Little Patrick, Owen and Liam — identical triplets — have been turning heads since they were born Jan. 13 in Long Beach, Calif.
They are a little bit Texan.
“It’s been amazing,” said Lana Dooley of Hurst, the triplets’ grandmother. “We have a lot to be thankful for.”
Triplet births are not very common — 5,137 occurred in 2011, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Dooley boys are getting special attention because they are identical and were conceived naturally by Brad and April Dooley.
“We are hearing from a lot of people who are reading about it,” Brad Dooley, 43, told the Star-Telegram in a phone interview.
Brad, a 1989 graduate of L.D. Bell High School in Hurst, said that two of the boys, Patrick and Owen, came home Friday but that Liam remains in a hospital.
“He’s doing fine, but there is a progression he needs to go through before he can come home,” Dooley said. “While I suppose it’s possible he’ll be home by Sunday, I’d be surprised.”
Lana Dooley did not go to California for the occasion but has been a close follower on the Internet.
“I think they are just precious,” she said.
Expanding the family
Brad and April Dooley, who also have a 5-year-old daughter, Kaityln, were not planning on triplets when they decided it was time to expand their family.
“Two seemed like a good number,” Brad Dooley said, explaining that they didn’t rely on fertility treatments.
But after April became pregnant, it wasn’t long before the Dooleys discovered that their family of three was going to double. They began preparing for the triplets in July.
April said she burst into tears when she looked at her first ultrasound.
“My husband said, ‘Is that three?’ I go, ‘Three what?’ My husband said, ‘Three babies,’ ” she said.
Brad said he experienced “all kinds of crazy thoughts” as he stared at the ultrasound.
“There is no history of multiples, that we are aware of, on either side,” he said.
The boys were born by scheduled cesarean section Jan. 13 at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach, several weeks before their Feb. 24 due date.
“Triplets never go all the way to full term,” Brad said.
Patrick was born at 4 pounds, 6 ounces. Owen weighed 5 pounds, 1 ounce, and Liam weighed 5 pounds, 2 ounces.
The boys will be sharing a room in a 1,500-square-foot house in Long Beach.
“It’s going to be kind of tight, but we will make it work,” Brad Dooley said.
A little bit Texan
Lana and Larry Dooley, with son Brad in tow, moved from West Virginia to North Texas in 1973.
While at Bell High, Brad played the tuba in the band and graduated third in his class.
After graduating from Rice University in 1993, Brad went to the California Institute of Technology to work on his graduate degree.
“I got married and never left,” he said of his move to California.
Once the family of six settles into their new routine — if there can be anything routine about triplets — they hope to make a road trip to Texas to visit their grandparents.
“I’m hopeful and optimistic that we are going to have a fun and happy family,” Brad said.
Lana Dooley said she plans to get the boys some Western clothes to show off their Texas heritage.
“This is real special,” she said.