Author: Belinda Smith
“There’s definitely two but I think there’s three.” The sentence that changed our lives! This was how we found out we were having multiples. I was lying on the bed at the clinic for our first scan and it took the sonographer all of two minutes to say these words. The old saying ‘Your life can change in the blink of an eye’ certainly applied here. We were in complete shock, as you can imagine. Totally floored, dumbfounded and struggling to come to terms with what our future was going to be like.
We had no idea there was more than one baby in there!
At no point leading up to this day was there even an inkling that we were having more than one baby. This was my first pregnancy so I had no experience to draw from. However, I was not violently ill or showing really early which are symptoms you would normally expect when carrying multiples. I was exceedingly tired for the first six or seven weeks and then had intense headaches during week eleven and twelve. By the time the thirteen week scan came around I was feeling really great. I even commented to my husband on the way to the scan that I was feeling so good they might not even find a baby in there!
I will never forget ‘Discovery Day’ as we affectionately like to call it. I even remember ticking the ‘No’ box for multiples in the family on the forms you fill out before the scan. Once the scan started, the sonographer was having a hard time finding Baby C so had to call in a colleague to have a look at the screen. They repeatedly asked “Did you take any fertility drugs?” We kept reassuring them that we fell pregnant naturally with no medical intervention at all. Even at this early stage, the babies were too big for the sonographers to get a good look at what sort of triplets they were. Taking measurements and photos of each one was proving difficult without getting confused with another baby.
Types of triplets
It is important to understand what type of triplets you are having as risk factors rise with different scenarios. The best they could estimate at the time was that there were two placentas and two sacs. It was quite chaotic as because they weren’t prepared for a multiple pregnancy, the second sonographer had to keep leaving to check on other patients. The first sonographer joked to us that when she went outside to get her colleague she said “Come and count babies with me” which must be code for there is a surprise multiple pregnancy.
The rest of the day and the next few weeks flew by in a blur really. We had to start calling our family as they were all waiting on the results of the scan. Not only was this our first pregnancy but these children were the first grandchildren on both sides! Everybody was waiting to hear how we went. Many people could not believe that we were having more than one baby and triplets at that. We got so many different responses to the news and it was fun to see how people reacted.
Finding out I was pregnant with identical triplets!
As this was a higher order multiple pregnancy and the original sonographers were not able to clearly see how many placentas and sacs there were, we were transferred to the Foetal Medicine Unit at the Mater. These people were amazing and gave us the best care for the rest of the pregnancy. At the next scan, which was at fifteen weeks, we were able to determine that there were in fact three sacs and only one placenta which made all the babies identical. I could not believe this news! Falling pregnant with triplets was rare but falling pregnant with identical triplets was another thing altogether.
After the fifteen week scan the doctor took us into his office and gave us all the possible scenarios of how the pregnancy would pan out both good and bad. We were also given the option to reduce the pregnancy to two babies, as is the standard practice offered for higher order multiples. This was very distressing and hard to absorb at the same time. I had just seen my babies on the screen and at this stage they were all healthy and growing well. How could I possibly choose to reduce the pregnancy and abort one? We politely declined the offer and decided to proceed with the pregnancy as is. I had already fallen in love with all three of them and felt that as we had conceived naturally, we should continue on and give each baby a fighting chance.
Being pregnant with identical triplets
Throughout the rest of the pregnancy we were scanned every two weeks. This was to check that the babies were progressing and to ensure that there was no sign of Twin to Twin Transfusion. I loved going to see my babies every two weeks. They were long sessions though; taking over an hour each time and it was getting increasingly harder to scan as the babies grew and got bigger. There were many occasions where we would have to wait until a baby moved out of the way so we could get a better picture of another baby. They would photo bomb each other all the time and I got very good and telling which part of the baby was on the screen!
Looking back on this time in our life we were happy and excited but nervous and unsure what the future would look like. In a way we were quite naïve to all the risks to both myself and the babies. However, I think that helped us to have a positive attitude and made for a complication free pregnancy.