Surrogate mum, 30, ‘becomes one of the first in the UK’ to deliver triplets
A surrogate mother is believed to have become one of the first in the UK to deliver triplets.
Jemma Browne, 30, who is already a mother to three children and has been a surrogate before, delivered three healthy baby girls on October 13.
The Grimsby surrogate mum safely delivered the three girls at at Diana Princess of Wales Hospital.
Ava Grace, Sofia Annie and Lilly Rose are all now feeding well and have taken their first baths from being a week old.
But the joy Jemma has brought might not have happened at all had it not been for her period coming four days early which started a chase to the specialist clinic in Cyprus.
Within 48 hours Jemma was able to have the donor eggs and both the fathers’ donations transferred to her as embryos before booking on to the last plane out of Larnaca as lockdown hit, reports Grimsby Live.
Jemma said: “All the flights after us were cancelled. We had been booked for days later but because of my period being early we rushed out there, did the transfer over one night and got on the last plane back.
“Otherwise I would have been stuck in Cyprus for goodness knows how long and missing my kids.
“Without coming on early we could not have proceeded. Everything seemed to be on time and happened for a reason.”
Jemma recalled the joy of the scan when she discovered she was expecting triplets.
She said: “I just had a feeling on the flight back from Cyprus and just guessed they were going to be triplets.
“At the scan the nurse went over me quite quickly and only picked up one heartbeat.
“I asked her to go slower next time. There was the one heartbeat again, then she went round and there was a second heartbeat and further a third heartbeat.”
Jemma started to have contractions a week before the birth but they did not escalate.
On a routine check for her blood pressure at the hospital, nurses became concerned for the babies who were taking turns at becoming very slightly distressed.
Jemma said: “They just said at 5pm we will deliver and by just after 7pm they were. It was very exciting.
Due to coronavirus restrictions, the parents, Andrew and Wayne from Surrey, were unable to be at the birth.
But a video was taken in the delivery suite which had nearly 30 staff in attendance.
An overjoyed Jemma, now weighing two stones, less told Grimsby Live: “It was crazy. The morning shift had stayed on and the evening shift were there too.
“All I remember was it being loud with everyone talking and the noise until the surgeon told everyone to shut up.
“It was very exciting because they don’t normally deliver triplets at Grimsby.
“Everyone on Blueberry ward was wonderful. I asked them if they would all sing along to Baby Shark for me which they did.”
The girls were born by caesarean section between 7.14pm and 7.16pm, with the identical twins first, followed by their sister.
They weighed 4lb 1oz, 4lb 1.5oz and 3lb 12.5oz respectively – a total of 12lb.
They are now being looked after by the staff at Grimsby’s Family Service Department and Andy and Wayne, who Jemma calls “The Lads.
Jemma also has the record for being the only mum to have delivered in all four of Grimsby maternity wards, Blueberry, Jasmine, Honeysuckle and Holly.
Coronavirus made the pregnancy journey hard for all involved.
Jemma said: “ I only had one scan that the lads could be at.
“Covid has ruined the journey.
“We were able to video call when they found out it was triplets.
“Because I got them to nearly 34 weeks and they were a perfect weight and did not need special care, I was lucky to have them in Grimsby.”
The parents, who are married, arrived by about 9.30pm having driven for about four hours.
Jemma said: “They waited for me so that we could all go to see the babies together. They were so shocked. They had been worried about them being premature.
“There were lots of tears from all of us and all tears of happiness.
“The hospital has been brilliant. They have had to bring in extra staff for the care of the triplets.
“The support the fathers have had you would not get anywhere else and how they have planned everything and looked after everyone is amazing.
“They have gone out of their way to make everything perfect.”
Jemma, who is part of a group of surrogate mums in Grimsby, has two girls Summer and Lola, and son Harley to father, Ashley.
She became a surrogate for the first time last year, having a girl for another couple, and remains in constant contact with them.
Jemma said: “After my son was born I did not want to think it was my last and would never give birth again.
“A lot of people ask how much you get for it. It has nothing to do with money at all.
“The parents cover the costs of pregnancy and any loss of earnings but that is it.
“You get such a high afterwards seeing the family and how it affects the whole family.
“With a first birth you are creating parents, grandparents and a whole family.”
Jemma, a support worker for adults in Grimsby, praised her family for their help throughout the surrogacy.
She said: “It has been a hard pregnancy.
“The last couple of months were mostly spent in bed and I wasn’t able to do much.
“Most of the shopping was online and we lived on take aways because I could hardly cook as I wasn’t able to stand up.
“The kids and my husband looked after me very well. You need a special understanding to be a surrogate mum.
“It is difficult for Ashley because people ask him how he can allow his wife to be with someone else.
“Then you have to explain how the public perception is all wrong and it is nothing like that. It takes someone special to put up with that misconception.
“People say ‘How can you give away your babies?’ It is nothing like that.
“I see it as an extreme form of babysitting and it is not like you are preparing to bring a baby home.
“There is no bonding and you don’t buy loads of things so you are not mentally prepared for bringing a baby home. The bonding is with the parents.”
The embryos were implanted at the Northern IVF Centre in Famagusta.
Jemma said: “There is no waiting list in Cyrpus like there is here and the prices for treatment are much better than here.
“In the UK you would not be allowed to transfer from two dads like that.
“Here it could take up to nine months for a transfer but in Cyprus you can choose the eggs and have the transfer within three months.”
Costs also vary with some couples paying out £11,000 for treatment in the UK which can be half that abroad.
Jemma is now enjoying time with her family – but says she will be a surrogate again just for one more time.
She said: “I am going to have a year off, enjoy hot tubs and non-Covid things, celebrate Christmas and enjoy family time.”
Andrew and Wayne, who have been trying to be parents for four years, found Jemma through Surrogacy UK, a not-for-profit support network.
Andrew, 43 said: “Jemma is fabulous. We have become good friends and will keep in touch – her kids are adorable.
“When we started on the surrogacy journey, one baby would have been enough but three has given us a ready-made family.
“We are going to be busy!”
In tribute to the staff at DPOW hospital he said: “I have always appreciated the NHS but when you see it all first hand, we are impressed at every level.
“Every single member of staff has had incredible technical knowledge. They do it with such ease.”
Jemma chose her best friend Rachel Coman to be her birthing partner.
Rachel said: “Jemma is the strongest person I know and to do this, without a thought during these challenging times is beyond what you would expect.
“She has even been staying up all hours expressing colostrum for the babies.”
Ava, Lilly and Sofia are the 290th, 291st and 292nd babies to be born with the help of Surrogacy UK.
For more information visit www.surrogacyuk.org
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