Katie Craw, 26, from Pentre Maelor, Wales, was left stunned after being told her second child was actually three at a scan, and she had to put hospital tags on them to tell them apart
A mum beat staggering odds of 200million to one to give birth to naturally conceived identical triplets – doubling the size of her family overnight.
Shocked Katie Craw, 26, said she and partner Rob Ellis almost fainted when they were told their second child was actually three at their 12-week scan.
Usually triplets are non identical and are created when two eggs are fertilised and one goes on to grow into twins.
But Katie, from Pentre Maelor, Wales, is one of just a handful of women in Britain to have identical triplets – known as monozygotic – where the fertilised egg splits into three after conception.
It makes miracle tots Tommy, Joshua and Eddie – born by emergency cesarean on February 9 – genetically identical.
Katie pregnant three days before birth ( Image: Triangle News)
Hilariously, Katie and Rob initially had to leave the tots’ hospital tags on in order to tell them apart.
Katie said: “When I found out I was pregnant with three I thought ‘We can’t afford a big car or a bigger house.’ It was a lot to take in.
“But my nanna said to me things happen for a reason and these are the cards life has dealt you.
“And now they’re here, I just feel like I’m in a bubble of happiness. They’re absolutely smashing.”
The couple already had a four-year-old son Jacob, born in 2015, and wanted him to be at school when they started trying for their second.
Triplets Tommy, Joshua and Eddie ( Image: Triangle News)
Amazingly Katie got pregnant the second month of trying and they excitedly prepared to welcome a new baby brother or sister.
But going in for their 12-week scan at their local hospital, the Wrexham Maelor Hospital, they were about to get the shock of their lives.
Katie wasn’t as far along as she thought and was only actually at eight weeks’ gestation with not one but three babies.
Katie explained: “I’d started to fit into my old maternity clothes and was getting a bit of a podge so we thought I was a lot further along.
“Within five seconds of the sonographer having the scanner on my tummy she asked me to take a deep breath in.
Baby scans ( Image: Triangle News)
“I thought she was going to tell me some bad news but she just came out with ‘I can see three heartbeats.’
“I just knew she wasn’t joking. They kept saying to me you are taking this really well and I thought ‘I am not taking this really well!”
Katie added: “We were taken to a side room. I was crying and Rob was as white as a sheet.
“They said how rare it was but they didn’t know how rare at that point. They thought it was two eggs where one had split.
“They told us about all the complications but they said you can still have three healthy babies.”
Katie with son Jacob, four, plus triplets Tommy, Joshua and Eddie ( Image: Triangle News)
Two weeks later the couple returned for another scan where it was discovered that the babies each had their own sac of fluid.
The pregnancy went swimmingly, with Katie seeing her midwife weekly and being scanned every fortnight to make sure the little ones were developing properly.
But at 26 weeks, the consultants in Wrexham began to worry.
Katie with partner Rob Ellis plus the triplets ( Image: Triangle News)
Tommy, who was the presenting triplet closest to the birth canal, looked like he wasn’t gaining weight.
Katie was given a steroid injection and booked in to see an expert in multiple births at Liverpool Womens’ Hospital 35 miles away.
There, docs said they thought it was unlikely the triplets would be identical and thought the Welsh hospital had made an error.
The triplets were born at odds of 200million to one ( Image: Triangle News)
Katie added: “Before the doctor scanned me he had a look at my notes and he said ‘I don’t want to rain on your parade but the chances of you being pregnant with identical triplets is miniscule – I’ve never seen it myself – so the team in Wrexham have probably got it wrong.’
“He was convinced he’d find two separate placentas that had fused together. We were resigned to the fact we were having triplets by this point so I wasn’t really bothered about how they got there – we’d already got over the shock.
“When he realised they were identical, even he was amazed.
Katie’s son Jacob, four, with the baby scans ( Image: Triangle News)
“He said he’d eat his words as it was something he’d never seen before. He said it was textbook stuff that he was seeing.”
The babies carried on growing at brilliant rates and Katie was booked in for a cesarean at 32 weeks – normal practice with multiple births.
But at 28 weeks, Katie, a former prison worker, began suffering contractions.She spent five days back in Liverpool as they tried to stop them and was then sent home for bed rest.
Katie’s partner Rob Ellis and son Jacob, four, plus triplets Tommy, Joshua and Eddie ( Image: Triangle News)
However at 30 weeks and one day, they started up again and she was rushed by ambulance to hospital in Wrexham.
The plan was for her to undergo surgery in Liverpool, but there wasn’t enough time to get her there.
Welder Rob, 29, was at her bedside as she had an emergency cesarean on February 9, with Tommy born at 17.50 weighing 2lbs 11.5oz, Joshua at 17.51 weighing 3lbs 4.5oz and Eddie at 17.52 at 3lbs 3.5oz.
“The whole team at the Maelor dealt with it so unbelievably well, I can’t thank them enough,” Katie said.
“I was so scared but it was like a bubble of excitement, people were making jokes, making me smile, the whole team were amazing.
The boys in hospital ( Image: Triangle News)
“Tommy came out and took a big breath and screamed and the whole of the theatre cheered. And it was the same with Joshua and Eddie. I was full of adrenaline.”
Tommy and Joshua were transferred that night to Glan Clwyd Hospital in Bodelwyddan, while Eddie followed a day later.
Katie was discharged after a week and spent a further fortnight in parent accommodation, but it was then shut as the Coronavirus pandemic began to take hold across Britain.
It meant she and Rob had to spend the next eight weeks juggling work and childcare for Jacob while visiting the tots.
Katie with triplets Tommy, Joshua and Eddie ( Image: Triangle News)
Thankfully Josh and Eddie only spent almost seven weeks in hospital and Tommy came home ten days after them on April 10 – with the family together for the first time.
Overjoyed Katie added: “It was difficult not having us all together. There were times when I felt really lonely and I could never see this day.
“None of them have really had any issues and a lot of other mums do so I feel really lucky.
“I keep thinking I’m going to crash or have an emotional day but I’m just so happy we’re all home and cracking on.”
And she says the new family-of-six have been bowled over by the kindness they have received from members of their community.