Baby news triple delight for mum

By Natalie Akoorie

Matamata jockey Michael Gibbs-Manssen and partner Mandy Abraham hold newborn triplets from left, Damien, Viola and Maia. Photo / Waikato DHB
Matamata jockey Michael Gibbs-Manssen and partner Mandy Abraham hold newborn triplets from left, Damien, Viola and Maia. Photo / Waikato DHB

When Mandy Abraham found out she was having triplets, the first-time mother went into shock.

"We found out at our 12-week scan and it was a huge shock but my partner was really excited and he was telling people straight away. I just needed a bit more time to get it into my head."

Then at 16 weeks' pregnant, the hospitality worker had to give up her job and take complete bed rest to allow the babies their best chance at survival.

The 25-year-old and her partner Michael Gibbs-Manssen, 28, a Matamata jockey, welcomed their new family on February 12.

The two-week-old fraternal triplets, a boy and two girls, arrived seven weeks early though Ms Abraham said doctors assured her that was normal for a multiple birth.

Damien weighed in at 2.2kg, followed one minute later by Maia at 1.5kg and lastly, Viola, 1.7kg.

The trio were completely healthy and are now putting on weight in the "feeders and growers" nursery at Waikato Hospital's Newborn Intensive Care Unit.

"They're actually doing better than what I was when I came out of surgery."

The caesarean section delivery was routine, but Ms Abraham needed oxygen after the babies had been pushing on her lungs.

Ms Abraham said the babies, her "first and last", did not suffer any complications and were tracking well to go home on their due date in early April.

"They're all doing really well and they're all in cots now instead of incubators."

Specialists put the chances of conceiving triplets naturally at one in 9000. "It was all conceived naturally, with no multiples in the family," Ms Abraham said.

Now she is learning to cope with the demands of feeding and caring for three newborns but said the real challenge would come when the couple took the infants home.

At home there was three of everything set up. The only essentials missing were highchairs and a three-seat stroller because of the $1500 price tag.

"They have to be imported because they don't get made in New Zealand."

Even a second-hand three-seat pushchair cost about $1200 so the couple had put the purchase on hold after Ms Abraham did not qualify for paid parental leave because she finished work so early.

Meanwhile, she said their extended family in Palmerston North and Foxton, including Mr Gibbs-Manssen's 7-year-old daughter, couldn't wait to be at the triplets' homecoming.

Long odds

* Couple found out at 12-week scan they were expecting triplets.
* The fraternal triplets, a boy and two girls, arrived seven weeks early.
* Damien weighed in at 2.2kg, followed one minute later by Maia at 1.5kg and lastly, Viola, 1.7kg.
* Specialists put the chances of conceiving triplets naturally at one in 9000.

- NZ Herald

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