When Tom and Jackie Ochenkowski learned they were expecting, they were thrilled and looked forward to telling their daughter Brooke that she was going to be a big sister. But at her eight-week ultrasound appointment, Jackie found out they were getting a three-for-one deal.
On May 18, 2016 at 32 weeks, Jackie gave birth to her triplet daughters ― Aubrey, Bailey and Charlotte ― via C-section. Each baby weighed three pounds and went on to spend two to three months in the NICU. Connecticut photographer JoAnn Marrero documented their time there.
The months leading up to the triplets’ birth were a whirlwind. Marrero shared the couple’s experiences from that eight-week ultrasound onward with HuffPost.
“At that time, Tom had just started his new business, and they were busy building their new home. Jackie went to the doctor for her eight-week sonogram by herself while Tom worked nonstop so they could be in their new home before the baby’s arrival,” Marrero told HuffPost.
During the appointment, Jackie sensed something was unusual by the look on the ultrasound technician’s face. She was shocked when the doctor told her she was having spontaneous identical triplets (meaning there were no fertility enhancements involved) ― an incredibly rare phenomenon.
Due to the high risk of having two amniotic sacs and one placenta, Jackie was referred to a specialized doctor and entered the hospital at 25 weeks for continuous monitoring until the birth.
“The hardest part of that was leaving her 2-year-old daughter Brooke at home,” Marrero explained. “She said it was hard for Brooke to adjust and when she came to visit Mommy, she was scared of all the wires that Mommy had dangling from her, but eventually she got used to it.”
After the birth, the photographer documented the triplets’ time in the NICU. The babies went home within days and weeks of each other. Marrero photographed the moment Jackie held all three babies for the first time. She volunteered her services a year later to celebrate their first birthday. A few months later, she took more photos of Aubrey, Bailey and Charlotte.
“Tom and Jackie feel blessed to have an amazing outcome with all the babies and they are thriving,” Marrero told HuffPost.
The couple is also grateful for the support of their family, who do everything they can to help out.
“Many have told her that ‘life gets tough’ now that the babies are here and it’s likely she’ll never leave the house. Jackie is like.... ‘I’m an outdoor girl,’ and takes those babies everywhere with her by herself,” the photographer explained.
Marrero said Jackie has also expressed her pride in her husband, who works nonstop but devotes himself fully to the kids whenever not working. “When Jackie needs some time for herself, Tom says, ‘Go have some fun, you deserve it, I got this!’”
Keep scrolling to see more precious photos of Aubrey, Bailey and Charlotte.