One mom was over the moon when she found out that she was expecting rare triplets. However, it wasn’t long before her delight turned to despair. Because, when doctors looked at her placenta, they discovered something very worrying indeed.
Sammi Edes hails from the city of Melbourne in Australia. At the end of 2014 she was a full-time mother to her little girl, Willow. What’s more, Edes then discovered that she was expecting a baby once again.
At her first scan, Edes was surprised to discover that this time around she was expecting twins. So, the expectant mom began preparing for life with two newborns. However, at her 20-week scan, doctors discovered something incredible.
While examining Edes’ growing stomach, doctors noticed something unexpected on the ultrasound monitor. There, on the screen, was an extra head. So, just like that, Edes learned that she was actually expecting triplets.
“I couldn’t believe when the sonographer left the room and came back to drop the bombshell that I wasn’t having twins, I was having identical triplets,” Edes revealed in an interview with the Daily Mail. Nonetheless, she was happy at the prospect of bringing three new babies into the world.
Edes was so excited about meeting her sons that she soon picked out names for them. She decided to call one baby Geoffrey and another Hunter. For the smallest one, she chose the name Thomas.
However, her joy would turn to despair just one month later. “Doctors told me at 25 weeks that it was unlikely Tommy would survive and that he might cause other complications for his unborn brothers,” Edes explained. What’s more, they presented her with an awful decision to make.
Medical experts told Edes that she could abort little Thomas in a bid to save her other unborn sons. “They asked me if I wanted to terminate him,” she continued. “It was awful but I didn’t want to play God.”
Surgeons can carry out the procedure, called a “reduction,” in multiple births. In these cases there’s often a limited amount of oxygen and nutrients for each baby. However, by removing one of the unborn babies, the others then have a better chance of survival.
Nonetheless, against her doctors’ advice, Edes decided to carry on with her pregnancy as normal. To her, trying to keep all three of them alive was a risk worth taking. “Everything happens for a reason,” she said. “I wanted to give all three of my boys the best chance at life so I continued with the pregnancy.”
As a result, Edes gave birth to all three boys in May 2015. Moreover, while Geoffrey and Hunter weighed 3 pounds, Thomas was just 2 pounds. All of them were significantly smaller than the average newborn weight, which is 7.5 pounds.
However, despite being born prematurely at 30 weeks, all three boys were relatively healthy. Doctors even expected little Thomas to grow into a happy little boy. Moreover, frankly, they couldn’t quite believe it.
As a result, they decided to conduct an experiment on the triplets’ placenta. The organ allows oxygen and nutrients to pass between a mother and her unborn babies during pregnancy. It’s attached to the lining of the womb, as well as each baby’s umbilical cord.
In order to discover just how many nutrients each triplet had been getting in the womb, doctors decided to dye the placenta. So, they injected ink into each of the babies’ umbilical cords. This then traveled down the blood vessels in the placenta to reveal just how much oxygen the babies had received.
What’s more, the results confirmed Edes’ doctors’ worst fears. Indeed, the ink showed that, while his brothers each enjoyed plenty of nutrients, Thomas’ oxygen and blood supply was weak. Consequently, it was a miracle that he survived.
“I couldn’t believe when I saw the dyed placenta. It really hit home what a fighter Tommy is and how far he’s come,” Edes said. “He had barely any access to food. Geoffrey and Hunter had the lion’s share and doctors were amazed he survived.”
“Now I know the full extent of how lucky Thomas is to be alive, it was a good thing they were delivered when they were, as if he had stayed in my womb any longer he definitely would’ve passed away,” she added. “Thankfully, they were all born healthy and I can’t wait to finally bring them home to meet their big sister.”
Geoffrey, Hunter and Thomas all went on to make a full recovery. So, proud Edes later shared the image of her dyed placenta on the Australian Multiple Births Association’s Facebook page. Furthermore, once live, it didn’t take long for the post to go viral.
“I thought I would share this picture with all of you guys,” she wrote alongside the incredible image. “It’s something we as mums don’t really ever get to see and this is our baby’s lifeline when inside us. It’s pretty amazing to think that was keeping them alive.”
With their ordeal behind them, it wasn’t long before Edes had settled into life as a single mom of four. “I never gave up hope on my boys. They really have defied all the odds and I feel incredibly lucky,” she said. “Even though I’m going through this alone, I want other single mums to not give up. My children are my world and I wouldn’t change a thing.”