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Video: Triplets born on couple’s third anniversary

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    announcer: only come from hidden valley ,

    >>> imagine having identical triplets born at 33 weeks gestation on your third wedding anniversary . amanda and matthew fair don't have to imagine because their identical triplets were born on actually september 30th , each weighing over five pounds. amanda and matthew are joining us this morning along with their boys and also amanda 's doctor. good morning to you.

    >> good morning.

    >> good morning.

    >> thank you.

    >> let's talk to you, doctor, first, to find out, what are the chances of something like this happening?

    >> well, in the united states , the chances of spontaneous identical triplets occurring is about one in a million.

    >> okay. so, that in itself is pretty unusual, but then amanda , to have this happen on your third wedding anniversary and to have them be born on september 30th . i mean, what's up with threes and you?

    >> i don't know. it never popped up before. i originally was hoping it wouldn't be on my anniversary because we wanted to be able to separate, you know, have them celebrated separately, but it all kind of worked out on that day, and they keep pointing out all these threes that all came together on that day, so it's really neat.

    >> now, i understand -- now, tell me this is not true, but i'm reading here that you're also both 30?

    >> we are both 30.

    >> that's correct.

    >> it's too crazy. i mean, matthew , first of all, let's get serious. your wife did such a great job carrying these babies, because i understand they're all over five pounds, which is pretty much a miracle in itself.

    >> yes, that's true. my wife did a wonderful job carrying these babies. they are all healthy and they're all doing well. and they were a great anniversary gift .

    >> aww, there you go, amanda . see, he's thinking of this as a gift. now, some people are thinking, amanda , you should go buy some lottery tickets because you're just a lucky girl. and put a lot of 3s on that ticket.

    >> that's what they're saying. well, we buy the powerball ticket occasionally. we never seem to get more than one or two numbers. we'll see.

    >> i think you are going to get lucky because you're going to need a lot of help, maybe not financially, but certainly a lot of hands to help raise these kids. they look really beautiful. what do you want to say about your children, amanda ?

    >> oh, they're just -- we just love them so much. every day they just get stronger, their personalities are coming out. they're more alert, they're eating more. you know, we just love being with them and can't wait to get them home.

    >> well, you certainly have a story to tell them, amanda and matt, when they grow up, about all -- well, i guess really the specialness of their birth. and dr. jennifer celebrese, thank you as well. thank you and congratulations.

    >> thank you.

    >> thank you.

    >> thank you.

TODAY contributor
updated 10/8/2009 10:38:27 AM ET 2009-10-08T14:38:27

Threes are definitely wild for Amanda and Matt Faher. The two 30-year-old attorneys welcomed identical triplets into the world on their third wedding anniversary — Sept. 30 — after 33 weeks of gestation.

“They were a great anniversary gift,” Matt Faher told TODAY’s Ann Curry Thursday from his suburban Pittsburgh home. With him were his wife and the obstetrician who delivered the babies via Caesarean section at Allegheny General Hospital, Dr. Jennifer Celebrezze. The triplets, born prematurely, are still in neonatal intensive care at the hospital.

“We just love them so much,” Amanda Faher told Curry. “Every day they just get stronger. Their personalities are coming out. We love being with them. We can’t wait to get them home.”

Amanda confessed that it wasn’t her choice to deliver her instant full house on her anniversary. “We were hoping to celebrate that separately,” she said.

One in a million
But, as is often the case with multiple births, Amanda was suffering from preeclampsia, as well as other hazardous conditions. With the babies at 33 weeks, Celebrezze made the call to deliver them to protect their mother.

Identical triplets — which are called spontaneous triplets in the medical literature — are a rare occurrence. In the United States, Celebrezze said, the odds of such pregnancies are one in a million. In other countries, the odds go as high as one in 200 million, which is higher than the odds of winning the Powerball lottery.

Curry suggested the Fahers, who are both attorneys for the Geary Loperfito and Faher law firm in Vandergrift, might consider buying some lottery tickets. But Amanda indicated they appear to have already used all of their numerical luck with the triplets.

“We buy the Powerball tickets occasionally,” she said. “We never seem to get more than one or two numbers.”

Two, then three
The Fahers learned that Amanda was carrying triplets during a routine ultrasound 18 weeks into her pregnancy. The technician saw two fetuses, then spotted another. Understandably, Amanda was shocked — but she still had the presence of mind to ask the technician to please not find any more.

As the pregnancy progressed, Amanda contracted preeclampsia, a condition associated with multiple embryos that causes high blood pressure and toxemia late in the pregnancy. She also developed gestational diabetes.

Despite the complications, Amanda continued working from home during her pregnancy. As the preeclampsia intensified, she entered the hospital in mid-September.

After eight days, Celebrezze decided to perform a Caesarean. As it happened, it was Amanda’s 33rd week of pregnancy, and the date was Sept. 30 — the couple’s wedding anniversary.

Born premature at 33 weeks gestation, Amanda and Matt Faher’s triplets are still in neonatal intensive care at Allegheny General Hospital.
Despite their prematurity, each of the boys weighed more than 5 pounds. Matthew Aaron came first, at 5 pounds, 4 ounces. Seconds later came Nathan Brady, the largest at 5 pounds, 5 ounces. Michael Christopher was born a minute later at 5 pounds, 1 ounce.

The boys’ middle initials — A, B and C — reflect their birth order.

The infants are still learning to eat, but Celebrezze reported all are healthy and expected to be going home soon.

Not always look-alikes
Identical triplets all come from one fertilized egg. It can either split into three embryos, or it can split into two, with one of the embryos then splitting again.

From left, the Fahers’ identical triplet boys are Matthew, Michael and Nathan.
Identical triplets don’t always necessarily look identical, and it is possible for one of the babies to be right-handed while the other two are lefties, or vice versa. They are always the same sex and have the same blood type.

“My wife did a wonderful job of carrying these babies,” Matt Faher said. “They’re all healthy and all doing well.”

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