New addition almost doubles size of family
A suburban Detroit couple who have two older children are adjusting to life after becoming parents to identical triplets. It's a multiple birth that's rare.
The Whiteley family lives in St. Clair Shores, Mich., The family celebrated the one-month birthdays for babies Alexander, Nicholas and Timothy. The brothers were born Jan. 25 at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. They spent nearly a month in the newborn intensive care unit.
The boys are healthy, their mother, Lauren Whiteley, said. Their older brothers are ages 3 and 2.
"I always wanted a big family. I guess this is the way to do it, get them all at once," Whiteley joked.
Lauren Whiteley, 32, had an ultrasound at about eight or nine weeks to confirm the pregnancy. But she didn't know what she was seeing.
"It was the ultrasound tech that kind of left the room, came back and I thought something was wrong," Whiteley said. "She said 'No it's good news.' I said "Oh my gosh! It's twins, isn't it?' She said, 'No, I see three.' This was the shock of a lifetime."
Michael Whiteley, 31, said he asked his wife several times. "'Triplets? Are you sure?' It was very overwhelming."
Multiple births don't run in either of their families. "Not even twins," Lauren Whiteley said.
Identical triplets also were born Dec. 5 to a woman in Billings, Montana. Dr. Savitri Kumar is a neonatologist at Henry Ford Hospital. The physician said data on identical triplet births by natural conception varies. It's between 60,000 to one in 2 million.
Most doctors call the chances "one-in-a-million," Kumar said.
Four sets of triplets were born at the hospital last year. But they weren't identical, she added.
"This is the very first set of identical triplets I have ever seen," she said.
For the Whiteleys, it will help that both sets of grandparents live within a mile. Aunts and uncles also are in the area.
Critical thinking challenge: What do the two older brothers need to adjust to?