PARENTS

Baby Boys Born At 24 Weeks Are Most Premature Triplets To Have Survived In Britain

29/11/2013 10:54 | Updated 22 May 2015

Brave brothers: Boys born at 25 weeks are most premature triplets to have survived in BritainSWNS

These three adorable little boys are the most premature triplets ever to have survived in Britain.

Max, Harvey and Lucas Udell were delivered by emergency C-section at just 24 weeks and five days, weighing under 2lb each.

After three months in hospital, the three boys are now home with mum Rachael, 31, and dad Ashely, 29, a gardener from Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

"It feels like they are our babies now. Before, we did not feel like parents," explains proud mum Rachael.

"We could not have much contact because they were in boxes. We could not touch them much because they needed rest and had the risk of infection.

i

We were only able to bring them out now and again for skin-to-skin contact. It was so hard with tubes down their throats and so many wires coming out of them.

i

The couple conceived the boys naturally, and all was going well with the pregnancy until nearly 25 weeks, when Rachael experienced bad pelvic pains.

"We were having scans every two weeks and everything was fine," says Rachael. "They were growing exactly how they should - until I had pelvic pains. I was rushed to hospital in Bristol and my waters broke. I just went into panic and I was really scared."

After going to the Royal United Hospital, in Bath, Somerset, Rachael was sent to St Michael's Hospital in Bristol for an emergency Caesarean section, when doctors realised her babies' arrival was imminent.

On November 20, Max was born weighing 1lb, 4oz, at 7.55pm, followed by Lucas one minute later weighing 1lb, 6oz. Finally, Harvey arrived at 7.59pm, also weighing 1lb, 6oz.

The triplets, who were due on March 6 2012, were whisked away from their parents straightaway, and taken to neo-natal intensive care units in incubators:

i

It was dreadful. Instead of being excited about my babies I was terrified that they would not survive.

i

"I was in the maternity ward for three days then we went straight by their bedside. They were so small and I knew they were in a lot of danger."

Brave brothers: Boys born at 25 weeks are most premature triplets to have survived in BritainSWNS

After 12 blood transfusions, a life-saving operation on a tear in Max's stomach and three months in hospital, all three are now at home, and although the boys require round-the-clock attention, Rachael and Ashley are over the moon to finally have their boys home safe and sound.

"It is fantastic to have them home - we finally feel like a proper family," says Rachael. "Things like complaining because they are crying feels so trivial now, it is just great that they have survived.

i

The people at the hospital say they cannot believe they have come home with no drugs or breathing apparatus because they were so early and triplets. It is hard even for one baby to survive as early as they were. Even now, they are still not even supposed to be born yet.

i

"Their eyes are still developing and they are having checks all the time. People look at them and say they look so tiny, but to us they look massive."

Rachael and Ashley have estimated they will get through 460 nappies a month as their little boys grow.

"It was a very scary and daunting experience," says Ashley. "Our families have been brilliant and we would like to thank the intensive care staff, St Michael's and Royal United Hospital and Ronald McDonald House at St Michael's."

What an incredible story. Huge congratulations Rachael and Ashley, enjoy your boys!

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