Video & gallery: Triplet joy for Suffolk couple

IT was once, twice, three times a baby for one shell-shocked but ecstatic couple from Suffolk.

IT was once, twice, three times a baby for one shell-shocked but ecstatic couple from Suffolk.

Rachel Talbot and David Stephenson are today rejoicing the birth of triplets - Oscar, Ruby and Archie.

When they entered the world last month, they were the first trio to be born at Ipswich Hospital since March 2005.

Their arrival is even more unusual because it was completely natural and not the result of fertility treatment.

Their parents, of Levington Lane, Bucklesham, had not been trying for children so news of the pregnancy came as a bolt from the blue.

But another bombshell was dropped at Miss Talbot's six-week scan when she was told she was expecting three babies.

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Miss Talbot, 33, said: “I think I swore. It was a real shock. It didn't sink in for weeks until they started growing and I could see them moving.”

Mr Stephenson added: “I nearly fell over. I was quite ill for a long time afterwards.”

The conception occurred after Miss Talbot removed a contraceptive implant because she was having complications.

They believe Mr Stephenson's decision to quit smoking and start drinking lots of Guinness may have aided the process.

The foetuses are non-identical and were conceived on different days, each having their own amniotic sac and placenta. A fourth egg, which was believed to be an identical twin to one of the boys, did not develop.

The two boys weighed 3lbs 9ozs while Ruby was a pound heavier when they were born by caesarean section on March 16.

Miss Talbot lost a lot of blood during the operation and required a transfusion which left her quite ill for some time.

After a few weeks in incubation and being monitored at the hospital, the babies came home on April 5 - the day before Mr Stephenson's 34th birthday, which gave him the “best present ever”.

They have also gone down a storm with Miss Talbot's six-year-old daughter Ella who is helping to change their nappies and feed them.

The babies are already developing their own personalities and have been given nicknames by the family.

Oscar is called Sleeping Beauty because he is always napping, Archie has been tagged Grumpy and Ruby was named Princess Pie because, according to Miss Talbot, “she is beautiful.”

The family have had to move to a bigger house and buy a people carrier car to accommodate the new arrivals.

The couple, who are currently out of work, have also decided to call off their wedding plans to focus the finances on the children.

Miss Talbot said: “They have cost us a small fortune. We have had to put a lot of money away. It has been hectic but I love it.”

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said: “We are very pleased for the family.”


- The odds of giving birth to triplets are 5,000-1 - the same as being struck by lightning or getting a hole-in-one in golf.

- There were 22 doctors and nurses on hand at the birth of the Ipswich triplets.

- Archie, Oscar and Ruby were born six weeks early, which is quite normal for multiple births.

- The most sets of triplets reportedly born is 15 - to Maddalena Granata, who lived in Italy in the 19th Century.

Panel: What the doctor says:-

IPSWICH Hospital consultant Ayman Ewies today said Miss Talbot's case was so rare he doubts he will be involved in another like it.

Mr Ewies, a gynaecologist, has been working in obstetrics and gynaecology since 1988 and this is the first case of triplets conceived spontaneously he has worked with - only ever before seeing triplets in IVF treatment mothers.

He said: “Nationally, one in 90 pregnancies is a spontaneous twin pregnancy and spontaneous triplets come only once in every 1,800 pregnancies.

“I doubt I'll come across this again in the future.”

Complications with growth can be common in multiple births, so mothers and babies are closely monitored at Ipswich Hospital to check the placenta is efficiently feeding all the babies. Miss Talbot underwent four scans between eight and 24 weeks of pregnancy, and then a further six growth scans after 24 weeks.

Mr Ewies said multiple births are more likely if there is a family history, particularly on the maternal side. They are also more common in older women and in certain races, such as west African women. IVF is the most common cause for multiple births.