By Melissa Grant
When Bianca Aiono Robertson discovered she was expecting triplets, she hoped to birth them naturally.
That was despite feeling somewhat terrified at the prospect of having three babies and coming off a marathon 43-hour labour with her first.
Having undergone fertility treatment to have a second child with her husband Peter, a multiple birth was always a possibility.
However, the Sunshine Coast mum had only really entertained the idea of twins, so was a bit taken aback when she learned triplets were on the way.
“(I felt) a mixture of amazement, and terror – it was surreal,” she said.
Scans confirmed there were three babies, however an early pregnancy test strongly indicated Bianca would be having more than one.
“When I did the pregnancy test it should have shown up one to two weeks pregnant because it was a day before my period was due,” she explained.
“It came up two to three weeks almost immediately, instead of the usual three minute wait – the hormone levels were so high. Also my progesterone had been around 30-40 at that time precisely – and this time it was 106!
“And – I was so sick – within a few weeks of falling pregnant.”
With experience in delivering triplets, doctors were on board with Bianca’s plan to deliver her babies naturally.
And as a wellness coach and former athlete, Bianca was familiar with pushing her body to its limits and the power of keeping a positive mindset.
However, doctors warned Bianca she wouldn’t be able to carry her toddler Maverick around. They also told her she would be housebound and need a full-time carer.
“None of those things happened,” she said.
“In some respects it was easier than the first time round because my body went from athlete to pregnant versus mother of one to mother of four – that was an easier transition.”
Bianca says her experience as an athlete and wellness coach helped her throughout the pregnancy – to an extent.
“I have a very high pain threshold and am resilient to the point of being stubborn and a little unrealistic,” she said.
“It helped me in that respect, but also it still meant my expectations were a little high.
“For instance, I still thought I looked like I was pregnant with one even though others thought I was huge! I was able to tolerate it until I found out how heavy I really was carrying and then that blew my mind.
“Mindset plays a huge part in staying positive, and navigating through all the obstacles – so that helped a lot.”
Bianca gave birth to her three babies – all vaginally as planned – on August 21 last year at 34 weeks.
Indiana Leilani, Dakota Mereana and Hendrix Sione were born within the space of 25 minutes, weighing 2.19kg, 2.95kg and 2.2kg.
Indiana came head first, Dakota was breech and Hendrix was footling extraction.
Bianca said the labour – which lasted nine hours – was actually easier than she had anticipated.
“I got an epidural right from the time they broke my waters so that they could manually turn the babies if needed,” Bianca explained.
“The hardest part was being induced with a balloon catheter – I had to be on the gas for that.
“I actually expected it to be much harder but the babies were smaller, it was my second time around, I had an epidural early this time.”
Bianca said it was a whirlwind experience.
“I guess I was also in work mode so I didn’t relax and enjoy the moment too much. I only had literally seconds with the babies for the first 24 hours then I was able to cuddle them the next day,” she said.
“It was a total spin out holding two girls at once, talking to my son, and then realising just because I had been doing skin to skin with these babies – I still had another one to look after who hadn’t had his mummy yet – that was full on!”
It was two-and-a-half weeks before the triplets went home with Bianca, Peter and older brother Maverick.
With four kids under four, settling into a routine proved somewhat difficult.
“It just has to be flexible and instinctive,” Bianca said.
“It’s hard because it’s very rare to have a rest – it’s like they’re on a string and one will wake up as soon as another one goes to sleep – and that happens the entire day.”
Bianca said the relentlessness and exhaustion of caring for three little babies (and a toddler), and being logistically unable to breastfeed them all like she did the first time round has been tough.
However she is loving all the cuddles, kisses and smiles her three babies bring and says the best bit is knowing how much more joy there is to come.