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Triplets then twins in one year

Last updated 16:33 11/03/2014

INSTANT FAMILY: Sarah and Andy Justice with twins Andrew and Abigail, and triplets Joel, Hannah and Elizabeth.

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Like many couples, Sarah and Andy Justice started trying to have kids after being married for a few years. Eventually, however, the couple from Tulsa, Oklahoma, had to face the truth: it just wasn't happening for them.

Given a referral to a fertility specialist, the couple were told that IVF would cost up to $60,000, with only a 10 per cent chance of it working out.

"We took that as a 'no'," Andy told Tulsa World earlier this week. "So we started the adoption process."

But the adoption process wasn't without its own challenges. Agreements fell through with two or three birth mothers, leaving the Justices still waiting to become parents.

"It was very hard to get our hopes up like that and then be disappointed and have to start all over," Sarah said.

Finally, however, they made an agreement with one woman. And when Sarah accompanied her to an ultrasound appointment, she was given a very big surprise - the woman was pregnant with triplets.

When she asked what that meant for the adoption process, Sarah was told that she and her husband could have all three babies - as officials said, it was "one pregnancy, one adoption". 

It seemed like a great result. Sarah and Andy had always wanted more than one child, and this way, they wouldn't have to go through the adoption process again. 

Sarah remembers being thrilled with the news. "This is great - this is everything we wanted!" she thought.

The babies, named Joel, Hannah and Elizabeth, were born two months early. They weighed only 1.36kg each, but Andy and Sarah loved them from the moment they were born.  

The triplets were still in neonatal intensive care when Sarah had a niggling feeling. A doctor confirmed her suspicions: she was pregnant. 

But that didn't change how they felt about their triplets. "We wouldn't give up these babies for anything," Sarah said. 

"Besides," Andy added, "maybe it's all connected." 

Still grappling with the idea that they would soon be a family of six, Sarah had her scheduled ultrasound appointment - and discovered she was pregnant with not one, but two, babies.

"Did we panic a little? Of course. But we were very happy," Andy said.

Sarah said she was in shock. "I was ... a bit overwhelmed because I got to thinking, added it up, and I'm like, 'Wow, if they go to term we're about five babies in eight months'," Sarah said in an interview with TODAY.

"But we were really excited because it was something we've been dreaming of and longing for for years."

Babies Abigail and Andrew were born healthy and joined their siblings at home weeks after birth. 

Now, the triplets have just turned nine months old, while the twins are almost eight weeks. 

The family goes through about 40 to 50 dirty nappies a day, and 84 bottles a week, and the couple are helped by family, friends, and a generous church community.

Sarah and Andy get about three hours of sleep each night - but not necessarily in a row, Andy said in the TODAY appearance.

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"My husband says all we do is babies, that everything else in life has pretty much stopped," Sarah said.

"But it was something we've wanted so badly that we love it. It's not to say it's not a lot of work and that we're not tired a lot, but it's great.

"We just really love having these children."

- FFX Aus


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