HOUSTON—Trenton Burns, 7, wanted nothing more than a baby brother or sister. He made it known to his mother and father with a special letter.
“Maybe about a year ago he wrote a letter to God asking for siblings,” said his 42 year-old mother, Zel Burns.
Burns and her husband, Errol, decided to answer their son’s prayer, or at least try. She was 41 at the time and thought her odds of getting pregnant without assistance were slim. After a few discouraging months and a failed pregnancy, the Burns decided they were done. On a return visit, Mrs. Burns said she was told to “come back in a month and we’ll take care of it.” A month later she returned, “And I was pregnant,” she said.
That was just the beginning of the family’s surprises. Not only was mom expecting, but she was pregnant with triplets.
“We sat around for an ultrasound. The radiologist comes in and matter-of-factly says ‘We see three heartbeats,’” the shocked mother said. “I was like, ‘Wait. No you didn’t say three!”’
Her husband was just as astonished.
“As bad as I wanted a child, never could I imagine three at one time,’” Errol Burns said.
Dr. Brian Kirshon, M.D., an OB/GYN who specializes in high-risk obstetrics notes just how rare his patient’s case is, especially her ability to conceive multiples without infertility treatment.
“The incidence of spontaneous triplets is one in 80 squared, so that’s one in 6,400. That’s a pretty rare situation and then to compound that with identical triplets,” said Dr. Kirshon. “That case is probably one in one million. It’s extremely uncommon.”
It was exceptional, indeed, but challenged from the start.
“We progressed along between 18 and 19 weeks and at that time a condition called twin-to-twin transfusion happened,” Zell Burns said. “It’s when one baby is taking all the fluids and nutrients from the other.”
Devastated, she and her husband were forced to decide to lose one of their baby girls in order to save the others.
”I’m finally wrapping my mind around this and now you’re telling me no. It’s not working out,” she said.
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