After undergoing infertility treatment in order to have their first daughter, a British couple was gobsmacked to learn that they had conceived identical triplets naturally. The odds are roughly one in a million.
The couple’s three healthy baby boys were born on March 12, 2020, just days before the United Kingdom’s lockdown restrictions came into effect. From the comfort of home, proud parents Lina Sapia, 35, and her husband, Fabio, 37, are now introducing their identical triplets to the world.
Lina and Fabio wanted to expand their family after the birth of their first child, Alba, now a toddler. “We were trying for three years before we decided to have IVF with Alba, which was successful first time,” the stay-at-home mom from Walton-on-Thames in Surrey, England, said according to Caters News.
The parents assumed that they would need to pursue further infertility treatments if they wanted to have more children. However, in September 2019, both were shocked and delighted to discover that Lina was pregnant.
“I experienced a second miscarriage three months prior to discovering I was pregnant with triplets in September,” Lisa explained, “but I didn’t get my hopes up as I feared it may happen again.”
A week-6 scan further shocked the couple by revealing not one but three tiny heartbeats.
Lina told her nurse that she felt “slightly bigger than before” moments before discovering that she was carrying more than one baby. “We were in total shock,” Lina recalled. “Fabio, who is a risk analyst, was nervously laughing in the corner […] We felt like we had won the lottery.”
Neither Lina nor Fabio have had multiple siblings in their family.
“I felt anxious throughout the pregnancy as I feared something bad may happen,” Lina admitted, “and I couldn’t deal with another miscarriage. But we had scans every two weeks to ensure everything was fine; it was incredible watching them grow.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, triplets are far less common than twins, and identical triplets are still rarer. The medical community has reached a vague consensus that identical triplets arise roughly once in every million pregnancies, but Dr. Victor Khouzami, Chairman of Obstetrics at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, told The Baltimore Sun, “No one really knows.”
Pregnancies involving multiples, however, have a higher known risk of complication, states Stanford Children’s Health, and nearly all “higher-order multiples”—pregnancies involving three babies or more—are born prematurely.
Lina said, according to Caters News, that she found juggling childcare for her daughter, Alba, and the latter stages of pregnancy extremely tiring. However, she enjoyed a healthy pregnancy and made it to 32 weeks before going into labor to deliver her triplets.
She gave birth to three boys: Luis, who weighed 2 pounds 8 ounces (approx. 1. 13 kg), Piero, who weighed 3 pounds 6 ounces (approx. 1.53 kg), and Remi, who was born at 3 pounds 12 ounces (approx. 1.7 kg) at St. Peters Hospital in Chertsey, Surrey, on March 12. The boys were lucky to meet their grandparents before the United Kingdom went into lockdown in response to the spreading pandemic shortly thereafter.
“The triplets were like superstars,” Lina recalled, “as many of the staff hadn’t seen identical triplets before. However, their father wasn’t allowed to meet the newborns for three weeks whilst they were in hospital due to the restrictions,” Lina explained, “only via FaceTime, which was difficult.”
The savvy mom, wishing to differentiate between her identical babies as easily as possible, used velcro wristbands printed with each of the triplets’ initials—”L,” “P,” and “R”—to limit confusion. “The wristbands are mainly for night feeds,” Lina clarified, “as there has been an occasion when one baby nearly got fed twice.”
Lina and Fabio credited the hospital’s NHS staff for being “absolutely incredible” throughout the duration of Lina’s pregnancy and in the aftermath of the birth amid lockdown restrictions. However, the grateful mom also identified a silver lining.
“The lockdown has helped us form a bond and get into a routine with them,” Lina said, adding that her daughter, Alba, adores her baby siblings. The toddler kisses each of her baby brothers every morning and once again before bed.
Lina and Fabio now chronicle family life on their Instagram page, aptly named “Three Little Men & A Little Lady.”