Triplets debut during pandemic. Their nurse has an unusual story, too.

April 24, 2020
Arthur, Russell and Theodore Livermore
Arthur, Russell and Theodore Livermore. Photos provided.

Arthur, Russell and Theodore Livermore don’t know it yet, but the triplets’ tale is one that their parents — and a nurse with a pandemic plot twist of her own — will never forget. 

To begin with, the triplets were a surprise for mom Miranda and dad Arthur Livermore of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. The Livermores were already the parents of three girls, ages 5, 8 and 10. “We weren’t planning to have any more kids,” Miranda Livermore said.

But they quickly adjusted and were thrilled with the news. Then came the coronavirus pandemic. 

Arthur and Miranda Livermore with their daughters and dog. 
Arthur and Miranda Livermore with their daughters Claire, Victoria and Amelia on Easter.

“It was pretty stressful,” Miranda Livermore said. “There were policies — like no visitors at our doctor visits. So I was going to ultrasounds by myself, and I had to end working a little bit earlier.”

But her husband was able to support her at home. “I was able to work virtually,” he said of his job with an aircraft manufacturer. 

They were worried that COVID-19 precautions might prevent him from being allowed to be present at the boys’ birth. “That was a fear, especially when they were expecting the virus to peak right around the time we were planning to have them," Arthur Livermore said. 

“We didn’t know what the policy would be. But MUSC let us know that they were advocating to try to make sure she had at least one support person. We got a call from the nurse on Monday letting us know I’d be able to support her, and we had somebody to watch our children, so we were able to make those arrangements.”

The news came just in time. Miranda Livermore’s water broke at about 1 a.m. on April 22, about a month and a half before her due date. She and her husband headed to the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion, which had opened just two months earlier.

The experience was unusual from the start. “From the moment we came into triage, every nurse was masked in the triage center until they knew we were negative,” Miranda Livermore said. “We were asked to wash our hands and be prepared to go in for a COVID test.”

Within an hour, she learned that neither she nor her husband had the illness caused by the new coronavirus. “It was such a relief,” she said.

Arthur, Russell and Theodore — whose initials are the same as their dad’s nickname, Art — arrived at about 5:30 that morning. They became the first triplets born in the new hospital.

Because they were premature, not unusual for triplets, they’re being cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit. The Livermores were happy to note that the NICU has a lot more space and amenities for families than the old children’s hospital.

“There’s a lot of interesting technology,” Miranda Livermore said. “And they have the iPads at the bedside that you can use to FaceTime with your family. Just a beautiful environment. We feel really blessed to be in the new hospital.”

Kara Ellison with her husband at their virtual wedding. 
Nurse Kara Ellison Newton and her husband, Brandon Newton, share their wedding with guests via Zoom.

Then, they found something — or someone — else in the NICU, who shared the distinction of having a major life event occur during the coronavirus pandemic. Nurse Kara Ellison Newton, who took care of the family after the babies’ birth, told the Livermores that she just gotten married the previous weekend. Not in the upstate of South Carolina, as planned, but in her backyard.

“Due to the pandemic that happened, and the rules and regulations, we decided to have a virtual wedding in our backyard,” Newton told them. “So it was special. Something we’ll always remember and can tell our kids and future grandkids about down the road. We had around 200 people watch it using Zoom. It was really cool and special.”

Miranda Livermore said she and her husband loved hearing Newton’s story. “Just how grateful she is and just focusing on the positive. I think all of us, at this time, just have to focus on gratitude to get us through it all. That’s what we’re both doing.”

The triplets may need to stay in the hospital until their planned birth date in early June to allow them time to develop enough to be able to go home. Their mom and dad can’t wait, despite the fact that their babies will get there during a pandemic.

“We’ve been stocking up on diapers, and as we need, formula, things of that nature,” Arthur Livermore said. “We’re ordering everything online and having it shipped. We’re quarantining it in the garage for a couple of days then bringing it into the house. Trying the best we can to get everything they need.”

The pandemic will also mean the traditional visitors who greet babies, family and friends, will for the most part have to keep their distance for a while. But Miranda Livermore said their daughters said they want to pitch in. Children will help children at a time when many adults are thrown off by the coronavirus pandemic. “We’re just going to have to power through and use those three girls to help us through.”

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