Having a family is the dream of many people. However, few feel ready, both financially and mentally, before a certain age. At 20, hardly anyone is thinking about starting a family, much less a big one. Even people who dream of having a house full of children plan for the arrival of babies, trying to find the right times.
However, this was not the case for Ellie and Billie Dudfield, a couple from the UK who became parents of four babies at 21 and 20 years old, respectively.
The young couple already had a two-year-old baby when Ellie became pregnant again. Neither of them could have imagined that not one or two babies would be born, but that they would have identical triplets. Despite being told that it was a very ʀɪsᴋʏ pregnancy, they decided to go ahead.
Her three babies, Arthur, Archie and Albie, were born prematurely in late June of last year, with only a 40% chance of survival. Each of the babies weighed less than 1 kg and had many health problems at birth. Ellie referred to the babies’ first weeks of life as an emotional roller coaster, as her health was anything but stable.
The ‘one in 200 million’ set of triplets were born following a ᴍɪsᴄᴀʀʀɪᴀɢᴇ in November 2020. They arrived at Kettering General hospital via C-sᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ. Archie weighed 2lbs 6oz, Albie 2lbs 20z and Arthur 2lbs 4oz.
The chances of ᴄᴏɴᴄᴇɪᴠɪɴɢ identical triplets are 1 in 200 million. Not content to defy these odds, one of the babies was born in the ᴀᴍɴɪᴏᴛɪᴄ sᴀᴄ, which occurs less than once in 80,000 births.
Fortunately, the triplets pulled through, and after three months in ɪɴᴛᴇɴsɪᴠᴇ ᴄᴀʀᴇ, they were released and went home in September. Today, the three of them live with their parents and their two-year-old sister, Lola.
Ellie and Billie are very happy to have a big family, and although they admit that it is not an easy task and their lives have completely changed, they would not change a thing about it.
“Obviously, we don’t have the typical life of people our age. It’s tough, but we’ve always been very family-oriented people, so we made it work. The nurses were impressed with our maturity when we were in the ɴᴇᴏɴᴀᴛᴀʟ ɪɴᴛᴇɴsɪᴠᴇ ᴄᴀʀᴇ unit,” Ellie said.
The couple upgraded their five – seater car to a seven-seater one ahead of the arrival of the triplets. They got through approximately 25 nappies per day and 18 bottles.
She added, “Luckily, we purchased a three-bedroom house in 2019 so we didn’t have to upsize. Having triplets and a toddler is a lot of nappies and bottles. We get through a tub of formula a day. But I wouldn’t have it any other day as it is so rewarding to see them grow up. Billy and I absolutely love it but we have no plans on having another baby!”