A mother of extremely premature triplets who had just been released from the hospital suddenly died after taking her babies home for Christmas, the BBC reports.
Rachel Park, 39, who lives in the UK with her husband Steven, gave birth to Poppie, Mollie, and Evelyn in March, 14 weeks before their due date. The Parks had spent years trying to conceive and after years of infertility and four rounds of IVF, Rachel finally gave birth to the tiny girls in March. Doctors say the triplets’ combined weight at birth was less than two bags of sugar and they had to be placed on ventilators to support their tiny lungs. They spent nine months in hospitals in Newcastle and Whitehaven and were finally released to go home just days before Christmas.
Last week Rachel Park said, “It was touch and go with all three at some point but they’re all out and fine now.”
“We were told to prepare for the worst. They’ve had quite a tough journey but they’re growing now and doing well. We’re looking forward to Christmas, there’s toys everywhere!”
She had described Poppie as a “diva who liked cuddles,” Mollie as “laid back” and Evelyn as “very chatty.”
Tragically, on Tuesday, Rachel died at the family home in Bransty, Whitehaven, in a manner police said was “unexplained but not suspicious.”
A GoFundMe appeal has been launched to help Steven care for the girls. So far £12,742 (around $15,000 U.S.) has been donated to help the family.
The babies now weigh 14 lbs. each but still need oxygen and feeding tubes.
Julie Hodgson, who helped set up the appeal, said on her Facebook page its aim was to give Mrs. Park’s “beautiful family the support they need now and in the coming months.”
Family friend Lucy Dawson told BBC Cumbria: “Rachel had the girls back in March this year and I fell pregnant with triplets just after.”
“I got in touch with Rachel online and she supported me through every step because she knew what I was going through. I wouldn’t be where I am without her support.”
“She was a good friend to me and a good support to other ladies who had triplets in the area and across the UK as well.”