When expecting parents Allison and Wes Rhoa went for their first ultrasound, the technician told Wes that he better sit down.
The newlywed Philadelphia couple thought they were pregnant with one child; instead, the technician informed them that they would soon have triplets.
While triplets are a rare enough phenomenon in and of itself, the Rhoa girls are literally one in a million: they are naturally-conceived, identical triplet girls.
At 33 weeks, Allison gave birth by C-section to her three daughters: Ava, Avery, and Alissa. As for the girls’ middle names, the parents settled on Grace, Faith, and Hope.
“I still can’t believe that it happened,” the new mother said, who added that it was definitely not what they were expecting. “We couldn’t be happier now that they’re here."
Dr. Eddie Chang, a neonatologist at Abington Memorial Hospital, explained that these birth circumstances are so rare because all the embryos come from the same zygote and have all split from it.
The babies were delivered on Feb. 5.
Although born considerably before their due date, all the girls are reported to be breathing on their own, and are expected to leave the hospital in a few weeks. Each infant weighed just four pounds at birth.
“One of the challenges with premature babies in general is that they don’t have the neurologic or developmental ability to eat by mouth yet,” Dr. Chang explained. The girls temporarily have tubes for supplemental nutrition.
“As soon as you’re done feeding all three and the other ones are rested you’ve got to start all over again,” said Wes, who has described the process of caring for his new, large family as “non-stop.”
Neither parent has a familial history of multiple births.
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