In this new series, we celebrate pregnancy and birth by inviting readers to share the story of their baby’s arrival.
When Silje Andersen-Cooke entered the dating scan for her second pregnancy, she could never have imagined what was about to happen.
The lawyer and her partner Jordan, who were already parents of Mads, then 18 months old, felt confident with this pregnancy. Thinking that, the second time, they knew what to expect.
Except, that is, being told there was not one, not two, but three little heartbeats.
Due to COVID restrictions, Silje almost went to the appointment alone, which she is glad didn’t happen.
“I thought it was just a scan, it would be easy, no complications, I’ve done this before. But Jordan ended up coming and it was such a relief. I just couldn’t hear that news alone,” she told Honey. Rising children.
It was a first-time situation for everyone in the room, including the ultrasound technician, who had never scanned triplets before.
“I think she probably felt a little inexperienced to tell us. I had the probe in my belly and was a little quiet at first, and it’s never good when they’re quiet,” she continued.
I said ‘stop counting please, that must be it!’
“He asked us how we conceived, was it IVF or spontaneously? It was such a strange question and it really surprised me and then he said ‘I’ll show you what I can see. Here’s a beat.’ ‘Great!’ ‘Here’s another one.’ We looked at each other thinking ‘twins!’ Then ‘Here’s another one’ and I said ‘Just stop counting please, that must be it’!”
“Jordan was just laughing and thinking it was the funniest, most amazing thing. He was completely shocked and had to see all of them again.”
While Silje wanted to know everything at once – what would this pregnancy have to do differently; What were the risks?; Would they have to move house? Jordan remained calm, telling her they would figure it out.
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The triplets were trichorionic-triamniotic, meaning each baby had its own placenta and amniotic sac. And while the pregnancy was as smooth as it could be with triplets, which are always considered high risk, it was physically exhausting.
“It was much bigger, faster. At 24 weeks it seemed to be coming to term and everything was stretching fast. I had pelvic girdle pain early on and lots of Braxton Hicks contractions and a rash on my tummy that was very itchy.” Silje explained.
At 30 weeks, Silje finished labor and, due to the risk of preterm labor, she tried to rest as much as possible with a small child in tow.
Biweekly appointments and scans with the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital multiples clinic ensured that the babies’ growth stayed on track, but even if things went well, Silje knew that she could have to give birth at any moment.
Due to the discomfort of being pregnant with triplets, the decision also had to be based on how Silje was coping physically.
The ‘magical’ moment that made Silje’s triplet pregnancy ‘worth it’
At 34 weeks, he asked if they could consider delivery. Since he was nearing the 36 week mark, the overall maximum gestation for triplets, he felt that each one was at the point of being ready for birth.
“I was healthy but devastated and said I couldn’t go any further. I was tired and needed a date in mind that I could focus on. I wanted to get to 35 weeks, but I had just finished and I wasn’t sleeping,” he said.
The hospital offered to admit her that day, but the couple opted to spend two more days with Mads and get into the right frame of mind.
A tour of the NICU also helped her prepare for the possibility of not seeing the babies after her birth, depending on her condition.
A CT scan on admission showed that Ada, the shortest triplet, was struggling to get nutrients. Although it was not an urgent situation, it meant that they would have to give birth soon and Silje was put on the emergency list for the next day, when the triplets would be 34 weeks and five days old.
“I woke up early the next morning, we had a room with a window and it was a calm sunrise and I thought, ‘Okay, I’m going to have three babies today, this is happening, I can do it.’