Triplets who stunned medics when they were conceived four days AFTER their father had a vasectomy will celebrate their 18th birthdays this week.
Dad-of-seven John Gooden, 57, opted for the snip during Easter 1997 after he and wife Sarina decided four young children was enough.
But two weeks later, a routine scan revealed Sarina, now 51, had conceived again – and this time was expecting TRIPLETS.
It meant that the couple had FIVE under fives when little Gracie, Charles and Olivia were born on Bonfire Night 1997.
Carpet fitter John, of Kingswood, South Glos., said: “In 1997, at Easter, I had a vasectomy. We had four kids already, so obviously there was shock to start with.
“I was at work, stripping out a block of flats and my pager went off so I went to a phone box. It was my wife and she said, ‘You’re not going to be happy’.
“She kept saying ‘sit down’ and there I was crouched in the phone box when she told me I was pregnant. I was in shock.”
A hospital scan then revealed Sarina was expecting triplets and the new arrivals entered the world at 35 weeks by natural birth at Southmead Hospital, Bristol.
First to make an appearance was Gracie (3lb 11oz), followed by Charles (3lb 9oz) and, finally, Olivia (3lb 14oz).
The next few years consisted of never-ending piles of nappies and baby bottles – and the family even had to buy a minibus to transport the clan.
John and Sarina also extended their home to accommodate the seven little ones, up-scaling it into a five bedroom property complete with a loft conversion.
Care assistant Sarina said: “It was daunting, It meant we had five children aged five and under.
“But I knew they would be OK from the word go. I knew. I had a dream I was having a baby with three heads.”
Fast-forward 18 years, and the happy couple say they couldn’t be happier with what the triplets, their three older brothers and their older sister, have achieved.
While Olivia is working in childcare, Gracie aspires to have a small-holding with horses and Charles would like to be a builder or – ideally – a magician.
John said: “They are all good, honest, hard-working citizens. They are more adults now. They all look out for each other.”
Olivia added: “Gracie is more confident, Charles is cheeky. They can be my best mates.”
Gracie, Charles and Olivia plan to celebrate becoming adults on November 5 with a pub bash – and beer bottles, instead of baby bottles, will be raised.