A Christmas gift forever
They say that a year can make a big difference in people’s lives.
Damian Mullins and Regina Day, former residents of Harbour Breton, with Max, Jackson and Skye Mullins at a recent visit with Santa Claus in Whitecourt, Alberta.
The old saying is very true for Damian Mullins, 37, and Regina Day, 34, two former residents of Harbour Breton who are now living in Whitecourt, Alberta.
Damain and Regina have been living as a common-law couple since they moved to Whitecourt to work in the early 2000s. Their previous Christmases were mostly quiet times spent with a few close friends.
However, the Christmas of 2013 certainly won’t be quiet for the couple as they are now the proud parents of triplets - two boys and a girl - who were born on September 18 at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton.
The couple, who had been trying for a child for a long time, was unsuccessful in their attempts to add to the family.
Years ago the couple would have had to accept the fact they may have remained childless. However it’s a brand new world now and there are different ways a woman can conceive a child. The couple turned to science to give them a helping hand.
Regina said, “We tried intrauterine insemination where doctors give you drugs to produce eggs then insert the sperm into the uterus. We tried this method three time but were unsuccessful again.”
The couple finally turned to the professionals at the Foothills Regional Fertility Clinic in Calgary in February of this year for help.
In using the invitro method of conception, where the eggs are joined with sperm in a petri dish, the staff produced five embryos for the couple.
“We decided to insert two embryos in my uterus,” Regina said, “to have a better chance at success. This method is very expensive (over $10,000) so most couples implant two in case one embryo fails.”
The process worked for the couple better than expected as one of the embryos apparently had a mind of its own - it split in two inside the uterus and, with the other embryo working as well, Regina soon discovered that she was having triplets.
However, at about 31 weeks of gestation, the doctors could not find one of the heart rate of one of the boys as he was hiding behind his brother. When doctors cannot find a child’s heart rate in these cases, each child has to be removed by caesarian section.
This procedure was carried out at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton where the children were born prematurely on September 18.
The triplets -Maxwell James Mullins, Jackson Emmanuel Mullins and Skye Elizabeth Mullins - weighed in at 3.2 ounces, 2.11ounces and 2.14 ounces respectively.
Regina and Damian spent the next 51 days at the Royal Alexandra helping to nuture their children to a healthier weight.
Regina said, “The doctors wanted us to provide what they call ‘kangaroo care’ for the triplets which basically means providing skin-to-skin contact.
“Even though the children were hooked up to different monitors we had to change diapers and feed them once they came off the feeding tubes.
“After 51 days at the hospital in Edmonton the triplets weighed between four and five pounds each, and we were allowed to take them back to Whitecourt in November.
“Today, they are all doing well as Max is about eight pounds, Skye is seven pounds while Jackson comes in at 6.5 pounds.”
Life is very different for Regina and Damian now, especially for
Regina who is off on maternity leave and is at home tending to the little ones.
“Needless to say, the triplets have brought a drastic change in our lives. A typical day consists of changing diapers, feeding, changing diapers, feeding and getting the children to sleep over and over again.
“We’re trying to develop a schedule with them so when one wakes up we wake the other two up as well and try and get them to sleep at about the same time.
“Although our lives are different, we wouldn’t change this for the world as Max, Jackson and Skye are very special to us. We’re really looking forward to this Christmas and many more to come.”
Regina said that they hope to bring the triplets back to Newfoundland to visit their grandparents - Len and Vera Mullins and Gordon and Genevieve Day - at Harbour Breton in the summer of 2014.