It only took a few minutes into the first ultrasound of her second pregnancy for Mary Beth Blair to know that something was unusual.
“One of my best friends is a midwife and she was in the room with me,” said Blair, a Cleveland resident. “I looked at her face when I was laying on the table and she didn’t say anything, but her face just went white as a sheet. I said, ‘What’s wrong with my baby?’ and she said, ‘Ummm, nothing.’”
After conferring with the ultrasound technician, Blair’s friend’s suspicions were confirmed.
“She said, ‘You have three babies in your belly.’”
“And I said, ‘Oh, really?’ It was a good thing that I was laying down,” Blair recalled.
Finding out she was having triplets came as an even bigger surprise than when she initially found out she was pregnant.
“We eventually wanted to have more children,” said Blair, who will celebrate Mother’s Day with her four children. “But I didn’t want to exactly have them so close together, because I didn’t think it would be fair to (our daughter) Ella. She was only a year old — she was just a baby herself, so I was a little shocked to find out that we were pregnant again so soon.”
“And then to find out that it was three babies. I was just like, ‘OK, God, if this is your plan then, wow.’”
As easy as it may be to get lost in the excitement of triplet siblings, big sister Ella knows exactly where she fits in.
“Maggie was first, Kate was second and Sarah was last,” Ella said. “But I was here before them. I was first.”
Although finding out that she was going to be the mother of multiples caught Blair off guard, the news wasn’t exactly unique in her family. There are twins on both the maternal and paternal sides of her family and her husband, Scott Blair, also has twins in his family.
When the Blairs first found out that they were expecting for a second time, they were living in Alabama. With Scott being deployed with his National Guard unit, the couple thought it best that they relocate to White County to be closer to helping their support system.
At their new home, Blair is within a 5-mile radius of her parents, grandparents, extended family and the church she attended as a child. All of that help came in handy after the babies were born.
“We had people here around the clock through the first year. People — family, friends and church members — would sign up to come over at feeding time,” said Blair.
“I never had to prop the bottles up in my babies’ mouths. I know lots of mothers of multiples have to do that, because they’re feeding them on their own, but I felt very blessed to never have to do that. They always had someone holding them while they had their bottles.”
As expected, being the mother of triplets has come with challenges — some expected and some unforeseen.
“For us the hardest thing about birthdays is that big sister, who is only 17 months older, has a birthday at the end of winter, but their birthday is in August. So they (triplets) always get the big, summertime, pool party,” Blair said.
“So Ella’s idea of a birthday is what she sees for their birthday.”
With four extra women under her roof, Blair says things can get pretty chatty.
“They all want to talk at the same time and they all want to be heard — they talk nonstop,” Blair said.
“It’s important to listen to each of them, but at the end of the day, I go to bed and my ears are just ringing from trying to listen and pay attention to each one.”
Reflecting on their first few years Blair acknowledges that raising four children so close in age has had its challenges — especially during the triplets’ first year of life and when Scott was deployed overseas a year after that. Overall, she counts the opportunity as one big blessing.
“I had friends that said if you could make it through the first year, you’ll be fine. So I’d set my mind to think that it may not be pleasant,” said Blair.
“Other than the sleep deprivation, I really don’t remember the bad things from that time and that’s a blessing.”
With Ella starting kindergarten in the fall and the triplets gearing up for preschool, Blair has another major change to get used to: being home alone all day.
“I think I’ll probably be lost for the first few weeks and not get anything done,” she said. “But after that I hope to be productive — grocery shopping, exercising and doing all of the things that I have to wait and do late at night now.”