MumPowered: THE INTERVIEWS
Name: Naomi Bailey
Mum of: Reuben, Emily, Carey, Grace
This story is the stuff of urban legends and whispers of the unthinkable at pre-natal classes.
Imagine going to a pregnancy scan for your second child and finding out that you were actually pregnant with THREE!
This actually happened, to a lovely, unassuming young mum, Naomi Bailey, who had already been blessed with an adorable son less than 2 years earlier. Like many couples, her and her husband Chris wanted a second child to round out their family. A little sister or brother for young Reuben would be magical.
And then came the scan…
“My tummy had got a little larger than normal,” remembers Naomi, “which I put it down to either hitting 30(!) or being pregnant. To our joy/shock I was 6 weeks pregnant! Unfortunately shortly afterwards we had a scare so the doctor booked me in for an early scan at 7 weeks to check that everything was ok. They fortunately found a heartbeat quite quickly during the scan, followed in quick succession by another heartbeat.
‘You are having twins’ we were told! While we tried to process this information the sonographer went a bit quiet and as we expressed our concerns to whether they were safe she promptly left the room to find the head sonographer. Once she returned it was then that we were given two pieces of information 1) No sorry, there appears to be three heartbeats and 2) don’t worry you will be having a c-section!”
Take a moment to let that moment sink in.
Imagine all the thoughts that would be running through any mum’s mind after hearing her family would be growing by three.
“SHOCK! I honestly didn’t feel any other emotion other than pure shock. One of the first things a lot of people say to me is ‘I’ve never seen triplets before’ to which I quickly respond with ‘neither have I!’. For Chris and I, trying to imagine something that we have never come across before was extremely difficult. We were also hit with the news that although I was pregnant with triplets, the likelihood of actually ending up with triplets was really slim. We could sadly lose one, two or three of the little ones if things didn’t quite go to plan so with this news, our journey began.”
So fast-forward another 7/8 months and Naomi had worn the pregnancy beautifully. The triplets (3 girls) were healthy. The couple had also had to buy a new car (a minivan big enough for 4 car seats) and a new house. So how did they cope with the first year as a family of six?
“Naturally the first obstacle we faced was the first month that they were in special care. The same week that I had the girls, we also completed on our new house too! Fortunately we moved into my mum and dads the day before completion which meant that they could look after Reuben whilst we made the countless journeys to and from the hospital.
The lack of sleep has probably been one of the hardest things to cope with. I remember wondering very early on if it was actually possible to keel over from lack of sleep! It’s also been a huge adjustment saying goodbye to the things that I would have before classed as ‘normal’. ‘Popping out’ is a thing of the past which means that forward planning is a necessity and that doesn’t come naturally when you’re shattered!”
Having triplets came with some unexpected challenges.
“One thing I have found hard to adjust to is never going unnoticed. You can’t take 5 steps in a park or a store without people talking to you or staring at the girls. For anyone that knows me, I prefer fading into the background so that has been a huge change for both Chris and I. Another challenge has been trying to find a balance with the time we spend with each child. From the moment you become a parent you are faced with guilt on a daily basis but we felt that it just meant that the guilt was multiplied. Did I spend sufficient time with any one of my children today? Did I manage to cuddle them individually? Will Reuben remember life before the girls? How will I get to know my children properly when I don’t have enough time for each of them? But as they have got older, I have learnt and continue to learn different ways in how I can tackle these issues.”
So what we all want to know is how would a mum of 4 under 4 get through mornings and feed times?
“Our house is always wonderfully chaotic and two of the craziest times of the day are mornings and evenings. The only way I feel that I have survived the last 16 months is by following a strict routine and although it’s wavered a little, we still have to maintain an element of that so that we can actually get out of the house! By the time I’ve got all the children down for breakfast, I have already changed a considerable amount of nappies and also run up and down the stairs quite a few times! But sitting up for breakfast is one of my favourite times of the day, everyone is happy and quiet while they eat and we always have a lot of laughs. That’s the beautiful thing about having a large family, I’ve got four times the work but with that four times the rewards.”
Naomi has also somehow managed to get back into the workforce after the girls turned one. It’s a part of her life that she is very happy she got to keep.
“When I found out I was having triplets, there was naturally a slight mourning process when I realised that my life as I knew it would change quite dramatically. I absolutely loved my job at Canon and I found it extremely difficult to come to terms with the fact that I probably wouldn’t be able to return. Along with the encouragement from my mum, my incredible family and friends that agreed to look after the children and the ongoing support from Canon they have given me the opportunity to return on reduced hours. This enables me to have a break, ironic I know, have adult conversation, earn a bit of money that is even more so needed and continue my career at such a brilliant company. I love it.”
Naomi says her husband Chris has been her biggest support to balance everything and that they work as a team to get through each day.
So for any mum out there facing multiples or even feeling overwhelmed by the job of being a mum of one; remember Naomi. Forever modest about the amazing feat she accomplishes each day, she does think that other than a couple key tricks, any mum could handle her load. Although she was kind enough to leave us with a few good tips for the mums-to-be.
1) Early on I would try and establish a routine that works for you all, it works wonders not only for yourself but your children too.
2) Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, the early days especially are about survival for you and your brood.
3) Baby-led weaning – do it when they’re ready…we didn’t do this with Reuben and in hindsight wish that we had.
4) Accept help when it’s given – I was never good at doing this and still struggle to accept it but I’m getting better.
Oh and Coffee! Lots of it!