Triplet Birth Is “One
In A Million”

One in a million? It’s just a saying, but a Montana woman beat those odds when she delivered identical triplet boys in September.

Mother and infant

Conceiving triplets is rare, but conceiving genetically-identical triplets is one in a million. Nikki Whitaker, a mom from Montana, delivered her three identical boys in September.

Three’s company

Triplet births are rare — only one out of every 8,000 pregnancies contains triple the standard number of uterine occupants. Usually each baby has its own unique DNA, or sometimes a pair will be identical. For all three to be genetically identical, amazing things have to happen — basically, early on in development, the fertilized eggs splits into two. And then one of those fertilized eggs splits again. Odds are said to be one out of every one million pregnancies, but for Nikki Whitaker, those astronomical odds were in her favor when she became pregnant.

Whitaker was not on fertility medication when she conceived her boys, and her water broke very, very early — she was only 25 weeks along when she was admitted to a local hospital. Staff soon decided to have her transferred to the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, which boasts the top neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in a five-state area.

Ten days after her water broke, she delivered Robert, who weighed in at 1.4 pounds. Three days later, she delivered her other two boys — Cameron weighed 1.8 pounds, and Cooper weighed 1.7 pounds. Her first two were vaginal births, but she had a C-section for her third.

They are all struggling with health issues tied to their extreme prematurity. Pneumonia and bacterial infections are recent problems, but Whitaker said that challenges remain, including financial issues for her as she struggles to stay near her boys while the recover. I really hope they continue to improve and can go home with mom to meet their big brothers.

More on multiple births

Twin pregnancies: C-section and vaginal birth equally safe
Quintuplets born to mom of four
Two sets of identical twins at once


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