Triplet surprise: The young Taranaki couple who went from 3 to 6 children in the blink of an eye

“We just had to figure out how we were going to make it work.”

By Lynley Ward
It was meant to be baby number four to round out the family. But what Taranaki couple Kasey and Matt Read didn't bank on was taking their kid count from three to six!
Within seven short months, life has been turned on its head for the Waitara family, now juggling two primary school-age kids, a preschooler plus their triplet surprise.
But the young parents of identical newborn sons Billy and Oakley and daughter Addalyn, born on April 4, can't imagine their family any other way.
"We're so lucky," smiles Kasey, 27, who is also mum to Bentley, eight, Austin, six, and Chloe, three. "We're still kind of in shock. You see them on the floor and think, 'Woah, this is actually happening!'"
With home life revolving around the newborns' three- hourly feeding schedule, and an army of family and friends providing valuable hands-on help, the Reads are quickly adjusting to a new routine that includes everyone pitching in with feeding, nappy changes and bathing – including their doting older brothers and sister!
As little Addalyn guzzles the contents of her bottle while cradled in her mother's arms, Kasey tells Woman's Day exclusively that they only had a few months to prepare for the trio after discovering she was carrying triplets and not twins 16 weeks into her pregnancy.
"The woman scanning my stomach got all flustered and I looked at Matt, thinking, 'What's wrong with the babies?' I had this mini heart attack and she's like, 'Excuse me, I just need to go out
of the room.' I looked at the screen and asked, 'Is there another one?' She said, 'It looks like it.'"
"It was pretty daunting but there was nothing we could have done about it, so we just had to figure out how we were going to make it work," recalls Matt, 28.
But just weeks before the babies were due, a weary Kasey, who spent much of the pregnancy suffering severe morning sickness, was admitted to hospital for an iron infusion.
"I was very low on iron," she explains. "I was still doing everything around the house, and outside kicking a ball with the kids – though it only lasted a few minutes because I had to sit down every five minutes – and I almost ended up on bed rest. It was hard because carrying three was very heavy and uncomfortable, but I still had another three children that needed me."
Kasey three days before the triplets' arrival. "I was very heavy and uncomfortable."
Then two days shy of 33 weeks, Kasey's plans were thrown into further disarray when she went into premature labour.
"We were at Taranaki Base Hospital and I was telling the obstetrician that I was very uncomfortable and over it," she recalls. "In the scan we had that morning, the blood flow to Oakley and Addalyn's brains wasn't very strong.
"Then we went to our friend's house for lunch and I noticed my tummy was really tight – and the pain in my back was just horrendous."
Three peas in a pod – in the neonatal unit after their dramatic delivery.
With a medical flight preparing to take the expectant mother and father to Hamilton, Kasey's escalating labour pains meant plans quickly changed.
"The midwife on our flight came in and took one look at me and said, 'You don't look right.' She felt my stomach and thought I was contracting," tells Kasey.
Adds Matt, "I went back and got the obstetrician and he said, 'You're one centimetre dilated.' Half an hour later, we had an emergency Caesarean."
The family welcomed Billy at 6.52pm, weighing 1.6kg, then Oakley and Addalyn at two minute intervals, each weighing 1.6kg and 1.58kg respectively.
"It takes a city to raise our babies," laughs their mum, who has three willing helpers in Bentley, Chloe and Austin. They're ace at giving cuddles!
They might be only 12 weeks old, but already the littlest members of the Read whanau are showing hints of their unique personalities.
"Billy is quite laidback. You can kind of tell that he's the eldest by the way he is," muses Kasey. "Oakley is going to be the cheeky one because he does these funny faces. As for Addalyn, she's going to be hard work."
Tells Matt, "She's the possum of the three. When she wakes up, she looks like she's wired and ready to go."
Kasey continues, "And she just talks and talks. Even the paediatrician and the nurse were amazed at how alert she was."
With the hospital's neonatal unit a second home for six weeks, the triplets thrived, going from tube to being fully breastfed by Kasey, who expressed a whopping two litres of milk a day to sate her bubs' growing appetite.
"I breastfed my babies for the first five and a half weeks of their life," marvels Kasey.
"I was really pumping it out! And then we went to 50-50 formula and breast milk. Now I just feed on occasion, but I don't express any more because it just got too much."
As the family settles into a new routine, governed by a chart hanging on their kitchen wall to help everyone keep track of the trio's care, the oldest kids eagerly assist, giving bottles and helping with baths and nappy changes.
"As soon as they walk in the door, the boys put down their bags, say hi, then go straight to the babies," says their proud mum. "And best off all, there's no fighting because everyone gets a baby to hold!"
Though there are moments no-one is exactly sure which son they have in their arms, a small raspberry birthmark hidden beneath the nappies is the only way to tell the mirror-image brothers apart.
Organisation is key!
"The night before, I had the boys muddled all up," admits Kasey, adding one time she had to stop on the side of the road heading to an appointment with Billy and phone home to check if she had the correct son with her. "Once that raspberry wears off, we're doomed," jokes Matt.
Incredibly, the mum-of-six reveals she's already taken her small tribe grocery shopping on her own – on the same day the trio were discharged from hospital!
"These women came over and were so helpful," Kasey says. "One even pushed the trolley around for me while I grabbed things."
In fact, while out and about, the couple are stopped at least three times a day and asked if the triplets were conceived naturally. And while they were, Kasey and Matt have since made the startling discovery that triplets run in their family.
"The last set of triplets to go through my family were three boys 40 years ago," says Kasey. "I only found out about it since becoming pregnant."
The duo say they are overwhelmed by the kindness shown to them from the community, who helped them through the first few months. The generosity went as far as having their home recarpeted to dozens of frozen meals prepared by the local Knox Church women.
"So many people have come forward and offered help," gushes Kasey. "It's been amazing. I didn't even know I had that many friends!
"We're so thankful to our community and friends and nurses from the neonatal unit. And our mums and our family too. They say it takes a village to raise a child – well, it takes a city to raise
our babies!"
So it's not surprising then that the greatest challenge for the doting duo is the fact they have to meet the needs of all six youngsters.
"Honestly, the hardest thing about having triplets is you feel like you're giving one too much attention, so you get the other one, and then you've got to get the other one," admits Kasey.
"It's a balancing act." Adds Matt, "That's with all six of the kids, not just the triplets."
But a smiling Kasey confesses she still pinches herself with delight at how her treasured family is now complete with the addition of three gorgeous babies.
"We were all sitting down watching a movie and I had a bottle-feed, Bentley was doing a bottle-feed, Austin was doing a bottle-feed and Matt's sitting there with Chloe on his knee," recalls Kasey fondly.
"I just looked around, thinking, 'This is so weird, but it's so cool!' Matt and I are one lucky couple to have what we have."

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