Real Life

I’m an Aussie Octomum - eight sons... and counting!

Kirsty-Anne Tracey-Hayward, 30, from Katherine, NT, tells Take 5's Mitchell Jordan about her 8-strong brood.

When I bumped into an old school friend, Bheau, I didn’t expect to fall madly in love.
I had two little boys from a previous relationship, Tristan and Deaemon, and the boys were my world.
Bheau had been a bit of a bad boy back in the day, but I discovered quickly he was now a real sweetie.
“I don’t want kids, but I’m happy to help raise yours,” he said.
Bheau was a natural dad, and Tristan and Daemon both loved him too.
After a year together, Bheau changed his mind about having children.
‘How are we going to cope with three?’ I wondered when I fell pregnant. Years had passed since I’d had my last child.
Anyway, Blaire came along and then a couple of years later, we had Chase. By now, I was in the swing of it, so I hardly batted an eyelid when we had another boy, Logan. Five boys!
Bheau put his foot down when I fell pregnant with my sixth child.
“This is the last one,” he declared. “Six is enough.”
When I saw my boys jump with joy when I brough Zander home, I knew six was not going to be enough for me! I loved how all of them would sneak into each other’s room and curl up together.
“We don’t like sleeping in our own rooms, Mum!” they told me.
From left: Tristan, 11, Daemon, 10, Blaire, 6, Chase, 6, Logan, 4, Zander, 3, and Elijah, 1.
Eventually, Bheau changed his mind and I fell pregnant again.
But this time, something went wrong. After only a few weeks, I was rushed to hospital in terrible pain and miscarried. After so many babies, losing one was devastating. And there was more news.
The doctor told me that there had been complications and I wouldn't be able to have any more kids.
It was hard to accept. At least I had six beautiful boys waiting for me at home. I had to pull myself together for them. Bheau was badly shaken by it too.
As the boys were growing, I gave away all the baby stuff to friends and charity - there was only so much room in the house! But not long after, I felt really ill and saw a doctor.
It turned out I wasn't ill ... I was pregnant.
I was too nervous to feel excited. The memory of my last miscarriage lingered. How was I going to tell Bheau? He’d be shattered if I lost another child.
But my fears disappeared after I gave birth to Elijah last year. By then, I was already thinking about having another.
“Seven’s heaven, eight’s great,” I cried throughout Elijah’s labour.
The nurse looked at me in astonishment. “You haven’t even met your seventh bub yet!” she laughed.
Bheau and I walked out of the hospital with Elijah, proud to be parents again.
I looked back at the nurses.
“See you soon!” I grinned.
And sure enough, I gave birth to my eighth boy, Phoenix Joseph (his middle name after his Pa!), on November 29.
However, baby Phoenix’s first few months in this world were far from plain sailing.
When he was eight days old, we took him back into hospital when he was unwell, only to discover he had coarctation of the aorta, a congenital heart defect caused by the narrowing of the aorta, which is our main blood vessel.
We were absolutely distraught.
We had to fly from Darwin to Melbourne so my baby could have open-heart surgery – a six hour procedure.
Luckily, Phoenix is a little fighter and is recovering well but it's still hard to think about all we went through, and the complications he may face as he gets older.
I was shocked to discover eight babies born per day in Australia are born with a heart defect. This statistic hit home hard, particularly given the fact I have eight boys.
I’m currently fundraising for HeartKids, who really helped us out when Phoenix was in the hospital. They have a special fundraising day, Sweetheart Day, on February 14, to raise awareness to the cause. Eight babies a day is #8toomany.
Bheau and I have said that eight’s our number, but I guess you can never say never!

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