Last year Akshaya Nair had to be content with a photocopied print of her newborn triplets' feet to mark Mother's Day - strict Covid hospital rules made it impossible to even take a family snapshot.
A year on, she and husband Vishnu Nair, 31, are having a huge birthday party for their identical twin daughters and son and making sure the day that honours motherhood has priority.
First-time dad Vishnu has nothing but praise for his wife who faced difficult weeks feeding and caring for Ishan and sisters Janaki and Bhanavi in Waikato Hospital's newborn intensive care unit under alert level 3 restrictions.
When the babies were born by caesarean section at 34 weeks on May 1 last year, Covid restrictions meant the couple had to take turns visiting their children for the first two months of their lives.
"My babies were in the newborn ICU and we couldn't even see the babies together," said Vishnu Nair.
"They were only allowing one parent at a time.
"In the first two days my wife met the babies only twice and I met the babies only four or five times in the first two weeks. The hardest part was that we were not able to go and see the babies together and hold them together."
He said he would drop Akshaya at the hospital in the morning for feeding and skin-to-skin contact. Then they would swap in the evening sitting with the babies for an hour.
"But I didn't hold them because I was going outside shopping," he said.
It's meant there are no family snaps until the eight-week mark when the babies were discharged from hospital.
"My parents in India were asking me to send them a photo of the five of us all together but we couldn't do that," he said.
The couple said given the triplets' birth happened in the middle of the pandemic, Mother's Day would have passed them by had it not been for a thoughtful gift from the NICU nurses.
"We didn't even realise it was Mother's Day last year until Akshaya got the card from the NICU nurses. They took a photocopy of all three of the babies' feet and put it into a card. When she got that I saw tears in her eyes."
This year Nair is planning to shower his 27-year-old software engineer wife with gifts tomorrow to thank her for being such a great mum.
"She did a fantastic job," said Nair." I don't know if there are any words to describe all the things she has done. It's almost like she was destined to look after three kids.
"I will be buying different gifts and giving a surprise to my wife. I'm not a guy who gets surprise gifts but my plan is to get her a special gift and for her to find it when she's least expecting it."
Nair said the couple adored their children but nothing was easy about raising triplets, even when you had a mother-in-law on hand to help out during the day.
"You need more than six hands to look after three babies - not even three people is enough.
"I didn't sleep at all for the first six months. Everything is so hard, but we're enjoying it.
We finish work at 6pm and go home and it's like our second job feeding them, making them sleep."
Despite the tough start, weighing just 1.6kg, 1.7kg and 1.9kg at birth and spending the first seven weeks in hospital, the triplets were now starting to walk and develop personalities.
"At the moment they are not fighting over toys and play together well but I don't know, that might change," said Nair.
Akshaya said despite the shock of having three babies at once she was thrilled to be given such a triple blessing.
"I am very happy to be part of this miracle. This is going to be a best Mother's Day for me."