Birth Story: ‘You won’t believe it … there are three heartbeats’

Triplet birth story Nat Turner

Natalie and Taylor couldn’t believe their luck – in just their first month of trying, they were pregnant. A little shocked it happened so quickly, the NSW couple felt completely blessed.

But the shine was taken off when Natalie woke in a pool of blood just two days later. It was the start of an incredible rollercoaster journey for the first-time parents, with more twists and turns just around the corner.

‘You’re not going to believe this …’

Triplet birth story Nat Turner 4

On a Tuesday afternoon before work, Natalie decided to take her first pregnancy test – and couldn’t believe her eyes when it was positive. She couldn’t concentrate during her shift, wistfully planning a pregnancy reveal for her partner when he returned from work on Friday.

“A few hours into my shift I got a text message from my partner saying his work was cancelled,” Natalie told Mum’s Grapevine. “At this point, I was in a panic because I had left the pregnancy test, instructions, box, and all over the countertop. Thankfully, I took a lunch break rushed home and met him – and blurted it out.

“We were very excited but it was a shock. We were very blessed as it was our first time trying, unexpected to say the least. The next two days traveled fine until I woke up on Thursday morning in a pool of blood. My heart sank, I’d already read all the articles, stories and heard experiences about early miscarriage. Mt partner and I headed to the ED to see if it was the case.

“The triage nurse said she suspected it was indeed the case, she was sorry but she would organise an ultrasound to be sure.”

Triplet pregnancy birth story

The anxious couple waited for five hours, before heading in for an ultrasound. “It was glum. I laid down and she started her checks, I saw something, a circle? I didn’t know what I was looking at. The next words shot straight through me, ‘Hey, do you have twins in the family?’. It fell silent as she told me to go empty my bladder.

“I was dazed, I hope I found the toilet I honestly don’t remember. I laid back down and she started again, she said, ‘Look, one heartbeat, two heartbeats and you are not gonna believe this … three heartbeats’. The words that changed my life forever.

“In total shock, I said to Taylor, ‘Oh! I’m sorry!’ He laughed and said to the sonographer, ‘Don’t stop, is there anymore hiding in there?!’ The rest of the week was a blur, we woke up at 3am giddy, laughing, and excited.”

A risky pregnancy

Triplet birth story Nat Turner

Natalie and Taylor were on cloud nine, but they had some tough decisions to make. The pregnancy was full of risks – and they were told carrying triplets to full term was almost unheard of.

“The doctor also explained a procedure where they ‘remove’ a fetus to give the other ones a greater chance. I couldn’t, we could never make that decision. We were already in love. We decided to go forward with the pregnancy which for the most part had been pretty smooth sailing.”

At Natalie’s 22 week scan, doctors discovered she had a short cervix. She started medication and was put on bed rest at Mudgee Hospital.

Triplet birth story Nat Turner 1

“The next week on bed rest was uneventful until my waters ruptured on one of the triplets at 22+5. I was Googling, reaching. Anything. Anyone who could help us but the outcome was grim. We got a call from Nepean Hospital saying the chances of labour tonight are high and if this is the case. We can deliver naturally but nothing can be done for the babies.

“Once I got to Nepean I was greeted beautifully, once again told the odds were not in my favour and was offered counselling and guidance. My partner and family were a great support to me but all I could think about were my babies. However, time went by, a day after the next until next I was viability! 24 weeks! I was discharged to Hope Cottage on the hospital grounds, where I spent all day on bedrest, showering once per day and eating what was brought to me. I was determined.

“Flashforward, I was 26+1 I had enjoyed watching Netflix all day and I rolled over to have a short nap because Taylor was on his way back down from Mudgee to spend time with me. I heard a great big POP. It didn’t hurt, it was really quite weird. I dismissed it for a few moments until I thought I had better check what it was. I stood up and it was like buckets were pouring out of my body. I was in labour.

“I paced around for a few moments. Called my midwife, then my partner who thankfully was half an hour away, then security. The hospital staff came to the cottage door at the same time as my partner, put me in a wheelchair, and wheeled me to the hospital. I had never been more afraid.”

A triple miracle

Triplet birth story Nat Turner

Once Natalie arrived at the hospital, it was a flurry of activity. People coming and going, questions, leaking water.

“A doctor performed a speculum and of course confirmed my waters have indeed broken. A nurse put two cannulas in, started magnesium, and gave me a third dose of steroids. I heard chatter in the hallway that the NICU was full, I would have to be transferred out. Would she get that far? What happens if she delivers on the road? Let’s check again.

Triplet birth story Nat Turner

“Another surgeon this time, introduced himself politely and explained they were going to see if they could get the babies in the uterus to another hospital safely. I had gone from 0cm and closed to 10cm dilated. He sat next to me and said, ‘Well, tonight you are going to have some babies’. My heart sank, I knew the odds, the statistics, the complications and the NICU time. I faked a smile, asked for gas and said let’s do this.

“It was a rush to get me to the theatre, my partner rushing behind me to put on his scrubs (with thongs). I had seen TV shows, but I had never seen so many people in one room. Three to four nurses waiting for each baby. Doctors swarming. The procedure had begun, my partner and I talked quietly among each other, we were in shock.

Triplet birth story Nat Turner

“Then, there was the tiniest little cry, then a minute later and then another. I didn’t know anything about premature babies but that can’t be a bad sign right!? Here they were, Boston (800grams), Jameson (709grams) and Waylon (730grams). Three small, but beautiful boys. My boys. After dad got a few happy snaps they were whisked away and then started our NICU journey.”

The journey continues

Triplet birth story Nat Turner

Since their birth on April 4, 2021 Natalie and Taylor’s little fighters have had highs and lows. But with every day that passes, they’re closer to being able to enjoy life as a family.

“I used to think the word roller-coaster was overused but there is no other way to describe it. The boys made the birth, step one. Now, what were all these machines, medicines, and they going to survive? I didn’t want to touch them they were too small, too fragile, too young to be here. We celebrated their first poops with a high-five and cried for hours on end when Jameson got his first infection.

Triplet birth story Nat Turner 7

Triplet birth story Nat Turner 7

“We learned the medical terms, what their road would look like, what little care we could provide for them and buckled in for a long ride. We have overcome PDA, ROP laser surgeries, chronic lung disease, countless blood transfusions, infections, adrenal insufficiency, long nights and early mornings and if it meant they were going to be okay I would do it all again.

I cannot write in words the emotions I have felt, the helplessness, despair, joy, feelings of pride, joy, and of course love.

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“A long ride it has been, after 157 days I was able to take home Waylon (triplet three) and Jameson (triplet two). Unfortunately, Boston has to remain at the hospital to work on his lungs as he will be coming home on oxygen. Jameson had to be sent back to be with his brother for breathing issues also. Our roller-coaster is not over yet, but the light at the end of the tunnel has never looked brighter.”

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