My triplet mir­a­cle

When Jane In­gram, 51, from Bridling­ton, fell preg­nant, her triplets had a very slim chance of sur­viv­ing…

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As a mum, you know your body and the baby grow­ing in­side of you.

And every in­stinct in me was scream­ing that some­thing was dif­fer­ent about this preg­nancy.

‘I just want to have this scan,’ I wor­ried to my then hus­band.

It was 1999 and we had four chil­dren between us from pre­vi­ous mar­riages. This was our first to­gether. My first two preg­nan­cies had been a dream.

But this time, I’d had bleed­ing and ter­ri­ble sick­ness.

My heart raced as the sono­g­ra­pher scanned my belly.

‘There’s two heart­beats,’ she smiled. ‘It’s iden­ti­cal girls.’ ‘Twins!’ I gasped, stunned. Thank­fully, we could see the two girls were grow­ing well.

From then on, I was treated as high-risk and scanned reg­u­larly.

Then, at 18 weeks, I went for an­other scan.

Only this time, the sono­g­ra­pher took ages. ‘Is some­thing wrong?’ I asked. ‘I’m just get­ting a col­league,’ she told me. Soon, a doc­tor ar­rived and took over.

‘Well, it’s triplets,’ he ex­plained. ‘There’s a boy, too.’

‘Triplets?’ I cried. ‘We’d have seven chil­dren!’

I stag­gered out in a daze and called my hus­band. ‘How will we cope?’ I sobbed. ‘We will,’ he re­as­sured me. Now, though, I was even more high risk than be­fore. At 27 weeks, I had an­other scan. But the mid­wife was wor­ried about some­thing, and so the fol­low­ing day, I was re­ferred to King’s Col­lege Hospi­tal.

There and then, our en­tire world

flipped up­side down.

‘The third baby is de­vel­op­ing out­side the womb,’ the doc­tor ex­plained to us. ‘What does that mean?’ I cried. ‘He’s de­vel­op­ing in your right Fal­lop­ian tube,’ he said. It was an ec­topic preg­nancy. Our baby boy had some­how at­tached him­self to the ex­te­rior wall of my uterus, pro­vid­ing his own blood sup­ply and ef­fec­tively cre­at­ing his own womb.

He’d burst out of my Fal­lop­ian tube and was grow­ing in my stom­ach cav­ity.

The odds of this hap­pen­ing were 60 mil­lion to one.

‘It’s a mir­a­cle he’s sur­vived so far,’ the doc­tor said. ‘Is he go­ing to be OK?’ I asked. ‘I’m afraid you’re all in dan­ger,’ the doc­tor replied.

He ex­plained that if I went into labour nat­u­rally, all four of us could die be­cause of in­ter­nal bleed­ing.

Our boy was putting pres­sure on ma­jor blood ves­sels, which could burst at any time.

‘We need to get th­ese ba­bies out soon,’ the doc­tor said. The thought of los­ing them was to­tally ter­ri­fy­ing.

A week later, I had a Cae­sarean.

I came round an hour and a half later, groggy from the mor­phine.

‘The ba­bies?’ I croaked to my hus­band.

‘They’re do­ing well,’ he said.

Olivia had been born first, weigh­ing 2lb 10oz, then Mary at 2lb 4oz, and fi­nally our 2lb 1oz mir­a­cle, Ro­nan. At 11 weeks pre­ma­ture, they still had a very big fight on their hands.

It was three days be­fore I was fully with it again.

My con­sul­tant ex­plained that a team of 26 doc­tors had sliced from my breast bone to my navel.

They also had to tem­po­rar­ily re­move my bowel to get lit­tle Ro­nan out safely.

They’d had to leave his pla­centa in­side me, but they said my body would ab­sorb it.

But I was just re­lieved my ba­bies were here, thriv­ing.

Be­cause of a lack of space, Olivia had been taken to an­other hospi­tal. Fi­nally, though, I met lit­tle Mary and Ro­nan.

They were both on ven­ti­la­tors.

‘They’re so small,’ I gasped in shock.

I held their tiny hands and sang Twin­kle, Twin­kle Lit­tle Star.

It was 10 ag­o­nis­ing days un­til I was well enough to travel to visit baby Olivia.

‘We’ll all be to­gether soon,’ I whis­pered to her.

That mo­ment came a cou­ple of weeks later, when all three ba­bies were fi­nally strong enough to lie on my chest.

‘My mir­a­cles,’ I smiled, kiss­ing their heads.

The girls were iden­ti­cal. And doc­tors said that Ro­nan was the first baby that they’d ever heard of to sur­vive an ec­topic preg­nancy. My lit­tle fight­ers! Within 10 weeks, we were all back home at last.

Life may have been chaotic, but it was won­der­ful watch­ing the triplets grow and bond.

Ro­nan was two be­fore he walked, but his sis­ters made sure he was never left out.

One day, when the triplets were five, I watched them bounc­ing on the tram­po­line.

‘To think that you re­ally shouldn’t be here,’ I smiled.

Sadly, their dad and I di­vorced when they were nine.

But, thank­fully, our three­some con­tin­ued to thrive.

At first, they had to work harder than other chil­dren at school, just to keep up.

But, by the time they were teenagers, they’d caught up.

And they re­mained close, never los­ing that spe­cial triplet bond.

Now, in­cred­i­bly, my ba­bies have turned 18!

To cel­e­brate, first we went go-kart­ing, then out for a meal.

My heart soared, watch­ing them laugh­ing to­gether, sip­ping their first taste of wine and beer. ‘To my ba­bies!’ I toasted. I’ve never for­got­ten what the hospi­tal did for my triplets. So, last Oc­to­ber, I walked the Great Wall of China and man­aged to raise £1,000 for West Suf­folk Hospi­tal. It was my way of say­ing thank you for all it did for us. Ro­nan is off to univer­sity this year and he wants to be a pri­mary school teacher. Mean­while, Mary is study­ing Art and Olivia would re­ally like to work with an­i­mals. It’s lovely to seem them all fol­low­ing their own paths. And they’re as close as ever. Peo­ple are still amazed when I tell them about Ro­nan, and the odds stacked against us. Yet, 18 years on, they’re proof that mir­a­cles do hap­pen. I re­ally can’t be­lieve that they’re now of­fi­cially adults… Though they’ll never stop be­ing my ba­bies!

They re­main as close as ever

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