Mum of Burnley-born triplets who were diagnosed with a rare and fatal condition during the pregnancy shares a day in their life
A mum of triplet toddlers born in Burnley has detailed their strict daily routine which included up to four loads of washing, 30 nappy changes and 30 feeds – with her pumping three litres of breast milk.
Tanya Hall, 33, and her partner, Kris, 44 who both work in research and development, conceived her identical triplets naturally at 200-million-to-one odds in April 2019 and had a difficult pregnancy.
At 19 weeks Tanya had to undergo laser syndrome surgery – where a laser is used to disconnect the blood cells on the surface of the placenta.
It was because two of the triplets were diagnosed with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) – a rare but fatal condition where the babies share just one placenta meaning one baby receives an overload of blood flow and the others not enough.
Defying the odds, the babies were born six weeks early at 31 weeks on 26th April 2019 at Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre, Burnley.
Little Austin arrived first at 8.50pm weighing 4lbs 1oz, Rupert was next at 20.52pm weighing 2lbs 11oz and Ethan was born last at 8.54pm weighing 2lbs 9oz.
Now a cheeky trio, Tanya, from Hessle, North Yorkshire, UK, describes a day in the life with three-year-old triplet boys which involves lots of planning and a strict schedule.
"Austin is very independent and prides himself on being a good boy," she said.
"Ethan is the youngest but is the boss, he knows his own mind and is the daredevil, he leads the way.
"Rupert is very clever and energetic. He likes his own space. He even moved himself out of the triplet bedroom into the spare room."
The boys go to nursery on a Tuesday and Wednesday and on Monday and Thursday are looked after by grandparents, and the mum has Fridays off work to look after her boys.
“We wake up at around 7.30am and go downstairs for breakfast, the boys love to help with everything - it’s so sweet," Tanya said.
"Life with triplet toddlers is full on."
Austin and Ethan go for porridge whereas Ethan opts for cereal without milk.
“When they were around one, they would all try and drag their highchairs across the floor, it was mayhem," she said.
For a treat, their mum will get out the pancakes and each triplet play an important part.
One boy will have the job of weighing the flour, one will pour the milk and one will crack the egg.
“They all argue over who’s egg cracker, so I have to rotate fairly between the boys every time because there’s only one egg," Tanya said.
After breakfast, it’s time to go out and play outside - the boys love exploring in the woodland near their house.
By midday, the boys are back home for dinner and love the classic combination of potato waffles, beans and eggs.
Youngest, Rupert, is the most adventurous with food and will eat anything put in front of him, and Ethan is the most reluctant to try anything new.
Fed and watered, the boys love to tidy up and help sweep brush and even hoover.
When 1pm comes round it’s time for nap time and by 3pm, they're awake for more fun.
If the sun’s out, the family will go to outside to play but if the weather is miserable, they will stay indoors for activities.
Tanya loves baking with the trio and will often make gingerbread men - they have a big, medium and little cutter which they make into mummy, daddy and triplet.
The boys love nothing more than sitting down to watch their favourite programme, Paw Patrol, but have favourite episodes they insist on - including the Christmas episode in the middle of summer.
It’s time for dinner at 4.30pm, and at 6pm they have a bath.
Tanya says: “They have so many bath toys but they’re happiest with a jug and playing with water.
“They also have a pencil case that they are obsessed with, they even bring it in the bath with them and fill it with water.”
The triplet's bedtime is between 7pm and 8pm but it can take longer to get them to sleep.
"Bedtime isn't always a walk in the park," Tanya said.
“They know all the Julia Donaldson stories off by heart, my friend was reading Austin a bedtime story and he actually corrected her because she got the words wrong, it was so funny.”
The boys share the same room, each with a cot bed, but Rupert made the decision to go-it-alone and started sleeping in the spare room two months ago in June 2022.
“You have to pick your battles, and he’s happy sleeping in there on his own, he must like his independence," Tanya said.
Tanya and Kris are in the process of toilet training the tots so still expect to be woken up at least twice during the night.
Now the boys are older, Tanya doesn’t breastfeed anymore but misses doing so.
Their routine was even stricter when the boys were newborn, each was breastfed every three hours.
Tanya had to pump three litres of milk a day.
She added: "I felt like a dairy cow, I was having to eat 5,000 calories a day but it was worth it to see them growing."
The parents have to do at least two loads of washing a day but sometimes will even do up to four.
When the toddlers were babies, they got through 30 nappies a day, with each boy having to be changed every three hours.
When the babies were one in May 2020, Tanya went back to work whilst looking after the three babies with no childcare during the first lockdown.
"When you look back, I just don't know how we did it, you go into survival mode," she said.
“Routine is absolutely key, especially in the newborn phase.
"We wouldn't have slept at all without a routine."