May 17—Maria Vega Solis waited the better part of a decade to be a mother; today, her prayers are answered threefold.
On April 18, 2022, the 43-year-old Winder resident gave birth to Maria (4 pounds, 1 ounce and 17 inches), Samuel (4 pounds, 8 ounces and 18.25 inches) and Leah (3 pounds, 13 ounces and 17.5 inches) — the first set of triplets to be born at Northeast Georgia Medical Center's Braselton campus.
After a brief stint in the neonatal intensive care unit due to their early arrival just shy of 33 weeks, two-thirds of the trio is home safe and sound with mom and dad.
Vega and her husband, Aroldo Juarez, were able to bring Maria and Samuel home Thursday, May 12, and anticipate Leah joining them Wednesday, May 18.
"It's a life-changing experience," Vega told The Times. "It's a big responsibility; when you have one, it's a big responsibility, but when you have triplets, it's bigger. But I love it. It's just a blessing that after so many years, I've been blessed with these three little ones."
According to Vega, the triplets were "really good size babies" for being born so early.
Vega spent 12 days in the hospital prior to the triplets' arrival due to an increase in her blood pressure and fluid retention, but said considering her age and carrying triplets, "it was a pretty healthy pregnancy."
Vega went to doctors' appointments every two weeks until the third trimester, when the appointments became weekly.
"They were watching me and watching the babies really closely, and that's what made everything so smooth," she said.
After being released from the hospital, Vega visited the NICU daily to love on her little ones.
"I just can't stop going to see them and holding them," Vega told The Times May 11. "When you see those little faces, you forget everything."
According to Vega, each of the babies already has their own distinctive traits and temperaments.
"Maria, she is quiet but demanding; when she wants something, she cries and she wants it at that moment. Samuel, he's really active but he's laid back — he takes everything easy. And Leah, she's quiet but she's always wanting attention, all the time. Even though she doesn't cry, she's always trying to get your attention — she opens her eyes, she makes noises. Even though they grew (in the womb) together and they are brother and sisters born the same day, they are completely different."
One may think naming three newborns is a daunting task, but Vega said she had the triplets' names locked in years ago.
Maria shares a name not only with her mother, but both of her grandmothers and her maternal great-grandmother.
Samuel's name derives from the biblical account of Samuel in the Old Testament, whose mother, Hannah, prayed fervently for a son.
"She prayed so much for a child until God accomplished that promise," Vega said.
Leah is named for Jacob's wife in the book of Genesis, who also had experience with infertility.
"My husband and I had a really rough time going through all of this," Vega said. "Her name represents all of the things that we went through and the blessing that she — that they — became."
Faith is an integral part of Vega's and Juarez's life as a whole and, specifically, their journey to parenthood.
"All that we went through — my marriage is stronger and our relationship with God is stronger, too," Vega said. "(Faith) is the basis of our life."
There's no question Vega has her hands full these days, but her heart is fuller.
"They were a big surprise to me; I never expected to have three kids," she said. "It's a big responsibility, and we are just taking it day by day. We don't have enough sleep, but it's OK. We are just hoping to raise a good man and good women — godly women and a godly man. We are excited about all this and we are expecting God to bless us and show us the way to raise them."
Formerly the lead custodian at North Oconee High School, Vega is eager to settle into her new full-time role as a stay-at-home mom.
"This is a new experience ... and I'm just expecting to enjoy every moment that God gives me with my kids and to be happy with what I have," she said. "It's changed everything. I'm still trying to figure out what my new routine is going to be. My past routines, they are behind me — I will never go back to them because I don't have time for them. Now, I'm trying to look forward and see how I'm going to adjust to this new life."
Though the journey was long and hard, Vega said she's grateful, as it's deepend her appreciation for motherhood, as well as her faith and perseverance, and better equipped her for the days ahead.
"You feel more confident that if you went through all of that and survived, you're going to be OK for everything that (is) ahead," Vega said. "I know there are a lot of women who want to become a mother; I just encourage them to keep praying, trying and be persistent. If it's God's will, it's going to happen."