The couple used no fertility drugs and say there is no history of multiple births in the family.
By LAURE CIOFFI
VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU
PULASKI, Pa. -- When Addie and Billy Ray Moore's triplets were born six weeks early -- on Billy Ray's 30th birthday -- the couple wasn't too shocked.
The last few years have been full of surprises for the Pulaski couple, and they say they now know it was all meant to be.
The birth of their three sons, Jacob, Nicholas and Samuel, about nine weeks ago just reinforced that feeling.
The Moores say it has been a rough year since Billy Ray's accident. He fell 43 feet from a cellular tower he was helping construct on March 29, 2000, crushing his arm and leg. After several surgeries -- and a few more expected -- he's recovered but not able to work.
The plan: They decided after his accident to start a family. Billy Ray could stay home and Addie could go back to work as an insurance agent at Liberty Mutual in New Castle after the baby was born.
Then they learned there was more than one baby.
It came as a shock to Moores, who say they used no fertility drugs and have no history of multiple births in the family.
"It was all red meat and Iron City beer," Billy Ray says jokingly.
Plans change: Addie said that when she learned there were three babies, their plans changed.
"With three, there was no way I could work," she said.
A checkup in late July showed one of the babies was in danger and doctors were concerned.
Addie was admitted to McGee Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh and given steroids that would help mature the babies' lungs if they had to be taken early through a Caesarean section.
She was leaving the hospital the next day on July 27, Billy Ray's birthday, when she went into labor -- about six weeks before her due date.
Billy Ray said he was hopeful the babies would be born on his birthday, but the doctors said it would be a long process and thought Addie would be in labor at least until the next day.
Four and half hours later, Jacob, Nicholas and Samuel were born. All were doing well, ranging in weight from 4 pounds, 8 ounces to 3 pounds, 8 ounces.
They came home in stages with Samuel and Jacob heading to Pulaski Township Aug. 4 and Nicholas following on Aug. 8. The couple says all three appear to be healthy, but doctors are keeping a close eye on Jacob, who was born with cysts on his lungs. He may eventually need surgery to remove them, they said.
Life now: The last nine weeks have been filled with crying babies, sleepless nights and lots of diapers -- they use about 33 a day.
The triplets go to New Bedford Presbyterian Church each week with their parents. The couple says the church and family have been the most help, supplying hot meals at night and helping to care for the babies during the day.
Friends and family drop by to help them feed the babies, who were on a three-hour feeding schedule when they came home from the hospital. The babies have almost doubled in weight and keep growing, ranging in weight now from 6 pounds to 8 pounds, according to their parents.
When family members reflect on the events over the last few years, they suspect Billy Ray's accident was a blessing in disguise.
Working 14-hour days on his communication tower construction job would have left little time for him to spend with the babies, said Debbie Pogozelec, Addie's mother. Now he's there to help with the feeding and diaper changing, she said.
Billy Ray even had time to work on a nursery for the triplets.
When they met: The couple had little clue that they would end up with three babies and a home in Pulaski when they met six years ago at Ryder's Restaurant in New Wilmington. Billy Ray, who lived in West Mifflin, Pa., was working on a cellular tower in the area and Addie was a waitress.
They got married July 11, 1998, and lived in West Mifflin until Billy Ray's accident. They moved to Addie's grandparents' home, just a few hundred yards from her parents' house.
Having family nearby has been a big help; her mother and her sister, Mandy Riechy, of Hermitage, are able to stop by frequently, she said.
But there's still a little disbelief when she looks at her three sons.
"It's still hard to believe we have three babies," Addie said.
"But you know it when you are up all night," Billy Ray adds.