Nelson’s new identical triplets are healthy, happy and home at last.
Katherine van der Veen gave birth to Ainsley, Olivia and Abigail on May 8. The girls became mathematical marvels the moment they were born — a study by researchers at Cambridge University in England found the odds of having identical triplets are 10 in one million.
“It’s just a random fluke of the universe or nature or god depending on how you look at it,” said Van der Veen. “We think it’s a miracle and just [the universe saying] ‘here you go, have fun!’”
The family is the first to have identical triplets in Canada since 2016 when a Kelowna mother gave birth to a trio of girls. Interior B.C. has a recent history of identical triplets: a family in Salmon Arm also had the unlikely birth in 2015.
Van der Veen and her husband Ain Baird previously endured both a miscarriage and a preterm birth, so she was relieved the triplets were healthy after being born via caesarean section.
The family spent two weeks at the B.C. Children’s Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit in Vancouver after the babies were born over a month ahead of the original June 14 due date.
Their birth weights ranged from just 4.4 to 5.4 pounds. Of course, that was still nearly 15 pounds of babies Van der Veen was carrying around.
“I walk around [now and] I’m like, ‘how did I do that?’”
Van der Veen praised the hospital’s medical staff — the family had two nurses assigned to them — but said the new parents are relieved to be back in their home.
Of course, now the real work begins. Breast feeding triplets, for example, is a process.
“Sometimes you have to put down the first one, half feed the second one then put that one down and half feed the third one,” she said. “So it’s a juggle, but for the most part they’re awesome. They really zen right now, but that will change soon enough I’m sure.”
The new parents are also looking ahead to life with their unique brood. Baird, who owns a construction company, has already made business cards that include a picture of his new daughters.
Van der Veen said she hopes, in time, her daughters become known for more than just their unique birth.
“[I want to] be present for them and encourage them to be individuals because they are identical so they are going to be lumped together, but also recognizing they’re each little people and will be grown up people.”
Donations can be made online at gofundme.com/babyBairdthree.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated the last set of identical triplets were born in 2015. In fact it was to a Kelowna family in 2016.