"I can see three sacs and they all have heartbeats," the sonographer said gently. "What does that mean?" I asked, wanting to delay the obvious for a bit longer. "It means that you're pregnant with fraternal triplets." I lay there in stunned silence for a moment before the tears started. "How am I going to tell my husband?" I asked no one in particular.
That was nearly 2 years ago and our now 16-month-old triplets (a boy and two girls) are thriving.
The road in between being told that we were having triplets and today has been a very long and hard one and continues to be. Of course, our babies Patrick, Sophie and Elise are extremely beautiful and amazing children. However, there is no way around the fact that having triplets is just plain hard work, all of the time. Add a four-year-old into the mix (our first child Leila was just three when the triplets were born) and you have utter chaos at times!
I cried for a few weeks after I found out that we were having triplets, every time I thought about it, which was, of course, all the time. I just couldn’t see myself as a mother of triplets! I wasn’t one of those amazing super mums who were born to have children. I only wanted to have two children so that Leila wouldn't be an only child. “Let's have another one,” I said to my husband. Little did either of us know that one more would actually turn out to be one, two and three more!
At the 12 week scan, we saw our babies, looking like babies for the first time. It was that moment that I fell in love with them and I knew that somehow, we would be alright. Those precious little lives were growing inside me and it was then that I accepted the fact that I was going to be a triplet mummy.
The pregnancy itself was terrible. I was extremely sick with morning sickness (should be called ‘all day sickness’) and was constantly vomiting. I had no energy whatsoever. It was like those three little bubs and their three placentas were literally sucking the life out of me!
The pregnancy progressed very well and the bubs were thriving. I was booked in to have a caesarian at 34 weeks.
One morning, when I was 27 weeks pregnant, I was sitting in bed having breakfast with my three-year-old daughter, when my waters broke. I called my husband who came straight home from work and we headed to the hospital. When we arrived they informed me that they didn't have three intensive care beds available and that they were trying to find a hospital that did, in case I went into labour. Hours later, we were informed that no hospital in the state had three NICU beds available that day, so I would have to be flown to Canberra hospital. To say that I was distressed about this was an understatement, however, I managed to pull myself together and decided that I would do whatever was necessary for the safety of the babies.
I was flown to Canberra hospital and my husband followed in the car. I was admitted, monitored constantly and given steroids to try to delay labour. I had no idea how long I was going to be there as labour could begin at any moment. 48 hours later, I went into labour. We were absolutely terrified as we know that it was way too early for the bubs to be born. My 34 weeks caesarian had turned into a 27 week natural birth! I was in labour for three hours when Patrick arrived. Their delivery room was full of about 20 doctors and nurses and we were absolutely terrified as they took Patrick up to the NICU. Another four hours of labour and the girls were both born breech, Sophie with her caul still intact, three minutes apart.
I didn't see the bubs again until about 10pm that night, when I had finally recovered enough from the birth to be taken up to the NICU in a wheelchair, to see them. They were so tiny. Patrick weighed 1.1kg, Sophie 1.04kg and Elise a tiny 850g. They were all doing remarkable well though, considering how early they were and how tiny they were.
We spent 10 days in Canberra, my husband and I staying at Ronald McDonald House, until we were all transferred back to Sydney. Another 8 weeks in the NICU at Royal North Shore and a final few weeks in Special Care at The SAN, totalled the 79 days that the bubs were in hospital before they were finally allowed to come home with us. During that time, I was expressing 3 hourly to try to meet the demand for breast milk as the bubs were being tube fed. I was also looking after my three year old daughter and spending all day, every day at the hospital with the bubs. They finally came home on the 26th of January 2015, which was when the fun really began!
It really was insane! Our life became 18 feeds a day, 126 nappy changes week, constant screaming from Elise who was later diagnosed with silent reflux and continuing to try to make the life of our three-year-old as normal as possible.
14 months later and here we are. All the bubs are thriving and we are still alive, just! It has been the hardest time of my life but at the end of the day, we wouldn't be without them.
Special thanks to Lisa Firman for sharing her story. 13-20 March is Multiple Birth Awareness Week www.amba.org.au. Are you a multiple mum? Share your story below!