PONTYPOOL, Wales, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- A Welsh couple said Monday a strict schedule for tasks helps them care for their identical triplet daughters.
Ffion, Madison and Paige Gilbert, born six weeks ago to Karen and Ian Gilbert, are now home in Pontypool, The South Wales Argus reported. The triplets spent about a week in incubators after they were delivered by emergency C-section two months premature and another four weeks in the hospital.
The Gilberts already had a 3-year-old daughter, Faye, and knew taking care of three newborns would be tough. The Argus broadcast an appeal on their behalf for advice from other parents in March.
"The word we kept hearing was routine so we have developed a strict one," Karen Gilbert said. "They are fed every four hours with Paige being fed and changed first, then Madison and then Ffion. It's the only way we can manage as you only have one pair of hands."
Multiple births have become more common because of in vitro fertilization. But the odds of identical triplets resulting from a single egg splitting with one of the resulting eggs splitting again, are still huge -- one in 200 million.
Once doctors realized Karen Gilbert was carrying triplets the couple were offered the chance to terminate the pregnancy. There was fear the fetuses might not survive because they would not have enough space in utero.
The Gilberts decided to forge ahead with careful monitoring. The triplets each weighed between 3 pounds 4 ounces and 3 pounds 8 ounces at birth.