In late March, a Killeen mother delivered a rare form of triplet daughters at Scott & White Memorial Hospital – Temple. In June, two of the three babies were finally able to go home from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and their sister will be joining them this week to reunite all three for the first time outside of the hospital.
This unique pregnancy is known as monoamniotic monochorionic (MoMo) twins and a singleton, where two identical twins share the one amniotic sac while a third baby lives in another amniotic sac alone. Doctors estimate that the chances of a birth of this very rare type range between one in 120,000 to one in a million.
Parents Gregory and Lesheca Lynch know their new daughters are remarkable both in healthcare and within their family.
“I feel like this is something really special,” said Lesheca. “God doesn’t give them to everyone like this.”
The triplets spent time in the McLane Children’s Scott & White NICU waiting to join their big sisters, Amaya, 7, and Ziara, 4, at home. This family of seven is doing well and coping with their new reality.
Full of Surprises
Surprises come in all shapes and sizes. For Gregory and Lesheca, the unexpected kept on coming.
Lesheca suspected she was pregnant in October, and the pregnancy was confirmed via ultrasound. She began her prenatal care, during which the Lynch’s were surprised to find out she was not pregnant with one baby but two.
On a follow-up visit to monitor the babies, they found out Lesheca was having triplets. The couple was not using fertility medications and has no family history of twin or triplet births on either side.
“When I found out about my third baby, I had an anxiety attack right there on the table,” said Lesheca. “I was breathing hard and in complete shock. I immediately started thinking about how life was going to change.”
With the triplets confirmed, she was transferred to Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas, for care during her high-risk pregnancy.
“Even though I was nervous, it made me feel comfortable knowing that these doctors had years of experience dealing with triplets,” said Lesheca, who was also born at Scott & White Memorial Hospital.
Triplets, Monoamniotic Monochorionic Twins and a Singleton, Too Rare to Realize
After dealing with a severe illness, Lesheca was admitted to the hospital on March 5 so that the triplets could be constantly monitored. The babies were evaluated for three or four hours every day through a series of stress tests, ultrasounds and blood work.
This constant watch significantly increases the rate of survival for multiples and helps to reduce the risk placed on the babies and the mother.
Nathan Drever, MD, is one of five physicians at Scott & White Memorial who looks after high-risk pregnancies and said Lesheca was a pleasure to care for during her pregnancy.
“She was ready to do whatever needed to be done to make sure her babies had the best chance to make it,” said Dr. Drever. “She was very selfless in how she made her decisions and was a great patient despite a tough pregnancy.”
Thanks to careful monitoring, the staff noticed when one of the monoamniotic monochorionic twins suggested it was time to deliver early. They rushed Lesheca to an emergency c-section delivery at 28 weeks and one day. She had hoped to keep the babies in there as long as possible.
“It happened so quickly,” said Lesheca. “I experienced all of the emotions all at once. I’m glad my husband got there, and everything went really well.”
One in 1 Million
The staff at Scott & White Memorial hadn’t seen anything quite like this before, but, through group collaboration, they were able to provide exceptional care.
“As a group, we were able to meet together regularly and review all of the latest cases of literature that we could find,” said Dr. Drever. “This helped us develop a plan as a team and coordinate these efforts to the staff, so they all understood what we were trying to do.”
The Lynch MoMo twins were closely monitored because the two babies each had their own umbilical cord within the shared amniotic sac. This makes it particularly easy for the twins to become entangled in each other’s cords or to compress one another’s cords and endanger their oxygen and food supply. The survival rate for monoamniotic twins is approximately 50 percent.
“They have stuck it out,” Lesheca said. “We have come a long way. I was very nervous at the beginning because of their survival, but now I’m ready to show them off.”
Rollercoaster of Emotions
“Having triplets can happen to anybody,” said Lesheca. “If it does happen to you, don’t be scared because there’s a reason why it happened. Just don’t be scared.”
This is what Lesheca was telling herself as she visited her new babies daily. She was in a very emotional state, as she is trying to make the best of her new reality.
“I still worry about bills, I wonder how I’m going to get a bigger car to support this family,” said Lesheca. “Then my emotions turn to my babies, wondering if they’re okay.”
Her husband, Gregory, works full-time and picked up classes to help secure the family’s finances in the future. Before her pregnancy, Lesheca worked for eight years in long-term medical care as a certified nurse assistant, and she is grateful for the support of caring nurses and staff.
“The NICU nurses walk me through what’s going on, and they’re very supportive,” said Lesheca. “I’m staying across the street, and I go over there as often as I can to be with my babies.”
Lesheca is excited to bring them home, and, with her background as a nurse, she is prepared to care for them and monitor oxygen levels as needed.
Miracle Triplets Staying Strong
The Lynch monoamniotic monochorionic twins were born weighing 2 pounds and the fraternal, singleton baby weighing 1 pound, 14 ounces. Lesheca knows caring for pre-term babies is difficult, and every day it was something new.
The babies needed their lungs monitored. One of the babies struggled with fluid on the brain, and two endured heart surgery. They recently have been able to be bottle-fed.
Because of these complications, there was a period of time when the Lynch’s could not hold their girls.
“But when we did get to hold them, it was such a good feeling. It was amazing,” Lesheca said.
The Lynch family named the monoamniotic monochorionic twins Zaniya and Adrianna and their third baby Zacarri.
“Although it gets hard at times, it’s doable,” Lesheca said. “It’s an up and down roller coaster.”
Lesheca was anxious to introduce her two older daughters to the triplets, and now they are excited for the babies to come home. Lesheca’s mother has been a great help in keeping the household running, while the Lynch family tries to balance all of the commuting from Temple to Killeen.
Stronger Than Ever
Above all, the Lynch’s story is one they want to share and celebrate.
“I just want to share my experience with everybody,” Lynch said. “I want people to hear my special story because I know there are others out there, and I want them to know it is a positive thing.”
The babies will still need to be monitored for their oxygen levels and food intake, but they have come a long way.
“Through all of this, I learned that I’m a very calm person and that I’m strong,” Lesheca said. “Stronger than I thought, and now stronger than ever.”