In an age of fertility drugs, natural triplets are rare.
Kimberly and Gavin Fradel, a couple from Wake Forest, North Carolina, who have a two-year-old son, Gavin Jr, were trying for a second child and thrilled when they conceived. What they weren't expecting was the concerned look from their doctor when Kimberly was in for her eight-week ultrasound:
" had a look on her face, and I said 'Well, what's wrong?' I could tell something was wrong, and she said 'I think you're having multiples. I think you're having triplets,' and my first response was 'Oh God no, please God no,' and then she said 'And I think they're identical.'
"And for her it was really great to see and exciting. For me, the excitement came, but my first feeling was sheer panic," Kimberly said.
The statistic for having triplets naturally is 1 in 8,100 which accounts for only 30% of all triplets born. The other 70% of triplet births and multiple births, in general, have been associated with the increasingly common use of fertility therapies such as ovulation-inducing drugs and assisted reproductive technologies (ART). The trend of older mothers nowadays also contributes to increased multiples births because of elevated FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) as women age.
But here we have the Fradels and their three identical baby girls who are so tiny and hard to tell apart, the parents have implemented a special trick so that they don't mix them up!
The Fradel girls are starting out early as little fashionistas as the family has been painting the toenails of Grace, Stella, and Emily each in a different color so that they can tell them apart!
So what's life with triplets like?
"Life with triplets? They keep you busy," Gavin Sr. said. "It's an assembly line as far as diaper changes and feedings go. The only thing I wish I could do more of, and I'm sure my wife could agree is, be able just to hold them. Like with our son, we were able to hold him because he was the only child, hold him a lot. You need to share the amount of time that you can hold each girl."