Giving birth to multiple children is not uncommon, but the incidence of children being born with identical features occurs less often. In the case of one Oneonta, Alabama couple, they became parents to identical triplets on February 20, a rare instance which is estimated to happen just once in every 20 million births.
Amber Ertley and Levi Nelson were already the parents of two girls, Lillian Kyah (born April 13, 2010) and Josey Malana (born May 25, 2013), and were not planning on having any additional children.
However, the 24-year-old Ertley discovered that she was pregnant again last year. She was even more surprised when she was told during what was considered a routine ultrasound that three heartbeats were detected, meaning that she would be delivering triplets.
Ertley was scheduled to give birth in March, but that timetable was changed when she was discovered to be suffering from preeclampsia. That condition occurs in less than 10 percent of all pregnancies and usually takes place during the third trimester. It’s usually detected by the onset of high blood pressure or through discovering that a urine sample contains a high level of protein in it.
After being admitted on February 15 to the UAB Women & Infants Center in Birmingham, Ertley went into labor five days later, she underwent a cesarean section.
All of the children, Norah, Remi and Rylan, were born healthy, although their weight was listed as being approximately four pounds each. Despite the lower birth weight, none of the newborns required IV fluids or oxygen. Still, Norah was kept a few extra days due to a lower heart rate.
However, the birth itself took a toll on Ertley, who showed no signs of trouble during the first two births. After the third, Nelson, who was in the operating room with her, noticed that she appeared to be having a seizure.
At one point, Ertley had stopped breathing while on the operating table. She was successfully resuscitated and given a blood transfusion, staying at the hospital for approximately 10 days.
That trip home would last only four days until Ertley was readmitted to the hospital due to a resumption of the bleeding. That concern was addressed and she was discharged on March 7.
Due to the rarity of the situation and the mother’s health concerns, Ertley and the triplets travel along to Birmingham with Nelson’s mother for doctor appointments three or four times each week. Another family member watches the older children.
Not surprisingly, the expenses involving three newborns and two other children has put a financial strain on the couple’s household, especially since Nelson has been unable to work because of the situation. One of those expenses is diapers, which results in seven changes per day for each newborn. Other items include formula and other food.
Some of the couple’s neighbors and friends have attempted to alleviate the financial burden that they face, which resulted in the setting up of a GoFund Me page. This allows anyone who goes on the website to donate money on behalf of Ertley and Nelson.
The fund was set up on February 26 by Ashley Jones, who gives details about the situation and shows photographs of Ertley holding the triplets in her hospital bed. The request was to raise $25,000 for the family, and just over a month after its creation, the fund has seen a total of over $4,800 in donations.
That amount has come from 148 different people, many of whom have donated small amounts. Some have chosen to be anonymous when making such donations.