Childcare cost for triplets
related page: Twins
My husband and I recently received the astonishing news that I'm
spontaneously pregnant with triplets. This is my second
pregnancy, and it came after much deep soul searching over
whether or not to try for a second child. We finally concluded
that we solidly did want a second, but we're a bit overwhelmed by
the abundance of riches of having 4 children (we never planned
to have more than 2) and triplets at that. I have several friends
who went through IVF and other fertility treatments to conceive;
all of those who fertilized triplets had a reduction to twins. I
had understood one of the primary reasons for that was
significant health risks to all three. We've had several
consultations with OBs, Perinatologists and Neonatologists and to
my surprise it seems that the only inherent complication to
bearing triplets is the increased risk of prematurity, and the
gestational risk to me (hypertension, anemia, gestational
diabetes)-- not to downplay those risks, but it has really
changed my thinking. While I do feel the MDs are trying to
present a balanced view of our options, the ''trend'' seems to be
that parents in this situation choose selective reduction. I'm
wondering if people tend to make this choice because triplets are
just so hard? I am strongly pro-choice, but the thought of a
reduction is absolutely heart breaking. It has really tapped
into our spiritual sense of wonder, and we both sort of feel that
we should not walk away from a miracle. On the pragmatic side,
I was rather overwhelmed and probably somewhat depressed after
the birth of our first, and the thought of raising triplets (as
incredible and exciting and miraculous as it is) is completely
daunting. It's a struggle to feel like my toddler gets the
attention he deserves, and I can't even imagine what it's like to
have triplets. I'm also concerned about the effect on our older
son--he's excited by the idea of a younger brother or sister, but
how can we possibly prepare him for the changes to come--even
with twins? This is complicated by the fact that I will have to
go back to work, full time, at a fairly demanding job, and
probably will have only a few months of maternity leave. I would
love to hear from others who have passed through this situation,
what they decided, how, and how it looks on the other side of
things. And any resources, books, websites or helpful hints would
be appreciated. I understand this is a deeply personal decision,
but so appreciate this community and would welcome your thoughts.
WOW! What a situation! There are no easy answers, but it seems to
me you should go with your gut. If you are moved by a sense of
wonder and miracle at having conceived 3 lives at once, why
consider sacrificing one of those lives, in the absence of clear
evidence that it is necessary to save the other two? (I, too, am
fervently pro-choice, but I don't kid myself that abortion or
''selective reduction'' is anything but the loss of a life. The
question is whether there is another life at risk that makes the
And you are right to worry about the effect on your life of having
3 small infants to take care of--no one could receive the news
you've gotten without having a healthy dose of fear and sadness
about what it will mean for you and your older son. Also, your
pregnancy will probably be a hardship just as you are trying to
give your son the benefit of his last days as your one and only.
But I can't see that having twins will be that much easier. Your
son is still going to have trouble adjusting, and your life is
still going to be hell for a while after the birth. So why set
yourself up for the guilt feelings of having the selective
reduction for so little gain?
Good luck, whatever you choose...
I can't address most of the points in your letter except
sympathyze but I can say that another consideration of selective
reduction is that about 20% of triplet pregnancies spontaneously
abort at about 20 weeks because of the pressure on the uterus
with 3 babies. For many IVF couples who have paid in time,
tears and money to get pregnant a 20% risk of losing all the
babies at once pre-term is not a good option and that might be
why so many choose selective reduction. As to whether you are
willing to take that risk you have to decide but I thought I
should let you know that additional fact.
--Just something else to consider
To the woman who finds herself suddenly pregnant with triplets ... in
addition to collecting information from parents of triplets, etc., you might
try this exercise:
one day, get up, and pretend ALL DAY that you've decided, for sure, on
"selective reduction" and to only have (one? two?) of the babies. Don't
worry, don't try to decide, just pretend the decision is made. See how you
The next day, get up, and pretend ALL DAY that you've decided, for sure, on
having all three. See how you feel.
I am a single parent of an adopted child. Five years ago I got a call that
my daughter's birthmother had had another baby girl, and did I want to adopt
that child as well? All the thinking about it rationally ... e.g. however
could I manage this financially, on my own, or energy-wise, on my own ...
was useful. But for me, the most useful thing was this exercise ...
pretending I'd made a decision and then living with it for a day. With one
decision, I felt hopeful, joyful, and like somehow I could handle all the
logistics. With the other decision, all I could do was cry. Thus, it
became clear to me what I wanted at the deepest most core level. Action and
decisions became easier once that clarity was achieved.
-- Mary Carol
I have never come across a message like this one - this is huge.
First, let me say that I have not been in this situation, and
you may not want to read further. However, I do think I have
some useful insight on issues to think about. The selective
reduction is considered pretty safe from 3 to 2 now. Most docs
won't do from 2 to 1 for ethical and risk reasons (risk for
twins are not so bad). Preterm infants have a tough road in life
despite ''miraculous'' stories you read (that never include the
more common bad stories). Delayed development and risk for lung
disease are real risks. I think your decision will mostly depend
on your religiousness. If you look at this in a more secular
manner, this is an accident of nature that has mostly difficult
consequences for the entire family. You were not planning to
have triplets and could benefit to have reduction for the sake
of your family AND the babies remaining. My heart goes out to
you for any decision you make and be sure you have emotional
supports in place for either decision.
My heart goes out to you. A blessing and a difficult decision
at the same time. As you stated it is a very personal choice.
Also, a very involved situation that needs more than is
possible in this format. One suggestion would be to contact
RESOLVE (RESOLVE of Northern California 312 Sutter St #
405 San Francisco CA 94108 415-788-3002 788-6772 f
788-6774 http://www.resolvenc.org firstname.lastname@example.org).
Although this is a national organization for infertility, I believe
they might be a great resource in your situation. They
maintain a hot line which members staff ,which can put you
into contact with other people facing, or have gone through
similar choices. Perhaps, with people who have older
children now. Hopefully, you will be able to talk to people
with different thoughts, views and experiences. Also,
perhaps a once or twice visit to a therapist that is very
familiar with your situation. Dr. Wecksteins office in San
Ramon had very helpful lady they where referring to several
years ago. Although, you might find someone good by
calling fertility specialists offices. Give yourselves time and
space. All the best to you.
The phrase in your message I'm focusing on is ''absolutely
heartbreaking.'' I too am pro-choice, but I can easily imagine
feeling as you do. What is right for others can be wrong for
you, and if something seems heartbreaking to you, then I think
you shouldn't do it. The other words ''overwhelming''
and ''daunting'' are important too, though. My sister's first two
children were twins, and I know from her experience it is not
easy. She was a marathon runner and determined that she could
just guts out anything. If she had it to do over again, she says
she would have dug deeper into her wallet and gotten more help
earlier on. I'm hoping that because you mentioned that you have
a demanding job, you have some financial resources and can get
good people to help you - not only with infant care, but also
shopping, cooking and cleaning, so you can still spend time with
your older child. Or is a live-in nanny a possibility?
Frankly, my sister also found work to be a sanity-saver. I know
it is different for everyone, but your job might be a plus, not
a minus in that regard. Anyway, whatever you do, I respect your
choice, and wish you the best!!
I cannot imagine having triplets (!), but must comment on your
sense of wonder and (although you did not mention it exactly),
fate. We had stopped having children after our second son was
born. Two children are enough! When I found out that I was
pregnant with a third baby, despite being on the pill *and* taking
additional medication for a medical condition which makes it
almost impossible to conceive, I was totally shocked! This was
NOT in our plans, and I was crushed. I actually wondered how I
would even be able to love this baby, let alone care for it, along
with my other two small children. BUT, this third miracle has
proved to be such a joy in our lives, and I am so madly in love
with her that I feel at times that I just might explode with
I, too, wondered why this happened to us. I am also pro-
choice, but at the same time, I feel that at this point in my
life, I was more prepared to accept what ''fate'' had in store for
me. Good luck to you and the incredible road you face! FYI,
there are resourses available for people like you, including
nurses that are paid for by the state to come in to your home and
help you. So, no matter what you decide, you will have some help
and support outside of your immediate family.
No one can tell you what to do about having three babies when
you expected one. It is both a blessing and a burden, and only
you and your husband can decide whether to keep them all or do a
selective reduction. It's very unfortunate that the question of
abortion has become polarized so that the possibility of
choosing to keep all three somehow does not seem ''pro-
choice''. ''Pro-choice'' means that you search your heart and
choose. In the end, it has to be a decision from your heart and
your gut. There is no other good way to do this. Good luck.
I read your posting to my husband last night (we have three
children--all close in age, but certainly NOT triplets!), and he
said, ''Three, four--what's the difference?'' I had to laugh.
Anyway, it's a thought.... I love my little dumplings, but just
Three is a lot, too!
There is an anonymous internet website for women discussing
their decisions about selective reduction. It is very
supportive. They also have a password-protected forum (to keep
the discussion safe from people who would otherwise flame the
Congratulations on your pregnancy, and good luck with whatever
Good luck! I'm sure you will make the decision that is right for
you. I am a mom who was depressed after my first child, and my
husband and I have recently decided to start trying for our
second. While I have no experience with multiple births, I can
speak to depression and say take care of yourself! Talk to
your OB if you have fears concerning being depressed after the
birth. You have many options, from excercize and diet change to
hormones to antidepressants. It might be helpful to know
about these in detail before hand, because when you are
feeling bad it is difficult to ask for help or understand the
options clearly. Don't be afraid to help yourself get through
this-- a happy mom means happy babies (and husband.)Your life is
about to change in a major way, whether with twins or triplets!
You may have to change a lot about your original game plan. Don't
be afraid to do that. Rethinking your ideas about nursing,
childcare, going back to work, etc. is only natural upon finding
out you will have more children than you planned. Sit down with
your husband and talk about your fears and what to do to make it
better this time. Keep what you like and change what doesn't fit.
Try to welcome the chaos and keep that sense of wonder and don't
be afraid to plan for and ask for *lots* of help. From your
husband, family, in the form of childcare (duola, au pair etc),
from your OB, etc. Think about what was difficult after your
first child and try to plan to alleviate that with the next
little ones. As for your first little guy, it may be difficult
for him in the beginning but think of the richness it will add to
his life. You sound like truly supportive parents and that's the
best thing a child can ever hope for. My thoughts are with you!
p.s I'm sure there are local mom's groups centered around twins
and triplets where you can get experienced advice and support!
Ask your OB or look it up on parent's network.
A supportive mom
We have three year-old triplet girls (2 ID, 1 fraternal). We
were, of course, offered the option of ''selective reduction.''
Like you, I am strongly pro-choice and support Planned
Parenthood and NARAL, etc. In addition, I have medical problems
that we knew would (and did) make the pregnancy and its
aftermath extremely difficult, and caused our children to be
born premature with very low birth-weights. Nonetheless, we
have never regretted our decision to proceed with the pregnancy,
in spite of the risks and the amount of work, stress and
financial strain involved in raising triplets. It is very very
hard, there is no question about that, and you need to have a
strong marriage to weather the experience. But it is such a
gift and a source of incredible, inexpressible joy. I would be
happy to talk to you off-line. Please feel free to email me at
LDaniels@tularik.com. I can also direct you to women who have
specifically been designated as resources on the issue of
selective reduction, through organizations such as Sidelines,
Mothers of Supertwins or MOST (mostonline.org) and The Triplet
Connection. I wish you all the best, regardless what you and
your husband may decide.
I just want to add the one thought that stuck out in my head
after reading your post: You may have wanted only 2 children,
but perhaps God wanted you to have 4! I don't mean to overly
simplify your dilemna, but you did mention how wonderous and
miraculous spontaneously conceiving triplets is. I was a
mother's helper for boy/girl twins for several months right
after I graduated high school, and I still remember how hard it
was to take care of them. But if you decide to take on this
challenge, I'm sure you will find support and help where you
never new it could come from! These things tend to have a way
of working themselves out, I think.
The very best of luck to you and your growing family!
I can't give advice about triplets, but I can give advice about
premature babies (most multiple births are premature). Our
daughter was a relatively healthy 4-1/2 pound baby and was
extremely difficult to care for -- luckily my husband was able
to work part-time for the first four months and we also had a
considerable amount of support from friends and family -- once,
my husband remarked that it took 3 people to take care of this
one baby. She had severe colic and for the first couple of
months could only sleep lying on my chest. She also needed to
eat every two hours which is pretty standard for premies.
Nursing was painful until she reached 8 pounds because her mouth
was so small. When I went to my new moms group I felt so self-
conscious because she cried so much more than the other babies.
It took until she was about 6 months old (and 10 pounds) to
reach the point where she she was a ''settled baby,'' which I
believe is where normal newborns are after about 3 months. The
good side is that by a year or so she had totally caught up, and
now her development is fine. I think you would need to really
plan on both you and your husband taking time off work, or on
hiring outside help if you were to have 3 very small babies,
because premature babies take considerably more care than term
babies. It seems unlikely that you would have much time or
energy for your son in this scenario, though with enough ouside
help you could work it out.
Your e-mail was beautifully written and heartfelt. I have not
stopped thinking about it and the choices you are facing. I think
though that you have already made your decision. This sentence
said it all to me: ''I am strongly pro-choice, but the thought of
a reduction is absolutely heart breaking. It has really tapped
into our spiritual sense of wonder, and we both sort of feel that
we should not walk away from a miracle.''
Think about drastically changing your circumstances along with
the fate that has intervened. You could consider quitting your
job in the future, leaving the expensive Bay Area, or moving
closer to family or support wherever you find it. You have one
child so you have so much better of an idea of what is in store.
Personally, I think it is absolutely inspiring. Good luck with
your decision and I would be thrilled if you kept us posted.
Wow, what incredible news. A lot of wonderful advice has already
been posted and reminds me how wonderful this service is to this
community. I would second the person who advised getting help,
early and lots. Building your support now will only help you
down the road. This is true no matter the outcome with this
pregnancy. As a birth and postpartum doula I would encourage you
to seek out antepartum (useful if you wind up on bed rest), birth
support, and postpartum care. You can find resources for these
people at Birthways (www.birthways.org) and Birth and Bonding.
Good luck and remember to breath often and deeply.
To the parent expecting triplets: I have not been in your
unique, wonderful, and terrifying situation, but I have some
friends who have. I saw the father at a function about trhee
years ago. He had his 11-month old son with him, and told me
that his wife was expecting triplets within about a month.
Wow. The triplets were born, all girls, and are now about 2,
all beautiful and healthy as far as I know. The parents live in
the South Bay, and are not part of this network. If you want to
email me your email address, however, I could forward it to
them, and put you in touch. They may be able to offer some
advice from those who have been-there-done-that. One thing I do
know is that you need to GET HELP -- as in, someone to help
clean your house, someone to help take care of the babies,
someone to help with the older child, etc. Kim
I'm expecting triplets this summer(gasp!) and have a 3 year old
in preschool on a parttime basis. I've checked out the childcare
survey, but can't tell what the going rate is for private
childcare for three babies the same age-- the responses included
care for 3 or more, but I presume most of those respondents had
kids of different ages. What should I expect to pay for a
reliable, experienced nanny, who speaks English (but we'd be
delighted to have someone speak Spanish to the babes)? Is anyone
in a 3-way share who can tell me what they pay? Also, any
hints about how to make this work? We have limited
resources, but think we can probably swing at least part
time help until I go back to work. thanks.
Your question implied that you think triplet care should cost
the same as what parents in a nanny share pay for 3 kids - I
don't think that's quite right. Nanny shares cost more per child
because there are at least two sets of working parents involved -
sometimes 4 incomes! Plus the nanny has to deal with all the
different parents, and their different schedules, needs,
instructions, houses, etc. In my nanny share, we pay $7 per
hour per child, and when the nanny has all 3 under her care, she
does get $21 per hour, but that happens because 4 people are
working. I don't think you should have to pay $21. I'm guessing
more like $15 per hour.
If you want care in the home it would be best to have two people
taking care of the triplets most of the time for at least the
first year, and if possible later. I have triplets and would be
happy to discuss childcare issues with you offline. Feel free
to contact me at the email address below. Good luck and best
wishes - Louisa
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