospital’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine Program, she felt positive about the journey ahead.

“They gave me a lot of confidence I would have a healthy pregnancy,” she says.

Jessica and husband, Shon, weren’t disappointed. But the journey to the joy of welcoming triplet daughters – Alexandra, Bridgette, and Elizabeth – would have its challenges.

 “I loved the doctors, nurses, and technicians,” Jessica recalls of the initial meeting with the maternal-fetal medicine staff when she was 12 weeks pregnant. Knowing that one of those doctors herself had experienced a high-risk pregnancy with twins also reassured her.

In coming weeks, Jessica had frequent appointments and “extremely thorough” exams. 

The family was pleased to see familiar faces from ultrasound technicians to nurses and other staff. “It was nice to see continuity with staff. We were in there so much we knew people on a personal level,” Jessica says.

“My husband and I asked a lot of questions. They were very patient and took the time to answer all of them. We always felt like we were the only patients in there,” she says.

Jessica appreciated staff efforts to obtain her views as they discussed her progress and her care. “They valued my input. I liked being able to be a part of the process but also fully trusted their judgment,” she says.

As part of the care process, Jessica met with a dietitian to learn how to remain true to her vegan diet, while ensuring enough calories for herself and enough protein for her babies. 

She also liked the Premier Health Multiple Miracles Program, which included classes for parents of multiples addressing daily issues such as how to breastfeed more than one baby and coming up with a workable schedule.

“I knew I would have the same experiences as any mother, times three, so it was nice to have classes catered specifically to our challenges,” she says.

In the Multiple Miracles Program, a team of specialists works in collaboration with a patient’s obstetrician to augment ongoing care for mothers pregnant with two or more babies.

David McKenna, MD, cared for Jessica and her family through the Multiple Miracles Program.

“The idea is to be all encompassing; to bring together a number of disciplines critical to a successful outcome so that the patient gets all the information and care she needs,” says Dr. McKenna. “We are particularly well-suited for these patients because a general OB/GYN might not see many multiples,” Dr. McKenna says. The Miami Valley Hospital team sees more than 100 sets of twins a year, offering “a comfort level with multiple gestations,” he says.

As the birth of their daughters neared, the Andersons participated in hospital tours and met with a neonatologist who explained what they could expect at Miami Valley Hospital’s Level IIIB Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

“The NICU can be a scary place for new parents,” Jessica says.

“All of the medical staff really prepared us for what to expect with preemies and how they are different from full-term newborns,” she recalls.

Soon-to-be parents, other family members, and caretakers can attend classes in which those differences, such as preventing overstimulation and how to care for a preemie, are discussed.

Preeclampsia drove up Jessica’s blood pressure on Thanksgiving morning in 2015, and she was admitted to Miami Valley Hospital. A C-section followed two days later when her pregnancy was at 31 weeks, five days.

Two girls weighed 3 pounds, 11 ounces, while the third tipped the scale at 4 pounds, 1 ounce.

The preparation from the Multiple Miracles Program and the NICU consult paid off for the Andersons. “They are so fragile when they are born. After a few weeks, we were confident holding, feeding, changing, and bathing them,” she says.

Jessica returned home four days following the girls’ births. Bridgette and Elizabeth were in the NICU for 23 days, while Alexandra stayed for 37 days. 

Jessica said the family was together in the NICU for both the first Christmas and first New Year. 

Neonatologist Prakruti Jambula, MD, said the Anderson triplets stayed in the NICU for monitoring, as is customary with preemies. Such monitoring helps ensure that premature infants’ heart rates, oxygen levels, and other vital functions stabilize as their bodies mature. 

“Each matured differently, which is typical with multiples,” Dr. Jambula says. “There was nothing abnormal with these girls. But when there are episodes, the baby will stay under watch for five days’ post-episode.”

The Andersons were a common sight in the NICU. “We provide family-centered care. We want them to be there. We think of it as decision-making with them (parents) as part of the team,” Dr. Jambula says.

“We just had a fantastic experience,” Jessica says. “We are very thankful we ended up with such wonderful care.”

Headshot of Prakruti Jambula, MD

Prakruti Jambula, MD

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