By Dave Andrusko
I missed this the first time around, but the British publication the Daily Mail last week updated us on the progress of identical triplets born last October to a mother who suffers from cystic fibrosis, a medical first.
Kandace Smith of Louisiana managed to carry Brooklyn, Savannah, and Dakota for 28 ½ weeks before they were delivered by Caesarian section, each weighing around two pounds.
Doctors at Tulane-Lakeside Hospital recommended an abortion. Obstetrician Gabriella Pridjian told the Daily Mail, “We were very concerned that her lung function wouldn’t be able to tolerate the triplet pregnancy.”
But Kandace and her fiancé, Steven Bowers, had other plans.
“They told me that to have a termination would be better as it would make sure that I survived,” she explained through tears. “But I was determined. I knew that it was going to be difficult and risky for me, but I wanted to take that risk. I had never thought it was possible that I could ever be a mum, so I wanted to have that chance.”
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. While CF cause infertility in younger men, it’s not true that women with CF cannot conceive—they can.
However a spokeswoman for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust told the Daily Mail, “We have never come across a case where a woman with cystic fibrosis has given birth to triplets.” She added, “Pregnancy is a strain on the body anyway, but for a person with cystic fibrosis it can be life threatening because of the extra pressure on the lungs. And with triplets, that risk is trebled.”
According to Meg Farris of Louisiana television station wwltv.com, the babies were discovered one at a time. The first ultrasound revealed one heart beat; the second (two weeks later) two heart beats; and still a later ultrasound found three tiny heartbeats
Doctors closely monitored Smith’s pregnancy. Smith spent half those 28 weeks in Tulane-Lakeside Hospital. She received medications to help her breathe, fight off infections, and prevent the triplets from being born too early to survive.
But “I got worse and worse, that’s why we had to take the babies out because I didn’t think I was going to survive,” Smith told Farris. On October 4, a medical team safely delivered Brooklyn, Savannah, and Dakota.
The Daily Mail update tells the readers that the triplets are doing really well. “None of them needed to go on a ventilator after they were born and initial tests have shown they are healthy.”
“It has been the hardest fight of my life, but it has been worth every second,” Smith told the Daily Mail. “I would have died for my girls if I’d had to.”
Fiancé Bowers may have said it best: “Now I’m in love with four girls.”
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