On Being a Supermum

By Sandra Patterson

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The 18th November 2011 was the day on which our lives were to change forever. My partner and I attended a scan where we found out I was expecting triplets!

Initially shocked, we were then both hysterical with delight and could not stop laughing at the thought of an instant family.

Becoming pregnant with triplets was joyous, but then you are told to consider a reduction. That was a difficult time but we both decided to continue with the triple birth despite the associated risks. Luckily for me I sailed through my pregnancy. No morning sickness, no cravings, just went off tea and toothpaste and continued to travel and work up in London, although emotionally, near the end, I was sensitive to the changes in my body and I remember crying because I could not bend down to tie my shoelaces.

I was under Queen Charlotte’s hospital and it was towards the end of my pregnancy that my blood pressure caused me problems and I had several spells in hospital. It was then decided by the consultant that they should be delivered at 32 weeks.

On the 17th May, 2012 at 2.49pm, 2.50pm and 2.51pm our three beautiful boys Luke, Joshua and Zac were born at St. Mary’s hospital in Paddington. I was transferred there as Queen Charlotte’s did not have enough neo-natal beds available. I had a Caesarian section and all three were delivered with no complications weighing in total 9lbs 11oz. We did not know the sex prior to their birth and although three boys was an initial shock, we were happy as they were all healthy.

After the birth my high blood pressure kept me in hospital for almost a week. We requested that the boys be transferred to our local hospital but did not expect this to happen the day after they were born. For me this was a difficult time as I never got to hold them until I was discharged and Raz had to split himself between two hospitals. Raz did arrange for the babies to be wheeled to my bedside in their incubators just before they were leaving St. Mary’s hospital so I could see them. He sent me pictures daily so I could see how they were doing. When I was eventually told I could go home I had to wait most of the day for the discharge papers and then we rushed to see the boys and I held each of them for the first time.

The boys were transferred to the Special Baby Unit in West Middlesex hospital and quickly progressed. Luke and Joshua came home after three weeks and Zac a week later, once they were happy with his feeding. Juggling two at home and trying to visit Zac was difficult. As a result I did not visit Zac as much as I would have liked but at least I knew he was being well cared for.

Looking after triplets is not easy, but I know no different. Having a routine and being organised are essential. While in hospital the boys were fed and changed every four hours and we continued this at home, helping us establish a routine very quickly.

Raz and I initially coped on our own with help from my mum and other family and friends. You also need to find out what works best for you and not go entirely by the baby books. The best thing we did was to get them into a bed routine when they were a few months old. At the end of each day, at about 6pm in the evening, they are taken upstairs, get changed into their pyjamas, listen to classical music and go to bed. They know the routine and nine times out of ten they are out like a log! This has given us our evenings back and makes it easier for a babysitter on the occasions when we have been out together as they do not hear a peep from them!

Since September I have had help from a Homestart volunteer one morning a week. They help with general household chores (i.e. hanging out the washing etc) and give me a hand with the boys. But it is also good to have someone to chat to and we finish the morning with a coffee.

Also I took on an apprentice from Kingston College for two days a week as a Mother’s Help and she assists me with the care of the boys as well as accompanying me to a music class or baby clinic and she comes out on walks with me. She cannot be left unsupervised until she passes her childcare course but it is good to have an extra pair of hands to look after the boys. On these two days it is nice for me to have a break from the baby jobs especially the making of their feeds and nappy changing duties.

Life has changed but not stopped for Raz and I and it has not prevented us from going out with the boys. They have had many days out including visiting B&Q and shopping in Kingston to name but a few as well as many lunches with friends. I do have to plan ahead for such lunches and ring the restaurant in advance to see if they can accommodate us and three babies! We also like to take them out for walks using the double buggy and either the single buggy or baby-carrier as we believe fresh air is a necessity for them. However we do have people doing double takes when we are out as they think I have twins until they see the third baby!

Having triplets is wonderful. Yes everything is done three times over and takes longer than if I had just one baby. Each new step brings a different challenge and being one step ahead of the boys is paramount, especially by having their feeds prepared in advance. But the pleasure they give by far outweighs the hard work and bad days.

I feel I am lucky that I have fairly good babies. They giggle when being changed, not cry. They are happy little boys (they do have their moments) and they bring Raz and I such joy, especially now as they interact and are doing different things each day. They only have to smile for you to forget the struggle you have just had changing a nappy as they twist and turn all over the place.

And we would’t change it for anything.