Jasmine and Van came to Australia as children after their families made the treacherous journey by boat from war-torn Vietnam.
They overcame language barriers and other challenges to reach university, Van becoming an industrial chemist and Jasmine a dental prosthetist. After their two sons, Jamie and Jordan, were born in 2003 and 2006, the devout Catholics kept hoping for another child, desperately wanting a daughter. But it wasn’t until last year, when Jasmine was 45 and Van 51, that their wish finally came true – threefold.
Active members of the Henley Beach parish, the couple has been involved in the pro-life movement for many years and it was at last year’s Walk for Life rally, where more than 5000 people marched against legislation allowing abortion up to birth, that Jasmine had a strong sense she would have another baby.
One of the speakers, a doctor, used a Doppler device to listen to the heartbeat of an unborn baby.
“At the Walk for Life something inspired me; when I heard the sound of the baby’s heartbeat I was thinking about God the Creator and trusting in him,” Jasmine said.
“The legislation was really sad…I believe that life should be precious, and at that time I felt something really special in my heart. Pretty much after that I fell pregnant.”
Jasmine was busy organising a retreat for 50 people with the Missionaries of Sacred Heart priests at Mylor, one of her volunteer roles with the Church, and didn’t get to see a doctor until she was eight weeks’ pregnant.
There was a “bit of a scare” when the doctor thought she might have had an early miscarriage however an ultrasound not only confirmed the pregnancy but that there were three babies.
“The first thing the technician asked was ‘have you got any history of multiple births?’ I thought she meant twins but she said ‘no triplets’…that’s when I was shocked,” Jasmine recalled.
“Then I just laughed and I was really happy, I didn’t know what to think, it sounded scary but I was happy.”
She didn’t tell Van straight away about the triplets because they were busy with their older children and had just finished the retreat.
“We were in the car driving home and when I told him he wouldn’t believe me,” Jasmine said. “I said I wouldn’t joke about something like that and that I’d show him the ultrasound.”
Van said although it took a while to sink in he was “very happy”.
Throughout the pregnancy there was concern for one of the babies who was struggling with a high pulse rate.
There was a discussion during a doctor consultation of terminating the high risk baby to save the other two b ut both she and Van were steadfast in their belief that all three would survive.
Every time Jasmine went for an ultrasound she would ask the priests and parishioners at Henley Beach to pray for them.
“We are so grateful for all the prayers of the community,” Jasmine said. “Prayer got us through.”
By the time the identical triplets were born at 32 weeks on September 7 at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Jasmine had been having twice weekly ultrasounds and she already knew their daughters’ individual personalities from seeing them in the womb.
Their Christian names chose themselves: Faith was the first to arrive and was the biggest at 1.48kg so her name reflects the strength of the couple’s faith; Hope was “easy” because she was the one the doctors were worried about and everyone prayed for her to survive; and Joy was the “pure joy and gratitude to have another chance of being parents”.
With a combined weight of 4kg the tiny triplets spent eight weeks in hospital, including two weeks in intensive care. Jasmine was discharged after three days and visited the hospital every day to feed and care for them.
After rearranging their home to accommodate the babies and buying “three sets of everything”, the couple replaced their car with a van and brought the girls home.
Now five months old, they are still feeding every three to four hours at night, and with Van back at work, Jasmine’s mother Minh has moved in to help.
“For the past four years my mother had an urge to wake up at 2am to say the Divine Chaplet and seven sets of the Rosary for two to three hours before going back to sleep,” Jasmine said.
“Prior to that she loved her sleep. Now she volunteers to look after the babies between 2am and 7am, praying while the girls are sleeping during that time.”
The family has received lots of support from the parish and parishioners who have also donated items such as nappies (they go through 28 a day) and prepared meals through the Meal Train program. Such support came in handy when Jamie caught COVID and the family was forced into isolation.
The two older boys also help spread the load, especially during the “frenzy” of feeding time.
Late last year the Henley Beach parish welcomed Faith, Hope and Joy into their community when they were baptised by Father Peter Hearn msc on December 26 , chosen because it is the feast of the Holy Family.
“People who attended the ceremony commented that it was the best baptism they’d been to,” said Jasmine.
The girls’ godmothers are all Religious: Sr Helen Armstrong OLSH, Sr Nithya Rayappan cp and Sr Cherryl King from the Little Sisters of Jesus.
Jasmine said the triplets’ birth had enhanced their understanding of the Holy Trinity: “Just as there are three persons in the one God, our one egg turned into three uniquely different persons.”
She and Van were determined to take the triplets to this year’s Walk for Life on February 12.
“We wanted to tell our girls that they are very special, perhaps messengers from God to let us know that life is precious ,” Jasmine said.
“Now the three of them are a voice for the unborn.”Jump to next article