Real Life

They said I was too fat for triplets

Emma Westcott, 33, tells Take 5 of her heartbreak as doctors implored her to have selective abortion.

Butterflies danced in my tummy as I lay down on the hospital bed.
“Here goes nothing!” my husband, Phil, said, squeezing my hand.
I was 11 weeks pregnant and about to have my first scan. We already had a son, Dylan, five. I just hoped our new bub would be as happy and healthy.
As the sonographer ran the wand over my belly, I gazed up at the monitor. The scan seemed to go on forever and I started to get worried.
“Is everything okay?” I asked.
There was silence. Then the doctor peered at the monitor again, his brow furrowed. Fear flooded through me – I’d had a miscarriage a couple of years previously. Was history repeating itself?
“I need to do an internal scan,” the sonographer said.
As the internal scan was carried out, my anxiety intensified. They’d done this procedure when I’d miscarried.
Then, suddenly, the sonographer began to smile.
“I can see a heartbeat,” he said, pointing at the screen. “And there’s a second one. And a third!”
Relief quickly gave way to shock. “Three babies?” I gasped. “I’m having triplets?”
I couldn’t quite believe it. Phil shot me a panicked look then dropped his head into his hands.
“Oh, God,” he said with a gulp.
I was terrified too – was I really expecting triplets?
Thinking about it, I’d felt a lot worse with this pregnancy than I had with Dylan. At six weeks, I’d started suffering severe morning sickness. I’d had to have a few days off work but had simply put it down to a bad pregnancy.
Little did I know there were three babies inside me!
We were both in complete shock, but once the news had sunk in, we couldn’t stop smiling at what a miracle it was. Dylan was going to have three brothers or sisters!
I knew there were extra risks involved with a multiple pregnancy, so over the coming weeks, I tried to take it easy.
At 14 weeks, I had to go back to the hospital for another scan, which revealed my babies were fine. But the doctor was still worried. “Being pregnant with triplets is high risk,” he said. “We can offer you a reduction termination.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I’d fallen pregnant with three babies naturally. They all deserved a chance at survival.
“No way,” I said.
Five weeks later, I returned to the hospital alone for another scan. I felt like I was being judged as a new doctor looked me up and down. “It’s a very risky pregnancy,” she said. “Especially at your size…”
I weighed 146kg so I was the first person to admit I wasn’t exactly slim. But apart from high blood pressure, which I was taking tablets for, my pregnancy had gone smoothly so far.
“I think it would be best if you had a selective abortion,” she continued.
I started to cry. No way could I lose one of my babies.
“No,” I said again firmly.
When Phil picked me up from the hospital, I told him what happened.
“How dare she say that?” he raged. “Everything has been fine so far. Why can’t we just carry on?”
Regardless of my weight, we both knew keeping the triplets was a risk, but we just had to give them a chance.
A few weeks later we found out we were expecting three boys, and it made everything seem even more real – now our babies had identities. We were both glad they were boys as we thought it was important for Dylan to have male company.
My bump grew and grew and I could feel the babies wriggling around inside me. It was so reassuring. How could I have been told to have an abortion when I had three such lively bubs?
I prayed they would hold on for as long as possible to give them the best chance of survival.
At 32 weeks, my gorgeous baby boys were born via C-section. Ben weighed 1.9kg, Eli weighed 2.1kg, and Max, 2kg. They were a healthy trio and a really good weight for triplets.
“We proved everybody wrong,” I said to Phil, gazing down at them in the incubator with a huge grin on my face.
They were only in hospital for three weeks – not bad for triplets a doctor wanted me to terminate!
They are so alike, being identical triplets, that even Phil and I can’t tell them apart sometimes. When we brought them home from hospital, I had to pin their hospital identity bracelets onto the back of their car seats, just so I could tell who was who. We wrote their names on their Moses baskets, too.
On the days I dress them the same, I have to put them in a certain order so I don’t get confused.
Now, against the odds, our triplets are thriving and have just celebrated their first birthday.
Max is slightly smaller than his brothers, but only just.
Even though they may look identical, they have very different personalities.
Ben is quite highly strung, while Eli is the more boisterous of the three. And little Max is the most laid-back.
But they all have great appetites and share a love of brussels sprouts.
As for Dylan, he’s just thrilled to have three little brothers to play with.
I still can’t believe that two doctors told me to have a selective abortion.
I’m so glad I went against their advice – I can’t imagine life without my boys. Our family is finally complete. We have a very full house, but a happy one.

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