Matamata couple Michael Gibbs-Manssen and Mandy Abraham experienced a mixture of shock and excitement when at Mandy’s 12 week scan, they discovered they were expecting triplets.
Then on Wednesday 12 February at Waikato Hospital they first welcomed son Damien, weighing 2.2kgs followed by daughters Maia,1.5kgs, and Viola, 1.7kgs.
Born seven weeks premature by caesarean section, they were first transferred to Waikato Hospital’s Level 1 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and after two days graduated to Level 2, the feeders and growers section of NICU.
For Michael, 28, a jockey in Matamata, fatherhood is not a new thing – he has a 7-year-old daughter in Foxton. But it is a new experience for Mandy, 25, who before pregnancy slowed her down, worked in the hospitality industry.
The babies will stay at Waikato Hospital until early April when they reach the age they would be if they were delivered full-term. Then it’s home to Matamata where three cots are waiting for them. The couple are originally from Palmerston North and there will be plenty of family members available to help out.
“We are grateful for the modern technology and facilities for our babies here at Waikato Hospital. We didn’t really know that these facilities existed until you come to need them,” he said.
“The staff are very supportive and nice and they help us out a lot. It’s all early days so there is so much to learn from them as parents of three little babies. Keeping a good consistent routine is top of the list.”
A week before the family are discharged they will spend a week at the Mothercraft Unit on the Waiora Waikato hospital campus where they will get a feel for how life will be at home.
Both say they are very thankful to their midwife Lynnette Collinson based at Pohlen Hospital in Matamata.
NICU provides the perfect ‘nest of care’ to nurture premature babies and their families until they are ready to go home.
The babies were conceived naturally and are fraternal triplets and not identical triplets. This means they have developed from separate ova and therefore genetically distinct and not necessarily of the same sex or more similar than other siblings.
Triplets are a rare event at Waikato Hospital. One set of triplets were delivered in 2013 and over the last 10 years there have been 22 sets in total.
Some of the families were from outside the Waikato as the facility is a level 3 birthing facility providing secondary and tertiary level maternity care.
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