If you asked me what I thought about being the mother of identical triplet newborns, I'd probably drop to my knees thanking my lucky stars I only had one baby at a time, because one was hard enough, thank you very much. I can't quite imagine the logistical difficulties of dealing with three babies -- the feedings! The diaper changes! The sleep … or presumably, the utter lack thereof!
But here's something I've never really taken into consideration: if you have identical same-sex babies, how do you tell them apart? That's exactly the challenge faced by a St. Louis, Missouri couple with newborn triplet daughters. They were all born prematurely, and while they remain in the hospital until they can gain a little more weight, Laura and Brad Partridge say they can't tell one baby from another.
The identical triplets were born at 34 weeks on March 19th, and each baby girl -- Sonja, Sylvia, and Scarlett -- weighed three pounds. The babies will stay at Mercy Children's Hospital for the next month or so in order to gain weight and regulate their body temperature, but in the meantime … well, they're identical. According to Laura,
They look so much alike but there are slight differences. Scarlett's face is thinner than the others and she's more petite with a wrinkle in her forehead. And one of Sylvia's ears is a little smushed because her cartilage is still growing. But when they're all wearing hats and bundled up? Forget it.
Okay, that would legitimately freak me out. I mean, newborns kind of sport the same (adorable!) general appearance anyway -- small, crumpled, red-faced, zonked out -- and in the case of identical siblings, it would be SO easy to get them mixed up. Even in a hospital. (Or maybe especially in a hospital, considering the nurses that are always coming and going.)
As for the Partridges, they're relying on a color code system to identify their little girls: Sonja is always dressed in yellow, Sylvia in lavender, and Scarlett in either red or pink. Also, they're making a rather ingenious use of non-toxic nail color.
We buy them blankets, sheets, and hats in their respective colors. And a friend gave us bottles of nail polish in each girl's color so we paint their toenails. That way, we can tell at glance who is who, especially if it's late at night.
Ooh, the nail polish idea is BRILLIANT. A nurse could accidentally put the wrong outfit or accessory on a baby, but the painted toes won't be going anywhere. Although I bet their eentsy toenails aren't exactly easy to pedicure.
The parents are hopeful that once the babies get a little older, their personalities and physical traits will be easier to tell apart. However, Laura suspects there may be shenanigans in the future:
I'm hoping they don't try to prank people by switching places. Parents of multiples have told me stories.
If you have identical multiples, how did you tell them apart when they were newborns?
Image via Linda Sharps