Mum of the smallest surviving triplets ever born in Britain speaks of the agony in the weeks after their birth.
When they were born in February, the gorgeous tots weighed just over 5lb each – about 2lb less than the average UK baby. The babies were born 14 weeks premature but, despite fears, have left the hospital and are now thriving.
Kerrie-Anne Ellison, proud mum of two new daughters and a son who are now six months old, says: “Our hands looked enormous next to them. They looked so fragile in the incubators and they had to stay in the hospital for nine weeks. But they are such little fighters. All three of them have been getting stronger every day.”
Kerrie-Anne, 33, who lives in Bromborough, Merseyside, with husband Simon, 33, a print finisher, was thrilled to discover she was pregnant after having difficulty ᴄᴏɴᴄᴇɪᴠɪɴɢ a sibling for daughter Paige, 12. In April 2015, after two years of trying, the couple eventually sought help at a ꜰᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴛʏ ᴄʟɪɴɪᴄ.
Kerrie-Anne, a full-time mum, says: “Doctors found out I wasn’t producing any ᴏᴇsᴛʀᴏɢᴇɴ and it was impossible for me to get pregnant naturally.” She had injections to stimulate her ᴏᴠᴀʀɪᴇs and three ᴇɢɢs were ʀᴇʟᴇᴀsᴇᴅ and ꜰᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴢᴇᴅ.
The ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛ at Arrowe Park Hospital, Merseyside, which was completed in August 2015, was a success and Kerrie became pregnant. She says, “Simon and I were thrilled, but it wasn’t until I went for a scan that we were told there were three heartbeats. We were amazed.”
The pregnancy went smoothly until 26 weeks, when an ultrasound revealed there was a problem with the ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ ꜰʟᴏᴡ between the babies. Kerrie-Anne was diagnosed with ᴘʀᴇ-ᴇᴄʟᴀᴍᴘsɪᴀ, which was ʟɪꜰᴇ-ᴛʜʀᴇᴀᴛᴇɴɪɴɢ for her and her unborn babies.
She says: “It was very scary to hear what was happening. It was causing ʀᴇsᴛʀɪᴄᴛᴇᴅ ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ ꜰʟᴏᴡ to one of the triplets. It could ᴋɪʟʟ that one triplet and because of that, the lives of the other two were ɪɴ ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀ. We were told that there was no option but to deliver them.”
Surgeons at Arrowe Park carried out an ᴇᴍᴇʀɢᴇɴᴄʏ Cᴀᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ and the triplets were delivered safely. Rylee weighed 2lb 2oz, Cole weighed 1lb 11oz and Skye weighed 1lb 14oz. Kerri-Anne says: “I have never seen babies so tiny. They kept grabbing our fingers and their whole hands went around one of our little fingers.”
But after just one day on a ventilator, the triplets were strong enough to breathe on their own. Kerrie-Anne says: “After one week, we were allowed to have our first cuddles with them and that was a magical moment. Now we have been allowed to take them home and Paige can be a proper big sister to them, which she loves. They are all doing really well and have gone from strength to strength. It’s just lovely to all be at home together.”
And the gorgeous trio are already developing their own personalities. Kerrie-Anne says: “It’s lovely to see how different they are. Rylee was the first born and biggest. She’s strong-willed and all she wants to do is be nosy. Skye is the boss. She’s got the biggest personality, she’s even trying to talk. Cole, on the other hand, is chilled and lazy. I have to wake him to get out of bed and feed. He’s the greediest, though, and guzzles the most.
“Paige is my little helper and I couldn’t do it without her. Often she sits one of the triplets on her knee and gives them a bottle while I feed the others. And if one is crying she keeps them occupied, which is such a massive help to me. Now that they are smiling and laughing, she loves making them giggle.”
But the family may soon have to look for a bigger house. Kerrie-Anne explains: “At the moment we have a three-bedroom house but it’s already getting over-crowded so we will have to look at moving to somewhere with a little more space. We’ve already had to change our car from a little Ford Fiesta to a six-seater.”