BALTIMORE — When Kristen and Thomas Hewitt of Baltimore were expecting their first child this year, they went in for a sonogram.
The technician looked at the screen and got very quiet.
“So to break the silence, I jokingly said, ‘So, is there more than one in there?’ ” Tom Hewitt said. “The technician then said, ‘Yes,’ and then I asked, ‘Is there more than two?’ and again she said, ‘Yes, actually, there are three.’
“Kristen and I then looked at each other with pure joy and shock.”
On October 6, the Hewitts welcomed rare identical triplets at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. Born first was Thomas III, a.k.a. Trip, who weighed in at 4 pounds, 3 ounces. He was followed by Finnegan “Finn” James (3 pounds, 6 ounces) and then Oliver “Ollie” Dean (3 pounds, 12 ounces).
The triplets, whose arrival was announced by the hospital this week, are extremely rare. Of the roughly 4 million babies born in the U.S. each year, only a handful are “spontaneous” identical triplets, conceived without the use of fertility drugs.
The triplets were born via C-section at 33½ weeks.
Identical spontaneous triplets are so unusual because the embryos come from one fertilized egg and then separate, the hospital said.
“Incidence of fraternal twins are much higher (90%) than identical (10%), but it is even a more significant ratio for triplets,” said Victor A. Khouzami, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and medical director of Women’s and Infant Services at the medical center.
“As you can see, to have a patient with spontaneous identical triplets is incredibly rare,” Khouzami said, adding that the three were born in “excellent condition.”
Kristen, 35, and Thomas, 33, met in 2001 while students at Ohio State University and will celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary in December. After trying for more than two years to conceive, Kristen Hewitt found out that she was pregnant in mid-March, a few days after the arrival of Thomas’s nephew.
“After they had their baby, my sister in-law said to us, we’re up next. Literally the following weekend, I took a pregnancy test, and it was positive,” Kristen Hewitt said in a release provided by the hospital.
Kristen’s parents moved from Ohio to Baltimore to assist the couple.
“Through our relationship, we’ve found that Tom and I work the best under pressure, so we take the triplets as not only a blessing, but also a challenge that we’re most certainly up for,” Kristen said. “Finding a new place to live will be another welcomed test since our current row home is not conducive to raising triplets.”
Although births of spontaneous identical triplets are rare, there have been at least two others in the U.S. this year. A couple from Brightwaters, New York, had identical triplets in September, preceded by a couple from St. Clair Shores, Michigan, who welcomed identical triplets in February. Neither couple used fertility drugs.