When Lois Cathro and Craig Mudie’s first baby was stillborn on the first day of lockdown last year, it was the worst day of their lives.
The couple, both 29, who live in Monifieth, were devastated and had to cope with the “darkest and most difficult time” after their baby boy, William, died when his heart stopped beating during labour last March.
Lois, who grew up in Dundee, had to suffer the traumatic ordeal alone as the strict lockdown measures meant Craig was not allowed into the hospital.
But almost a year after William’s death, Lois gave birth to three healthy baby boys.
Archie, Oliver and Myles were born on March 9, in what doctors have described as a one in 42,000 chance.
Lois said: “It was devastating to lose William but now we firmly believe that he is looking down and watching over the triplets and Craig and me.
“We have been given a very special gift and we are so happy and grateful.”
Lois, a teacher at Inverbrothock Primary School in Arbroath, went into labour with William at 39 weeks gestation on March 24 last year, the morning after lockdown was announced.
“Because of lockdown I had to go into hospital myself, Craig wasn’t allowed to be with me,” she said.
“It was a difficult and dark and painful time.”
The heartbreaking stillborn was caused by a problem with the placenta, causing the blood flow to be cut off from William.
A few months later the couple decided they wanted to do something to thank everyone at Ninewells Hospital who helped them when William died and also to remember him by.
They began to fundraise for the Tayside branch of baby bereavement charity SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society).
The couple set an initial target of £500 but within hours they had raised more than £4,000. Less than a year on the total is now more than £10,000.
Lois said: “The doctors and midwives were so caring toward us and I also received bereavement counselling through Ninewells which has and continues to be an invaluable support.
“We also felt we wanted to do something positive in memory of William.”
Last August the couple were delighted to discover that Lois was pregnant again.
Given the stillborn, Lois was given an early scan to check all was well.
This showed the couple were expecting twins – although there was something to indicate that there might be a third baby.
“Obviously, because of what happened with William although we were delighted we were also very anxious,” Lois said.
“We went home and laughed and said imagine if there was a third one.
“Three weeks after that, just for peace of mind, we had another scan and this one definitely showed we were having triplets.
“According to one of the doctors it’s a one in 42,000 chance.”
The pair were anxious because doctors explained the triplets could share a placenta, making for a high-risk pregnancy.
But a scan showed each triplet had its own placenta – the best possible scenario.
After an anxiety-filled pregnancy and countless checks and scans, the non-identical triplet boys arrived at 32 weeks.
The boys were all healthy, with Archie Blair Mudie arriving first, weighing 3lb 11oz, Oliver Matthew Mudie coming less than a minute later, weighing 3lb 5oz and Myles Gavin Mudie was born last, weighing 3lb 6oz.
Lois said: “Two of the three consultants, Katy Orr and Dr Mary Smith, that delivered our triplets were with us the night we had William.
“It was so strange that they’ve been a part of the very worst and very best days of our lives.”
The boys and Lois stayed in the neo natal unit at Ninewells for three weeks and then the family were allowed home, where Lois said the boys are all thriving.
“The team there [Ninewells] are just amazing and I wanted to tell our story to thank them,” Lois said.
“The boys are totally thriving and are keeping us very busy.
“Our hearts are just bursting with love for our little family and we’re so lucky to have them.
“We owe all of the staff who have cared for us so so much and it would be lovely for them to get a bit more recognition for just how wonderful they all are.
“For the past 14 months I’ve received the most incredible care from Ninewells doctors, nurses, midwives, sonographers, health care assistants, physiotherapists, counsellors and reception staff.”
Donations to Lois and Craig’s fundraising can be made at justgiving.com/fundraising/lois-cathro1