In the age of assisted reproductive technology when twins and triplets have become common enough, Abby, Brin and Laurel Hepner are a special set of babies. Born on November 22nd these identical triplets were conceived naturally.
Dr. William M. Gilbert, medical director of Sutter Women’s Services and founder of Moms of Multiples Center says it is extremely rare for identical triplets to be conceived naturally.
“Identical triplets are anywhere from one-in-a-million and one-in-a hundred million,” he said. “It is so rare that it is hard to calculate how frequently they occur.”
When a single fertilized egg is split into three, resulting in triplets!
Born to parents Hannah and Tom, who live in Quincy, Plumas County, the new father jokingly said,
“We are thinking of bottling the water in Quincy and offering it as a fertility treatment,”
At birth, Abby weighed 3 pounds, 2 ounces; Brin was 3 pounds, 11 ounces; and Laurel tipped the scale at 4 pounds. All three are healthy and doing well.
Currently at the Sutter Memorial Hospital, the doctor says they can go home as soon as they gain a little more weight, eat properly and maintain their body temperature.
“It is not unusual with identical triplets to have a difference in weight,” said Gilbert. “They usually don’t share equal amounts of the placenta, so therefore one gets a little less nutrition than the other. When you have a difference in weight, the little one does better after they are born because the stress of being little matures your lungs faster.”
Tom also praised his 29 year old wife who had high blood pressure several weeks before delivery.
“[She is] quite a remarkable woman. She cruised through the experience. Hats off to her.”
The couple already knew they were expecting identical triplets.
“We understand that they are going to be individuals. We look forward to finding out who those individuals are and helping them along the way.”
She said the “one-in-a-million” description of the babies “loses its relevance when you are holding them. It did happen and they are here.”