babyourself’s exclusive interview with Martha Sugalski
Interviewed by Jennifer Hatcher
photography by Sari Underwood Photography
Hair styling by Darcy Cox
When energetic, determined go-getter Martha Sugalski does something, she goes at it with everything she has. So it’s no surprise that after two years of tenacious trying, Martha is finally pregnant. It was a bit of a surprise, though, that she is expecting triplets!
When Martha Sugalski arrives at the restaurant where we arranged to meet for brunch, she apologizes for running a little late. Explaining that she had trouble getting out the door, she describes a crazy morning of throwing up, horrible nosebleeds and trying to put makeup on, all while being interrupted by the need to pee AGAIN. However, she doesn’t look the least bit harried. Her trademark long, blonde hair hangs loosely down her back. She is dressed comfortably, yet stylishly, in black leggings, a long white blouse and tall boots.
She’s already seen two kids out the door for school, and after our interview, will run home to get ready for work, then pick up one child from school for a doctor’s appointment before dropping him off at his next activity, and then head to the TV station to anchor the news on WESH, Channel 2, Orlando’s NBC affiliate. After the 4, 5 and 6 p.m. broadcasts, Martha will hurry home to have dinner with her family at 7 p.m. “We have dinner together at 7 as often as we can. It’s Mom’s rule of the house,” she explains. She hopes to sneak in a quick nap before going back to the station for the 11 p.m. news. She’ll get home around midnight and get up and do it all over again the next day, maybe with a softball game or hockey match added to her evening agenda.
As we eat omelets and fresh fruit and sip orange juice, Martha talks rapidly and laughs often and loudly. She is full of energy and optimism as she discusses her busy life as a working mom of three active children and the excitement of expecting triplets. Martha’s three children from a previous marriage – two boys and a girl – are a college freshman, a high school freshman and a sixth grade daughter. This summer she and Rob Reich, her husband since 2009, will welcome two more sons and a daughter to the family.
Martha, who turned 43 just a few days before our brunch-date, speaks candidly about trying for two long years – and experiencing a miscarriage – before getting pregnant with the triplets, or “bumps” as she affectionately calls them while rubbing her belly. “Everyone is like THREE? But when you want something so badly, and you try and you try and you try, and you’re disappointed so many times . . . When it finally happens, you’re so glad.”
Describing the day they found out they were having triplets, Martha confesses she was a bit worried that her husband would feel overwhelmed. But he said, “Look at all the alternatives. Every time we had a negative pregnancy test . . . If I can have THIS versus what we’ve been going through, this is great!”
Knowing what it’s like to desperately want to be pregnant, Martha refuses to complain about the negative aspects of pregnancy. “No complaints at all,” she smiles, “because I’ve been on the other side.” So she deals with the exhaustion, the morning, afternoon and evening sickness, the nosebleeds, the swelling feet, the fast-growing belly and the doctor’s orders not to exercise – she handles it all with a sense of humor and unwavering optimism.
“Yeah, it stinks when you just want to go, go, go and you’re told NO, that’s all coming to a halt . . . But I’m just doing the news and growing some babies . . . I am focused on keeping myself healthy. My goal is to bring these babies home with me and not be in a NICU. So that’s really where my head is right now.” She enthusiastically tells us about a book she is reading about pregnancy with multiples. “The book stresses the importance of eating right now to grow the babies as much as possible while they’re in there . . . The success to bringing home multiples is putting the weight on them now, eating enough in the early months.” That information has convinced the health-conscious, extremely-fit news anchor to eat 4,000 calories a day. And so far, that plan is working. All three babies are measuring a day or two ahead of schedule.
In the midst of talking about the all-day sickness or the busy schedule of kids’ sports or preparing their home for the real estate market while they look for a bigger house (they’d just spent a couple nights at a hotel while new flooring was laid), Martha regularly smiles and says, “It’ll be fine . . . It’s all good . . . I’m just riding out the hard stuff . . . It’s all good.”
As we discuss the addition of three more children to the family, Martha is adamant about the family dynamics. “When we got married, it wasn’t just me. It was all of us . . . So even though there is a big age gap, I want to be sure everyone feels included. Babies aren’t getting preferential treatment. Everyone’s equal . . . I know life is going to change. But I don’t see it changing that much. The babies will come along and go with the flow.”
Another thing Martha Sugalski is adamant about is being a hands-on mom. She concedes to having a little help in the evening hours – “We have help now to get everyone where they need to be while I’m at the studio.” But she says she is “pretty much a control freak” when it comes to caring for her babies. “Everyone says, ‘You need a night nurse!’ Why would I need a night nurse? Nobody else can nurse these babies . . . I nursed my other kids for about a year, so I’m going to try my best with the triplets.”
As she finishes her omelet, it’s obvious Martha is already crazy in love with the three bumps. “I have FOUR heartbeats in my body! It’s so wild to think there are four hearts beating in there right now!” She marvels. A couple minutes later, she absentmindedly rubs her bump while saying, “I’m anxious to see what they look like!”
“I just want a nice, boring pregnancy,” Martha laughs. “Doesn’t that sound crazy? Just a boring triplet pregnancy.” But so far, that is exactly what she is getting. “All is good. Sorry if I am boring! No excitement here, thank God!” Finishing her orange juice, Martha emphasizes, “It can be done. I want women to know – you can be over 40 and make this happen. Hold onto hope and faith. And if you really want it – and we really wanted it – it can be done.”
And with that, she gives us big, friendly hugs and heads off to the next appointment of her very full day.