Right from the beginning, Bobbie’s fifth pregnancy was full of surprises. From a surprise beginning, two additional surprise heartbeats, a super-fast surprise birth, and, of course, a happy ending.
When Shane Sutherland and Bobbie Rutland discovered they were pregnant, they were initially surprised. Having four children already, ranging in age from 11 to 1, they weren’t planning on having any more. In fact, given Bobbie’s inability to use many forms of ᴄᴏɴᴛʀᴀᴄᴇᴘᴛɪᴏɴ, she had made the decision to have her ᴛᴜʙᴇs ᴛɪᴇᴅ. “I tried to do the right thing, I tried to keep my partner away from me,” Bobbie said.
The couple then discovered they were expecting their fifth child – or so they thought! Bobbie was extremely ill in the first trimester, leading her and Shane to joke about twins. But their laughter soon turned to astounded silence when an early ultrasound confirmed not two, but three heartbeats. Bobbie started having contractions at 28 weeks. After being on bed rest in the hospital for two weeks with medication to stop the contractions, she was sent home again to rest alongside her family of six.
The soon-to-be mother of seven was now thirty weeks along with the triplets. Bobbie recalls, “I went home on Monday night. I awoke Tuesday still not feeling well. I managed to sleep from about 1:30 to 6pm. I woke up and still wasn’t feeling great, so I had something to eat, then about 7 p.m. I started getting contractions again.”
By 8 p.m., the couple were certain that Bobbie was in labor. It was at this point that they realized they had no time to get to King Edward Hospital, where they were booked. Instead, they presented at their nearest hospital in Armadale. The hospital is not equipped to handle anything more complex than twin births, and certainly not prior to 35 weeks of gestation. The midwife, Jeanine Vlyminck, welcomed the couple upon their arrival at Armadale Hospital and immediately requested an ambulance to transfer them to King Edward Hospital. She then performed an examination and discovered Bobbie’s labor had progressed too far to wait.
Bobbie praises the quick-acting midwife, saying, “She was fantastic.” Jeanine immediately called for an ᴇᴍᴇʀɢᴇɴᴄʏ ᴄᴀᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ knowing the babies couldn’t wait for an ambulance. Everything happened so fast, according to Bobbie: “She [the midwife] called in doctors from home, paediatricians, nurses. Within twenty minutes, everyone was there and ready to go.”
Bobbie was told there was no time for an epidural once she arrived in the operating room. She told the doctors that she felt the urge to push, so they acted quickly and delivered the babies under a general ᴀɴᴀᴇsᴛʜᴇᴛɪᴄ. “They really got their stuff together. They were brilliant up there, I can’t give them enough credit,” Bobbie says.
The triplets were born one after the other, at 8.55, 8.59, and 9.00 on March 7. Baby boy Cooper weighed 1400 g, baby girl Emma weighed 1200 g and baby girl Charlie weighed 1300 g. Bobbie is recovering well, although she is extremely tired, and all three babies are out of their ʜᴜᴍɪᴅɪᴄʀɪʙs and are doing so well that they may even be transferred back to the hospital they were born at in the next few weeks. They will stay there until they gain enough weight to go home to their older siblings, who are no doubt eager to help with big brother duties. “You look at them, although they’re tiny, and you can’t believe they are 10 weeks early,” said the super proud mother of seven.
We look at them and just melt. Congratulations, Shane, Bobbie, and family!