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Families find three-of-a-kind a winning hand

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Parenting / Raising triplets

By Sarah Shonyo

lifestyle@postbulletin.com

Total shock isn’t the expression most expecting parents would use to describe that first ultrasound.

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Most expecting parents, however, don’t see three tiny hearts beating.

"The nurse asked me if Bob was going to be all right," Anne Lindner said of her husband upon hearing the news that she was carrying triplets. "His face turned completely white."

Several months later, three of which were spent on bedrest, Lindner gave birth to three healthy babies — two girls and a boy — who were named Sarrah, Morganne and Ryann.

The National Center for Health Statistics reports that 6,208 sets of triplets were born in the United States in 2005 — a small portion of the more than 4 million registered births that same year. In Minnesota, triplets represented about 0.2 percent of all births in 2005.

Recognizing the relatively low number of families with multiples, Southern Minnesota Mothers of Multiples (MOMs) was formed in 1961 as a nonprofit organization designed to serve as a source of socialization and support for families with twins, triplets and beyond.

"We typically have anywhere between 80 and 90 members," said Melinda Otto, who not only shares the position of Southern MN MOMs co-president with Lindner, but is also a mother of triplets. "Parents and guardians of multiples can share advice and stories while making friends."

Otto and her husband, Jim, are the proud parents of 7-year-old Hannah and 5-year-old triplets Nick, Emilee and Olivia.

"Raising three children of the exact same age presents unique challenges," Otto said, "particularly concerning finances and time management."

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Each family adopted its own methods of minimizing problems. The Lindner family, for instance, bought three of everything — like highchairs and exer-saucers — and the Otto couple utilized a rotation method.

"If one was eating in the highchair, another was bouncing in the swing," Otto said.

The necessary number of diapers, however, wasn’t negotiable.

The Otto family was graced with the occasional gift on their doorstep from the "diaper fairy," while the Lindner parents took a more mathematical approach.

"Bob searched all of the stores with diapers in Rochester," Lindner said, grinning. "Then he created a spreadsheet so we knew every per-diaper price in town."

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