This past spring, expecting parents Desiree and Ryan Fortin’s gender announcement video went viral. The couple, who had struggled with infertility, gathered friends and family in the touching video to announce the gender of their twins — only to surprise everyone with the news they were expecting triplets.
The triplets are now nearly four months old, and TODAY recently followed up with Desiree Fortin on her delivery, motherhood and the happy ending to her struggle with infertility. She shares the next chapter of her story as part of “2015 Voices,” a special series of essays and interviews with newsmakers behind some of TODAY’s biggest moments of the year.
The Fortin triplets were born on Aug. 17 via C-section. I delivered at 34 weeks and one day, which was amazing because there were doctors who told me I’d never make it that far.
But God gave me a miracle pregnancy — and today we are the proud parents of identical twin boys — Sawyer Reed and Jax Ryan, and one little girl — Charlize Hope. Our little angels are the most precious gift. My heart is overwhelmed when I think about the fact that we are now a family of five.
Life since the babies were born has been busy, crazy and full of adventure. I still cannot believe that God has given me not one, but three tiny humans that I get to share my life with day in and day out. I love getting smiles from my babies and watching them grow. I get lost in love staring at them — my heart overflows with thanksgiving because they are here.
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Being their mom is undoubtedly the greatest job in the world, but my journey was not easy. There were countless days where I laid sobbing on my bathroom floor because of a negative pregnancy test or a failed fertility treatment. But it was worth every salty tear to finally become a parent.
From the moment our video went viral, we received an outpouring of support from all over the world — heartwarming messages from many who understood my heart and shared similar difficulties in conceiving. And, we’ve received so much love and support from our families and loved ones. Today, being able to see them share sweet moments with our babies in person blesses my heart.
I’ll never forget my delivery day. Like all things involving parenthood, there were unexpected turns. After the triplets were delivered, Ryan went with them to the neonatal intensive care unit and I was sent to recovery.
In recovery, I experienced some complications and bleeding, requiring me to have emergency surgery. I wasn’t able to visit the babies in the NICU right away, and Ryan made videos of them for me, or FaceTimed with me so I could see them. The nurses gave me blankets to sleep with so they could take them back to my babies, giving them my scent.
When I was finally allowed to meet them, my heart was full of anticipation. Seeing my babies for the first time was one of the most beautiful moments of my life — a moment I will treasure always.
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After a 15-day stay in the NICU, we were able to take the babies home. Ryan and I made the decision shortly after our video went viral to move in with my parents so they could help us with the demands of caring for three babies at once. In the months since their birth, we have all pitched in as a team and are learning to deal with the sleep deprivation, exhaustion and hard work that parenting — and grandparenting — can entail.
Parenthood is everything I imagined it to be, and nothing I imagined it to be — at the same time. The love that explodes in my heart for Jax, Sawyer and Charlize is far greater than anything I have ever experienced. We are falling into a daily routine, and I even manage to make it to Target or to run other errands by myself. I’m finding great joy in caring for my little trio, and am truly cherishing my role as a parent.
We are blessed, but parenting is also a hard job filled with the greatest of responsibilities — caring for tiny humans. Our babies have severe reflux and colic — times three. Getting into a routine is difficult, as is maintaining your relationship amid crying babies, sleepless nights and a new routine.
There is a great deal of pressure on being a good mom — the perfect mom. And, if I am being entirely honest, the truth is things have been harder than I expected. I have found myself deep in the midst of severe anxiety and depression — which sometimes sounds shameful.
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But, from what I’ve seen in my short time as a mom, the hardest parts of parenting are often the ones that don’t get talked about. At the end of the day, we are all doing what’s best for our babies, so it’s not about whether you breast-feed or bottle feed or vaccinate or choose not to vaccinate — it’s about being the best mom we can be for our children. It’s important for moms to build each other up instead of tearing each other down and judging each other so much.
Being a mom is a hard job — being a mom to triplets is a hard job. However, it is not one I take for granted. I would choose this life every day over and over again.
We are fortunate to have received so much love and support from our families and friends. And, the outpouring of support and prayers from those who were touched by our viral video has also blessed our hearts so much.
I never imagined God would use our story to reach so many people. It has been an incredible experience. To have received messages from so many women who also shared in my infertility struggles — this is where my heart is, to be able to offer love and hope to the one so desperate to hold her own baby in her arms.
My heart grieves with those awaiting their own miracles. To the one who awaits her miracle baby — be encouraged and stand in hope. You are strong and brave because infertility is not easy. Everyone has a story and sometimes, it is hard to understand God’s ways — but they are beautifully and intricately made. Have hope in your journey and know that you are not alone.
As told to TODAY.com’s Terri Peters. Find more “2015 Voices” here.