A mum who was told she would likely never have children of her own was delighted when she fell pregnant naturally – with triplets.
Monique Bertrand, 38, was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and was told the chances of her conceiving were slim due to the severity of her condition.
After years of trying, she and her partner, John, 39, began researching fostering and adoption.
But then, in April 2022, Monique was ‘over the moon’ to discover she was pregnant – and at eight weeks she learnt she wouldn’t just be having one, but three, babies.
Monique, from Lewisham, welcomed, Lylah, Machó and Trinity via c-section on 9 November 2022.
She said: ‘I waited a long time to be a mum so when the sonographer said it was triplets I just shouted in confusion and happiness.
‘It’s been a blessing with so many challenges.
‘The doctors called them miracle babies.’
Monique’s difficult journey to motherhood began when she was just 28 and diagnosed with PCOS – a common condition that can affect fertility.
She said: ‘I kept having a lot of pain during ovulation and my period, and was getting a bit sick.
‘My GP sent me for a scan and did tests to rule out everything else, and after that called me to discuss.
‘When the doctors told me I wouldn’t be able to have children it was just a disaster.
‘I left the doctors and went into a deep depression.’
After meeting John in 2016, Monique, who felt there was ‘no hope’ that she would have children, told him about her fertility issues a year later.
The couple fell pregnant unexpectedly for the first time in November 2019.
‘I had a miscarriage in February 2020, I was broken,’ she said. ‘I just thought, “This is a nightmare.”‘
The couple decided that, if they had not had not conceived within the next two years, they would foster.
But then, when lockdown hit, following advice from one of the midwives treating her, Monique decided to try and lose weight.
Going from 18st 8lbs to 12st 5lbs in just one year, she was delighted to find out she was pregnant in April 2022.
But at eight weeks Monique began to bleed and rushed to hospital.
‘The sonographer asked if we’d done IVF,’ she said.
‘After we said no, she told us it was triplets. I just burst into tears on the table.
‘To have three was a lot to take in. I called my mum that day to tell her, and she thought I was pranking her.’
Despite being diagnosed with pregnancy induced hypoglycemia, Monique managed to hold a baby shower on the October 15, 2022.
Monique, John and her mum, Judith, 56, all released a confetti cannon each, two pink and one blue to represent the triplets.
‘The whole place went wild,’ Monique said.
That same week, the couple were told one of their daughters, Trinity, was at risk as her umbilical cord wasn’t working properly.
Doctors offered them an abortion to secure the health of the two healthy triplets – but Monique refused.
From then, the mother-to-be had three ultrasounds per week to monitor Trinity’s progress.
At 30 weeks, she developed pre-eclampsia and so was rushed for an emergency caesarean. Doctors delivered Lylah at 2.27pm, and Machó at 2.28pm, both weighing 2lbs 8oz, while, Trinity was delivered at 2.29pm, weighing 2lbs 1oz.
After holding all three babies, they were whisked to the NICU. They stayed in hospital untiland then transferred on to University Hospital Lewisham, South East London, a week later – where their mum was also taken to monitor her recovery.
On December 29, 2022 – almost two months after they were born – all three babies were finally discharged.
Despite being overjoyed to have her children home, Monique found the transition ‘difficult’.
‘It was terrifying,’ she said. There is literally no help for multiple mums and so much need.
‘Even now people tell me I’m a superwoman but this is not easy for me.’
The triplets, now six months, are thriving and forming their own personalities.
‘Lylah is the smiler,’ Monique said. ‘She’s the elder sister, and barely cries, she’s just so sweet.
‘Machó is like all men, very needy.
“He always wants me to pick him up and is mummy’s boy toy. Trinity is the lioness and well beyond her months.
‘She’s the one who is the most intellectual and is trying to crawl.’