Mother Laken Vennard and father Dylan Nauck sit in chairs, holding their triplets, inside the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Rapides Women's and Children's Hospital.

Laken Vennard and Dylan Nauck are like most couples when it comes to the decision of having more children. With daughter Skylar turning 9 and son Konner at 8, they decided to have one more child.

In February, sensing that she was pregnant, Laken made an appointment to see Obstetrician/Gynecologist Lauren Harris, M.D. of Women’s Health Center at Rapides Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

The sonographer performed an ultrasound and then left the room quickly to show the results to Dr. Harris.

“We thought something was wrong,” admitted Laken.

There was nothing wrong. The ultrasound showed she was pregnant with triplets!

“It was a shock,” said Laken.

“We expect three (children) and went to five real quick!” said Dylan.

According to Perinatalogist Scott Barrilleaux, M.D., “About 80 percent of all triplets are usually something with assisted reproductive technologies. The incidence of triplets otherwise, there’s about 32 per 100,000 live births. It is very rare.”

Even rarer are the lack of major complications associated with triplets. Laken saw Dr. Barrilleaux, who specializes in pregnancy complications, but her pregnancy was rather uneventful.

“Triplets always just surprise you with the expected complications and pre-term labor,” said Dr. Harris. “Laken had a very straightforward pregnancy with no problems. Never had any issues at all.”

About the only issue for Laken and Dylan was telling their family. They decided to do it at Skylar’s birthday party.

“We waited until she was opening gifts,” said Dylan. “She unwrapped a gift with a sign telling them. They were freaking out.”

The sign read, “Our family is growing by 6 feet and 3 little heartbeats. The Nauck triplets are due October 2023.” Included with the sign were 4 images of the sonogram – 1 for each triplet and 1 showing all 3 in the womb.

“Skylar was crying and excited when she found out,” said Laken.

While Laken’s due date was in October, the triplets were born at 34 weeks on Sept. 6 at RWCH. Bellamy came first at 8:23 p.m. He weighed 5 pounds, 2 ounces. Octavia came a minute later and weighed 4 pounds, 15 ounces. Oliver decided to wait a few more minutes before his arrival at 8:27 p.m. He was 4 pounds, 13 ounces.

“It was an amazing experience to deliver the triplets and especially get them that far along,” said Dr. Harris. “We got them to 34 weeks, which was really awesome and pretty much unheard of. It is sometimes hard to get twins that far.”

To ensure enough help during delivery, it was scheduled at shift change, allowing both the day and night crew to assist. The triplets were then sent to the Newborn ICU to assist with breathing and eating before being discharged.

In all, 10 departments – Admitting, Laboratory, Labor & Delivery, NICU, Respiratory Therapy, X-ray, W2, Social Services, Rehab Services and Occupational Therapy – at Rapides Women’s and Children’s Hospital have played a role in their care.

“Delivering triplets doesn’t happen every day,” said Julie Fontenot, administrator of RWCH. “I can’t say enough about our whole team’s preparation to make this miraculous event for mom, dad and babies safe, organized and beautiful.”

Dr. Harris’ WHC colleagues, Joel Hall, M.D., and Gary Manuel, M.D., have delivered triplets in the past.

“It’s been a while since our group has delivered some,” said Dr Harris. “Besides the fact she delivered triplets, she had a really easy pregnancy and we are all very thankful for that.”