He had already been a dad for a decade. Thinking his baby-making days were done, he got a vasectomy. But then Chad Doss realized that his new wife Amanda really wanted to carry a child, and he wanted to help her fulfill her dream of having a baby herself.
“I really wanted to be able to give that gift to her, to have your own,” said Chad Doss, 31, who married Amanda in 2011. “She treats mine as her own, but it’s one thing for a mother to have a pregnancy and go through that, and for her to have that moment. We were thinking, we’ll try for one and grow our family just a little bit.”
"Just a little bit" turned into a whole lot more than anyone expected. Within a year of Doss having his vasectomy reversed, the Franklin, Ind., couple were ecstatic to learn Amanda was pregnant — then shocked when they found out she was carrying a rare set of naturally occurring identical triplets, a trio of girls who arrived without major complications on Dec. 30.
“Just finding out I was pregnant was one of the happiest days of my life,” said Amanda Doss, 27. “Finding out we’re having three girls was an even bigger milestone, and finding out they’re identical was just the icing on the cake. It’s almost unreal.”
The Doss triplets, Avery, Bentley and Cassidy, were born at 31 weeks and four days in quick succession at St. Vincent Women’s Hospital in Indianapolis, where they remain in the neonatal intensive care unit for a few more weeks as they continue to grow.
“They’re most beautiful babies I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Amanda, who worked as a customer service representative. “There’s not one thing I would change.”
“It’s beyond miracles,” said Chad, the director of IT at a manufacturing company. “It’s unbelievable that let alone we had a reversal, but then for us to have three and they’re identical, it’s a miracle. We’re very blessed.”
Naturally occurring identical triplets are so rare there are no studies that establish how often it happens, said Dr. Charles Coddington, a reproductive endocrinologist and president of Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. But based on studies of identical triplets conceived with and without fertility assistance, he estimates that the chance for naturally occurring identical triplets is about one in a million.
“It’s marvelous and they’ve beaten the odds,” Coddington said of the Dosses.
Successful vasectomy reversal is a bit more common. Having his vasectomy reversed when he did — within five years of first having it — gave Doss about a 66 percent chance of being able to father a child, said his urologist, Dr. Samuel Thompson.
The Doss girls were named for their position in the womb though they were not delivered in ABC order. The first to arrive was Avery, who weighed 3 pounds, 15 ounces; followed by Cassidy at 3 pounds, 11 ounces; and last came Bentley, the heaviest at 4 pounds, 3 ounces.
The Dosses said their babies will likely need to stay in the hospital through February, but they hope for an earlier homecoming because they are breathing on their own and doing so well.
“I can’t wait to have them home and to be the mom and take care of my babies,” Amanda said. “I’m ready to take over.”
The triplets have two siblings who also can’t wait for their arrival, Chad’s children from a previous marriage, 12-year-old Caleb and 9-year-old Kaitlyn.
“My daughter is really excited,” he said. “She really wanted some sisters.”
Finding out you’re expecting triplets can be such a shock that it’s “like being hit on the head with a baseball bat,” said maternal-fetal medicine specialist Dr. James Sumners, Amanda’s doctor. But he said Amanda and Chad are well prepared for the challenge.
“They adapted very, very quickly and they said, ‘OK, what do we need to do, and we’ll manage it,’” Sumners said. “She was a rock and her husband was as well.”
“They’re sturdy, good people who will take care of their family and love their kids and their extended family is the same way,” he said.
It’s been an emotional year for Amanda and Chad, who were optimistic about their chances of having a child, but adopted a laid-back attitude in case they couldn’t conceive.
“We had decided, if it happens, awesome, if not, we’ll find other ways,” Amanda said. “As long as I knew he wanted more, I was fine with it.
“We’ve lived our amazing life with the four of us, and we decided to add another little bundle of joy to the mix and ended up getting three,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier.”
As she waits for her daughters to come home, Amanda is looking forward to the years ahead with her newly enlarged family.
“I see this wonderful future, not only for myself watching them grow up, but bringing them into our family,” Amanda said. “They’re going to have the greatest childhood with their other two siblings. I see just this amazing life ahead for all of us.”