BRAWLEY â€“ Claudia Rodriguez and Ramon Abarca knew they wanted to become parents within a year of being married. And so, they began a journey trying to get pregnant, but once achieved, never expected to see three heartbeats on the sonogram during a routine doctorâ€™s visit.
â€œIt took us a little over one year to get pregnant,â€ said Rodriguez. â€œWhen we found out we were pregnant, we were thrilled, but when we were told we were pregnant with not one, not two, but three babies, we were in complete shock,â€ she said. â€œWe never expected to be pregnant with three.â€
The arrival of the triplets at Pioneers Memorial Hospital â€“ named Roman Antonio, Maria Romina, and Leonardo Ariel â€“ Â has rapidly swelled the number in the coupleâ€™s household to five. The babies were delivered prematurely — at a gestation of 35 weeks — through Caesarean section on October 14.
Because of the risk associated with multiples, the couple had a difficult time finding an obstetrician who was willing to help them with the pregnancy until they came across Dr. Kestutis Kuraitis, who specializes in Obstetrics & Gynecology at Pioneers Medical Healthcare District.
â€œWe consulted numerous doctors in Mexicali and in Imperial County, and unfortunately, were turned down by each and every one of them until we came across Dr. Kuraitis,â€ said Abarca. â€œWe really feel blessed to have found him.â€
Despite the risks, the three embryos developed into three healthy babies who were born weighing between four and five pounds.
â€œOverall, I had a normal pregnancy until I was 32 weeks,” Rodriguez said. “At that point, I was put on complete bed rest. Other than that, everything was normal.â€
Residing in Mexicali, Rodriguez is employed there as a full time Social Studies teacher at a junior high school, while Abarca manages a galvanizing company.
â€œI plan to spend the first three months with my babies and will return to work after that,â€ said Rodriguez. â€œDuring this time, I also plan to take parenting and breast feeding courses in addition to time management classes.â€
Abarca on the other hand, said he plans to work overtime to help mitigate the expenses the couple will be facing.
Roman, Romina and Leonardo are the first set of triplets born in Rodriguez’ and Abarcaâ€™s families, said the couple.
â€œBoth of our families are super excited and have offered their help in taking care of the babies,â€ said Abarca. â€œThankfully we have a lot of support from our family. We have received numerous gifts and have had several baby showers where the gifts range from clothing to diapers, and for that we are very grateful.â€
Rodriguez was released from the hospital October 17, and four days later, Roman, the oldest of the triplets, was released to the couple.
â€œThe hospital didnâ€™t release our babies because their weight was low and because they were not eating well,â€ said Rodriguez. â€œRoman was released to us two days ago, however, Romina and Leonardo are still here. We are anxious to take them home, start a routine and have a normal life. Right now, we come to the hospital twice a day to feed Romina and Leonardo and itâ€™s really exhausting,â€ she added.
Wanda Ruben, Pioneers Memorial Hospital Womenâ€™s Center Chief Nursing Officer, said it had been 25 years since triplets had been born at the hospital.
â€œIt was very exciting to know we were going to have triplets delivered here,â€ said Ruben. â€œPrior to the delivery, we met with Dr. Kuraitis in anticipation of preparing ourselves well with an overflow of nurses and staff for the safety of our patients. It is very rewarding to see that we delivered these three angels and that we can provide the care and safety for them.â€
During the Caesarean section procedure, the staff on hand included the delivering physician, respiratory therapists, two NICU nurses, two nurses, and the anesthesiologist.
â€œIn the beginning, we were very nervous knowing our babies were going to be delivered premature and wondered if the hospital was capable and equipped for these types of situations,â€ said Abarca. â€œToday, I can honestly say having our babies delivered here was the best thing that could have happened to us. The staff is excellent and the hospital is exceptional. We are blessed to have found Dr. Kuraitis and this hospital.â€
When asked to describe the triplets, Rodriguez said Roman is definitely the eater, Romina is the drama queen with a temper, while Leonardo is the passive one.
â€œAll three look alike, but Romina is definitely is the cutest one because she looks exactly like me,â€ said Abarca jokingly, as his face filled with joy.
The couple said their wish was to have three or four children, but never expected to have three all at the same time.