Triple the blessings
From intensive care unit to loving arms of thankful mother
Joey Matthews | 11/25/2015, 8:30 p.m.
Keri’Co, Kali’Co and Koh’Co Harris spent their first Thanksgiving in the intensive care unit at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital.
The diminutive triplets were receiving life-nurturing aid from medical staff after their mother, Deidre Harris, delivered them two months prematurely by Cesarean section Oct. 21, 2013. She was 33 at the time and was suffering from health complications.
Koh’Co was born first at 5:18 p.m. She weighed 2.14 pounds. Kali’Co followed a minute later, weighing 2.15 pounds. Keri’Co was the last of the triplets born, and weighed 3.04 pounds.
Keri’Co and Kali’Co are identical; Koh’Co is a fraternal.
Today, Ms. Harris and the children’s father, Jerry Robinson, have three very special little reasons to be grateful as they celebrate Thanksgiving together.
Now 2, the triplets are healthy and weigh more than 20 pounds each.
“I just thank God they were all born safely and are doing well,” Ms. Harris said last week during an interview at her Henrico County home that bustles with the activity of three lively youngsters and their older sister, Kennedi, an 11-year-old Wilder Middle School student.
“We had a lot of people praying for us,” she said, referring to church supporters from Cedar Street Baptist Church of God and Bethlehem Baptist Church, both in the East End.
Ms. Harris said she was discharged from the hospital two weeks after giving birth, once she regained much of her strength. She was assigned a private-duty nurse and began physical therapy.
The triplets were sent home a few weeks later after doctors “saw excellent weight gain” and saw them gain strength, Ms. Harris said.
The hospital provided the girls with occupational therapy, she said, which they continue today, in areas such as feeding, potty training and speech.
Last year, the triplets spent Thanksgiving with their parents at the home of Ms. Harris’ mother, Terry Harris, in Henrico County.
This year, Ms. Harris said she plans to go all out so the triplets can enjoy Thanksgiving at home with their father and Kennedi. She’s preparing fried turkey, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, collard greens, potato salad, ham and hot rolls.
“This will be the first year they will have an understanding of what it is to be together as a family at home on Thanksgiving,” said Ms. Harris. “I want this to be a special day for all of us,” she added.
The triplets each have their own unique personality, said Ms. Harris, who worked in exceptional education at Richmond Public Schools for 15 years before her family grew so large so fast. She now stays at home raising her children.
Ms. Harris describes Koh’Co as “a social butterfly, who loves to interact with others.”
She also calls Keri’Co “outgoing,” while she said Kali’Co is “more observant and shy at times.”
Ms. Harris said she was “shocked” when she found out she was having triplets. She calls the three girls “a blessing.”
She said Mr. Robinson, who has an auto body shop and sells cars on South Side, have been on the go since the day the girls were born, she said, but they would have it no other way.
“It’s challenging, but God has been with us the whole way. We have felt his power the whole time,” she said.
After they returned home from the hospital, Ms. Harris and Mr. Robinson took turns waking every three hours to rotate bottles for the girls and change their diapers.
The daily routine now involves Ms. Harris feeding the girls breakfast about 9 a.m. before she and the toddlers engage in hands-on activities, such as coloring or doing the alphabet together. After an 11 a.m. lunch, the girls take a nap. When they wake up, Ms. Harris said, they potty train, eat a snack and then play or take a ride somewhere together.
Ms. Harris said Kennedi is thrilled to have three younger sisters, although she only asked for one. “She loves them and reads stories to them and plays with them,” her mother said.
Keri’Co, Kali’Co and Koh’Co share a special bond that only triplets can understand, Ms. Harris said.
“The girls love each other more than words can explain,” she said. “You can see it in their eyes.”