Jake Hammerton, 22, and partner Caitlin Knight, 20, were thrilled when they discovered Caitlin was pregnant for the first time – despite them having used contraception.
They were surprised when, at their 22-week gender scan, they were told they were having identical triplet boys – one in 200 million cases without IVF.
The pair started preparing for their three new arrivals by naming them, buying toys, and decorating the nursery.
When the babies arrived, however, another surprise expected them: the triplets were actually girls.
‘It was definitely a shock getting three daughters instead of sons,’ said Jake.
The new parents’ story began on February 14, when they discovered Caitlin was pregnant despite not intending to get pregnant and using contraception.
Two months later, on Jake’s birthday, April 5, they learned they were expecting three boys, all of whom were identical.
As the planned caesarean section date of September 2 was contacted, the parents-to-be, who are in the process of buying a home, decided on names for their sons.
They chose Theo, Luca, and Jude as their little boys and awaited their arrival.
On August 24, Caitlin began experiencing back pains, and they started to fear that something was wrong with the babies – until Caitlin’s waters broke.
Jake said: ‘We had no idea until the moment they were born. We checked lots of times and every midwife said they were all boys.
‘Then they began pulling out the babies and when I went to look after them, I saw they all had little pink hats, not blue.
‘I told Caitlin and she didn’t even believe me. The doctors had to convince her I was telling the truth.’
Caitlin added: ‘Jake told me and I said “don’t joke like that, it’s not funny!” but he wasn’t joking.”
The baby who was going to be Theo became Thea, Luca was changed to Lily, and Jude got swapped for Esmae.
Due to Thea’s tiny size, she had to be rushed away for treatment, but Caitlin and Jake were able to cuddle with the other two girls before they were also taken to the NICU.
Caitlin said: ‘When I saw the babies for the first time, I just cried. I was so overcome with emotion.’
The parents had set up a nursery for the triplets, but luckily it was all in neutral colors, so they didn’t have to redecorate.
However, the toys they bought were quite traditionally boyish, so they donated them to charity. Fortunately, their family bought plenty of toys.
Jake said: ‘We didn’t really mind the fact the genders were different than what we were told. We were really shocked, but they were healthy which was the main thing.’
The babies were placed in separate cots in the hospital for 18 days until Thea was finally able to be taken off a ventilator on September 11.
The trio then cuddled in the same cot for the first time since their birth.
Jake said: ‘We could tell they definitely knew each other when they were together. They kept putting their hands on each other’s faces.
‘They’re all developing their own personalities. Thea is so feisty and keeps ripping out her tubes. Esmae is always smiling, and Lily is so lazy – she just sleeps all day!’
Now, the parents are waiting for the babies to grow stronger so they can finally bring them all home, which doctors say may be as soon as mid-October.
Caitlin said: ‘I can’t wait to bring our babies home and just get on with it ourselves. Nappies and feeding without all the wires.’
‘It’s been a strange experience but I don’t think there’s anything to compare it to,’ added Jake.
‘We’re excited to have them home together – it will be a shock, but not as much of a shock as finding out our three boys were three girls!
‘Bringing them home will definitely be a challenge, but it’s one we’re ready for.’