couples

Gay couple shares journey of giving birth to surprise triplets.

BY KAREN SHROSBERY

The triplets' toes have been painted with nail polish to help tell them apart. Image supplied.

"We haven't had a triple threat yet — that's when there are three babies and not enough parents," new Newcastle mother Donna said.

But her eyes suggest the threat is real.

Partners Donna and Danie from Newcastle have just embarked on the journey of becoming mums to triplets.

It has been a series of shocks for the gay couple who decided they wanted to extend their family.

First, they thought birth mother Danie was pregnant with one baby, only to find out she was carrying three.

One embryo had been embedded through IVF, but at the seven-week confirmation scan they were told there were three heart beats.

Donna said the chances of having a multiple birth pregnancy increased with IVF because you had the choice of using one or two eggs, but they had made the decision to just use one.

"It just happened to split three ways," Donna said.

She admitted the whole experience had been daunting.

"It's like you can see an army coming over the hill and you are armed with a plastic spoon," she said.

'Triplets day' at Newcastle hospital

The triplets were born by caesarean six weeks early in a packed delivery room.

The talk of Newcastle's John Hunter Hospital was that it was 'triplet day'.

After spending a couple of weeks in the neonatal ward, Andie, Brooklyn and Cate finally went home.

And yes, unintentionally they are A, B, C.

The parents said the biggest challenge so far was telling the girls apart — they have name tags on the cots and nail polish on their toes to help.

Without the nail polish there are other ways to tell the difference; for example, Andie and Brook each have a neonatal tooth.

"I'm not game enough to take the hospital tags off yet. The girls still have the label on their legs," Donna said.

"In the middle of the night I'm not sure even which way is up — or which child I've got."

Danie said when she fed the babies she noticed a slight difference in the way they were on the breast, but she was still not 100 per cent sure.

ADVERTISEMENT

She said they had received advice from other mums on how to tell the babies apart.

One triple-birth mother told them to look at the ears.

''She said your ears are like your fingerprint, so if you can pay attention to the ears it helps," Danie said.

Getting prepared for the juggling act

The mums are as prepared as they can be.

"Life isn't going to completely cease as we know it, but it's going to change and that's expected. We're ready for the change — we've been ready for a while," Donna said.

They have done a lot of research.

Social media was a lifesaver because they were able to connect with various groups such as the Australian Multiple Birth Association.

They found a wealth of information and could post questions in closed forums to hear other parents' experiences.

Donna spent many nights in bed looking on the internet, buying everything they needed.

"In one week we bought three car seats, three capsules, a pram and a van to put them in," she said.

There may be the odd cry of three babies in the house but there also is plenty of laughter — humour is very important when things get tricky.

At their baby shower, friends and family of Donna and Danie wrote individual messages on a box full of nappies, so when they went to change the girls they would have something to read.

"At four o'clock in the morning you can get a giggle ... they wrote things like 'number two of three' or 'you've got this one'," Donna said with a laugh.

Danie even managed to write 'happy birthday' on all three nappies so that Donna would read them as she changed them in the middle of the night, which was the morning of her birthday.

These are early days and while it is not as easy as A, B, C, Team ABC is coping so far.

But they remain on high alert for the day their triple treats become a triple threat.
This post originally appeared on ABC News.

© 2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. Read the ABC Disclaimer here.

00:00 / ???