One local family is feeling three times the love this Valentine’s Day. Triplets Riley, Kain and Brielle were expected to arrive March 3, but made an early appearance in December. Now they’re celebrating their first Valentine’s Day with a special love-themed photoshoot.
The babies arrive home one at a time
Until recently all three babies had been living in Community Regional Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU. But one by one, each has been able to go home: first Riley, then her sister Brielle. Brother Kain is expected to join his sisters in the next week or so.
Mom Bailie Araiza said she and her husband are ready for the family to start their lives together. “For them to come home early — earlier than March 3 — it’s been a blessing that they’re strong enough to do that.”
Since Riley arrived home, the new mom and dad have been taking turns coming to the NICU every day to feed, change and spend time with Brielle and Kain. Araiza said the NICU nurses have been “extremely wonderful” with the family, educating and preparing them for the special needs of premature babies.
As the high-risk pregnancy and delivery center for a five-county area, Community Regional delivers the most micro-preemies (babies weighing under 3 pounds, 5 ounces) in the state, and has special expertise in deliveries of multiples. Although it varies by year, an average of four sets of triplets are delivered annually at Community Regional Medical Center. At birth, the largest of the Araiza triplets weighed 2 pounds, 11 ounces.
Early positive memories are essential for families of NICU babies
Janelle Margarian, a NICU nurse at Community Regional, was in charge of the triplets’ Valentine’s Day photoshoot. “During these photoshoots I think it’s really important to include the parents because despite the situation that they’re in, you’re [trying] to give them positive memories.”
Araiza was involved in the photoshoot, bringing “lots of love” onesies for her babies to wear while Margarian provided the lights and props. Especially now, when COVID-19 has affected everything from doctor’s visits to delivery to visitations after birth, it’s important for families to build as many great memories as possible. Currently, extended family members are not able to gather around a bassinet as they have in the past to see newborns and take photos.
“It’s just important, because every baby spends a lot of holidays — especially preemies — spend a lot of holidays in the NICU. So, as much positivity, as much memories, as you can give for their first essential holidays, the better.”
Araiza said she’s printed out the photos to send as Valentine’s Day cards to the family. Margarian described her Valentine’s experience with the babies as “magical.”
“I do love my job, especially when I get to take care of sweet little triplets, and we get to do photoshoots.”