Stephanie Hansen, a single mom in Washington state, gave birth to three baby girls in 2020. And they’re not triplets.
Daphne came first. She was born on Jan. 28. A little more than 10 months later, on Dec. 8, the infant was joined by twin sisters Rubie and Penelope.
“It’s total chaos,” Hansen, 32, told TODAY Parents. “But it’s the best chaos.”
The second pregnancy came as a total shock to Hansen, who was in a new relationship.
“In order to get on birth control, I had to take a pregnancy test,” Hansen recalled.
The rest is history.
Dr. Christine Greves, an OB-GYN at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in Orlando, Florida, told TODAY Parents that ovulation can return as soon as six weeks after a baby is born.
“After pregnancy, women aren’t necessarily cognizant of what their cycle is,” Greves explained. “But if you got pregnant once, it’s possible to get conceive again, even if you don’t think you’re ovulating.”
Hansen says that’s exactly what happened to her.
"I was in a newborn fog, and [then] there was the excitement of this new relationship," she said. "I was just adjusting to everything."
Hansen was overwhelmed with a range of emotions, including guilt. Would Daphne feel neglected when the twins arrived? Would she be able to handle back-to-back babies?
“I felt awful that she wouldn’t have one-one-one time with me anymore,” she said. “There was definitely some initial sadness.”
But Hansen’s fears dissipated the day she brought Rubie and Penelope home from the hospital. At the time, Daphne wasn’t walking yet, but she knew how to give hugs.
“All Daphne wanted to do was touch them,” Hansen said.
Daphne is now 2, while Penelope and Rubie are 15 months old. The three siblings are inseparable.
“They are the Three Musketeers,” Hansen said. “They’re on the same schedule. They eat, bathe and play together. They share a room.”
Though Hansen is no longer romantically involved with Penelope and Rubie’s father, the two remain friends and co-parents.
“When we broke up I was devastated,” she confessed. “But I said to myself, ‘I’ve got this. We’re not going to sit around in our pajamas crying. We can sink or swim.’”
Hansen chose to swim.
“It’s not always easy,” she said. “But I am the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life. These kids are the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”