There is more to Laura and James Milne’s family than meets the eye – their daughters are triplets born three years apart.
Rose was born using in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) in April 2014 while her siblings, Ettie and Anna, were born just eight weeks ago, on July 4.
The Thetford sisters are technically triplets as they were conceived at the same time, but the newest arrivals were frozen as fertilised embryos before being implanted into their mother’s womb last year.
Laura’s fertility problems stem from an eating disorder she developed at the age of 17.
Her battle with bulimia nervosa wreaked havoc on her reproductive system, forcing her and husband James to endure three ovulation induction (OVI) cycles, five IVF cycles and two ‘heartbreaking’ miscarriages, in addition to spending £10,000, before completing their ‘miracle’ family.
“You don’t think about things like that when you’re young, you just think about being thin,” said Laura, who feels ‘incredibly lucky’ to have been ‘blessed’ with children.
“It’s all worth it,” said the 34-year-old former Rosemary Musker High School student. “There was a lot of heartache but we got there in the end.”
The couple, who met at university, tried to have children naturally for two years before being referred for IVF in 2013. Of the five strong embryos they produced, one – Rose – was implanted and the others were frozen.
A year after welcoming Rose into the world, they made the decision to try and grow their family, despite having to fund it themselves.
But they were unsuccessful and, after an operation to repair Laura’s uterus, followed by two miscarriages and a bout of depression, they decided to take a break from all the drugs, scans, injections and heartache.
In an effort to ‘recharge and repair’, Laura turned to alternative therapies, things like yoga, meditation and reflexology, which she says made all the difference to her state of mind.
Finally, in September last year they decided to ‘go for it’ with their final two embryos, a decision that ‘felt right’ and resulted in two new bundles of joy.
Laura said: “It definitely makes it more special because of what we’ve had to go through to get our family and make it complete, and it’s something special for them as well – when they’re older I’ll tell them what happened and how they came to be.”