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January 20, 2010     Hays Free Press
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HaysFreePress,com qhe Milligan Trio Plum Creek couple learns t00)juggle Born 15 weeks premature, triplets Claire, Slade and Ella Milligan came home to Plum Creek after more than three months in the hospital. one short outing per week. Showers were restricted to every other day. To keep herself occupied, she wrote ex- tensively on her blog, Manic Milligan Voyage, chronicling pregnancy in a series of upbeat and funny entries. On July 19, the couple were headed to a rareouting to get dinner when Milligan, 25 weeks and two days preg- nant, Started having back spasms. They decided to swing by the hospital to get her some painkillers on the way. "We were pretty shocked when I went into labor," Milligan said. "Driv- ing to the hospital we thought we were still going to get Red Lobster." The second trimester is a time when every day in utero is critical, but scientific advances help improve the odds for preemies. A decade ago, a baby born at 25 weeks gestation had just a 50 percent survival rate; new technology has increased that to more than 80 percent. Unable to stall the labor, doctors gave the babies Steroids to speed up their lung development and quickly lJerformed an emergency C-section. Three separate teams of neonatolo- gists whisked the babies off to the NICU. For two hours, the new mother waited. Then she heard the news. Her babies - one son and two daughters - all fiad survived. LIFE IN THE NICU Spiking a fever after the surgery, Milligan wasn't allowed into the NICU for two days. Her first glimpse of her babies came from pictures that a nurse took on her camera phone. Slade was just 1 lb, 7 oz and 12 inches long. Claire clocked in at 1 tb, 11 oz and 13 inches. And Ella, the largest of the trio, was 1 lb, 15 oz and 13 inches. Though she knew the numbers, it didn't prepare her for how small they actually were. "I was still pretty shocked to see how little they were," Milligan said. "Their bodies were the length of an iPhone, with arms and legs sticking out of them." Eyes sealed shut like newborn kittens, the triplets lay in their NICU incubators connected with tubes to beeping machines, as doctors weighed their chances for survival and long-term impairment. They quickly proved to be remarkabl3 healthy for micropreemies, but still had a long hospital stay ahead of them. "That first week was the most nerve-racking," Milligan said. "Every day was something different." The babies would do well One day but have a setback the next. They were quickly taken offventilators, but still needed help breathing with BY JEN BIUNDO news@haysfreepress.com f all the advice Lindsay Mflli- gan has received on parenting triplets, the best tip came from her sister-in-law. "She told me, 'The military requires you to get four hours a day of sleep so you don't hallucinate,'" Milligan recalled with a laugh. They couldn't do it alone, but with the help of a small army of friends and family rffembers, Hndsay Mil- .ligan, 29, and her husband Brian, 31, are settling into life with a newborn, times three. Born nearly 15 weeks premature, the trio came home to Kyle in November after a three and a half month stint in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Dell Children's Hospital. The living room of the Milligan's Plum Creek home is set up as baby central, with bouncy seats, toys and blankets nearly arranged on the floor and a mountain of diaper changing supplies close at hand. Just shy of their half-birfladay- and two and a half months after their . Nov. 1 due date - the Milligan trip- lets look like healthy, alert infants. Ella, the largest of the trio, weighs 10 pounds, 6 ounces and smiles delight- edly when she sees her mother. Slade, now nine pounds, 6 ounces, mellowly hangs out in his bouncy seat taking in' the world. And little Claire, not much bigger than the averige newborn at less than eight and a half pounds, can already hold her head up confidently as she gazes around the room. In the last six months, they've come a long way. MANIC MILLIGAN VOYAGE Lindsay, 29, and her husband Bri- an, 31, attended high school together in Dripping Springs and had already been a couple for seven years when they married in 2003. But the chil- dren they hoped to add to the family were slow to arrive. After Lindsay suffered through two back-to-back early pregnancy losses, her doctor prescribed a drug called Prometrium, a progesterone supple- ment used to prevent miscarriage. "We didn't do in vitro fertilization," Milligan said. "That's the first ques- tion a million people always ask." The drug carried a slight risk of higher order multiple pregnancies, but the MiUigans didn't think, they would wind up in that small percentage. After two losses, it was hard'to get excited when they learned they were expecting. But the first ultrasound at eight weeks showed a pair of healthy twins, and the Milligans allowed themselves to hope that this preg- nancy would stick. Then a follow-up ultrasound dis- covered a third heartbeat. Triplets. Excitement mingled with terror as the Milligans realized that the preg- nancy had suddenly been catapulted into the world of high-risk. Obstetri- cians floated the option of "reducing"' the pregnancy, selectively terminating qne fetus in hopes of increasing the odds that the others would survive. "You wonder either way," Milligan said. "You start to worry that if you don't reduce, you'll lose them all. But there's no way we could reduce a baby." A typical pregnancy lasts around 40 weeks. By 12 weeks, the start of the second trimester, Milligan measured 25weeks along. At 25 weeks, she measured 45. "That's when it started getting a little hard to move," Milligan said. "It was pretty uncomfortable, but l wasn't bad. I enjoyed it. I like being pregnant." Milligan spent much of the preg- nancy on strict bed rest, allowed out of the house only for doc.tor visits and, t VE I C VARICOS CLINICS PHOTO BY MOLLIE KENDALL WE ARE OPENING AN OFFICE IN BUDA! PHOTO BY JEN BIUNDO Linsday Milligan gets a hand from her father-inrlaw, Coley Milligan. A small army of friends and family members have volunteered to help the new parents. oxygen machines. Claire underwent surgery for a heart murmur, and all three had scans to check for brain bleeds. Discharged after a weeklong hospital stay, Milligan continued to spend most of her time there. Unable to drive while recovering from the C-section, family members quickly sprang into action to organize a "care calendar" for the new family. Friends and relatives took turns making din- ner and driving her to the hospital while her husband worked; after he left the office he would meet her at the NICU. "You could just sit there and look," Milligan said. "We tried to talk to them so they could hear our voices. But you didn't want them to wake up. You wanted them to stay still and See MILLIGAN TRIO, pg. 6C BASH Buda Area Chamber of Commerce hosts the 2010 Lone Star Safari Awards. '.-- Page 1D January 20, 2010, Page lC eaders: Inadvertently, "Montage" missed print .two weeks in a row. This column spans three weeks. The buck stops here... and there.., and yonder. All over Mountain City. Along with 39-59 of his friends and family. It's no wonder Axis deer herds in Mountain City grow larger each year. They breed year-round! First season fe- males sometimes give birth! And, they live from 9 to 22 years, with the extremes de- termined by "wild" of"zoo'd"! The leader of each Axis deer herd is an.older, experi- enced doe - according tO the online edition of "The Mam- mals of Texas." That buck who stops will normally be in a herd with other males and females of all ages. I've also heard of white-tail herds of over 40. See MONTAGE, pg. 2C il' The Motley is back n town. That funky en and purple house a couple of blocks west of City Hall. Square has finally reopened as a tea room and gift and upscale consignment shop. Owner Darlene Morley says that it is "homemade ev- erything" from soup to quiche to sandwiches and more tea than you can imagine. They've always had one of the cool- est decks in town and now we finally have somewhere to eat Saturday morning breakfast. Welcome back. eee Looks like the'last day to r- cycle your Christmas tree (are you listening lane?) is January 31, so haul it on over to a city park and make mulch. Also, there will be a Household Hazardous Waste drop off day on Saturday from 8 a.m.-noon in San Marcos. It's convenient, only a couple of blocks west of the highway (on Hopkins/ Hwy. 80/RR 12) and you don't even have to get out of your car. So take all your poison, paint, batteries, light bulbs (that you are surely not pour- ing down the drain or-sending to our landfill) and drop them offwith these kind folks at the county. OQII Still no word on the men wreaking havoc on our peace of mind by accosting our children. As stated before, a car matching this descrip- tion (white, older model sedan) had been reported as suspicious before this recent incident and, a couple of days ago, I was told that a car matching this description (yet again) was alleged to have shot a pedestrian with a pellet or bb gun in this same loca- tion a couple of months ago. Please keep your eyes open for this white car (and anything else suspicious) and let the KPD know. We've got to stop ' these guys and get a.direet message out that we will protect our children and every other member of our commu- nity. At all costs.