Saturday, November 23, 2013

Happy Fourteenth Birthday Tate, Avery and Spencer

David and Kari Duane Welcomed Triplets
November 23, 1999

What a wonderful day that was.  David and Kari already had three girls:  Quinn-12, Addison-8 and Holland-6.  But they'd really wanted a boy and decided to try one more time.  Early in the pregnancy we learned there were to be, not just one, but three babies.

I arrived in Independence, Ohio from California a few days early, ostensibly to help with the final days of preparation for the arrival of the triplets.  David's parents, who were already retired at the time, had set up housekeeping in the local neighborhood in August.  It had, of course, been anticipated that Kari would need to be on bed-rest for the final months, or at least weeks, of her pregnancy; so Sam and Betsy were there to help with the myriad of tasks it takes to run a family with three girls and all their activities.

When I arrived the weekend before their birth, Kari had yet to go on 'bed-rest;' she was hail and hardy.  I'm sorry I don't have a digital photo of her - she appeared pretty extraordinary.  If one were to view her from behind, she really didn't look pregnant; but, in profile - YIKES - she was a sight to behold.  Kari is about  five feet, ten inches tall with long arms and legs.  She could not touch her fingertips together by reaching around the girth of her abdomen!

She'd only gained 55 pounds and was in perfect health throughout the nine-month period, yes nine months, another oddity about this birth.  However, that's not to say life wasn't cumbersome!  She was cared for by a high-risk specialist in Cleveland and delivered in a state-of-the-art hospital with a huge neonatal intensive care unit.

As the delivery was a planned Caesarian Section, we left the house that Tuesday morning at about 6 for the 6:30 admission.  Most multiple births are delivered before they're full-term; it's the intent of the professionals to encourage the pregnancy to go as long as possible to enhance the safety of the infants, as well as the health of the mother.  A normal pregnancy is 40-weeks.  On November 23rd, Kari's gestation had  completed 37 weeks and 6 days - almost unheard of in the annals of obstetrics.

A surgical suite set up for a normal C-section usually has an entourage of 8 professionals to care for Mom, Baby and Dad.  As we entered the room for this surgery, I counted 23 doctors, nurses and aids, not including David, Kari, the babies or myself.  (Because of my surgical background I'd been invited to view the deliveries - what a thrill for me).

The surgery began right on time and within minutes Kari had been delivered of three extremely healthy infants:  two girls and one boy, each weighing within a few ounces of six pounds!  The obstetrician told the Kari several weeks later that hers had been one of the healthiest triplet pregnancies in the United States in 1999.  I've mentioned before that my daughter is quite tall and her husband is very tall.  The triplets were each in the range of 24-incles long at birth!  And, for you doctors and nurses, the Apgars for each babe were 8 and 9.

Now, I'll move forward to today.  Tate Elizabeth, Avery Rose and Spencer David are 14!  They're in the Eighth Grade at a charter school in the Sacramento, CA area and are currently making decisions about where they'd like to attend high school.  All three are excellent students and Mimi (that's me) thinks they'll do well in whatever they choose to pursue in life. But, they are as different in personality as any non-related 14-year olds.  

Spencer is, in my opinion, a sports phenomenon; he plays all sports with an enthusiasm and talent that's exceptional.  He'll probably follow in his dad's footsteps and play basketball at the college, and maybe even professional, level.  I could imagine him becoming a politician, historian, sports coach / professional team manager .....

Avery is the artist; she's interested in anything and everything design - interior decorating, fashion, cosmetology, culinary arts.  She's a multi-talented creator of individual and home fashion and design .... Bergdorf Goodman's, Broadway, Hollywood, Architectural Digest .....

Tate is a mathematician and scientist - interested in figuring out how and why things work and the history of inventions and mathematics.  Her talents could lead her to a grand assortment of careers ... architecture, medicine, mathematician .....

It's been fortunate for the three of them to have wonderful role models in their older sisters.  Quinn is enough older to be a second mother.

The triplets have followed sister Addison's career as a student and now 4th Grade teacher very closely.  She's been a third mother.

Holland has supported the triplets with  love, caring and is a fantastic role model for how to be a good citizen in high school and college.  She has loved them without exception or compromise all of their lives.

On this day in 2013, I wish Spencer, Tate and Avery a very Happy Birthday - I love you very much and am proud as I can be of each of you.


  1. Mary-Pat,
    I also have triplet grandchildren. Two girls and a boy. They are currently freshmen at SMU, LSU, and Long Beach State.

    I have another grandson who just passed the Bar on his first try!!

    Are you freezing in Texas?

    1. Congratulations, Grandpa, on the triplets and on the brain. Wow, passing the Bar on the first try is really an accomplishment.
      As for Texas, yes it's COLD. I don't think it got over the low 40s today. I'm heading for Livingston tomorrow and it's not too much warmer there. I'm planning to stay for 2 weeks, during which time I want to do some house cleaning, reorganization and lots of reading.

  2. Hi-ya. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I do appreciate it. It's my pleasure to return the favor.

    Wow! Some single -birth babies aren't that large! I've never heard of triplets that long and with such a healthy weight. You must be a very proud grandma.

    Hmmm, I was gonna sign on as a groupie, but all I see here is that google plus "circle" stuff. Oh well. I'm holding off on that as long as possible.

    1. Thanks Susan. And, welcome to my blog. I did send your link to all my kids, my brother and a couple of my grandchildren; I was most impressed with your treatment of the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination. I'll be following you and will leave comments. Nice to 'meet' you.

  3. MP - You are the most amazing Grandma! Your love for your family is boundless and is an inspiration to everyone. So lucky are Spencer, Avery & Tate to have those loving words written about them today.Happy birthday to them all!!

  4. Thanks, Nancy. Now, I hope they'll read those words! You know, I started this blog for my family and other than my son, Jeff, nobody reads it much. Oh, my brother, Jim, emailed that he checks it out, but doesn't leave a comment so I don't know he's been there!

  5. Wow, good day to have a birthday...sometimes it falls on Thanksgiving...guess how I know???? Yep, turned a day older myself today. Since I was an RH baby, I was just under 12 pounds myself. Blood transfusion, incubator for a few weeks (I barley fit it), but all turned out well. Always the youngest in my class, starting school at age 4. Hope all is well Mary-Pat. --Dave

  6. Happy Birthday, my friend. It's interesting to know how far we've come. Rh babies can be 'treated' in utero now. But the other interesting tidbit you mentioned is your weight. Were all siblings as large as you when born? Do you know if your mom had gestational diabetes. We know that high birth weight has several different conditions (of mom and / or baby) associated with it. My more recent experience had more to do with low birth weight babies (i.e. less than 3 pounds). My office was in a Women's and Children's hospital in Roseville. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) housed tiny babies, sometimes under 1 pound birth weight. Yup. They now very often live.

  7. Well, from what I they got the extra fluid out of me, I was only around 10 1/2 lbs. Very Jaundice, very sick, had a blood transfusion. Mom and Dad talk about visiting me through the large window where other babies were in their incubators, little premature babies....and then this giant of a baby. After people looking at all the babies and then seeing me laughed at how large I was compared to the others, mom and dad would move down the window from me, then after they were alone, they would move back to where I was. I never forgave them! Hardest thing mom ever did was go home without me, she says. I think the mortality rate was around 25%, 50% prior to transfusions were used. I think there might have been some experimental drugs which might have lead to the size too. All siblings were normal, and mom did not have diabetes during the pregnancy I was the fourth child, sisters who followed were adopted, I broke the plumbing. --Dave

  8. My sister's birthday was the 23rd also. Hope you have something nice planned for Thanksgiving.