Rachael and Ashley Udell with their three sons Max, Harvey and Lucas on their first birthday. They spent three months battling for their lives after they were born 15 weeks premature The most premature triplets to ever survive in the UK have defied the odds to celebrate their first birthday. Max, Lucas and Harvey Udell spent three months battling for their lives after they were born 15 weeks premature. The tiny brothers, from Trowbridge, Wiltshire, weighed less than 2lb each when they arrived at 24 weeks and five days.
Max (centre) is the smallest, Lucas (left) is Max's identical twin, while Harvey (right) is the biggest. They are pictured here at 11 weeks They were delivered by emergency caesarean section and whisked straight into intensive care, where they underwent 12 blood transfusions between them. But this week parents Rachael and Ashley Udell were able to celebrate the day they were scared their sons would never see - their first birthday. Little Max now weighs 12lb 13oz after being born at 1lb 4oz. His identical twin Lucas has grown from 1lb 6oz to 15lb 6oz and their brother Harvey weighs 16lb, after being born at 1lb6oz.
Harvey, Lucas and Max each weighed under 2lbs - less than a bag of sugar - when they were born by emergency caesarean section Mrs Udell 32, said: 'I'm very proud of my little fighters. They went through so much after they were born. 'I feel so lucky to have them all here. They're amazing boys. 'It was hilarious watching them fiddle with wrapping paper and scoff their cake. I was tearful a number of times. 'It's strange in a way because I felt so happy to be celebrating with them, but their birthday also brought back memories of how difficult and scary things were at first.
Little Harvey at just four days old. He now weighs 16lb, after being born at 1lb6oz Rachael, a former medical secretary, and gardener husband Ashley, 30, couldn't wait to have children - and started trying immediately after their wedding in May, 2010. Mrs Udell said: 'I have polycystic ovaries, so we were worried about my chances of conceiving. It took a year and a half for me to get pregnant. And we got more than we bargained for.'
(Left to right) Lucas, Harvey, Max at 7 months not quite filling out their England kits At 20 weeks, Rachael was signed off work due to pelvic pain. And less than five weeks later she was rushed to St Michael's Hospital in Bristol for an emergency C-section. She said: 'I was awake for everything. When the boys came out they looked so tiny, like little dolls.' The babies were taken immediately to be put in incubators.
(Left to right) Lucas, Max, Harvey at 11 months, enjoying a soak in the bath A number of health scares followed and all three of the boys were put on ventilators - with Max the last to come off after two months. At one point, Max's stomach burst and he had to have an operation to repair it, while the parents waited anxiously to see if he would survive. Harvey then had septicaemia, a form of blood poisoning. Eventually, the little boys were transferred one by one to the Royal United Hospital in Bath, where they stayed until they were allowed home on February 18, still three weeks short of their March 6 due date. Rachael said: 'It was a very strange time for us.
Max, Harvey and Lucas on their 1st birthday, the day their parents feared they may never see source: dailymail
Three become one: Triplets who survived despite being born 15 WEEKS early celebrate their first birthday
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