29 July 2022

“Nothing but a positive experience” is how Steph Howard describes the pregnancy and birth of her triplets Leo, Arabella and Luna in June 2021.

I want anyone who is expecting triplets to know that things can - and do - go right, even though you’re told from day one what a high risk pregnancy it is. 

Steph and partner Curtis decided they wanted to have a baby, started trying, and within a few weeks had a positive pregnancy test. 

“It was wonderful news, but shortly after the test result, I began to feel unwell and had hyperemesis gravidarum (very bad nausea and vomiting) for the duration of my first trimester. I couldn’t even keep water down and ended up on IV fluids. 

“Just as I started to feel better heading towards the end of my first trimester, I was unfortunate enough to catch Covid-19, which set my sickness back to square one. All this before the 12-week scan, before we knew about the triplets!

“At the 12-week scan, as soon as the sonographer scanned me we could all see two babies so clearly. Twins! How exciting and absolutely nerve-racking. But the sonographer kept scanning and said she needed a second opinion… She couldn’t believe it but she thought she could hear three heartbeats.

“After numerous people checking, it was confirmed, I was expecting triplets! And I was told my care would be consultant-led from there. The emotions and nerves both Curtis and I were feeling went through the roof! 

“Moving into the second trimester, my sickness passed and I started to feel really well. I joined triplet groups on social media and spoke to other families about what to expect. 

“I’m glad I did because that first consultant appointment was hard – but I was prepared. It’s where you hear about all the risks involved and there’s talk about reducing the number of babies. If I had gone into this not knowing anything, I would have been really shocked; but it was still very difficult to hear.”

Steph said she was feeling so positive about the pregnancy – after all, triplets naturally conceived was incredible. She vowed to stay positive and do everything possible to make sure her babies arrived safely. 

“I had regular scans, brilliant care and continuity of care at the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge which made a huge difference. Seeing someone who knew me and knew what was going on in my pregnancy was so valuable. 

“My consultant was enthusiastic and cautious. At one point I had an MRI scan because there were some worries about excess fluid on the brain of one of the babies – but all was fine.

“The same things were checked at every appointment which meant nothing was missed. I was eating well, looking after myself and was able to work from home with my laptop and feet up. 

Twins Trust’s support was excellent. Curtis and I went on an antenatal course, joined the triplet Facebook group and downloaded booklets.

“I received funding to have a doula, who was incredible. She helped me understand what to expect and what to ask for if I needed to. She made sure I knew what I wanted after the babies were delivered. 

“I also paid to see an osteopath who helped with a few niggles I had, in particular lower back pain, and he enabled me to escape any pelvic pain. He had dealt with a lot of twin pregnancies, but I was his first triplet mum.” 

Steph was booked in for a C-section at 36 weeks, but a scan at 35 weeks showed a change in the placental flow so a decision was made to keep Steph in hospital for monitoring, and the babies were born soon after. Arabella weighed 5lb 5oz and Luna 5lb 8oz; just one minute later their brother Leo arrived, weighing 5lb 4oz. 

Her confidence boosted by having a doula there, Steph asked that her babies be kept together. “None of them needed specialist care, just a nasogastric tube for feeding. They wanted to split them up to do this, but I said no. I knew there was no medical need to do this, I wanted to keep my babies together, which they agreed to.”

Steph said she felt blessed to have had a good pregnancy and birth, with her triplets all happy and healthy. “They are so different though, they look different and have different personalities. 

Steph Howard and newborn triplets

“I used to get a lot of kicks on my left-hand side, I now know this was Leo, he is just always kicking with his legs and always super-excited!

“Luna was in the middle, squished between her brother and sister, and she loves being cuddled and swaddled. Arabella was on the right, she is very chilled most of the time, and I remember asking a few times for her to be checked as she didn’t kick much. 

“She is still very chilled and relaxed until she is hungry then she has no patience at all!”

By sharing her story, Steph wants to encourage women pregnant with triplets.

“It can go well, it does go well. Prepare yourself as much as you can and stay positive. I wish everyone having triplets the best of luck. As a first-time mum of triplets, with no multiple births in either of our families we didn’t know what to expect, but so far it’s all going great!”

Howard triplets


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