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Couple Wins 'Genetic Lottery' After Welcoming Identical Triplets
December 8, 2016
Jason and Kelli Fenley simply wanted to expand their family and have a second child, therefore making Fenley's pregnancy with triplets quite the surprise. CBS New York reports that the Brightwaters, N.Y., couple welcomed newborn brothers Owen, Noah, and Miles at Winthrop University Hospital on July 1. While ABC News explains that the babies were born seven weeks early and spent nearly two months in the NICU, they are now home and quite healthy.
Triplet births are a rarity in and of themselves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there were only 4,364 sets of triplets born in the United States in 2013 and that the triplet (or higher order) birth rate was only 119.5 per 100,000 live births. However, the Fenley family's new babies are even more extraordinary because they're identical triplets, a genetic phenomenon that doctors call "one in a million," according to CBS New York.
Dr. Martin Chavez explains to CBS New York that in order to conceive identical triplets, a fertilized egg splits once and one of the other eggs then splits again. Dr. Robin B. Kalish, who was interviewed by CBS after delivering another rare set of identical triplets to Kerry and Desmond Lyons in 2008, describes the high risks associated with this sort of multiples pregnancy, including preterm labor, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Therefore, the fact that Fenley delivered three healthy babies, albeit prematurely, is yet another miracle.
Now, nearly three months after the triplets' birth, the Fenleys have their hands full. She tells CBS New York that they color-code the boys using toenail polish and corresponding clothes in order to tell Owen, Noah, and Miles apart. Yet despite the chaos that comes with the territory of three newborn babies (big brother, Aidan, is 2 years old), her husband states, "I always say instead of hitting the money lottery we hit the genetic lottery which is probably just as good."