Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Magic Milestone for Bubbly Trio

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Magic Milestone for Bubbly Trio

Article excerpt

Byline: Michelle Gately michelle.gately@capnews.com.au

A YEAR ago, Naomi Smith and Jon Castley were in a Brisbane hospital watching their three little girls fight for life in intensive care.

But this Christmas, they'll celebrate a milestone birthday and their first real festive season as a family.

Just days after her baby shower, and still getting used to the news the couple were expecting triplets, Naomi went into early labour on December 23, 2014, at 23 weeks and five days.

Her contractions started as she was airlifted to Brisbane.

Naomi and Jon were told the survival rates for babies born around 24 weeks' gestation were low and weren't sure their babies would pull through.

While doctors at the hospital managed to slow Naomi's contractions for a while, by the evening it was clear the triplets weren't going to wait.

Lexie was born at 1.44am on December 24, weighing 629g.

She was followed by sisters, and identical twins, Ella at 2.08am, weighing 570g, and Josie at 2.11am, weighing 553g.

The girls spent roughly five months in hospital, with Ella rushed in for emergency surgery at five weeks, weighing less than 1kg.

She had two further surgeries and remained on oxygen after the family returned to Rockhampton, where The Morning Bulletin first spoke to them in June.

Naomi and Jon said Ella had been off the oxygen since August and was progressing well.

"We're so happy she's off it," Jon said.

"She's smiling all the time."

In the year since the girls were born, Naomi and Jon's lives have changed almost unrecognisably.

"We were still discussing baby names and just starting to get a few things for the nursery," Naomi said.

"A year ago we would not have expected to have the experience we did."

As the family prepares to celebrate the triplets' first birthday, Naomi and Jon are also bracing themselves for more challenges as the girls continue teething and start to find their feet. …

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