Monday, April 20, 2009

How do you make identical triplets?

Prior to my first ultrasound with the girls, I had never heard of identical triplets. That doctor's appointment was quite shocking all around but trying to understand the dynamics of identical triplets was interesting to say the least. I should note that I had always had an odd fascination with identical twins so it's quite ironic that I ended up with identical triplets.

Identical triplets are formed when an egg splits (creating identical twins) and then one of those "twins" splits again. Rich and I have always been curious as to which of the girls was created from that second split. I believe that Anna was from the second split. Partly because my doctor told us that with egg splitting, birth defects are quite common. Although, of all the other identical triplets I've come across on the internet, there are no birth defects. That's what Anna's condition was labeled as. "Birth defect. " I remember breathing a sigh of relief when the doctor who analyzed the ultrasound told us that she had a birth defect. I thought, "Birth defect? It's not life threatening? I can handle a birth defect."

So we've concluded that Anna and Emily (Babies B and C) are from the second split. They weighed exactly the same at birth. Allie (Baby A) weighed slightly more. Maybe someday in the future, scientists will have created a DNA test that can determine how identical triplets were formed - which baby resulted from what split. It's interesting because lately I've noticed Anna using her left hand a lot more. Sets of mirror image twins have a lefty and a righty.

And I have to add that of the billion comments I've received, only one stranger actually understood how identical triplets happen. She said, "You sure have weak eggs, girl!"

10 comments:

His Mom said...

Weak eggs? No way. Who else can turn one egg into three? ;)

I learned something tonight! I knew how id twins worked, but never thought about the triplets! I know a family (in a roundabout way) with identical quads. Talk about splitting eggs!

Triplethefunplus2 said...

I have always wondered which of my boys came second. Since you said that about the "birth defects" I guess I can conclude that Dylan came second, since he was born with one kidney? He was smaller at birth also...I find it all fascinating as well!

4 Little Men and Girly Twins said...

it's an absolute miracle! I am still amazed that we have ID twins. God is so great!

Britt

Hope's Mama said...

No no, you have super eggs!!

Helen said...

Interesting about the "birth defect" thing! I never heard that!

I didn't know identical triplets existed either and that's often what I tell people when they say "I didn't know that was possible!".

Emily and Drew said...

My sister is having identical twins (original due date of Oct 20th) and she thought I was crazy when I told her that she must have a weak egg. Then she talked to the Dr. One point for little sister knowing something she didn't.

I love reading about your girls, especially Emily since we share a name. I have a 20 month old son and he says "Hi Girls" whenever he catches me reading your blog.

kdliberty said...

That split makes sense. Identical multiples are more at risk for birth defect but usually it is cardiac. (However,there is a well known set of twins conjoined at the head were one of them has bad spina bifida.) My theory about why they are more at risk for birth defects is the egg doesn't split evenly. By the way, the Dionne quints were identical!

Sarah said...

Love the comments, everyone!

Pam said...

yeah, i have my theories about mine too. i think linus was the half that didn't split again, mostly because the membrane between oliver and miles was the thinnest one, the ones they couldn't find the membrane between until 23 weeks.

Meluch+3 said...

I always wonder which slit each of mine are from. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who spends time wondering!