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Incredible odds: Fairbanks couple has identical triplets

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 4:13 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - A Fairbanks couple recently had identical triplets - and according to experts, the odds of that are incredibly slim.

According to Dr. Jessica Highfill, MD at Tanana Valley Clinic OBGYN & Women’s Health, the odds of having not just triplets, but identical triplets. is amazingly low. “It was such an amazing experience to help take care of and deliver these amazing girls! Triplets are incredibly rare, less than 0.1% of pregnancies. This is the second set of triplets I have delivered in Fairbanks in the last 2 years. I’m so honored to be part of their care and it was such a pleasure to take care of this family.”

The parents, Kaylee and Nigel Morton were stunned when they learned that they were going to have triplets.

“Shocked! We first found out that they were twins so that was already shocking but we were very excited, and then at the next appointment we found out that there were three. So we felt very blessed, but there is definitely that overwhelming factor of being constantly outnumbered,” said Kaylee Morton. “It is so cool, they’re like instant best friends and it’s really fun that we get to look at them and see that they’re different right now and you can tell them apart. But they are also identical, so you can see how similar they really are. It’s very cool, it’s just super awesome.”

According to Dr. Laura Brunner, Medical Director of Natal Intensive Care Unit at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital (FMH), having triplets comes with its own set of medical risks. Dr. Brunner explained, “Triplets are super uncommon, and one of the things that happens with triplets is it’s just hard to carry three babies inside of one mom. Triplets frequently are born early before their due date, and so Kaylee and Nigel’s babies were born at 34 weeks or about six weeks before their due date.”

Premature babies require special assistance for the first few weeks after being born according to Dr. Brunner. “[These] babies can have a little bit of trouble with their breathing, they can need some fluids and need help with feeding, and have trouble regulating their temperatures. So it took the girls a couple of weeks to figure out how to do all those things all by themselves.”

And the delivery required a team of 27 medical professionals to ensure the health of the mother and her children.

“Organizing a delivery of three preterm triplets is a giant logistical puzzle. We had wonderful staff in the main operating room at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital - our entire NICU team and our OB team - so we had 27 people in total to be at the delivery of these three babies,” said Dr. Brunner. “We needed a team to take care of mom, and then a team for each of the preterm babies. So we had mom in one room and then each of the three babies had an entire care team with their own doctor and their own nurses to take care of them right after delivery. Then they spent a few weeks in the NICU lab at FMH afterwards and then were home.”

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