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Bringing up babies: Local educators welcome triplets

A handful of surprises expanded Derrick and Mary Beth Leonard’s family from two to five in 2015.
After being told they wouldn’t be able to have children due to unexplained reasons, Mary Beth said, the Leonards welcomed triplets into the world on Jan. 19 at Mission Memorial Hospital in Asheville, N.C.
“It was a surprise,” Derrick said with a chuckle at their home. “We found out in July so we were able to prepare, but it definitely took us by surprise at the time.”
The triplets are made up of two sisters, Lillie and Harper, and brother, Camden.
“We wanted children for a long time,” Mary Beth said. “We were told we wouldn’t have any, so it was a real blessing.”
Teaching keeps the Leonards around children during the weekdays, but it has been a transition as the family gets fully acclimated to having a family of their own, according to both parents.
“Babies are a lot different than what we are used to at work,” Derrick said with a laugh. “It has been a learning experience … every day is a different process.”
Mary Beth added: “There’s always something new each day. Something that works one day, may not work the next. It’s all about getting a routine together because we’re both off work now, but once we go back, my mother will be the caretaker while we work.”
The children are on a feeding schedule that goes around every four hours, Derrick said.
According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine website, the average birth weight of triplets is 3.7 pounds. When the children were born at Mission Memorial, each weighed in at a healthy 4 pounds and are speculated to be near 6 pounds now, both parents said.
The pregnancy process also had it’s own surprise, Mary Beth added. This week holds a bit of importance to the family with the triplets expected due date originally set for March 15.
Even Mother Nature joined in with the unexpected surprises.
After nearly a month in Asheville, the family returned home on Feb. 20, during the brunt of the “snowpocalypse” in the area, Mary Beth joked.
“We’ve spent about four weeks at Mission Memorial,” she said. “So, it has been a transition because we’ve been home for about two weeks.
Now with the trips behind them, it is all about relaxing and being together as a family, Derrick said.
“It has been great to be back home,” he added. “It’s just good to be able to sleep in your own bed again. At the hospital, there were monitors and rules, but at home it is just casual, so we’ve been enjoying every moment.”