Mother of triplets quits smoking for her babies and for herself

Amy Fossum’s apartment in Fargo, North Dakota is full. Lots of diapers, lots of bottles and lots of clothes for her triplets named Elias, Bennett and Zane.

“I feed babies all day,” Fossum said.

One object that she no longer has at home are cigarettes. When Fossum became pregnant with these three, she participated in a Free Maternal Tobacco Program at Sanford Health to quit smoking.

Find pregnancy support: Visit Sanford Women’s Before, During and After Pregnancy

“For the health of my boys, it was just good motivation for me to quit smoking. I also didn’t want to smoke the rest of my life. It’s just that once you start a habit , it’s really hard to stop it unless you have something to motivate you,” Fossum said.

Moms quit smoking, with help

Kathryn Byrd runs the program at Sanford Health in Fargo, and she knows even a motivated mom can have a hard time breaking the habit.

“It’s an addiction. It’s really hard to overcome,” Byrd said.

That’s why the program includes one-on-one meetings for up to six months, to help mothers continue with their quitting plan and monitor their progress during and after pregnancy.

“Our goal is to have healthy outcomes for mother and baby,” Byrd said. “If we can help women quit smoking during pregnancy, we reduce the risk of factors such as low birth weight, premature birth, physical and developmental delays in babies, complications for mom and even more serious risks like stillbirth or miscarriage.”

Money is also a motivating factor. Not only do moms who quit smoking save on the expense of cigarettes or vapes, but they also receive $50 for diapers and wipes at the end of the program. Because Fossum had triplets, she received $150.

healthy and happy family

In the end, Fossum’s decision to quit smoking while pregnant may have saved her babies’ lives. They were born premature, at just over 27 weeks. And the biggest of the three weighed just one pound, 12 ounces when delivered.

“I could put both of my hands together and their little bodies were only the width of my hand,” Fossum said. “You could take your glasses off and their imprint could stick in the glass. They were so tiny, but they were so beautiful.

That day, Fossum was happy to report that she had been smoke-free for exactly six months and 27 days. Even though things were getting tough with the triplets, she still wasn’t ready to quit.

“When I was going through a stressful time, I used to treat myself to a cigarette, but instead (Byrd) advised me to have a good snack, like ice cream or something, instead. to go and have a cigarette because ‘I was stressed and I deserved it. But now, I mean, these boys are my treat not to smoke,'” Fossum said with a smile.

For herself and her boys, Amy Fossum quit smoking. Now the whole family is healthy and filling this apartment with laughter and hugs.

If you or someone you know is interested in the Maternal Tobacco Control Program at Sanford Health, please call (701) 234-7716.

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Posted in Fargo, Healthy Living, Pregnancy

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