Double triple

A January boom in multiple births has produced 10 tiny patients for the Neonatal ICU at JPS — two sets of triplets and two sets of twins.

“We see quite a few twins, but not triplets, said nurse Cindy Garner. “This is as many sets of triplets as I’ve seen in my entire five-and-a-half years here at JPS.”

 It started with the January 3 birth of triplet boys, whose family agreed to share their story. Baby Isaiah Collins was born first, at 2 pounds, 13 ounces the smallest of the three. Next came 3 pound, 10 ounce Isaac, followed by 3 pound, 7 ounce Israel.

triplets 

Delivered at 31 weeks gestation, nine weeks short of full-term, the triplets appear to be thriving in the NICU. With the benefits of breast milk provided by donor milk their first weeks, they now eagerly suck down formula, an ounce every three hours.

Each has a primary nurse — Trisha Gilbert, in Isaac’s case. “I picked him,” she said, “because he’s the middle kid, and I’m a middle kid, too.” Mostly, though, she wanted to be the one to provide the extra attention that the triplets are receiving. “We try to do snuggle time as much as possible,” and talk to them as their mother would. “I call him by his name, so he learns to know it. He smiles when I talk to him,” Gilbert said. His brother’s primaries are Garner and Vennetta Hendrix.

Teela Collins, the triplets’ mother, is about halfway through a 24-month federal prison sentence. “I was with a girl who used somebody else’s credit card,” she said from FMC Carswell in Fort Worth, where she was transferred for medical care after her initial intake exam in Florida revealed that she was pregnant.

Collins, 22, said she was surprised — and then surprised again when an ultrasound revealed triplets.

Multiples do run in both her family and her husband’s, however. Collins’ mother is a twin, and has a niece with twins and a cousin with two sets. Collins’ husband has sisters who are twins.

Collins said she hopes to be united with the triplets later this year. She will be returned to Florida and could spend the final months of her sentence in a halfway house if space is available. Until then, the triplets will be going home to Miami with her mother.