The Gowan’s welcomed their miracle triplets, Myer, Luca and Beck on May 27th, 2019.
Katie Gowan and her husband, Jay, were overjoyed when they received a positive pregnancy test in November of 2018. After receiving the joyful news, they scheduled an early OB appointment to confirm their pregnancy and complete testing of her HCG levels. HCG is commonly known as the pregnancy hormone, as it is present in women who are pregnant.
After receiving her HCG results, her physician noted that her levels were high.
During an ultrasound the following week, the Gowans found out that Katie was indeed carrying multiples. Three babies to be exact.
“If you could have seen our faces during the ultrasound,” explains Katie. “I was crying, and my husband said it was incredible.”
Katie was carrying natural spontaneous triplets. The three babies were fraternal, as they all had separate amniotic sacs.
Due to carrying multiples, the Gowans understood they may spend some time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) once their babies were born. At the suggestion of their obstetrics physician, they were introduced to Dr. Durga Panda, one of Altru’s NICU physicians, at 18 weeks gestation.
They received a tour of the NICU and met with Dr. Panda.
“Dr. Panda was amazing from the moment we met him. He was very calming and reassuring throughout our journey,” explains Katie. “He is the reason we decided to stay in Grand Forks because of how much he cared and was invested in our whole story.”
Triple the Love
Throughout her pregnancy, Katie remained very active. She is a competitive athlete who competes in CrossFit. By modifying her workouts while pregnant, she was still able to go to the gym, walk and lift light dumbbells.
“I thrive on working out and breaking a sweat. It was important for me to continue that throughout my pregnancy,” says Katie.
At 30 weeks, Katie was put on bed rest. She still had multiple appointments to check on their babies. For each appointment, they brought their packed hospital bag just in case it was time to have their babies.
On Memorial Day, Katie’s platelet levels dropped enough for the doctors to decide that it was time.
Katie, who owns a financial advising practice in Grand Forks with Thrivent Financial, even had a client of hers as one of her nurses while they were in the hospital. She also knew seven other people in her delivery room.
“It was very cool to have all of the support and familiar faces with us during the scariest moment of my life,” explains Katie.
On May 27th, at 31 weeks and 2 days, the Gowan triplets were born.
Myer weighed 3 lb 6 oz.
Beck weighed 3 lb 2 oz.
Luca weighed 2 lb 9 oz.
Two days after their delivery, Katie and Jay were able to hold their babies for the first time. Mom held the boys, Myer and Luca, and dad held baby girl, Beck.
“Our babies were still hooked up to the machines, but the nurses came together to make sure we got skin-to-skin with them,” remembers Katie. “It was a production, but the nurses didn’t hesitate to give us that experience. It was such a surreal moment for both of us.”
Each of the babies had at least one nurse with them throughout their stay.
Abby had Luca. Cole had Beck. Randi had Myer.
“It was so hard leaving them in the hospital once I was discharged. No one prepares you to walk into your house without your babies,” explains Katie, “but knowing that Abby, Cole and Randi had each one of them gave us peace of mind because they were like family to us.”
Jay, who is a custom harvester/fertilizer applicator and owns a spray foam insulation business, had already finished planting for the season. They would go up to the NICU in the morning and get an update from Dr. Panda about what happened the night before and what to expect that day.
“It’s never easy to have a preemie,” explains Dr. Panda, “there are some scary moments. There are some fun moments, and we shared them all together. We treat them more like family than patients.”
Katie and Jay also received a milestone scrapbook for each of their babies. During their NICU stay, everything was documented, from daily goals to a summary of what happened each day to milestones big and small.
“It was remarkable! We never would have the time to do that, but it is so cool to look back at,” Katie describes.
The Gowans were also supported by Altru’s occupational therapists, Jodie Storhaug and Kristi Purcell.
The OTs helped them learn how to feed and bottle feed, massaged the babies to help with muscle structure, aided in head placements and prepared them for home life.
“Jodie and Kristi were so patient and understanding throughout our whole stay,” Katie recalls. “Having occupational therapists were not a part of the journey that we anticipated, but they helped way more than they are ever going to know.”
After 54 long days of being in the NICU, the babies were ready to head home. Myer and Beck were discharged on July 19. Luca headed home on July 20.
The triplets are now happy, healthy almost eight-month-olds. The people they met in the hospital have turned in to lifelong friends and family.
“We had a great experience with everyone, even with the custodial crew,” remembers Katie. “It’s easy to just say ‘I’m going to my job,’ but the Altru staff remembers this is a once in a lifetime moment for every family there. That is truly special.”