Meet The Mother Who Had Four Babies In Nine Months

With four babies under the age of 18 months, no wonder proud but exhausted parents Sarah Ward and Benn Smith end up prone on two sofas most evenings with barely enough energy to lift a cup of tea to their lips.

Seven-month-old triplets Stanley, Reggie and Daisy — born just nine months after their big brother Freddie — may be bonny little chunks of gorgeousness, bestowing gummy smiles on all and sundry, but they are highly labour-intensive.

From the second the children wake up at 6am until they are tucked up in their cots 12 hours later, Sarah and Benn are on the go and have learned the hard way that only a military-style routine stands between them and utter chaos.

This, they both admit, is a far cry from the scene they envisaged when they first talked about starting a family three years ago. They imagined two children, hopefully one of each, nicely spaced apart.

Mother Nature had other ideas, and just weeks after giving birth to Freddie, in June 2013, Sarah naturally conceived the triplets — a one-in-8,000 chance. It was a blessing, although it didn’t quite feel that way to begin with.

Given that the couple were living in a one-bedroom flat and could just about afford one child, Sarah’s tears on being told the news at her 12-week scan were fuelled by panic and fear rather than unadulterated joy.

The triplets were born two months prematurely in March by emergency Caesarean, when Stanley’s heart rate suddenly dropped dangerously low, and it’s been a baptism of fire ever since, with barely time to stop for breath.

Each week there are 175 nappies to change, 80 bottles of milk to make up, clean and sterilise. And the washing machine never stops.

Nor do Sarah and 31-year-old Benn drive, so the High Street shops are a bracing two-hour round trip away, pushing two double buggies loaded down with nappy bags and supplies. Sometimes it takes even longer, as strangers are always stopping them to chat, ask questions and coo over the babies.

‘It’s been incredibly hard, but we see all our children as a blessing and feel incredibly lucky,’ says Benn. ‘When the triplets started smiling and laughing at us, that’s when we really started to enjoy it, and we can’t wait until they start toddling.

‘But bringing them home to our flat was a real challenge. We had a double bed, a cot and three Moses baskets squeezed into one bedroom.

‘There just wasn’t enough space, and one basket was half in the walk-in wardrobe. Sarah spent the first few weeks crying.’

Stanley stopped breathing and nearly died after contracting bronchiolitis, a lung infection. ‘I still feel overwhelmed when I think about how we nearly lost Stanley,’ says Sarah, eyes brimming with tears.

She adds: ‘I can’t imagine life without them all, but our family is definitely complete. No more babies.’


Little Freddie, far from being put out by the new arrivals, contentedly toddles around helpfully picking up his siblings’ dummies when they drop them and giving them cuddles.

At birth, Stanley, Reggie and Daisy were taken to intensive care weighing 3 lb 12oz, 4 lb 7oz and 3 lb 14oz respectively, but today Stanley is the biggest: a bouncing 15 lb 14oz.

Worried that her menstrual cycle had not returned to normal after the birth, Sarah took a home pregnancy test as a precaution — fully expecting it to be negative.

Stunned at the positive result, she sent a picture message of the test to Benn, with the words ‘Guess what?’ He almost fell off his chair at work.

‘Benn phoned me up and he was so shocked, all he could say was: “What are we going to do?” Freddie was only a baby and neither of us felt ready for another pregnancy, but neither of us believed in abortion so we just had to cope,’ says Sarah, who had to abandon plans to return to her £14,000-a-year job.

Benn adds: ‘My immediate reaction was: “Oh my God, another baby so soon.” We were living in a one-bed flat and I didn’t know how we were all going to squeeze in.

“When we told our families we were expecting Baby Number Two just weeks after having Freddie, they all went ‘You’re joking, you’re having a laugh.” When they realised it was no joke, their jaws dropped.’

But more surprises were in store. An early six-week scan revealed two sacs, indicating a twin pregnancy.

Which was just as well, because at the 12-week scan the sonographer detected a third heart-beat and informed Sarah and Benn that they were expecting triplets.

The couple have since discovered that multiple pregnancies run in both sides of their families.

‘When I was four months pregnant I was so big I already looked as if I was ready to give birth,’ says Sarah.

Thirty weeks into her pregnancy, Sarah’s contractions started, so she was rushed into hospital, where doctors spent the next three weeks trying to delay the birth until Stanley’s distressed heart-rate resulted in the Caesarean.

Benn, who was looking after Freddie, missed Stanley’s birth but arrived just in time to see Reggie and Daisy being born — tiny little scraps who had to be whisked away to incubators after the briefest of tear-filled hellos.

‘It was incredibly emotional. They looked so tiny and I felt so helpless because I could do nothing for them. I couldn’t even hold them,’ says Benn, whose children would spend the next seven weeks in hospital.

While the triplets were in hospital, Sarah and Benn visited every day but tried to devote as much time as possible to little Freddie, still only nine months old.

‘We feel incredibly lucky, and just can’t imagine life without them.’

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