“Pure joy,” Ashton Hall says, beaming. That was his first reaction when he found out that his wife Jennifer was pregnant with identical triplets. “We found out at 4:00 in the afternoon,” he says, laughing, “and I think everyone in London knew we were having triplets by that evening.”
Jennifer and Ashton Hall knew they wanted to move back to the United States before having their baby boys, but because they were having triplets, they would need to work with a specialist throughout the pregnancy. Their doctors in London told them they had two choices: New York City or Memphis.
Even though Jennifer was a native New Yorker, they decided to move to Memphis, primarily because they wanted to work with Dr. Giancarlo Mari, the Medical Director of the High-Risk Obstetrics Program at Regional One Health. “Our doctor in London immediately mentioned Dr. Mari by name,” Ashton says, “and when it came down to the reality of choosing doctors, as well as choosing our quality of life and health, there was no choice but Memphis.” During their three-hour long sonograms every Monday, the Halls got to know their boys well before they were born — and even in the womb, boys will be boys.
For example, Ashton says, “Wylder got his name because he would buck and dance during the sonogram.” Now, Wylder is still just as wild. “He’s still pretty fearless,” Ashton says. “He will stand up in his bed and jump up and down and think it’s the funniest thing in the world. He’s always trying to test the limits of everything.”
Leo was the smallest of the three, weighing only 2 pounds and 6 ounces at birth, and he was near the top of the womb. “We needed him to be strong,” Ashton says, “so we gave him a strong name.” Leo is still very independent — and quite clever. “He’s a little thinker,” Ashton says, laughing. “We put them all in overalls, and Leo figured out how to get out of them in about 15 minutes.”
The Halls quickly nicknamed Colton before he was born, and even now they still call him “Bear.” Ashton says Colton got his nickname “because he was in the middle, so he would get kicked and punched all day long by his brothers — but every now and then he would give a warning, a little push, and if his brothers kept on hitting him, he would stretch out to push them up and down in the womb.” Ashton laughs and says, “We used to joke, ‘Don’t poke the bear.’” Colton has kept his patient, tolerant temperament even as a growing toddler, Ashton says. After they were born, all three bouncing boys continued to share a strong bond. “Wylder and Bear have always been very protective of Leo,” Ashton says.
“It took us a little while to figure it out, but when Leo started to whine or cry just a little at night, the other two boys would start crying really loud to get our attention — and there was nothing we could do to console either of them until Leo was calm again.”
“For example,” Ashton recalls, “even when Wylder and Bear already had their own bottles, they would cry until Leo got his — but once Leo stopped crying, Wylder and Bear would calm down, too.”
When Ashton reflects on how the doctors at the Sheldon B. Korones Newborn Center at Regional One Health saved his boys’ lives, he’s nearly speechless. “There aren’t words to express our gratitude,” he finally says. “Everything I could say sounds small compared to what they’ve done for my wife, my boys and me.”
“Words like thank you and true gratitude are thrown around too often, but every day we are blessed to have had those people in our lives,” he adds. “Without them, who knows what would have happened.”
The Halls know they made the right choice by moving to Memphis. “We’ve been gypsies and tumbleweeds,” Ashton says, “but I think we’ve finally found a place to put down roots. In Memphis, everyone is genuinely kind and caring, especially the doctors and nurses at Regional One Health.”