They say bad things come in threes… but here’s joyful proof that isn’t always the case.
For after three miscarriages following three rounds of fertility treatment, Hannah Swift-Cuddy and wife Siobhan have completed their dream family with the arrival of beautiful triplets.
Alice, Amelia and Everlyn complete a Girl Power household of six – with Hannah, 30, and Siobhan, 40, already parents to two-year-old Isabella.
But what a rollercoaster journey it has been to get there.
Every failed pregnancy – which had been achieved via insemination treatment – left the couple at their wits’ end.
But when Hannah delivered the triplets almost three months ago, the painful memories faded and just holding the little mites left her and Siobhan feeling literally in the pink.
Siobhan is unable to carry a baby and the couple had sought expert guidance after the three miscarriages left them shattered.
Medics discovered Hannah had an immune system disorder which caused her body to produce blood clots so big that they cut off the oxygen to her unborn babies.
She began taking blood thinners and the couple decided to try traditional IVF treatment, with two embryos being implanted.
It worked. And Hannah and Siobhan were delighted to learn at the first scan that they were expecting triplets – even if it did bring them to a shuddering realisation.
Social worker Hannah, from Parkgate, Cheshire, explains: “I actually crashed into a barrier after finding out I was pregnant with triplets!
“I came out, wasn’t really concentrating and went into a bollard at the hospital and scratched all down the side of the car.”
Hannah laughs about the moment now – while also telling how finally finding out why she had lost three babies lifted a weight from her shoulders.
She says: “Hearing the diagnosis was scary but then almost a relief because I had an answer finally, and could start taking medication which could help me have a baby.
“I had three miscarriages before the diagnosis and then I fell pregnant with triplets. It was just absolutely amazing – and a complete shock too. But we are so happy now.
“At first, the sonographer thought it was just shadows from the amniotic sac. She couldn’t believe there were actually three babies.
“Siobhan came running down the corridor, screaming, ‘It’s triplets’. It was just incredible. We were so shocked but so happy that, after losing three, we were now having three. It’s fantastic having the girls home. Izzy is so cute, always giving them kisses.
“We went from one daughter to having four little girls in one go!”
Before the successful IVF, Siobhan and Hannah had opted for intrauterine insemination (IUI), where sperm from the same donor was passed through a tube into the womb.
Hannah had given birth to Isabella in May 2018 and was confused – and devastated – when the next three pregnancies failed within a 12-month period.
Siobhan couldn’t carry a baby because she had a full hysterectomy after a perforation to her bowel.
They seemed to be running out of options within the NHS but, in August last year, decided to pay privately for help at CARE Fertility Manchester.
Hannah says: “I didn’t feel well for a long time after giving birth to Izzy but health professionals passed it off as me having low iron or low this, that and the other.
“We’d already had a horrendous time with Siobhan having a hysterectomy and then to continue to have miscarriages was just awful.
“I couldn’t understand why – I was getting pregnant but kept losing them, all at different stages.”
Tests revealed she had developed antiphospholipid syndrome after having Isabella.
It increases the risk of a miscarriage, although the exact reasons why are uncertain.
Hannah adds: “Basically it causes blood clots and stops oxygen getting to the babies so the foetuses will just die. But I didn’t know I had it as it developed after I had Izzy.
“Finding out that it was blood clotting problems and nothing to do with the womb, I started taking blood thinners to help manage the APS and then we went ahead and did IVF.”
The couple discovered Hannah had only two eggs that were good enough to freeze.
They were the couple’s last hope – after spending an eye-watering £20,000 on fertility treatments.
After the joy of being told it had worked, they broke the news to their families after 12 weeks and to friends a month later.
And with Hannah going through her pregnancy during lockdown, she managed to keep it a secret for so long that her colleagues only found out after she gave birth.
“It was quite difficult handling a triplet pregnancy in the middle of a pandemic,” says Hannah.
“I didn’t really connect with the pregnancy at first. I kept it to myself and we didn’t tell a soul. Along the way, every doctor kept saying, ‘Oh this or that might happen’ like twin- to-twin transfusion or we could lose one, so we didn’t really consider telling people.
“We just pushed it to the back of our minds and as we were getting deeper into the pregnancy, we thought, ‘Maybe this will happen after all’. We only just bought all the stuff for them last month because even when they were born, it was still such a shock that they’d arrived!”