Identical triplets: UK family brings home trio of joy

Identical triplets: The Gilbert family welcomes home their three identical triplet girls after a risky pregnancy followed by six weeks in intensive care, and they couldn't be happier.

Ian Gilbert shows off his three identical triplets, born Aug. 2, 2013, on Facebook.

Birth is a blessing. The birth of identical triplets is nothing short of a miracle. Just ask Ian and Karen Gilbert, parents of a rare set of identical triplets, Ffion, Maddison, and Paige, all girls, now eight-weeks-old.

Multiple births have become more commonplace with the increased use of fertility treatments, however the Gilbert triplets were conceived naturally and all formed from the same egg. (Fraternal twins develop from separate eggs and are not identical.)

The Gilberts had just returned from their honeymoon in New York when they learned that they would soon be expecting a second child – the couple already had a thre-year-old daughter, Faye. Eight weeks later, they learned that they would in fact be having three, not just one baby, when a technician detected three heartbeats while investigating Ms. Gilbert’s complaints of stomach pains, reports BBC News.

"We pretty much left the hospital laughing, crying, laughing, crying... But we were over the moon," Ms. Gilbert told the BBC.

Doctors considered Gilbert’s pregnancy to be high risk because all three fetuses shared a single placenta and offered the couple the option of keeping only one or two of the babies, but Mr. and Ms. Gilbert wouldn’t hear of it, reports The Daily Mail.

The triplets were delivered two months premature via Cesarean section on August 2 weighing a combined total of just 11 pounds, reports International Business Times.

“At first they didn’t look real and you could pick them up with one hand,” Mr. Gilbert said. “It was a bit of a shock.”

“It’s been crazy,” Ms. Gilbert said. “Their personalities are already starting to shine through and I can’t wait to get to know them better.”

Today, the babies are home with their 3-year-old sister, Faye, in Pontypool, a town in the Torfaen county borough of Wales, after spending six weeks in intensive care.

The family is still working out the logistics of caring for three newborns while keeping up with a 3-year-old. Ms. Gilbert to the BBC that her husband is pushing for another child – hopefully a boy – "But I'm not persuaded. I'm happy with what I've got."

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