Fed-up with 'experts' giving her useless advice so triplets mum Katie wrote her own baby manual

MOTHER-OF-FIVE Katie Rodinsky was sick of baby manuals written by so-called experts who never had children themselves, telling her what to do.

So Katie, whose IVF treatment resulted in the birth of her triplets, decided to write her own baby manual with a difference.

The book, entitled Mummy, details Katie's own experiences and the advice she can pass onto others.

This self-sacrificing mum who feels she has become a "robot" to her children and would love to rediscover her "Katie side" told me:

"I was sick of experts telling me what I had to do. Things don't always go to plan.

"I wanted to write a completely truthful book from someone who has made mistakes, in order to be a comfort to other mums."

She admits, though, that her relentless drive to prove herself as a mother, to be so self-sufficient that she allows her husband Paul to get away without participating in the arduous child-rearing and won't allow herself to be ill, could be attributable to the fact that her own mother left her, her father and younger brother when she was only 13.

She recounted: "My mother had an affair with a bloke from the tennis club for quite a few years before she left my father. I knew a long time before my father did.

"But my mother told me not to tell him or he would go away."

But eventually Georgina Aarons left her husband Stanley, daughter and son Brett in order to settle in Devon with her non-Jewish lover.

Katie says: "My mother taught me how not to behave. I used to envy other girls I saw out with their mothers.

"I didn't have a clue what to do when she left and had to teach myself. Before my mother left, my father could only cook viennas and baked beans for me and my brother Brett, who was five years younger than me.

"When my mother left, my father told me it was about time I learned to cook. He brought home a chicken with all the giblets still attached as a lesson for me to learn how to cook. We kind of all mucked in together."

Katie's culinary skills developed so well that while exhausting herself trying to look after her five very small children, she started a catering business, which unfortunately never really took off for lack of capital as well as her rather poor confidence in her baking skills!

Meanwhile, Katie left school at 16 to work for her father's video equipment company. She met husband Paul two years later and they were married when Katie was 24 in a Reform synagogue.

She explains: "Although Paul belonged to a United Synagogue, my grandmother had converted to Reform. Therefore my children were not able to attend a Jewish school."

Accordingly, Katie is one of those supportive of the recent JFS Supreme Court ruling forbidding discrimination against the offspring of those married unhalachically in Progressive synagogues.

She says: "We Jews are a persecuted race. We should not have a class system."

But having children was not straightforward for Katie who had polycystic ovaries that meant that she had very few periods.

She was prescribed a drug to regulate her hormone levels and periods and was just off on an eagerly-awaited trip to Hong Kong, Australia, Fiji and Los Angeles with husband Paul when Katie discovered she was pregnant.

Arriving in LA, Katie experienced excruciating pains in her stomach. She phoned her London fertility clinic, who reassured her that the pains were normal, probably caused by ligaments stretching to make way for the baby.

But back in London it was discovered that there was no heartbeat and she had miscarried.

She writes: "It felt very bad to be so excited one minute and the next as though I were coping with a death."

After dilation and curettage to clean out her womb, Katie could not "think of anything else than becoming pregnant".

But the fertility clinic's advice on when to try for a baby made her "relationship with Paul more mechanical than pleasurable".

She continued: "It was putting pressure on both of us. Paul was always so busy with his many commitments that he did not have much time to try for a baby.

"In the end I could not stand it any more. I told Paul that it would be a good idea to try IVF."

With their relationship back on track, they took a weekend's break in Venice after which two fertilised eggs were implanted into her and she became pregnant.

She writes: "I remember my six-week scan very well. I was very scared that like the last scan, they would not find a heartbeat. I needn't have worried as they found not one but THREE!"

Katie and Paul were "in shock but extremely happy", but her doctors were amazed at how two embryos had become non-identical triplets.

Towards the end of her pregnancy Katie developed a liver disease, which meant that triplets Amy, Jack and Dahlia were born prematurely in November, 2002.

Once they were allowed home in the following January, the hard work began in earnest.

Katie recalls: "The feeding was the worst part. Every milk feed took so long that by the time I had finished feeding them all it was time to start all over again.

"The fact that I was unable to leave the room made me feel like I was in isolation most of the time. It was hard."

And Paul didn't help. She writes: "When the triplets were born, Paul began to lead his life away from me.

"I would be stuck in the nursery feeding and changing while he was either downstairs watching television or out at work or socialising with his mates."

Therefore Katie could never allow herself the luxury of being ill. She says: "If illness does try to rear its ugly head, I have no choice but to fight it off all the way because feeling unwell and having children really don't mix."

Nevertheless, Katie found that having triplets was such "great fun and fascination" that she went on to have two more children, this time just with the help of fertility drugs, after which she considered herself such an expert that she decided to write her book.

Mummy is published by AuthorHouse (7.50).

© 2010 Jewish Telegraph