Sʜᴏᴄᴋᴇᴅ Katie Craw 26 from Wᴀʟᴇs, said she and partner Rob Ellis almost ꜰᴀɪɴᴛᴇᴅ when they were told their second child was ᴀᴄᴛᴜᴀʟʟʏ ᴛʜʀᴇᴇ at their 12-week sᴄᴀɴ. Usually ᴛʀɪᴘʟᴇᴛs are non identical and are created when two eggs are ꜰᴇʀᴛɪʟɪsᴇᴅ and one goes on to grow into ᴛᴡɪɴs. But Katie is one of just a handful of women in Bʀɪᴛᴀɪɴ to have identical ᴛʀɪᴘʟᴇᴛs – known as ᴍᴏɴᴏᴢʏɢᴏᴛɪᴄ – where the ꜰᴇʀᴛɪʟɪsᴇᴅ egg sᴘʟɪᴛs into ᴛʜʀᴇᴇ after ᴄᴏɴᴄᴇᴘᴛɪᴏɴ.
The couple already had a four-year-old son Jacob, ʙᴏʀɴ in 2015, and wanted him to be at school when they started ᴛʀʏɪɴɢ for their second. Luckily Katie got pregnant the second month of ᴛʀʏɪɴɢ and they excitedly prepared to welcome a new baby brother or sister. But going in for their 12-week sᴄᴀɴ at their local ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ, they were about to get the sʜᴏᴄᴋ of their lives. Katie wasn’t as far along as she thought and was only ᴀᴄᴛᴜᴀʟʟʏ at eight weeks’ ɢᴇsᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴ with not one but ᴛʜʀᴇᴇ babies.
Katie explained: “I’d started to fit into my old ᴍᴀᴛᴇʀɴɪᴛʏ clothes and was getting a bit of a ᴘᴏᴅɢᴇ so we thought I was a lot further along. Within five seconds of the sᴏɴᴏɢʀᴀᴘʜᴇʀ having the sᴄᴀɴner on my ᴛᴜᴍᴍʏ she asked me to take a deep breath in. I thought she was going to tell me some ʙᴀᴅ news but she just came out with ‘I can see ᴛʜʀᴇᴇ ʜᴇᴀʀᴛʙᴇᴀᴛs. I know she’s telling the truth, they always say I’m doing great but I think I’m not good.
Two weeks later the couple returned for another sᴄᴀɴ where it was ᴅɪsᴄᴏᴠᴇʀᴇᴅ that the babies each had their own sac of fluid. The ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ went swimmingly, with Katie seeing her ᴍɪᴅᴡɪꜰᴇ weekly and being sᴄᴀɴɴᴇᴅ every fortnight to make sure the little ones were developing properly. But at 26 weeks, the consultants in Wʀᴇxʜᴀᴍ ʙᴇɢᴀɴ ᴛᴏ ᴡᴏʀʀʏ. Tommy, who was the presenting ᴛʀɪᴘʟᴇᴛ closest to the ʙɪʀᴛʜ ᴄᴀɴᴀʟ, looked like he wasn’t gaining weight. Katie was ɢɪᴠᴇɴ ᴀ sᴛᴇʀᴏɪᴅ ɪɴᴊᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ and booked in to see an expert in multiple ʙɪʀᴛʜs ᴀᴛ Lɪᴠᴇʀᴘᴏᴏʟ Womens’ ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ 35 miles away.
Katie added: “Before the ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀ sᴄᴀɴɴᴇᴅ me he had a look at my notes and he said I don’t want to rain on your parade but the chances of you being ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴛ ᴡɪᴛʜ ɪᴅᴇɴᴛɪᴄᴀʟ ᴛʀɪᴘʟᴇᴛs is miniscule – I’ve never seen it myself – so the team in Wʀᴇxʜᴀᴍ have probably got it wrong. He was convinced he’d find two sᴇᴘᴀʀᴀᴛᴇ ᴘʟᴀᴄᴇɴᴛᴀs that had fused together. We were ʀᴇsɪɢɴᴇᴅ to the fact we were having ᴛʀɪᴘʟᴇᴛs by this point so I wasn’t really bothered about how they got there – we’d already got over the sʜᴏᴄᴋ. When he realised they were identical, even he was amazed.”
The babies carried on growing at brilliant rates and Katie was booked in for a ᴄᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ at 32 weeks – ɴᴏʀᴍᴀʟ practice with ᴍᴜʟᴛɪᴘʟᴇ ʙɪʀᴛʜs. However at 30 weeks and one day, they sᴛᴀʀᴛᴇᴅ ᴜᴘ ᴀɢᴀɪɴ and she was rushed by ᴀᴍʙᴜʟᴀɴᴄᴇ to ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ in Wʀᴇxʜᴀᴍ. Welder Rob, 29, was at her ʙᴇᴅsɪᴅᴇ as she had an ᴇᴍᴇʀɢᴇɴᴄʏ ᴄᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ on February 9, with Tommy ʙᴏʀɴ at 17:50 weighing 2lbs 11.5oz, Joshua at 17:51 weighing 3lbs 4.5oz and Eddie at 17:52 at 3lbs 3.5oz.
Katie said: “The whole team at the Maelor ᴅᴇᴀʟᴛ with it so ᴜɴʙᴇʟɪᴇᴠᴀʙʟʏ well, I can’t thank them enough, I was so sᴄᴀʀᴇᴅ but it was like a bubble of ᴇxᴄɪᴛᴇᴍᴇɴᴛ, people were making jokes, making me smile, the whole team were amazing. Katie was discharged after a week and spent a further fortnight in parent accommodation, but it was then shut as the ᴄᴏʀᴏɴᴀᴠɪʀᴜs ᴘᴀɴᴅᴇᴍɪᴄ began to take hold across Bʀɪᴛᴀɪɴ. It meant she and Rob had to spend the next eight weeks juggling work and childcare for Jacob while visiting the tots. Thankfully Josh and Eddie only sᴘᴇɴᴛ ᴀʟᴍᴏsᴛ seven weeks in ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ and Tommy came home ten days after them on April 10 – with the family together for the first time.
Overjoyed Katie added: ‘It was ᴅɪꜰꜰɪᴄᴜʟᴛ not having us all together. There were times when I felt really lonely and I could never see this day. None of them have really had any ɪssᴜᴇs and a lot of other mums do so I feel really lucky. I keep thinking I’m going to ᴄʀᴀsʜ or have an emotional day but I’m just so happy we’re all home and cracking on.’ And she says the new family-of-six have been bowled over by the kindness they have received from members of their community. Neighbours have even left packs of nappies and other supplies on their doorstep anonymously to help the young couple financially.