A special Christmas for triplets

AS FAMILIES across the country look forward to Christmas, in one Suffolk household the celebration will be more special than most. Five years ago, Jane Ingram made medical history when she gave birth to triplets, one of whom had developed outside the womb.

AS FAMILIES across the country look forward to Christmas, in one Suffolk household the celebration will be more special than most.

Five years ago, Jane Ingram made medical history when she gave birth to triplets, one of whom had developed outside the womb.

The chances that all three would survive were 60 million to one, but incredibly, Ronan, Mary and Olivia all made it.

Having beaten the odds, they are now all looking forward to a traditional family Christmas. The children have been helping to decorate the Christmas tree, and are full of excitement about the impending arrival of Santa.


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Jane and Mark's four elder children, Sam, Rachel, Daniel and Tomas, will also be around the Christmas dinner table at their home in Thurston, near Bury St Edmunds.

Mrs Ingram said: “We love Christmas. Because we are such a big family we really have great fun. I love Christmas morning, it's just the excitement on their faces.

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“Because of what we have been through, we appreciate it that bit more. It is hard work and stressful at times, but we are very grateful.”

The triplets have also just spent their first term at Rougham Primary School, where they have been the object of some curiosity.

But Mrs Ingram says that the triplets' unique status has not quite sunk in yet.

“I think they are just starting to realise that they must have done something to get this press attention. But I think they think it's because there are three of them.”

Mrs Ingram was shocked to discover 11 weeks into her pregnancy that she was carrying three children: up until then, she thought it was twins.

She said: “I just burst into tears. I thought, how the hell am I going to manage with seven children?”

But it was not until a 28-week scan during a painful pregnancy that a keen-eyed radiographer realised something was wrong. Her condition was so rare that she was sent to King's College Hospital in London, where she was told the odds of a successful birth were 60 million to one.

“The professor came in and he said, 'The radiographer at the West Suffolk Hospital saved your life. You could never have had them by Caesarean or normally.' He had never seen anything like it.

“For the medical profession it was quite wonderful. It was something for them to learn by.”

While Olivia and Mary were developing normally inside the womb, Ronan was an ectopic pregnancy, where the embryo develops outside the womb. At the time it was unknown for an ectopic pregnancy to lead to a live birth, and ectopic pregnancies can result in death for the mother as the foetus grows and bursts the organ around it.

Mrs Ingram said: “The day before they were born they said there was a 99.9% chance that Ronan would not survive this. We just said, he has got this far, and he is obviously determined to be here. It is wonderful that we are all healthy.

“I have got a bond with all my children, but particularly with Ronan. He broke through the Fallopian tube, latched on to my organs, made his own blood supply and his placenta and everything. If it wasn't for him we wouldn't be here today. It is fantastic really, when you think a tiny cell can just do that.”

The triplets have a close bond, even suffering the same childhood accidents, but all have their own personalities. But no-one knows whether Olivia and Mary, who look very similar, are identical.

Mrs Ingram said: “Because they had to get the girls out and then fish around in my organs for Ronan, there was no time to find out if they were identical.

“We will let the mystery continue.”

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