On January 4, 2017, the Lambert triplets, Whit, Tate, and Mack, were born at Piedmont Fayette Hospital – in that order. The sons of Jamie and Bethany Lambert stayed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Piedmont Fayette for close to a month and a half before going home. Today, the boys are happy, healthy and growing by the minute. It has been an adventure for Jamie and Bethany, as all first-time parents tend to learn on the go.
“Many people express a kind of awe that we are raising triplets, but it’s all we know,” Bethany said, laughing about the expressions she sees on the faces of passers-by or the comments they say. “Logistically, it can be a little challenging because we have to play more of a zone defense than man to man, but we learn something new every day, just like the boys do.”
Whit, the first-born, is the go-getter of the siblings. He has been the leader, the first to walk and the first for many milestones. Tate is the “go big or go home” brother of the group, putting 100 percent into everything. Mack is very laid back, inquisitive and observant. The Lamberts have found that once one boy learns a skill, he passes it on to the others. They have recently been clapping and blowing kisses. One of them figured out how to make a certain toy whistle and soon all three were creating a symphony of sound.
“They love to play with each other and entertain each other,” Bethany said. “They’ll even play a bit of hide and seek, peeking at each other from around corners.”
When the boys left the NICU at Piedmont Fayette, they had a very well established routine. Bethany says that sticking to the routine as much as possible was vital early on in the transition from hospital to home. They also eased into the experience by spending a lot of time at home in the early months to lessen their exposure during the final months of winter and for everyone to figure it out. Bethany relied on advice from her pediatrician, a nurse in the NICU who had triplets, the Southside Mothers of Multiples group and Triplet Moms, an online blog.
“We have a really great support system and there are lots of people we can ask for advice,” Bethany said. “It helps to have tips and tricks when we face different challenges, but it also helps us set expectations.”
One of the challenges with triplets, especially at this age, is logistics. When it comes to bath time or getting ready to leave the house, the Lamberts have found success with the use of a Pack and Play, which can keep one of the brothers contained and happy while the others are being tended to. However, both Jamie and Bethany have also learned that it is likely that one of the three boys will not be happy at any given time and that’s ok.
“Overall, they are very happy babies and they sleep great,” Bethany said. “There have only been a couple of very long nights.”
Now that the boys are getting older, the family has begun to be more adventurous. They’re venturing out to eat, to go shopping or to go to church. Sam’s Club is a popular destination, mainly because the wide aisles make it easy to maneuver the three-child stroller. Still, nothing beats home, where the boys are free to explore. Some of the boys have even begun to start climbing and this will undoubtedly lead to more adventurous activity.
“I joke that I’m a teacher by day, a toddler tamer by night and a jungle gym on the weekends,” Bethany said.
Late in February, after the flu season died down, the Lamberts visited the nurses in the Piedmont Fayette NICU to show just how much the boys have grown. The nurses came flocking to see the triplets, sharing memories of caring for them when they were so much smaller. For Bethany, it was a reminder of just how far they had come.
“A year ago, I remember when we were excited that they took 20 milliliters of milk. Now, they finish eight ounces in less than 10 minutes,” Bethany said. “One year ago we were spending 10 hours a day in the NICU and now we get big hugs and kisses.”
The experience of having a child in the NICU is obviously stressful and emotionally draining, but both Bethany and Jamie remarked on how incredible the doctors and nurses have been since that very first day. The nurses cared for all three boys as they grew strong enough to graduate from the NICU and go home, but they cared for mom and dad too.
“It’s nice to have people who understand and who will celebrate all of those triumphs with you,” Bethany says. Jamie agrees, adding that the boys will have a lot of cars to wash and lawns to mow when they get older to show their appreciation for the folks in the NICU. “Maybe we’ll hold a NICU car wash.”