Most families dream of having children and no matter how many kids you have, each and every ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ is different. And regardless of how much you prepare for your baby, there’s no way of anticipating the unexpected. This became all too familiar for Aᴜsᴛʀᴀʟɪᴀɴ couple Chloe and Rohan Dunstan when they went for their first ᴜʟᴛʀᴀsᴏᴜɴᴅ, expecting to see their baby for the first time. They were sʜᴏᴄᴋᴇᴅ when they saw not one, not two, but three babies! But it wasn’t all good news as the ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs immediately presented the Dunstans with an unthinkable decision that no parent should ever have to make. A decision that would end up changing their lives forever.
Chloe Dunstan faced with an impossible choice: ʀɪsᴋ ᴛʜᴇ ʟɪᴠᴇs of three of her babies for the ᴄʜᴀɴᴄᴇ ᴛᴏ sᴀᴠᴇ ᴏɴᴇ, or allow her ᴀɪʟɪɴɢ daughter to ᴅɪᴇ in order to make sure the other two ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ ʟɪᴠᴇ. ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs presented the Aᴜsᴛʀᴀʟɪᴀɴ mom with this conundrum when she was midway through her ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ with ᴛʀɪᴘʟᴇᴛs in 2015. At the time, Chloe was only 22 years old, and her husband, Rohan was just 26.
Chloe wrote alongside a photo of her six-week sᴄᴀɴ: “We had our first sᴄᴀɴ at 6 weeks and got the sʜᴏᴄᴋ of our lives when they told us that what was supposed to be our “fourth and final” baby is actually our fourth, fifth and sixth,” She uploaded the image to Instagram on February 11, 2015: “I’m still so completely sʜᴏᴄᴋᴇᴅ to be honest. I’m sᴄᴀʀᴇᴅ, ᴇxᴄɪᴛᴇᴅ, ᴏᴠᴇʀᴡʜᴇʟᴍᴇᴅ, ᴏᴠᴇʀᴊᴏʏᴇᴅ and every other emotion known to man.” At the time, Chloe informed her followers that she was due in September but expected to ɢɪᴠᴇ ʙɪʀᴛʜ a month or two early, as is typical with ᴛʀɪᴘʟᴇᴛs.
Though the ᴛʀɪᴘʟᴇᴛs were unexpected, Chloe and her husband quickly became excited about adding three babies to their growing family. A few weeks later, the Dunstans found out that they had indeed successfully added a little girl to their brood — the ᴛʀɪᴘʟᴇᴛs were two boys and a girl. Uɴꜰᴏʀᴛᴜɴᴀᴛᴇʟʏ, not all three babies ᴅᴇᴠᴇʟᴏᴘᴇᴅ the same way in ᴜᴛᴇʀᴏ — and ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs told Chloe and Ro that their little girl was in sᴇʀɪᴏᴜs ᴛʀᴏᴜʙʟᴇ. In a second ᴛʀɪᴍᴇsᴛᴇʀ 3D sᴄᴀɴ, ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs said that baby Henry (the largest of the ᴛʀɪᴘʟᴇᴛs) was measuring above the 80th percentile, and his brother Rufus was jus above the 50th — both great measurements for multiples. But little Pearl was sᴛʀᴜɢɢʟɪɴɢ ᴛᴏ sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇ.
To Chloe and Ro’s ʜᴏʀʀᴏʀ, they were told that Pearl was below the 10th percentile for size and a couple of weeks ʙᴇʜɪɴᴅ ɪɴ ᴅᴇᴠᴇʟᴏᴘᴍᴇɴᴛ. She was ᴅᴇᴘʀɪᴠᴇᴅ ᴏꜰ ᴏxʏɢᴇɴ ᴀɴᴅ ɴᴜᴛʀɪᴇɴᴛs ᴀɴᴅ ɴᴏᴛ ɢʀᴏᴡɪɴɢ as she should.
Chloe revealed: “My doctor was a little more concerned about her today. Talking about the possibility of her ᴅʏɪɴɢ, and how I’ll have to carry her until the boys are ready to be ʙᴏʀɴ because they ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅɴ’ᴛ ᴡᴀɴᴛ ᴛᴏ ʀɪsᴋ ᴛʜᴇᴍ ᴀʟʟ ʙʏ ᴅᴇʟɪᴠᴇʀɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴇᴍ ᴛᴏᴏ ᴇᴀʀʟʏ (i.e 24 weeks). “I know it’s what would be best for them, but it’s sᴄᴀʀʏ. I ᴅᴏɴ’ᴛ ᴡᴀɴᴛ ᴛᴏ ʟᴏsᴇ her.”
Knowing that Pearl’s only chance was to ᴅᴇʟɪᴠᴇʀ ᴀʟʟ ᴛʜʀᴇᴇ ʙᴀʙɪᴇs ᴛʜʀᴇᴇ ᴍᴏɴᴛʜs ᴇᴀʀʟʏ, at 28 weeks, Chloe decided to take the ʀɪsᴋ. All three babies, though tiny, sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇᴅ ᴛʜᴇ ʙɪʀᴛʜ. Henry, the largest baby, was just over 3 pounds, and Rufus was 2.6 pounds. But Pearl was roughly half of Henry’s weight, at just over 1.5 pounds. Chloe said: “I feel guilty for having the boys delivered when they were growing so well in the ᴡᴏᴍʙ. But Pearl would have ᴅɪᴇᴅ ɪꜰ ᴡᴇ ᴅɪᴅɴ’ᴛ ᴅᴇʟɪᴠᴇʀ ᴇᴀʀʟʏ, so I will never ʀᴇɢʀᴇᴛ that,”
After nine weeks in the hospital, Henry and Rufus were able to come home. Only two weeks later, baby Pearl joined them, completing the Dunstans’ family of eight. All three babies made it home before their September 22, 2015, due date, and the new additions quickly bonded with their older brothers. Today, over seven years after their miracle birth, the ᴛʀɪᴘʟᴇᴛs are happy and healthy toddlers!