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23 March 2018, 16:35 | Updated: 7 June 2018, 17:00
Rachel and husband Chris had the shock of their lives after their IVF treatments resulted in triplets. Now, they've given a glimpse into their hectic household.
These triplets might be adorable - but their mum has had to devise a "military" style regime in order to cope with the chaos that comes with raising three babies.
Special needs teacher, Rachel Winterton, 28, and her Mortgage advisor husband Chris, 29, were blessed with three bundles of joy after she gave birth to miracle triplets through IVF treatments in August 2017.
However, the couple have found themselves faced with three times the work ever since their adorable babies Jude, Lily-Rose and Esme , all seven months, arrived.
Rachael, of Eastbourne, East Sussex, said: “Chris and I haven’t slept very much since the triplets were born. The early days were especially hard with three screaming babies.
“Chris has helped with the night feeds from day one but even with team work it would take at least half an hour to feed each baby and we were getting up for three hourly feeds.
“It is tough and I am always on the go. I think I’ve lost all my baby weight just running around after them all day.
“The only way we’ve managed is by having a very strict daily routine. It's all planned and timed very carefully, it’s like a military regime."
Special needs teacher, Rachel Winterton, 28, and her Mortgage advisor husband Chris Winterton, 29 with their nine-month-old triplets Jude Winterton, Lily-Rose Winterton and Esme Winterton. (Credit: Caters)
Rachael says her morning starts at 6.30 am when the babies wake up and it's a strict regimen of feeds, naps, playtime, walks, song and story time until they are washed and put to bed a 6.45pm on the dot.
“We feed a baby each first but Lily-Rose is the fastest eater so whoever feeds her will move onto the third," Racheal explains of her daily routine.
“Then one of us will entertain them while the other goes to get dressed and then we swap. I’m on maternity leave so I stay home while Chris goes to work but he always comes home to help with lunch.
“They have set times for half an hour naps throughout the day with feeds, and play time in between.
Rachael continues: “At bath time Lily-Rose and Jude need to be bathed first because Esme is happy to wait. She’s definitely the most patient.
“We get them down for the night at 6:45pm and then it’s time for us to make and eat dinner before a very early night and it all starts again."
For Rachel and Chris, the joys of being a parent comes with even more sentiment due their heartbreaking struggle to conceive.
After being told the mum-of-three’s egg count was too low to conceive naturally – but not low enough to qualify for NHS treatment – Rachael and Chris feared their dreams of having a family were over.
In the final weeks of her pregnancy petite Rachael (pictured) had to walk around with both her arms under her huge baby bump to support the weight of the triplets. (Credit: Caters)
While researching private options, Rachael discovered that Cyprus offered IVF at a fraction of the price to the UK and with a much higher success rate.
“Chris and I had always dreamed of having a family so being told we might not be able to and that we couldn’t get help on the NHS was really upsetting, we were devastated." Rachael recalls.
“We didn’t have any luck the first time which was really disappointing but the second time there were three viable embryos.
“We decided to implant them all because a lot of people have three or four implanted and just one of them survives."
After two rounds of IVF, which cost them £11,500 in total, Rachael and Chris got the happiest and scariest news of their lives when they were told all three implanted embryos were growing.
The couple were suddenly faced with the daunting task of buying three of everything and even had to move house to accommodate their new arrivals.
Rachel recalls: “When they confirmed it was triplets, Chris was completely silent and I just started laughing hysterically, this panicked laughter.
“It was so exciting but absolutely terrifying at the same time. Instead of one baby’s arrival to plan for we had three. We had to move into a bigger house, it was crazy.”
The triplets spent two weeks in special care after being born prematurely. (Credit: Caters)
The tiny triplets were born via caesarean at 33 weeks and six days weighing just 11lbs 3oz combined, and now at seven-months-old the triplets have all got their own personalities.
“Esme is really placid and chilled out but then she’s got this wild side and loves to roar at us. Lily-Rose is our sensitive one, she’s very social and loves people but is also easily scared," Racheal gushes.
“And Jude is the cheekiest little monkey. I know I shouldn’t say it but he is a typical boy and loves it when you blow raspberries. We are so proud of them all, they our mini Winnies.”
Despite being "three times as busy" as other new mums, Rachael said she wouldn’t change a thing about her hectic life.
She says: “It's three times the hard work that you expect to have as a new mum, it is a bit mad. But I wouldn’t change it for the world."
6:30am – 7:00am: Wake up triplets and do morning feed
7:00am – 7:30am: Get dressed ready for the day ahead
7:30am – 8:00am: Baby bouncer time while mum prepares breakfast
8:00am – 8:30am: Eat breakfast
8:30am – 9:00am: Nap time
9:00am – 10:30am: Play mat time to practise rolling, trying to crawl and sit up
10:30am – 11:00am: Mid-morning milk
11:00am – 11:30am: Nap time
11:30am – 12:00pm: Jumperoo play time
12:00pm – 1:00pm: Lunch with mum and dad
1:00pm – 1:30pm: Baby bouncers in front of CBeebies
1:30pm – 2:00pm: Nap time
2:30 – 4:00pm: Sit in baby seats with toys
4:00pm – 5:00pm: Go for a walk with mum in our buggy
5:00pm – 5:30pm: Dinner time
5:30pm – 5:50pm: Calm play with quiet toys while mum sings
5:50pm – 6:00pm: Story time
6:00pm – 6:45pm: Bath and put down to sleep