One Christmas miracle that is sure to make hearts melt is the tale of Ireland’s tiniest triplets, who celebrated their first birthday on Christmas Day.
Lucy, Ethan, and Matt O'Rourke are the Irish triplets who beat the odds and survived after being born more than 16 weeks early. They each weighed just over a pound at the time of their birth.
The siblings feature in the December page of the "Look How Far We’ve Come" charity calendar of the tiny babies who went through the neo-natal ward in Cork University Hospital over the past year.
Independent.ie reports that little Lucy, Ethan and Matt are believed to have been the most premature triplets ever to survive. They were 16 weeks and one day premature.
“Last Christmas was very different,” said Pat O’Rourke.
“We were going around in a daze.
“We are going to bring them back in to the neo-natal ward to see the nurses. We never could have made it if it wasn't for everyone in Cork University Maternity Hospital.
“The nurses nearly thought they were their own because they were there so long. We can’t thank them enough for everything they have done for us.”
Their Dad said the first two months of their lives were the hardest as the parents were unable to hold their babies.
“It was two months before we got to hold them which was hard on us, especially as we were seeing other parents around us holding their babies.”
Ethan and Matt were born naturally while Lucy was delivered by emergency caesarean section before they were rushed into intensive care, where they underwent 18 blood transfusions between them during their six months stay.
The babies' father is currently waiting for the Guinness Book of Records to confirm they are the most premature triplets to have survived in the world.
“They were 113 days early and the Guinness Book of Records think they have triplets born 108 days early but our triplets would be (five days) earlier.
“They have all the paperwork and the details and it is being processed. They were 16 weeks plus a day early. It’s amazing.”
The three tots now weigh up to 16 pounds each and are “full of mischief.”
“They are three different personalities. Lucy is a bit of terror. She is stuck in everything. Lucy and Matt are rolling. Ethan is still doing all he should be doing but he is a bit behind them.
“They start laughing at each other and they would be swinging off each other the whole time.
“The picture catches them bang on. Ethan would be half shocked looking the whole time. Matt is just up to mischief the whole time and Lucy is the same way. I’d say Lucy will be a handful.”