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