My bladder was oh-so-full, and I’d now been forced to sit in a waiting room a solid 10 minutes past my scheduled ultrasound time. Don’t these people know how hard it is to hold a full bladder like that?! Of all the offices that should be timely, this is the one.
I was 12 weeks pregnant with my first, and a few weeks earlier my doctor had offered to order me an early ultrasound, because it was our first and she “knew we were excited.” My only thought at the time was “Sweet! All my friends had to lie and say they didn’t know when they’d conceived to get that!”
Finally, it was our turn. I was a ball of nerves, as I imagine all women are when heading in for one of these. Is everything OK? Please, let everything be OK with the baby! I’d been exhausted, felt nauseous a lot, and felt like I was showing a bit already, but it was still too early to really feel anything. Basically, I was textbook and nothing seemed off.
The minute that sonographer put the wand to my abdomen, and I saw that image on the screen, I knew something was up. It looked just like the picture of twins in the What to Expect book I’d been reading.
Her: “Do twins run in your family?”
Her: “Well they do now!”
And cue my husband cracking up in the corner, and me half laughing, half crying on the table!
About 90 seconds later, she suddenly just said “huh.” One word that I will never, ever forget.
Me: “There are only two, right?!”
Her: Actually, it looks like there are three!
Three babies, you guys. THREE! By now my husband was really cracking up in the corner, because laughing is his coping mechanism apparently. I was 90% crying and 10% laughing.
The sonographer went about her business, excitedly taking lots of pictures, turning on the 3D setting for a few and talking about how great they all looked. She said we were in at a great time to be able to tell they were all identical, based on placenta, sacs and thin dividing membranes that were all still visible. All I could think was “how the heck are identical triplets even possible?! How is this happening?! I don’t know anyone with triplets, let alone triplets that are identical!”
Did I mention this ultrasound was happening two days before April Fools’ Day? Yeah, that made telling family and friends fun!
21 weeks later, at 33 weeks and 3 days, our identical triplet boys entered the world. Healthy, crying and just needing a couple of weeks of NICU time as feeders and growers. You can read about things like how we used Sharpies on their heels to tell them apart on this Ask a Triplet Mom post.
So how’d this happen? I ask myself that a lot, but the basic science behind it, is that one egg split, and then one of those split again, giving me three bitty babies. So no, this was not hereditary, and it could happen to anyone. It’s rare – my perinatologists guessed about 1 in 790,000 – but still, it happens, and judging from the number of friends I have online that also have identical triplets, it happens a lot!