After a two-hour operation at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal on April 10, Rita Pepabano of Chisasibi and Robbie Mark-Stewart of Eastmain became the first Cree couple in recent memory to have triplets.

All the babies are doing well and recently went home to Chisasibi. The babies were all born at around five pounds, dropped to four pounds but are back at five pounds.

The first baby emerged at 5:58 p.m. and was named Rachel by their grandmother Beatrice. Peter was born next, at 5:59 p.m. He was named by Rita’s sister, Mabel Pepabano. Tawnee came out last at 6:00 p.m. and was named by Sarah Herodier, Robbies aunt.

“Tawnee was the smallest,” said Rita, who already has a three-year-old daughter.

When asked if she was planning to have any more children, Rita replied, “I probably won’t. I’m afraid it might happen again.”

The attending physician was Dr. Diane Willis who delivered the trio by cesarian section.

Rita, 22, first found out she was going to have triplets in February. “It wasn’t that long ago,” she said. “It didn’t have a real effect on me but I was happy when I found out that I was carrying triplets.”

“My mother had a difficult time believing,” Rita added. “I think Robbie (her fiancĂ©) had a hard time in believing when I told him that I was carrying triplets.”

Robbie, who is 23, said, “I didn’t know what to believe when I heard.”