Young couple adjusting to life with triplets
Three little bouncer seats line the living room floor of the Van Weiderhofts' house in Somerset. Nearby is a package of diapers, wipes and burp cloths.
"We go through about 25 diapers a day," said Josh Van Wiederhoft, 29.
Josh and Melissa Van Wiederhoft already had a 3-year-old son named Isaac when they found out in 2009 that they were expecting again.
"I had said I didn't want any more than three kids, but she wanted to have four," Josh said.
With this pregnancy, Melissa, 27, got her wish.
She said when the ultrasound technician told her that she was expecting not one, not two, but three babies, she was in shock.
"I asked, 'Am I really seeing three?' Then I thought I better tell Josh before the technician does," Melissa said.
"I was in the other room so I didn't see the ultrasound right away," Josh explained. "When she told me, I felt like fainting."
The couple said they did not use fertility treatments, and they only learned that there were multiples on Melissa's side after she was pregnant.
At the time, they were living in a two-bedroom apartment in New Richmond.
"We thought about staying there and moving our bedroom into the living room," Melissa recalled. "But we were already busting out of the seams there with only us three."
With their family size doubling, they decided to buy a house in Somerset and moved at the end of 2009.
Meanwhile, Melissa said she and her mother hit the garage sales, gathering triples of baby clothes, toys and equipment wherever she could.
She did admit she had some challenges with the pregnancy. She developed gestational diabetes and high blood pressure, along with issues with her pelvic cartridge stretching apart.
She was admitted to United Hospital in St. Paul on Sunday, Feb. 21, to be monitored.
"I did not do it natural," she emphasized, "no way."
After a scheduled Caesarean section, the Van Weiderhofts welcomed three more sons to their family.
Cayden Robert was born first at 4:04 p.m. weighing 2 pounds, 9 ounces.
Brayden Lewis was born second at 4:04 p.m. weighing 3 pounds, 11 ounces.
Preston James was born third at 4:06 p.m weighing 4 pounds, 2 ounces.
Melissa said the babies were referred to as "A, B and C" when they were in the womb, and then "1, 2 and 3" just after they were born.
Cayden, who sports the most hair, and Brayden, are identical. Preston is the fraternal one, meaning he does not look like his siblings.
"He (Preston) looks a lot like Melissa," Josh commented. "But you can see Isaac in all of them."
Isaac, for his part, loves interacting with his little brothers. But he has to be reminded to be careful with them, as none of them weigh more than 13 pounds.
"He was pretty excited when he visited us in the hospital," Melissa said. "He would sit behind them and say, 'Take my picture!' He just couldn't wait to meet them."
After the boys were born, Brayden and Preston were moved to Children's Hospital for two weeks. Cayden stayed for just more than a month.
Melissa said there were three requirements for them to be released: They had to maintain their own body temperature, eat from a bottle and breathe on their own consistently.
Luckily, Melissa, as a native of the community, has an extensive family network at the ready. Josh, who is originally from Blue Earth, Minn., has some family nearby as well.
They also have received a lot of support from their church, First Lutheran of New Richmond.
As triplets, the boys are on a regular schedule -- eating, sleeping and even relieving themselves about the same time.
"I haven't even thought about potty-training them," Melissa said with a mock sigh.
Josh works as a bookbinder at St. Croix Press in New Richmond. Melissa used to be a manager at McDonald's.
Now she plans on staying home with the boys. Isaac will start preschool this fall.
"It took so long for them to get here, but now it's going by so fast," Josh said.