Britain’s oldest mum of quadruplets – a 51-year-old gran of eight – has celebrated her babies’ first birthdays. Tracey Britten hit the headlines last year when she gave birth to four I.V.F tots at 31 weeks. After sᴜʀᴠɪᴠɪɴɢ ᴀ ᴅʀᴀᴍᴀᴛɪᴄ Fɪɢʜᴛ for life ɪɴ ɪɴᴛᴇɴsɪᴠᴇ ᴄᴀʀᴇ, the babies ᴅᴇFɪᴇᴅ ᴛʜᴇ ᴏᴅᴅs to see their first birthday.
Tracey, who has three adult children, celebrated by taking her one year olds to her ᴍᴜᴍ’s ɢʀᴀᴠᴇ ɪɴ Preston, Lancs. Grandma Pauline Smith ᴅɪᴇᴅ in 2007 and left her daughter Tracey £7,000, which she spent on I.V.F to have the babies. Tracey, who was raised in Preston but now lives in London, said: “If it wasn’t for mum leaving me that ɪɴʜᴇʀɪᴛᴀɴᴄᴇ then I wouldn’t have been able to have the I..V..F. I’ve always wanted to do this on their first birthday, to say thank you to her.”
The 51-year-old and her roofer husband Stephen, 40, explored the option of I..V..F after unsuccessfully trying for a baby naturally. After being deemed too old for the ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛ on the NHS the couple travelled to a ᴄʟɪɴɪᴄ in Cyprus, where Tracey was sᴜᴄᴄᴇssꜰᴜʟʟʏ ɪᴍᴘʟᴀɴᴛᴇᴅ fɪʀsᴛ ᴛɪᴍᴇ. She gave birth to George, identical twins Francesca and Fredrica and sister Grace, in London on October 26, 2018. The miracle babies came into the world more than a decade after Pauline’s ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ and Tracey said she had always been saving her mum’s money.
“When I couldn’t get pregnant, I thought I’d put it towards that. Mum always wanted one of her girls to have twins and so I feel blessed that I was able to do that for her. She was a wonderful person, she would give you her last penny.” she said
Tracey describes Francesca as a “bossy boots”, who if she cries, sets off Fredrica. She said Grace “is her own person, nice and placid”, and George is “laughing from when he gets up to when he goes to bed”. Tracey and Stephen met in 2005 and married seven years ago. When Tracey found out she was pregnant with four babies she ” ɴᴇᴀʀʟʏ Fᴇʟʟ ᴏꜰꜰ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴇᴅ”.
“I was crying, thinking I can’t have seven kids, no way. I’d gone from three kids to seven in seconds. I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. When I got home and told Stephen he was as happy as Larry. He just said at least we don’t need to have any more.” Tracey said.
Their joy turned to ʜᴇᴀʀᴛʙʀᴇᴀᴋ ᴅᴜʀɪɴɢ the pregnancy when doctors recommended two of the babies be ᴀʙᴏʀᴛᴇᴅ. Sᴄᴀɴs ʀᴇᴠᴇᴀʟᴇᴅ ᴏɴᴇ ᴏF ᴛʜᴇ ɪᴅᴇɴᴛɪᴄᴀʟ ᴛᴡɪɴs ᴡᴀs ᴛᴀᴋɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴇ ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ sᴜᴘᴘʟʏ of her sister and Tracey and Stephen were given just days to make a decision. Tracey, a Fᴏʀᴍᴇʀ ᴅʀᴜɢs ᴄᴏᴜɴsᴇʟʟᴏʀ, sᴏᴜɢʜᴛ ᴀᴅᴠɪᴄᴇ Fʀᴏᴍ ᴀ ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ US ᴡʜᴏ ʜᴀᴅ ᴅᴇʟɪᴠᴇʀᴇᴅ 120 ǫᴜᴀᴅs and decided to “leave it up to nature”.
“I wouldn’t be ᴀʙʟᴇ ᴛᴏ ʟɪᴠᴇ with myself if I’d have ᴄʜᴏsᴇɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴛᴇʀᴍɪɴᴀᴛɪᴏɴ,” Tracey said.
Fortunately the pregnancy went well and the babies all sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇᴅ. Tracey was a teenager when she had her older daughter and son and 28 when she had her third. She’s noticed plenty of differences in her approach to parenting now, more than two decades later.
When you’re young, you want to go out, go clubbing, go ᴀʙʀᴏᴀᴅ ᴀɴᴅ ʏᴏᴜ ɢᴇᴛ Fʀᴜsᴛʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ when you can’t get a babysitter,” Tracey said. But when you’re older you’re more relaxed and you’ve got that out of your system. I want to enjoy the blessing I’ve been given.”
Due to their ᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴛᴜʀᴇ birth, the babies are not yet crawling, and only began sitting up six weeks ago.
Tracey said: “They will be mobile soon, but it doesn’t bother me. I’ve got a big playpen and I will use that for when I need to go and do something in the house.”