LIHUE — Patrick and Zheng Haiping of Lihue anxiously awaited the results of an ultrasound in May: They wanted to find out the gender of their new baby.
Instead, they found out there would be not one, not two, but three bundles of joy.
On Aug. 2, the Lihue couple became the proud parents of triplets, born at Wilcox Memorial Hospital.
First Hannah, then her sister, Kaylee, and finally their little brother, Ethan.
All born within one minute of each other.
“This was a surprise. It was a big surprise,” said Patrick. “We were just expecting one. I don’t think anyone plans for three.”
Faith Campbell, spokeswoman for Wilcox Health, said this is the first time in more than a decade that Wilcox has seen triplets.
The babies were born a month early and had to spend 10 days in the hospital, so nurses could monitor their health.
“The staff at the hospital was very nice, very helpful and we’ve had a very good experience here,” Patrick said. “Well, every day there is a nurse assigned and an assistant. They are all very good and very capable. They are just monitoring them.”
In the first days, Wilcox Memorial Hospital staff helped the Lihue couple get to know their babies and provided an extra pair of hands until the husband and wife were ready to go it alone.
“They really helped taking care of the babies, but now we are more independent, so we’re doing more ourselves,” Patrick said. “But they still monitor the babies and check their vitals every day. The pediatrician is Dr. (Grace) Galiza and she comes by and checks on them periodically.”
Galiza said she is grateful for healthy triplets and honored to be their pediatrician.
“At delivery, each baby had their own medical team on stand-by and thankfully their delivery couldn’t have gone any smoother,” she said.
Wilcox President and CEO Jen Chahanovich said having a family welcome three newborns was a unique experience for everyone involved.
“On behalf of our Wilcox ohana, we’re very happy for the family and congratulate them on their new bundles of joy — times three!” she said. “I’m also very proud of our physicians, nurses and other team members here at Wilcox who worked together to prepare for and deliver the triplets. It was a unique and exciting experience for everyone, and we thank the family for allowing us to be a part of it and entrusting us with their care.”
The couple first went to Wilcox for care in April. In May, an ultrasound confirmed that Zheng was carrying three tiny souls.
“We were open for anything, but I am very happy that it is two girls and one boy and not two boys and one girl, because it will be a little easier,” Patrick said, smiling. “At least until they are 16, and then they change.”
The little ones require round-the-clock care, day and night, Patrick said.
“Right now, every three to four hours it’s feeding time and changing diapers and then relaxing in between,” he said. “So hopefully it will stay like that, but maybe not. We’re trying to get them all on the same schedule, so they do everything at the same time.”
For the past week, the routine has worked, Patrick said.
“They are very good so far, we can’t complain,” he said. “They just wake up, eat, we change them and they go back to sleep.”
The proud father said he is ready to do some major life adjustments, as the “preemies” have already changed his life.
“Our lives have changed already so much,” he said. “Before we would just go around the island, doing whatever. Now we’re going to have to take them around.”
To prepare, the couple has started buying things in threes, beginning with strollers and tiny clothing.
As to whether they will have to get a bigger house, Patrick said he’s open to the idea.
“Anything is possible,” he said. “We have to see what happens.”
Either way, the couple is glad their little family happened all at once.
“Three is enough,” Patrick said. “We’re happy she went through the whole process all at once, and now it’s over with. Our lives will revolve around them for years.”