Plucky triplets are the centre of attention

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 May, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 May, 2004, 12:00am

When triplets Jasper, Sela and Carys were born 21/2 months premature, the odds of survival were stacked heavily against them.

Weighing in at 1kg, 910 grams and 750 grams, the IVF trio faced a series of post-birth complications including lung failure, E.coli and a lethal fungal infection.

Slowly, their struggle for life outside the womb took hold in an incubator attached to an array of tubes, ventilators and monitors.

'For 90 days I have watched in awe as they fight to experience life on this earth,' said their mum, Tess Lyons, 33, of Pokfulam.

'And their determination has inspired me to do more with my own life.'

During the 'emotional roller coaster' of the long sleepless nights and endless stints in hospital, Tess and husband Charles Caldwell, 42, started to write about the experience on their personal website.

It has proven to be an unexpected success, with nearly 69,000 hits on the site from supporters across the world.

Explaining the thousands of letters from strangers in countries including Canada, South Africa, Ireland and India, Tess said the online account of the against-the-odds fight for life was proving to be a source of inspiration. 'Triplets are unusual,' said Tess, who also has a two-year-old son, Sebastian.

'Our babies were given a 66 per cent chance of mortality. The mortality rate is frightening and it is especially terrifying when you stop to think of all the risks involved.

'We still know everything is touch and go. We try not to allow ourselves to get too optimistic and prefer to be realistic. There is always the fear that they might stop breathing at any time.

'But we have so many people praying for us and the response has been quite overwhelming. Sometimes we feel like our lives and our children have turned into a virtual Truman Show.'

Hope is on the horizon. Jasper and Sela have been allowed to go home and are feeding normally. Yesterday, Carys had all her tubes removed and is expected to go home in a few weeks.

The triplets still face several health risks, such as cerebral palsy and eyesight problems.

Under the neo-natal intensive care team at Queen Mary Hospital, the triplets have been defying the odds since their early arrival on February 23. The couple are full of praise and admiration for the medical staff.

'I am no authority but the supreme level of care was so impressive I suspect the unit is probably one of the best in Asia,' Tess said.

Anyone interested in Jasper, Sela and Carys' progress can log onto the family website at: