Santa’s surprise delivery! – I had turkey... then triplets
Emily’s Christmas took an unexpected turn
Emily Page, 28, Devonport, Tas
As I lay on the bed, the sonographer went quiet. My husband Tim, 29, and I were parents to Elizabeth, seven, and Thomas, four, and we’d decided to have one more.
With heaps of family birthdays in December, we’d aimed for a late summer arrival.
And to our delight,
I’d fallen pregnant right away.
‘There won’t be much to see at the dating scan,’ I told Tim at nine weeks.
So I’d come to the appointment on my own.
‘I don’t know how to tell you this, but I think there’s three in there!’ the sonographer said.
We’ll need a new car and a bigger house,
I realised, stunned.
But I was so excited! Buying three pairs of booties and a card, I wrote, We’re having triplets! Then I went to meet Tim after work.
‘Are you joking?’ he asked happily, reading it.
At our next appointment, my obstetrician explained the pregnancy was high risk as I was expecting multiples.
I’d need to move to Hobart when I hit six months, to be near the NICU there.
To our relief, every scan showed three little hearts beating. At 20 weeks, we found out we were having two boys and a girl – Timothy, Elijah and Esther.
Then, at 24 weeks, I kissed Tim and my big babies goodbye, and moved into the Ronald McDonald House next to Royal Hobart Hospital.
By the time the summer holidays started and my family joined me, my bump was enormous!
For the bubs’ safety, I was booked in for a C-section on December 28, at 35 weeks.
On Christmas morning, we opened presents before tucking into a turkey spread with the other Ronald McDonald families.
I’m ready to pop! I thought, heading for a nap while Tim took the kids to play.
As I dozed off, I suddenly felt a huge rush of water.
After phoning Tim, I rushed across to the hospital, where I was prepped for an emergency C-section.
I was having triplets on Christmas Day!
Please let my babies be okay, I wished as I was put under. Waking up two hours later, I felt groggy.
‘Everything went well,’ a nurse told me, before I was wheeled to see Tim, and all five children, in the NICU.
‘What a Christmas present!’ I smiled, looking at my three adorable little crackers.
I felt like the luckiest woman in the world.
‘No-one at school has triplets,’ Elizabeth and Thomas beamed.
The next few days were an anxious blur though.
While Esther thrived,
Elijah and Timothy needed support with their breathing. Sometimes, they’d suddenly turn blue before the nurses got them stable again.
‘It can happen with premmies,’ I was told.
After a week, we moved to a hospital in Burnie, but just days later the boys had to be airlifted back to Hobart.
We couldn’t all go, so I was advised to stay behind with Esther to breastfeed her and to send milk to the boys each day. It was agony.
Finally, on January 27, all three babies were home – the
boys top and tailing in one crib and Esther in another.
But the boys sometimes gasped for breath and started having horrible seizures.
Again, we were told it was because they’d come early.
Then, one night at 3am, Timothy had a much bigger seizure. Calling an ambulance, we recorded it to show the doctors.
The clip was sent to Tasmania’s only paediatric neurologist, who asked for the boys to be flown over.
Given anti-convulsion medication, and starting therapy for developmental delays, they transformed.
Like Esther, they started tracking us with their eyes.
As they lay together on a pillow, I waved a toy above them and both boys burst into their first ever peals of laughter.
They haven’t stopped giggling since!
We perfected feeding time by laying one either side of us and holding a bottle in each hand, while the third napped on our tummies.
But as our babies grew, we noticed Esther was reaching milestones and Elijah and Timothy weren’t following.
In fact, they seemed floppy – like rag dolls – and couldn’t hold up their heads or sit.
‘Could it be cerebral palsy?’ I asked the doctors.
Finally, at 10 months, the boys were diagnosed with severe hypotonic cerebral palsy caused by an unknown genetic condition.
Relieved to have a diagnosis, we threw ourselves into helping them reach their full potential.
Now almost two, inquisitive Elijah loves his books, and playful Timothy adores animals. Adventurous Esther loves to roll around with the boys on the floor.
A few weeks ago Timothy suddenly pulled himself up, and Elijah did his first commando-style crawl.
‘Wow!’ I beamed. It was an early Christmas present.
Our incredible family and friends are helping us raise funds for a wheelchair van and an adapted forever home.
This year we’ll do Christmas in the morning, and celebrate their second birthdays after lunch.
Whatever the future holds, our gorgeous Christmas gifts bring us so much joy.
Esther with Timothy and Elijah Our lives are very busy Tim and me at 34 weeks Multi-tasking taken to a new level!‘What a Christmas present!’ I smiled
Elizabeth and Thomas holding Elijah, Esther and TimothyMe and my Christmas babies, Timothy, Estherand ElijahDid you have a surprise arrival on Christmas Day?