MUSTANG — Heading to Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City for their first ultrasound appointment, Alanna and Caleb Peebles were thrilled to finally get a glimpse of the third life they would bring into the world.
As the ultrasound technician began to examine Alanna, the Peebles waited with anticipation for news of a healthy baby. Instead, the technician dropped a bombshell.
Alanna was carrying not one, but three healthy babies. Beyond speechless, they couldn't believe three beating hearts were in Alanna.
“My wife more or less started hyperventilating,” Caleb said. “I didn't know what to say. It was just unreal.”
On April 25, Alanna gave birth to naturally conceived identical triplet boys. Fast forward to now, and the more than 4-month-old look-a-likes are living well in Mustang.
With the addition of the three newborns, that makes five children for the Peebles family — a 4-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son to accompany the triplets.
During premarital counseling, the Peebles discussed having five children, but when Alanna got pregnant for the third time she wanted to stop with three in the picture.
She prayed, “God, if you want us to have more than three kids you're just going to have to put them all in this one.” Before they knew it, three babies were on the way.
Alanna had firsthand knowledge of what a tough time triplets would be because her sister had fraternal triplets about 19 months ago.
What shocked Alanna, Caleb and even their medical professionals was the rarity of their triplets, natural and identical.
Alanna's sister being older than 30 and on fertility drugs had a higher change of multiple babies. Alanna is 32, but the uncommonness still stunned people at the hospital.
Caleb said some doctors and nurses that had been at Mercy for 10 to 20 years had only seen a couple of sets of identical triplets.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's most recent data on multiple births show the scarcity of triplets.
Out of 3,953,590 total births in the U.S. for 2011, only 5,137 were triplets.
Unfortunately, the data provided by the CDC isn't broken up by naturally conceived versus the use of fertility drugs, or whether the triplets were fraternal or identical.
Caleb's mother Margie, who also witnessed the news with them at the ultrasound, summed up the extraordinary occurrence as a “God given, spontaneous, naturally conceived” happening.
Identical triplets happen when a single fertilized egg splits into three. This truly amazed Margie.
Always needing a second set of hands and a little extra sleep are a couple problems the Peebles have been facing since the triplets.
But the problem of telling the boys apart is no issue for them.
Using organic nail polish, they painted each boy's big toe a different color — Asher with green, Keaton with orange and Piernan with blue.
Their names alphabetically represent the order they were born, as well, Asher being first and Piernan last.
The boys are beginning to develop personalities so Alanna and Caleb are getting better at telling them apart.
“It's been tough. I wouldn't recommend having triplets,” Caleb said laughing. “It's definitely a huge change.”