In the United States, the chances of having triplets are 3 in 100. But when The Howard family found out that the chances of having their rare triplets were 1 in 500 trillion, this new family was stunned, to say the least. Check out this family’s crazy journey, and follow their road through a very strange pregnancy.
Amy and Michael Howard are from Long Island, New York, and Amy was at the age of 37 when she found she was pregnant, and the couple was absolutely elated. Yet, little did they know about the troubling road they were about to endure.
The News Of The Pregnancy
When they went for a routine check up, the sonogram tech found one baby, before realizing there was a second one there too. And then, after a short pause, the tech told the couple that there were three heartbeats. At that moment, the Howard family found out they were having triplets, and they were stunned.
Getting Used To The Idea Of Triplets
At first, Amy said that she was in shock when she first found out she was having triplets. During the moment, she cried hysterically, saying, “I was terrified. It took me a little bit of time to get used to the idea, to be honest.” Of course, being first-time parents, both Amy and Michael Howard were suddenly thrown into something they were not familiar with, not knowing how to react. One baby would be a handful in itself, But three? It was a lot to handle.
The couple conceived their triplets without fertility treatments, with Mike adding, “I think we just got lucky.” They quickly got used to the idea and began setting up their new lives, ready for their three new arrivals. On October 22, 2013, the triplets were brought into the world. Mike and Amy quickly fell in love, with all of their worries suddenly dissolving. Not only were they parents to triplets, but to three boys! However, things were about to take a worrying turn for the family.
Together For The First Time
Amy and Mike brought three boys into the world in October of 2013. Hunter and Jackson were identical twins, whereas Kaden was their fraternal brother. All three were adorable, and it was hard to tell them apart. However, there was something worrying these new parents about their babies. It’s usual for first-time parents to be concerned, but they knew that something wasn’t truly right. From the moment they laid eyes on their babies, they loved their new children, but they were also scared.
An Unusual Find
When it came to the shape of the boys’ heads, there was something physically wrong. Kaden had a triangle-shaped head with a pointy forehead. His brothers, on the other hand, had skulls that stuck out at the back. The parents obviously began to worry about the health of their newborn babies. They began to ask themselves, would their kids be okay? They couldn’t work out what could possibly have caused it.
Back To Normal
Their first thought was that maybe there wasn’t enough room in the womb for all three babies to grow, which led to their heads being slightly misshaped. The Howards hoped that because the trio wasn’t confined in a small space anymore, things would start to get back to normal. They hoped that their heads would go back to the shape they were supposed to be. Doctors, however, weren’t so sure. There was more to it than just that.
After multiple tests on the boys, the doctor had finally come up with a diagnosis. The worried parents waited patiently while the tests were carried out, hoping to have some news as to what the diagnosis could possibly be. The doctors came back with a diagnosis that shook the Howards to their core. The babies had a condition known as Craniosynostosis. Like most people, the diagnosis was a condition that neither Amy nor Mike had ever heard of before.
These triplets were diagnosed Craniosynostosis. It’s an issue with the skull that causes a baby to be born with an abnormally shaped head. The condition can cause headaches and learning difficulties, most of which don’t develop until later on in their childhood. There are different types of craniosynostosis which impact different parts of the skull, hence the three boys having different abnormalities in their skulls. The parents were asking what this meant for the future of their children.
All With The Same Disorder
Doctors were absolutely stunned to find out that all three triplets had ended up with craniosynostosis. According to medical professionals, the condition is usually caused by premature fusion of the different parts of the skull, stopping the skull from growing in certain areas. When one area cannot grow, it overcompensates by overgrowing other parts, ensuring there isn’t too much pressure on the brain. To see three boys born with the same condition was a medical anomaly.
1 In 500 Trillion
The doctors calculated that there was a one-in-500 trillion chance of all three children being born with craniosynostosis. Nobody had ever seen a case like this before, and medical experts from around the globe took an interest in the Howard triplets. After all, it’s not every day that you see babies born with a one in 500 trillion chance of having the same condition. But what was next for the triplets?
As previously mentioned, there are risks involved with children having craniosynostosis. Along with the persistent headaches and learning difficulties, babies can also experience eyesight problems. The skull would continue to grow abnormally, and this could lead to many problems later on as well. The pressure in the brain would cause distress and challenges for children, especially as they continue to grow. Amy and Mike Howard’s fears grew for their baby boys.
The doctors informed the Howard family that craniosynostosis is a dangerous condition. They explained to them the risks, which included potential learning difficulties and eyesight problems. It was so dangerous, in fact, that the doctors presented the Howard family with a thorough plan. They needed to do something about it, even though the babies were only a few weeks old. As they continued to grow, things could get worse. The parents had to make a tough decision, one in which they didn’t necessarily want to make.
Upon Further Investigation
The doctors were so blown away by this rare case, that they first wanted to take more CT scans to investigate further. They needed to better understand such a unique case of this kind. Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, where the children were staying, took various CT scans of the babies’ heads. They wanted to document this case and monitor its progression. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for doctors and researchers alike.
After the CT scans were completed and examined, all of the doctors involved agreed that the Howard triplets were going to need surgery in order to correct their skulls. Despite being just nine-weeks old, the boys and their parents were preparing for an operation at the Stony Brook Children’s Hospital in New York. As you can imagine, both Amy and Mike were extremely nervous about their newborns having to be on an operating table at such a young age.
One Of A Kind
What heightened the parents’ worry was that this kind of operation had never been carried out on triplets before. It was the first of its kind. It’s scary enough thinking that your children are going to go in for an operation when they are only nine weeks old, but even scarier to know its the first time being performed on your triplets.
The medical staff explained that each operation would take approximately three hours, meaning that two whole days of surgery would need to be dedicated to the triplets, or order to have the optimal experience to make the surgeries a success. The parents were happy that the hospital was so accommodating, however, putting two whole days aside for the treatment of their beautiful trio of boys was nerve wracking, to say the least.
Who’s Doing The Surgery?
Dr. Chesler, who was the lead surgeon on the case, is a pediatric neurosurgeon at the hospital where the boys were staying. He and his team were the ones who had carried out all the tests and found no other cases of triplets who had needed the surgery. He explained to the boys’ parents how the procedure would work, along with the risks associated with carrying out such a surgery.
How It Worked
Dr. Chesler needed to make small incisions on each of the boys’ heads and then use an endoscope and harmonic scalpel to cut out a strip of bone on the skull. This would then remove the seam that had been fused and allow the skulls to reshape, eventually growing to a normal shape. It sounded scary to the parents, especially with their babies being so young, but they knew it had to be done to give their boys a better life to live.
The Long Wait
After each baby was sent off to surgery, Mike and Amy Howard could do nothing but wait in anticipation for the surgery to be completed. There’s nothing scarier than waiting hours upon hours for your newborn babies to come out of surgery. However, that’s exactly what these new parents had to do. After two days of waiting, they were finally given the results of the operation. Had it gone well? Were their babies okay? It was time to find out.
All three babies had made it through surgery and were seemingly doing very well. Their parents, and the medical staff at Stony Brooks Children’s Hospital, were elated to find out the surgery went as planned. There had been no complications in the operations, and everything had gone exactly as it should have done. But what would happen after? Would the triplets respond well to the operation?
The operation was such a success that the babies were allowed to go home just two days after the surgery. Amy and Mike Howard were clearly excited when they were told that they could finally take their boys home. After all of the stress and fear, they could now breathe a sigh of relieving and bring Kaden, Hunter, and Jackson home where they belong. However, the journey wasn’t completely over for the parents and their little boys. There was still work to be done.
Happy Helmet Babies
First of all, the Howard family was given specialized headgear that the boys would need to wear in order to protect their skulls. Amy and Mike were worried how the kids would react to wearing their helmets, and how they’d get used to them being part of everyday life. However, their parents felt nothing but joy when they saw their babies smiling up at them with their tiny helmets on. Mike said to Today.com, “Overall, they’re happy, well-adjusted babies.” The Howards have ensured that they remain positive throughout the ideal too, and that positive attitude has clearly rubbed off on their three boys.