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Ultrasound reveals not one, but three additions to family

KYLEE, PAISLEY AND Natalie Pierce of Ferrisburgh are around a month old in this picture.

It was quick. And I said, ‘Wow, they all came out like it was a clown car.’
— Kaci Spear Pierce

FERRISBURGH — Kaci Spear Pierce remembers well the worry she and husband, Tyler, felt going into her three-month pregnancy check-up late last summer.
They were already the happy parents of one child, but the couple had been rocked when her second pregnancy had not ended well.
“We actually had a bad experience in the beginning of 2020, and had to have a termination of pregnancy,” Kaci recalled. “We have a very healthy son that is almost three, and I kind of forgot that anything could ever be wrong.”
Before they left for that visit to University of Vermont Medical Center, Kaci, for the past 10 years a first-grade teacher at Ferrisburgh Central School, shared her fears with one of her two sisters.
“I was scared they were going to say no heartbeat, and I was scared they were going to say more than one,” Kaci said.
She and Tyler didn’t get bad news, but there was no way for them to be prepared for what they did hear from their doctor.
“She said … there’s two,” Kaci said. “And I said, ‘Shut up. You’re kidding.’ And she said, ‘I don’t joke about things like that. And there’s three.’ And naturally my response was, ‘What the …’”
Kaci admitted to unleashing a few more “bad words,” while she said Tyler quickly saw the humor in the situation.
“‘Three? Son of a bee. Three?’ And my husband just sat there laughing,” Kaci said. “He probably would have been more in shock if I was quiet. But it was five minutes of pure shock.”
The three turned out to be identical girls — Kylee, Natalie and Paisley. The news was truly unusual. Most triplets are the result of mothers taking fertility drugs. This was not the case for the Pierce family, however. Kaci researched the odds — five in 20 million.
“I read in one of the articles to see how weird it was, and it was the genetic lottery,” she said.
Kaci remembered some of her other thoughts as she and Tyler drove back to Ferrisburgh and reality sunk in: “I need to buy a van … We’ve got to build another room for the house … How do I carry three babies with two arms?”
Since the initial feeling of being overwhelmed, Kaci said she was has remained positive. In an interview she joked and laughed, while also being realistic about the challenges she faces now and in the future.
For instance the former basketball player at both Vergennes Union High School and Johnson State College (where she earned her teaching degree) referred to the sport when talking about her four children.
“I’ve got almost a whole team now,” Kaci said, later adding in a text, “My husband and I are so tall so who knows what these girls will do! I’m telling ya, basketball players!”
She answered a question about her sunny outlook.
“That’s pretty much how I’ve been the whole time,” Kaci said. “If you don’t laugh about it and be upbeat and assume everything is going to be OK, then you’re just going to dig a hole for yourself.”

HEALTHY AND HAPPY
The pregnancy went well. The children arrived on Jan. 22 at 32 weeks, six-to-eight weeks earlier than a typical full term, but a little longer than average for triplets.
“They were a little surprised at how long I carried triplets,” Kaci said.
She and her doctors had agreed on a date about a week later, but one of the babies gave her a strong kick, her water broke, and it was go time.
Kaci described a delivery room with more than 20 medical professionals on hand to tend to four patients — mom and three premature infants: five pediatric doctors per baby, two anesthesiologists, her doctors, and the surgeons and surgical nurses.
At one point a nurse joked with her about taking a roll call, and Kaci said she volunteered to start it.
“I said, ‘I’ll go first. I’m Kaci, and this is Natalie, Kylee and Paisley.’ A couple people just kind of laughed. I was just, you have to go in this direction. I’m going to cry if I don’t laugh,” she said.
The three entered the world in less than two minutes, Natalie first at 1:35 a.m., and Kylee and Paisley together a minute later.
“It was quick. And I said, ‘Wow, they all came out like it was a clown car,’” Kaci said.
The triplets ranged in weight from Paisley at 3 pounds, 6.3 ounces, to Natalie at 3 pounds, 15.9 ounces. “Paisley is our peanut, and Natalie is our ‘tank,’” Kaci said.
They have been in the hospital since, but gaining weight and doing well. Their mother describes them as “real fighters.”
“We’ve got at least a couple more weeks before maybe one of them can come home,” Kaci said in early February. “But they’re very healthy.”
In fact, Natalie came home Feb. 18; Paisley and Kylee were expected to be home as soon as this coming weekend.
To keep things as normal as possible for son Wesley while Kaci is on maternity leave, she has breakfast with him and drops him off at child care before heading off to see her daughters from about 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays before heading back to Wesley.
Tyler heads to the hospital after his workday and gets about two-and-a-half hours in with the triplets in the late afternoon.
Kaci admits Tyler has one parental advantage.
“He’s got a bigger wingspan, and he can hold all three at the same time,” she said.

PLANNING AND SUPPORT
The couple just recently finished building a Ferrisburgh home that no longer feels as spacious.
“We have a three-bedroom house right now,” Kaci said. “So I had to give my husband the look and say they’re all identical. We should probably think about letting them all have their own room at some point, because they’re going to want some identity of their own at some point. And he just kind of looked at me like, ‘Oh, my goodness.’”
But home improvement comes later. Immediate concerns are diapers, laundry and meals — all during a pandemic.
Kaci said thanks in part to her years at FCS she and Tyler have already received many pledges of support, including a gift card from as far away as Australia, and their family members are of course ready to pitch in.
“The community actually just completely wrapped around us,” she said. “I had co-workers jumping in and saying, ‘We’re going to set up a meal plan for you.’”
Neighbors have told them to leave laundry on the porch and give them a call, while co-workers also plotted with her two sisters to set up a baby shower that also involved her students. Her sisters insisted she set up a baby registry.
“I said I didn’t need a registry for a second baby, and they said you’re having a second, third and fourth,” Kaci said. “They kept pushing me not necessarily to ask for help, but to make it clear what we needed.”
One sister will also quarantine and then stay with the Spears for a while, and Kaci’s mother-in-law also plans to do so.
Kaci and Tyler have also connected with Kaci’s teaching colleague, Nancy Ambrose, also the mother of triplets, and plan to contact the parents of another local set of triplets for advice.
Yet another friend set up a GoFundMe page (tinyurl.com/64jyjcrv) to help with costs that Kaci acknowledges could easily spiral out of control.
“When my husband was doing the math for the cost of just diapers, it was overwhelming. Life is about to get expensive, but amazing,” she said.
Officials at the Addison Northwest School District also allowed Kaci an extended maternity leave when her situation became clear. Kaci plans to return to Ferrisburgh Central in the fall.
When asked for one last thought about everything, Kaci spoke about her gratitude to her employer, her friends, her community, and her family.
“This has been a very unexpected event, and they’ve been wonderful,” she said. “It’s just overwhelming.” 

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