“Hearing stories from other parents gave us hope” - Grace and Natalie’s story

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Grace and Natalie had their triplets Alice, Albert and Arthur in January 2022 at 35 weeks. They spent ten days in their local neonatal unit in Kent.

We found out we were having triplets quite early in our pregnancy. Natalie was in pain, which she thought was her appendix, but it turns out that Natalie’s body over-reacted from our fertility treatment (IUI). There was a big chance that we were pregnant with more than one baby. We were happy but petrified at the same time!

We knew that it would be a long road to get them to 35 weeks, but we made it. Natalie did the last two weeks in the hospital because she had Covid-19, so she was only able to lie and rest. In a way, it was almost lucky that Natalie had Covid-19 because it meant that we could all stay in our local unit.

Before, healthcare professionals were looking into finding room for us in different units across the country as they didn’t think they’d be able to have our three babies – but we really didn’t want them to be all split up.

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We were in the NICU for ten days in total and felt so fortunate that we didn’t have to stay as long as other parents.

We had a really positive experience in the NICU, we were given a lot of information, especially from Bliss, including bonding hearts and books to read to our babies. We also had a lot of support from the doctors and nurses on the unit. They kept us very involved in our babies’ care and made us feel like the primary carers. We changed our babies, fed them, learned how to feed through an NG tube, and had in-depth CPR training. We spoke to a lot of other parents on the unit which was really nice.

The triplets were only briefly in the high-dependency bays – they were all in incubators to regulate their temperatures. Arthur was the most unwell as he couldn’t hold his feeds so we needed to build him up and help him gain weight before he could come home. Natalie was an inpatient on the unit the whole time which was really nice so she could be close to them, and wander round to see them all. It would have been a really different experience if she’d had to leave the hospital every night without them.

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As we could stay local, Grace could come to visit the unit daily and was also able to look after our four-year-old, Finley. At first Finley didn’t understand what was going on, but when Natalie had given birth he loved to FaceTime them and see Alice, Albert and Arthur.

Alice was three pounds and seven when we brought her home, the smallest of them, but now they’re all at least ten pounds.

Our advice for other parents would be to get as much hands on experience as possible while on the unit and take what you can from the nurses - it really helped us when we came home. All of our family and friends were so hesitant in how to hold them because they were so small.

Take time to get better yourself and let the nurses do their job too. Don’t beat yourself up and take each day as it comes - speaking to other parents was really useful, and everyone celebrates the little milestones together such as having first cuddles.

We’re so grateful to the staff – it was really comforting to know that our babies were being well looked after.

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