Rare Identical Triplets Born To Couple In Baltimore

A set of rare identical triplets was born to a couple in Baltimore, Maryland earlier this month, baffling doctors who say the chances of that happening could be as high as one in two million without the use of fertility treatments.

According to ABC News,Kristen and Tom Hewitt were shocked when they first found out that they had not one, but three buns in the oven. Kristen recalled their first ultrasound appointment, and how quiet the ultrasound tech was when she looked at the screen. She said to break up the silence, Tom jokingly asked if there was more than one baby in there. That is when they discovered that they would soon be welcoming three babies to their family.

The “Hewitt Hat Trick,” as Tom calls the babies, were born six weeks early on October 6 at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. The hospital is one of the top medical centers for delivering babies in the state, and their doctor, Victor A. Khouzami, said he has not seen a set of identical triplets born there in more than three decades, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Triplets are already uncommon, but identical triplets are even more rare, only occurring approximately 10 percent of the time. It is more likely that they will be fraternal, or there will be a set of twins. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are an estimated 3.9 million births each year. Of those births, there are more than 132,000 sets of twins and only about 4,300 sets of triplets born.

“Incidence of fraternal twins are much higher (90 percent) than identical (10 percent), but, it is even a more significant ratio for triplets,” said Khouzami.

Kristen’s pregnancy went surprisingly well with only a few minor issues along the way. About a week before she went into labor with the babies, she was diagnosed with preeclampsia. The Mayo Clinic describes preeclampsia as a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, often the kidneys. It usually begins after the 20th week of pregnancy in a woman whose blood pressure was normal. When left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to serious, even fatal, complications for both the mother and the baby.

Kristen also spent the last weeks of her pregnancy in the hospital, and she had the triplets a little more than a month early, which is generally expected with multiple births.

Thomas III, Finnegan, and Oliver were all born in “excellent condition” and despite having to stay in the NICU for the past two weeks, they are now home with their parents. To tell the babies apart, they have been assigned colors for their clothes and wear matching strings on their wrists and ankles. However, the adjustment to not one, but three babies hasn’t been easy.

“We want to run things like a small army and be really regimented,” said Thomas. “In reality, it’ll be more like a pirate ship complete with mutinies.”

To help with the newest additions to the family, Kristen’s parents, Kathy and Jim Stantz, quit their jobs and moved from their house in Ohio to Baltimore. Kristen also quit her job as a real estate agent, and Thomas has taken a few weeks off from his job as a project manager at a transportation-focused planning and engineering firm to be with his family.

[Photo via Shutterstock]

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