When Michelle and Leo Lammers decided to have second child, they had no idea they would end up with four children under the age of two.
“We found out just shortly after we started the business that we were pregnant again,” said Michelle who opened Columbia Pool and Spa in Golden with her Leo ten years ago after moving here from Whistler.
The couple was thrilled to find out Michele was pregnant, but received a huge surprise when they went for an early ultrasound.
“We knew right away, there’s no way you can hide that in an ultrasound,” said Michelle, recalling how Leo said their baby had three heads. “The technician wasn’t supposed to say anything, but it didn’t matter.”
Michelle was pregnant with triplets in the same year she moved to a new community, started a new business, and was already raising a one-year-old daughter.
“We were sort of laughing and crying at the same time…we couldn’t believe it.”
Carrying and delivering triplets is a bit more complicated, and family had to adapt. At a certain part during the pregnancy Michelle starting having some problems, and was no longer able to pick up her daughter Kathleen.
“Kathleen was walking by then, but she was still a baby, so she had to learn how to climb up everything,” she said.
Then when it was time to deliver, Michelle had to go to Calgary. The three boys were quite premature, and spent the first seven weeks of their lives in a Calgary hospital.
One thing, however, was easier. With three babies, there was less bickering over the names. Out of a list of about 10, Michelle and Leo named their boys Benjamin, Micah and Liam, and they were all given family middle names.
Michelle’s mother was in Golden for a month when the family returned from Calgary, but once she left, Michelle had to face the fact that she still needed some help.
“It was very difficult for me to say that I needed help, but Rhonda Smith (who works with infant toddler development in Golden) came by and we talked about what I was going to do when my mom left. It was pretty emotional,” said Michelle.
Smith arranged for recently retired public health nurse Anne Younger to come by and help the family out. And soon after, Younger also arranged for some community volunteers to help out with Kathleen and household chores.
“We had just moved to town, we didn’t know anybody and we had no family here. But all these people came from 9 a.m., and sometimes until 10 p.m. to help with the babies and with Kathleen… They were amazing.”
The Lammers had to move to larger home, and also had to change vehicles, as very few can accommodate three car seats. After about a year, they hired a nanny so that Michelle could help out more with the new business.
“Every year gets a bit easier with some things, and a little harder with some things,” said Michelle. Raising three identical boys can have its unique challenges, and when they were younger they used clothing to help the process.
“When they were babies we colour coded them so we knew who was being fed what, and it kind of stuck. So if they’re at a distance you could tell who was who.”
The boys now dress in all different colours, which can sometimes be confusing for their parents.
Life hasn’t gotten any less chaotic for the Lammers, who are constantly on the go with four children and a business. But they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I always knew I wanted to be a mother, but I always thought I’d have two kids. It’s busy and it’s wonderful, I love it. I don’t know what I’m going to do when they all leave,” said Michelle. “It’s busy but it’s fun. We love doing things with them, like going skiing, camping, all those little things you do with kids. Kids totally ground you.”