One in a million to one in 100 million. Those are the odds Dr. William Gilbert, director of Women’s Services for Sutter Health in Sacramento, placed on the occurrence of identical triplets back in 2013.
This month alone, November 2016, two sets have been born. A miracle occurrence, taking place in Missouri and Michigan.
On Nov. 26, John Vandermolen and his wife, Julie, welcomed their three sons into the world. Ivan John, William Lloyd, and Harrison Kenneth were all born healthy and their parents were overjoyed to usher them into the world.
After a miscarriage a year ago, the Vandermolens were uncertain if they’d ever become parents. They were surprised to find out during an ultrasound the technician found not one, not two, but three heartbeats.
“I was floored,” said John. “It wasn’t on my radar. My wife’s legs started shaking and she turned pale. I needed a bucket and things got very real in that moment.”
Although the couple resides in Greenville, North Carolina, they returned to their hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan to deliver the triplets at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital. The babies were born between 11:28 and 11:31 a.m.
“(We’re) nervous for sure, but also excited to take on this challenge that only one in a million have the opportunity to embrace,” said John. “Our first challenge, of course, is making sure we don’t mix them up.”
The couple has had previous “internet fame” when ABC’s Good Morning America featured their announcement video. The video captures them preparing frantically for parenthood x3.
A few states away, the Kennedy family of Fenton, Missouri had planned to have just one more baby. Earlier this month, however, they came home with three.
Jessica and Ben Kennedy welcomed their own set of identical triplets born on Nov. 2. Reed, Knox, and Finn — all boys, like the Vandermolen’s three.
The Kennedy triplets had to spend their first three weeks in NICU at Missouri Baptist Medical Center. Their doctor, Dr. Michael Paul, said both the pregnancy and the delivery were uncommon.
“I’ve actually seen this on one other occasion, about three years ago,” said Dr. Paul. “It’s been thirty years of [my] career though and calculating back over about 10,000 babies, that’s a very unusual event.”
Dr. Paul credits the Kennedy family’s support and Jessica’s dedication to nutrition and prenatal care for the healthy delivery. “This is the best pregnancy outcome you could expect in this situation.”
“We’re hoping for the best, obviously, but were pretty terrified [of] what’s about to come our way,” said Jessica. The Kennedys are expecting sleepless nights and non-stop diaper changes ahead.
When asked if they were done having babies now, the response from Jessica was without hesitation. “Yes! Yes. We’re finished!”
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