Northern Ireland

Triple joy, times two at Ulster Hospital

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Media captionCheaper by the half dozen?

Two sets of triplets have been born within 24 hours in the Ulster Hospital at Dundonald in County Down.

On Tuesday, Brendan and Kirsty McMenamin from Downpatrick in County Down had Zoey, a baby girl, and two boys called Cameron and Brody.

On Wednesday, Claire and Johnny Stewart from Donaghadee in County Down had three baby girls Libby, Evie and Annie.

Claire Stewart said she had been "shocked but delighted" when she found out she was having triplets.

"One of my first responses was: 'I'm so glad my mum's retired', she said.

"The practicalities did come into my head - I only have two hands, what do I do with the third one?"

Image copyright South Eastern Health Trust/PA
Image caption Zoey, Cameron, and Brody McMenamin

Her husband Johnny said he was glad he was sitting down when he found out, but it was a "pleasant surprise".

"We had an early scan and I remember just listening to the consultant say, 'do you want to hear something interesting?'

"He said it was twins. Before we had a chance to recover from that he said: 'Actually hold on a minute - it's triplets.'"

He said the birth had been "calm", despite the fact that there were more than 20 people in the room and students looking in the windows.

Mrs Stewart said: "We were overwhelmed. I lay there with tears rolling down my face, but just to hear their cries was amazing.

"We held them before the teams took them off".

Image copyright South Eastern Health Trust/PA
Image caption More than a handful - the proud parents with their babies

Mrs Stewart said twins run in her family.

"My younger brother and sister are twins.

"My mum is signed up to move into the spare room," she added.

Image copyright South Eastern Health Trust/PA
Image caption Libby, Evie and Annie Stewart

How do they feel from about going from being a couple to a family of five?

"It really hit us when we got cards with our names and all their names - that really warmed our hearts," said Mr Stewart.

According to Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust triplets occur naturally in approximately one in 10,000 pregnancies and quadruplets are even more rare.

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