When three becomes six

Ashleigh Went

Tuggeranong family surprised with triplets.

For any family of five, the prospect of adding another child to the mix would be overwhelming.

Imagine, then, how Tuggeranong residents Emma and Matt Keen felt when they discovered that they were not just having one baby, but three.

“It was a big shock and surprise,” says Emma. “I think I laughed for about 10 minutes and didn’t sleep at all that night, because of the adrenaline. Then I crashed the next day—it was a very big shock.”

Emma gave birth to a set of identical triplets at 32 weeks on Sunday 25 March. Aleisha, Maddilyn and Eloise will stay in Canberra Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for the next few weeks.

“They will be three weeks old on Sunday. They’re doing very well. The littlest one was only on CPAP for about four hours, but now they’re going full steam ahead.”

Nearly every family would face financial pressure with the arrival of triplets. However, Matt has had to take time off from his work as a plumber to build a four-room extension to their home in Chisholm, in order to accommodate all the children.

To help ease the financial pressure and show some support to a local family, the Hyperdome visited the Keen family in hospital today to deliver a hamper, with contributions from retailers. The hamper included $70 cash and two $50 vouchers from Little Istanbul, eight Limelight Movie passes including popcorn, six Zoo Account packs from IMB Bank with gifts, $400 worth of groceries from Woolworths, and a Big W gift card. The Hyperdome also contributed a $1000 gift card.

“I personally come from a family with seven children,” says Adam Gill, Hyperdome’s Marketing Manager, “so my team and I wanted to try and relieve some of the stress that the family might be feeling.”

The family was speechless at the arrival of the hamper.

“I don’t think any words can explain how generous everyone has been,” says Emma. “The Hyperdome, and even strangers. We received a card in the mail from a complete stranger that had a gift voucher inside, saying that she was shopping for her grandchildren and heard about us.”

Emma says that the entire community has shown the family their generosity and support.

“There’s a Facebook page set up by the Tuggeranong community, and the generosity of everybody who has donated us clothes and cots and blankets, it’s just been fantastic. There’s no way we would have ever been able to afford to go and buy three of everything because we got rid of all our stuff from the other kids so we had nothing.”

“This whole experience has been nothing like any of my other pregnancies. It’s like being a first-time Mum all over again.”

Emma also intends to breastfeed the triplets, a challenge that’s eased in part by assistance from the Australian Breastfeeding Association.

“They’ve been fantastic. They’ve actually given me a free two-year subscription, and they have offered me support whenever I need it, as well as letting me hire one of the breast pumps for free,” she says.

“The lactation consultants in the hospital have been really fantastic with helping the expressing and the process to start.”

There’s no doubt that raising six children will be a challenge for the Keen family. However, if the Tuggeranong community’s response to their arrival is anything to go by, they’ll have plenty of love and support along the way.

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Ashleigh Went

Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. She’s currently furthering her studies in nutrition, but also has a Bachelor of Communication and is a qualified fitness instructor with over five years experience working in a gym. Among other things, she’s a lover of great food, coffee and fashion. She can usually be found shopping for activewear, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue More about the Author