Babies and boys and girls aged from six weeks to 10 years old were reunited with Dr Graham Tydeman at a surprise party at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy on Friday.
The nine trios were among 20 sets of triplets delivered or cared for by the ‘legendary’ consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist during his 21 years at NHS Fife.
Their visit to the hospital’s maternity unit was kept secret from Dr Graham Tydeman as colleagues and friends gathered at a lunch to celebrate his illustrious career.
The consultant obstetrician is stepping down from his role after spending the last two decades supporting Fife parents experiencing complex or high risk pregnancies.
The triplets included Austin, Ellis and Jenson Woodhouse, who were the first set to be born in the new maternity unit and Danielle Hodges, who is due to give birth to triplets later this year.
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The surprise visit was organised after Aberdour parent Hannah Norman, who is mum to five-year-old triplets Paige, Lottie and Aidan Robson, posted a message on a national triplet and quadruplet Facebook support page to let everyone know Dr Tydeman was retiring.
She said: “Within only five minutes of putting out a message on the page nine sets of triplets had already agreed to come along. I think the response was so huge because Dr Tydeman is thought of as such a legend by his patients.”
Hannah, whose triplets were born two months early, continued: “He is the reason all our children are here and I truly believe my three wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for him.”
Dr Tydeman said it was a fantastic surprise: “I knew something was happening but I thought I would have a nice, quiet send-off with a few old friends and staff.
“Then all of a sudden I thought ‘hang on, I know them’ there is a set of triplets – and then another one, and another one, and another one, and then I knew what was happening. It was just fabulous.
“The people here, the triplets, you get so close to them. It’s like a really intense, short-lived friendship.
“It’s a privilege to dip into people’s lives and become an important part of their lives.”
He continued: “In obstetrics it’s about the other main life force, it’s about creation. Having babies defines life almost better than anything.
“The highs are really high and the lows really low. Some people have gone through the worst tragedies they have ever had then you see them again and they are going through the happiest times.
“The relationships you form with people when they are going through such an intense time are deep and they become like friends straight away.”
He added: “It is just lovely to see these people again. I feel it is a real honour.”
Also at the party to say farewell were the region’s newest triplets, six-week-old Ylva, Hilda and Freda Dudley-Vaughan.
Their mum Halina Vaughan, from near Dunfermline, said: “It’s great to be here and see him before he goes. The care they received under Dr Tydeman was fantastic.
“We had so many scans, we were in every few weeks and we got know the team. It was really reassuring. It is completely overwhelming when you find out you are having triplets.”
Also seeing Dr Tydeman off were Kyle, Calum and Lewis Johnston, from Kinghorn, who were celebrating their third birthday.
Their dad Alan said it was wonderful to be back in the unit to see him as it brought back good memories.
He said: “Dr Tydeman’s care was excellent and he was really good with us along with the other members of his team. He will be missed.”
As well as the triplets, a Fife teenager who was named after Dr Tydeman came along to say goodbye.
Mum Jauhara Bell from Cupar said the NHS consultant picked up her son’s complex heart condition during a 19-week scan and his continued monitoring during her pregnancy ensured her son’s safe arrival.
She said: “Dr Tydeman kept an eye on me and gave me incredible emotional support so when I had Logan I gave him the middle name Graham after him. I always like to chose names which mean something. Dr Tydeman has continued to look after me during my other pregnancies - he is such a special person and will be missed.”
Dr Tydeman is a renowned inventor and sculptor and has put his innovations to use within medicine on many occasions.
His creations include simulation models for obstetric training, such as Desperate Debra (the first simulator used to train doctors in dealing with late-stage (emergency) caesareans), Amnio Abby (an ultrasound guided invasive procedeures simulator) and an art installation called the Blood Clock, which was designed to increase awareness of the global problem of postpartum haemorrhage.
Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Helen Russell, said he has always shown a real passion for helping people: “Graham has a special interest in fetal medicine and in particular has cared for many women with high risk pregnancies, multiple pregnancies, preterm births, and complex cases over the years.
“Throughout his career he has formed special bonds with the not only the families he has cared for, but also the fetal medicine and wider maternity teams – he will be greatly missed.”
Dr Tydeman officially retires from his role this week and plans to conduct research in London before helping to set up a clinic in India and then heading off to New Zealand to work over the winter.
Dr Chris McKenna, NHS Fife medical director, said he will be sorely missed: “We have been extremely fortunate to be able to rely upon such a skilled, compassionate, innovative, and enthusiastic, member of the team for a number of years and the connection Dr Tydeman has with patients and colleagues is clearly a lasting one.
“That so many former patients got in touch wanting to celebrate Dr Tydeman and thank him for his care is testament to how highly he is regarded and the positive difference he has made to all of their lives.”
He added: “We wish him all the best in his retirement.”