Having beaten astonishing odds, a Brit family is celebrating giving birth to rare identical triplets, bringing their family to six.
Karen and Ian Gilbert, who also have a 3-year-old daughter, are overjoyed with their trio of tiny girls.
The births mean that the Gilbert family, from Pontypool, Monmouthshire, Wales now have four daughters aged three and under.
Ffion, Maddison and Paige Gilbert conceived naturally from one egg were born at the Royal Gwent Hospital located in Newport on August 2.
“It’s been crazy,” Karen Gilbert told ABC. “Their personalities are already starting to shine through and I can’t wait to get to know them better.”
8 week scan
Karen was eight-weeks into her pregnancy, when she found out that she was carrying triplets. She had gone to the hospital after experiencing some pains and the scan showed three heart beats.
We were just very shocked. The lady doing the scan had to call somebody else into the room to check what she was seeing was right,” Karen disclosed. “We pretty much left the hospital laughing, crying, laughing, crying…But we were over the moon.”
Offered termination services
Estimates for the odds of giving birth to identical triplets range from one in 60,000 to one in 200 million. They occur when one egg splits into three. In other words the infants share the same placenta and fluid. Given the hazards associated with triplets, both to the mom and babies the couple was offered terminations by two different hospitals.
Ian said, “They were concerned about twin to twin syndrome, when the babies take each other’s fluid or space and starve or cramp each other. It has really taken its toll on Karen. Because they are identical, they all share the same placenta and the same fluid. They all grew and fought so quickly it was practically ripping Karen’s muscles apart. But we couldn’t consider termination — they were our babies. We were scanned every week to make sure they were growing fine.”
The babies are now at home after spending six weeks in intensive care in intensive care in hospital until they reached certain feeding and weight goals. Despite being born two months early by cesarean section they all weighed between three and four pounds and are doing well.