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English Woman Births Identical Triplets Against the Odds

Update Date: Oct 01, 2013 04:03 PM EDT
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A pregnant woman from the United Kingdom has defeated the odds of 160,000 to one by giving birth to three healthy and identical triplet girls. The new mother, Karen Gilbert, 32, had decided to keep her pregnancy after doctors suggested termination due to the risks involved for both mother and infants. Now, Karen and her husband, Ian have welcomed Ffion, Maddison and Paige to their new home in Pontypool, Torfaen.

At the beginning of Karen's pregnancy, which happened naturally, she and her husband did not know that they would be having triplets. Eight weeks into the pregnancy, Karen had sought medical care after experiencing some pains. Much to their surprise, the doctor found three heartbeats.

"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 said according to BBC News. "We pretty much left the hospital laughing, crying, laughing, crying...But we were over the moon."

Even though the couple was ecstatic about the pregnancy, there were many risks involved. One risk is called twin-to-twin syndrome in which one of the babies will consume more of the nutrients in the womb causing the other ones to starve. Karen's doctors had offered her the chance to terminate the pregnancy or at least lower the number of fetuses. However, the couple could not go through with the termination and on Aug 2, Karen gave birth to three underweight but healthy babies via a Caesarean section.

The newborns were born at the Royal Gwent Hospital located in Newport and they all weighed between three and four pounds. The babies were kept at a neonatal unit for a week so that the doctors could monitor their growth. They were then transferred to the Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny, which was closer to the couple's home. At this hospital, the babies stayed for another five weeks in order to grow.

"At first they didn't look real and you could pick them up with one hand. It was a bit of a shock," said Ian according to ABC News. "Now we've got them home we are coming to terms with it. They are starting to feel like our own."

"They're that identical, it's scary. But their own personalities are starting to show. Maddison, for example, is the sleepy one and not really bothered," Karen said. "Whereas Paige and Ffion are the nosy ones."

The three baby girls now join older sister, Faye, who is three-years-old. 

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