Liz Dunn was a mum with a three-year-old and newborn triplets when her marriage ended; but life was about to get much more challenging than she could ever have imagined.
Liz went into labour at just 23 weeks, and delivered daughters, Zoe, Sophie, and Emma, in April 2000, at 24 weeks. The triplets would soon become blind, and then deaf; and Liz parented them in the early years as a single mum because her husband couldn’t cope with the situation.
Inside the life of Liz Dunn and her deaf, blind triplets. Post continues after video.
“It was like getting hit by a Mac truck. I just fell to the floor and just wanted to disappear. I just couldn’t believe that this had happened to my babies,” she shared.
The girls had become blind because of Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). Sophie is legally blind, has tunnel vision, and sees only colours and shapes. Zoe can distinguish between light and dark while Emma has no vision at all.
But Liz would not give up on her girls. With three-year-old Sarah as her only ‘help’, the mum-of-four gave her daughters everything she had within her – no matter what it took from her.
“Caring for the girls, I completely lost my identity,” Liz revealed.
“I was so, so busy with the girls, if I had any time to think, I felt like I was going to lose my mind.”
Liz also described feeling like Sarah was an “afterthought” in her parenting, as the triplets required so much of her attention.
Thanks to those efforts from their dedicated mum, Zoe, Sophie and Emma – who have no cognitive impairment – learned to walk, and started using their first words. But when they were two-and-a-half, the family was dealt another blow.
All three girls were discovered to have gradually become completely deaf due to suspected complications from medication they had been given at birth.
“The way the girls lost their hearing is they lost high frequencies first, and then low frequencies second. That would mean that female voices would be harder for them to hear,” Liz explained.
“It’s been one of my worst fears that they thought Mummy just stopped talking to them.”
The drugs also destroyed the vestibular hairs in the ears, resulting in the girls experiencing severe vertigo, and being unable to keep their heads up.