Mid-way through her pregnancy the Perth mother faced an impossible choice: continue the pregnancy and lose their precious baby girl who was deprived of oxygen and nutrients or deliver dangerously early at 28 weeks and put all three babies at risk.
On July 3, in what was a miracle delivery, Mrs Dunstan, 22, and her husband Rohan, 26, welcomed their triplets: Henry, Rufus and Pearl in to the world, and after 11 weeks in hospital, the proud parents have finally brought their babies home.
‘I feel guilty for having the boys delivered when they were growing so well in the womb,’ Mrs Dunstan told Daily Mail Australia.
‘But Pearl would have died if we didn’t deliver early, so I will never regret that.
‘I do remember briefly considering the alternative of letting her go so her brothers could continue to grow strong and healthy and have the best start in life, but now that she’s here, my heart hurts at the thought of not having her in our lives.’
The triplets’ birth was not without complications.
Their early due date meant Henry weighed 1370 grams, Rufus 1200 grams and Pearl just 690 grams.
All three babies underwent blood transfusions, but it was precious Pearl who struggled the most.
‘Pearl had a PDA in her heart that closed on it’s own, she had a pulmonary haemorrhage, a minor brain bleed, she fought a horrible infection and there were days we weren’t sure if she would make it, especially the early weeks when she was on a ventilator,’ Mrs Dunstan said.
‘She had something called metabolic bone disease which resolved with medication.
‘The main ongoing issue was her liver, as she was very jaundice for the whole time she was in hospital but the latest scan showed that everything looked fine.’
Just two weeks later Pearl followed her brothers making the Dunstans, who already have three boys, a family of eight.
At this point I can’t say exactly what the future holds, but all three babies are strong and healthy with no known issues,’ Mrs Dunstan said.
‘Pearl is still on a bunch of medication, mostly just extra vitamins, and all three babies have various appointments in the next few months.
‘So far we’ve gotten pretty lucky in the way that the babies sleep well and only wake every 4-5 hours to eat.
Mr Dunstan has taken a few months of work to help take care of the babies, and Mrs Dunstan said while they are busy, taking care of their brood is not impossible.
Between baby cuddles, playing with their older boys – Evan, 3, Otto, 2 and Felix, 1 – and ‘neglecting housework’, the couple feel lucky to be able to share this time together.
Today Henry weighs 3.5 kilograms, Rufus 3 kilograms and and Pearl 2 kilograms, and the bond they share is ever growing.
‘They seem to fall asleep instantly when they are close and cuddling,’ Mrs Dunstan said.