Three sisters from Bristol have achieved a remarkable feat, being featured twice in the Guinness World Records book as the lightest and most premature triplets to survive. Rubi-Rose, Payton-Jane, and Porscha-Mae Hopkins were born on Valentine’s Day in 2021 at 22 weeks, weighing only a total of 2lb and 13oz (1,284g).
The triplets spent a whopping 216 days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, before they were finally allowed to go home with their parents, Michaela White and Jason Hopkins. The couple couldn’t be prouder of their daughters, saying that the triplets have made significant progress since their birth.
Ms. White, 32, said, “Since they’ve come out of hospital. They’ve just sprung and their health is improving.”
The triplets were born via Caesarean section just three weeks after Ms. White discovered she was pregnant with them.
“It was mad,” and “the quickest pregnancy,” either parent had ever known, Mr. Hopkins said.
“It was mad,” Mr. Hopkins said, adding that it was “the quickest pregnancy,” either parent had ever experienced.
According to Ms. White, the birth was a traumatic experience and she was unable to see her daughters when they were born. The triplets were immediately placed in incubators and wrapped in polythene to simulate the womb and stabilize their body temperature. The first 72 hours after birth were the most crucial, and each baby had to breathe on their own for at least 10 seconds before medical professionals could provide them with oxygen.
“The NICU journey on its own, any parent who has been through it, whether it’s been two days or, as we were 216 days, it’s one of the hardest journeys you’ll go through,” Mr. Hopkins stated.
Rubi-Rose, Payton-Jane, and Porscha-Mae were all born with cerebral palsy, which is a lifelong condition that affects their coordination and movement.
Rubi-Rose was the first to be born at 10:21 GMT and weighed 467g (1lb). She has a mild form of cerebral palsy. Payton-Jane and Porscha-Mae, who were born nearly two hours later, weighed 402g (0.89lb) and 415g (0.91 lbs), respectively, and have mobility issues and were tube-fed.
According to Mr Hopkins, a consultant suggested that the siblings might be the earliest surviving triplets in the UK.
“So we got in touch with Guinness World Record,” he stated.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the couple lost their job and were facing eviction from their temporary accommodation when they found out about Ms. White’s pregnancy at 19 weeks.
“I think with the pressure, and stress of eviction and things, could have brought my waters on,” Ms. White stated.
“No one knows why I went into labor that early.
“It was a tough year for us losing our home and going into temporary accommodation.”
Ms. White and Mr. Hopkins are sharing their journey with over 10,000 followers on TikTok to raise awareness about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and postnatal depression among fathers. Additionally, they aim to support other parents of premature babies.
The experience of seeing his daughters in NICU was “very hard” for Mr. Hopkins, who has struggled with PTSD and post-natal depression. However, he thanked the medical staff for all they did and continue to do for their two-year-olds.
The couple has two older children and acknowledges that life can be “manic,” making it difficult to find time for themselves. They have learned to “lean on each other” to get by.
“Michaela is a wonder mum and she is absolutely amazing – I love her to bits.
“Words can’t say how proud I am of that woman, she is amazing,” Mr. Hopkins stated.