Cumberland Times-News

Local News

February 7, 2011

WMHS welcomes triplets

Last such birth in county was 25 years ago

CUMBERLAND — The Western Maryland Health System recently welcomed its first set of triplets. The last set of triplets in Cumberland was born 25 years ago in Sacred Heart Hospital, according to Tracey Clark, communications specialist for WMHS.

Candy and John Lawrence of Cumberland are now the proud parents of fraternal triplets. Alaina, 4 pounds, 8.8 ounces; Lia, 4 pounds, 1.2 ounces; and Levi, 4 pounds, .06 ounce were born Saturday at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center without any major complications. The triplets were conceived without the use of fertility drugs and were delivered by Caesarean section by Dr. Dale Wolford.

“We are so blessed. I am really excited about the triplets, and I can’t wait to put them all together side by side,” said Candy Lawrence, who had only been able to see her children one at a time as of Monday afternoon.

“Everyone was surprised and couldn’t believe that we had triplets naturally without the use of fertility drugs,” said John Lawrence.

Both John and Candy have twins in their families, with six sets on the maternal side and one set on the paternal side. Today, more than 3 percent of babies in this country are born in sets of two, three or more; about 95 percent of these multiple births are twins, according to the March of Dimes website.

The Lawrence family found out they were having triplets during Candy’s first ultra sound.

“Candy wasn’t even looking at the screen when they did the first seven-week ultra sound,” said John Lawrence. “The tech just said all the babies’ heartbeats are fine. ‘What do you mean all the heartbeats are fine?’ The tech assumed we knew we were having triplets. After we got over the shock, my next thoughts were how are we going to pay for this and do we have enough room.”

Thanks to the generosity of their church family at the Cumberland Community Church, the Lawrences didn’t have to worry much about the essential items.

“The church has been such a blessing to us. They held a baby shower for us, gave us a good start on clothes, diapers and gave us three cribs. They really believe in getting involved,” said John Lawrence.

The family was even approached by a complete stranger, a lady who lives three doors down from them and had heard about the triplets through another neighbor.

“One day we got a knock on our door and a lady we had never met before showed up with a pot of bean soup and German chocolate cake,” said John Lawrence.

The triplets are doing exceptionally well considering Lia had a small amount of fluid around her heart and they were born premature at 34 weeks.

John Lawrence said that two weeks after the echocardiogram that showed the fluid, results were in a normal range, “thanks to everyone’s prayers.”

Most pregnancies last around 40 weeks and babies born before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy are called premature, according to the March of Dimes. The high number of multiple pregnancies is a concern because women who are expecting more than one baby are at increased risk of certain pregnancy complications, including premature birth, with triplets usually born at 32 weeks.

The Lawrence family is also happy to report that the triplets took their first bottles Monday after being on feeding tubes for a couple of days.

Candy is also doing well and attributes her health to being put on bed rest in November and to taking medication to prevent any early contractions. She stopped taking the medicine Thursday and the triplets were born shortly after.

“My best advice to women who are having triplets is to stay on bed rest if they tell you to go on bed rest. I don’t think I would have made it this far if I hadn’t listened,” said Candy.

“Candy did exceptionally well. Most parents with triplets are in the hospital for more than one night and she was only in the hospital one night,” added John.

The Lawrence family made several trips to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va., on the chance that Candy would deliver there due to the fact that WMHS can only accommodate premature infants 33 weeks and older.

“The staff here has been great. They were here ready just waiting for our babies to be born,” said Candy Lawrence.

Also welcoming the triplets at home are Megan, 16; Johnny, 13; and Stephen, 8.

“Our family is now even with three boys and three girls. We aren’t planning on having any more,” said John Lawrence.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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