Tyler and Erin Stelter celebrated birth of their new family at Kaiser Permanente’s Sunnyside Medical Center, where the triplets received specialized care during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Triple the Love

Having a baby — let alone three — during a pandemic can be a stressful experience. But the care one mother received at Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center proved safe, comforting, and life-affirming.

Tyler Stelter stared, astonished, at the ultrasound tech who broke the news that Tyler and his wife, Erin, would be the proud parents of not one, not two, but three babies. When he was finally able to pick himself up off the floor, all he could muster was, “You must be joking!”

“No sir, I’m not allowed to joke,” replied the tech, who added that she was completely certain that Erin was carrying triplets. A later test revealed that the fetuses were identical girls. Over the next two weeks, the couple’s tears and panic morphed into joy and excitement about the incredible gift that life had handed them.

In July, they welcomed Addisen, Logan, and Rowen via cesarean section at Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center. It was a big month for the family, as they left the hospital and settled into their home in Beaverton, where Erin works as a trainer at Nike and Tyler is furloughed from his business development position at a start-up company.

Having her first baby — let alone three — in this time of COVID-19 “is very bizarre and isolating,” Erin said. “The hardest part was having to go to appointments without my husband and wondering if I would have to deal with bad news by myself. But having a care team in place was very helpful — I became friends with several of them.”

Care in the Time of COVID

“In this time of COVID, extra precautions are being taken throughout the hospital to suppress spread of the coronavirus,” says Brenda Saling, manager of Labor & Delivery and interim director of Women’s Health.

In the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, a locked unit where our littlest members receive specialized care, everyone must sign in then sanitize their hands before entering. With the current pandemic situation, only two parents are allowed to visit, and they must wear a mask when a staff member is in the room. Previously, up to four others could visit and receive instructions on how to care for the baby at home. Now, If the mother is unable to visit, NICU staff help her interact with her baby via phone chat.

 Creating Lasting Memories

Of course, the Stelters and other parents of babies born at Sunnyside are unaware of all the behind-the-scenes work that sets the stage for high quality medical care for women and newborns. But surveys and thank-you cards tell us that parents recognize Sunnyside Medical Center as a special place for women to deliver their babies and for our tiniest members to receive care.

“Each day, we have the privilege of creating lasting memories for our families,” said Saling. “The birth of a child is a story a mother retells her entire life. In the best of times and the worst of times, we walk alongside our families, caring for them, celebrating with them, and crying with them.”

In Erin’s case, she said the care she received throughout her pregnancy, including two weeks in the hospital before delivery, followed by a C-section and intensive care for her babies, was, in a word, “perfect.”

She also said, “I told my doctors that I’m the type of person who wants to know everything — the good and the not so good, and I do a lot of research on my own. They kept us informed every step of the way. I found their honesty and transparency very comforting.”

To learn more about Kaiser Permanente’s maternity care, visit kp.org/maternity/nw.

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