By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Jalissa Olsen of Buffalo has only held all three of her triplets once since they were born in late November.
It was about two to three weeks after they were born.
“It just seems like we haven’t been able to catch a break,” Jalissa Olsen said.
For the last month, the Olsen family has experienced a series of unfortunate events, including two members catching the coronavirus, that have left all of the triplets in the hospital at one point or another.
But during the turbulent times, friends, family and the Olsens’ surrounding community have chipped in with all types of support, from financial to emotional and more.
Normally, the arrival of a new baby (not to mention three at once) is a joyous time, one filled with bonding time and showing the tiny human what the much larger world is like.
The Olsen family has not quite had that. Well, they haven’t had it at all.
First, Jalissa Olsen caught the coronavirus in mid-November, which meant her husband, Josh Olsen, also had to quarantine due to his exposure. Thankfully, she only had mild symptoms, but her pregnancy with triplets was already considered high-risk.
Other than some issues with high blood pressure, Jalissa Olsen really had no complications with the pregnancy.
The couple also has two other children, a 12-year-old and three-year-old.
Then, just a couple days after Jalissa Olsen recovered from the virus, she gave birth to three beautiful babies: Everleigh, Everett and Aspen.
However, not long after the babies were born, the tides began to turn.
“It’s really been a wild ride for us,” Josh Olsen said.
First, doctors couldn’t find a vein in Everleigh to give her an IV line, so they used one in her belly button. However, the IV fluid perforated her vein, so the liquid began to fill her lung cavity and her kidneys began to fail.
Everleigh was life-flighted to Denver from Billings, where she was born. Jalissa Olsen accompanied her daughter with only the clothes on her back and her purse, not knowing when she might be home with her other children and her husband.
While in the hospital in Denver, Everleigh also contracted the coronavirus, but like her mother, only experienced mild symptoms. She made a full recovery, but there were concerns early on that the baby could die.
So, the family went back home with the triplets, hoping for a quiet holiday.
But then, the second triplet, Everett, got sick with Group B strep, a blood infection, two weeks ago. This also sent him to the hospital in Billings, back to the NICU, where he was put on a round of antibiotics for 10 days.
On Monday morning, the Olsens were picking up Everett from the hospital in Billings and were making their way back to Buffalo.
However, their story of illnesses wasn’t quite done.
On Christmas, the third triplet, Aspen, began displaying signs of illness, not unlike what Everett displayed before he got sick with the blood infection.
“We took her in and she coded at the hospital, and I think she flatlined for about seven minutes,” Josh Olsen said. “They resuscitated her at the hospital in Buffalo and then life-flighted her to Billings. I mean, my wife was in the room with Aspen when her heart stopped.”
Once at the NICU in Billings, Aspen also developed GBS like her brother. However, she has been recovering well and her parents are hoping to bring her home Jan. 4.
“It’s hard, because we’re taking two babies home and leaving one behind,” Jalissa Olsen said. “We felt like we were so close to the end, but now we’re not.”
The Olsens admitted that it would be easy to throw their hands up in the air and break down, but the support of their family and community in Wyoming and Montana have kept them going.
One friend created a GoFundMe for the couple before the triplets were born, but it has become significantly more helpful in recent weeks with all three of the babies being so sick and the hospital bills beginning to mount.
They have also seen support through their social media accounts and various parenting groups of which the Olsen are members.
“I don’t have time to fall apart right now, because everything is still happening around me,” Jalissa Olsen said. “We have to keep going.”