Jemma Sheppard, 33, from Newport, believes the rare condition, which means her uterus splits into two chambers, will make it difficult for her to carry a child. So she and her husband, Anton, 32, were stunned when doctors told them they were giving birth to triplets – with all three babies tucked into one side. Holding six-month-old daughter’s Elevyn and Areya and son Rome, Jemma said: “Anton and I would be so happy to have just one baby – but to have such a beautiful family in just one visit is truly amazing. My chances of conceiving and bearing a child are very small. Every time I look at our kids, I pinch myself. It was just a dream come true.”
The couple from Newport got married in September 2015 but have already started trying for a baby. When they didn’t conceive after a year, their GP referred them for testing. “Hormonal tests showed I had polycystic ovaries so I wasn’t ovulating properly, and instead of my usual pear shape, my uterus was heart-shaped,” she said. A heart-shaped utᴇrus, also known as a dome-shaped uterus, can range from mild with only a small dimple at the top to a full double utᴇrus. Women with the rare condition – also known as a bicornuate uterus or a curved utᴇrus – are more likely to have a ᴍiscarriages or premature birth. Jemma said: “While I was able to take medication to help with ovulation, the shape of my uterus was already very pronounced and there was no treatment. That is devastating news.”
Two months later – and prescribed medication to help with ovulation, she became pregnant but sadly the baby ᴅɪᴇᴅ at seven weeks. Five months later, she suffered another ᴍiscarriages at six weeks, followed by another early ᴍiscarriages. When another six months passed without pregnancy, the couple decided to seek their own fertility treatment, using intrauterine insemination (IUI). Jemma explained: ‘My ovulation was monitored with ultrasound and just before I was due to give birth, Anton’s sᴘᴇʀᴍ was injected into my utᴇrus.
Although the doctors said there were three follicles – most likely three eggs – we were told there was only about a 15% chance of carrying a baby. So we didn’t get our hopes up.” However, they were delighted when two weeks later the pregnancy test came back positive and were amazed when the ultrᴀsound results revealed three babies. Jemma said: ‘I couldn’t believe it when the sonographer said there were two heads – and then Anton said he could see three. We were also told that most likely a baby could not survive. After that, women with heart-shaped uteruses often give birth prematurely, so Anton and I braced for the worst. ‘ Despite all the ʀɪsᴋs, her triplets are still thriving. Jemma explained: ‘I was so big and uncomfortable that while the babies were healthy, I ended up in a wheelchair. ”
They were finally born at Cardiff’s university hospital on December 20 at 35 weeks by C-Section. Elevyn was born first weighing 5Ib 7oz, followed by Rome 4Ib 11oz and Areya, 3Ib 5oz. Jemma said: ‘We were all stunned by how heavy and healthy they were, only Areya needed a few days in the neonatal unit as she was quite young. ” Three weeks later the Sheppards brought their family home. Anton, a carpenter, said: ‘They are lovely. Elevyn loves to be cuddled, Areya is really funny and Rome is a fitting little character. ‘ And Jemma added: “We can’t wait to tell them about their amazing start in my heart-shaped womb. They are truly born with love.”