What life is really like with three under three

Nathan and Stacey Nabben with their three kids under three - Oliver, newborn Harrison and Matilda. PICTURES: STEWART CHAMBERS 179674_05

By Melissa Grant

Stacey Nabben has given birth three times in just two-and-a-half years – an extraordinary feat that’s delivered exactly the family she’d always dreamed of.

Although some may find the prospect of having three kids under three somewhat terrifying, the Cranbourne North mum was determined to have her babies in such quick succession.

“I always said I wanted three under three,” she said.

“Mine were totally planned. I didn’t want a bigger age gap.

“When I took a pregnancy test (with her third child) and tested positive I was like ‘yes I’ve done it’.”

Her third-born, Harrison, was delivered at Berwick’s St John of God Hospital on 19 March this year.

It’s the same hospital where she had son Oliver on 28 November 2016 and daughter Matilda on 4 August 2015.

There is exactly 15 months between each child, with Stacey falling pregnant when each of her first two were six months old.

Although she wanted her children so close in age, Stacey initially feared it would take a while to fall pregnant because of her battles with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

Each child was delivered by c-section, and the hospital doctor was notably surprised to see Stacey pregnant the third time around.

“When I came in and was pregnant with Harrison the first thing he (the doctor) said is ‘do you want your tubes tied’,” she said with a laugh.

You’d expect the Nabben’s home to be chaotic with two toddlers and a newborn, but when you walk in it’s surprisingly calm.

So how does Stacey seem so organised with three kids under three?

The 31-year-old says she couldn’t do it without her husband, Nathan, who is amazing with the kids and often whips up dinner after coming home from his teaching job.

A major key, she adds, is getting the children into a routine.

The other main thing, she says, is making sure each child gets plenty of shut-eye.

“I always made sure they have their sleeps because, as they say, sleep promotes sleep. I force them to go to sleep even when they’re out of control.”

Stacey has even managed to get Harrison and Oliver to nap at the same time each day for around three hours.

She uses their nap times to clean the house, so the mess never piles up.

The concurrent naps have also helped Stacey ease back into her administration manager job, which she returned to in May when Harrison hit six weeks.

She’s fortunate enough to be able to work from home and take her kids into the office, although her oldest two started daycare part-time this year.

Even though life is crazy busy, Stacey believes putting in the hard yards now will pay off.

“I think it’s rewarding to have them this close in age,” she said.

“In three years or so they’ll be at school and I can get my life back on track and work normal hours.”

Stacey says having her children so close together has been pretty easy, although there have been a few challenges along the way.

Bath time became difficult in the late stages of pregnancy and then there’s the obvious sleep deprivation.

“The hardest thing was Oliver didn’t slept through the night until just after he turned 1,” she recalled.

“I was six months pregnant getting up in the middle of the night trying to resettle.”

The only real health issue the Nabbens have encountered has been hip dysplasia. Each of their children has had the condition, and Harrison required a leg brace due to a dislocated hip.

Stacey is extremely grateful she’s fulfilled her dream of having three kids under three, but she admits she doesn’t have much left to give at the end of the day.

“Everyone is in bed by 7 o’clock – even me,” she said.