Parents adjust to life with rare identical triplets

Posted at 4:34 PM, Jul 12, 2017

Rolling Hills, Wyoming may only have bout 500 residents. But its newest ones are one in 200 million. Mila, Annabelle and Laine Hakala are identical triplets.

"There's days still where I look at them and I'm like hmmmm which one is this?" says the girls' mom Alysha Hakala. "I have to get a little bit closer and I'm like oh, okay!"

Hakala still remembers the day she and her husband found out the three children they were planning to have, were coming all at once.

"When they told us there were three we were like oh my gosh what do we do," Hakala says.

Triplets meant a high risk pregnancy for Hakala, even more so because all three of her daughters were sharing a placenta.

"I've had a couple of sets in my career of identical triplets sharing a placenta but I've never had a surviving child out of it," says Hakala's Obstetrician Dr. Richard Porreco of Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center.

Facing that reality, Hakala was determined to create her own, and carry her daughters for 35 weeks.

"Just setting a goal for each week," Hakala says. "I'm going to make it 28 weeks I'm gonna make it 29 weeks we're gonna make it 30 weeks that was really helpful. Because we knew we had an end goal in sight."

Hakala delivered three tiny but healthy baby girls. And with that challenge over, came home to another one, raising them.

That's where Hakala's grandma and mother come in.

"Well I do the graveyard shift," says Hakala's mother Isabelle Anderson. "I come in between 1 and 4 a.m. Usually they just sleep so I usually just take care of them until about 8, 8:30 in the morning and then grandma comes in for the day shift."

They take turns warming bottles, feeding the girls, getting them ready for nap time and of course changing diapers. And when mom and grandma aren't there, Hakala's husband has a pretty good way to keep track of his girls.

"So we have the Rugrats Spreadsheet of Optimal Health and Wellness," says Alix Hakala.

The spreadsheet tracks everything about the girls, from their mood, to what they ate, to what they wore.

"I really have to look at her for a second to figure out which one she is," Alex Hakala says.

It isn't always easy, but these parents are grateful. For the help they have along this unexpected journey.

"It's night and day," Alysha Hakala says. "I mean without the support I don't know how we would do it to be honest. I don't know how anybody can do it."