A woman has revealed her overwhelming joy after discovering she was pregnant with triplets – despite suffering from a rare condition that meant her ᴡᴏᴍʙ was split in two. Jemma Sheppard, 33, from Newport, believed the rare condition, which meant her ᴜᴛᴇʀᴜs was divided into two cavities, would make it difficult for her to carry one child. She and her husband Anton, 32, were sʜᴏᴄᴋᴇᴅ when they were told by doctors that they were expecting triplets, with all three babies on one side of her ᴡᴏᴍʙ.
As daughters Evelyn, Areya, and boy Rome become six months old, the parents were overjoyed to learn that their family will be completed ‘all at once.’
“Anton and I would have been happy with just one baby,” Jemma, a finance professional, said, “but to have such a gorgeous family in one go is incredible.”
“The chances of me conceiving and carrying one child was so small – so every time I look at our babies I pinch myself. It’s just a dream come true.
The couple, who were married in September 2015, had already been trying for a baby for a year when the doctor sent them for tests, as Jemma failed to conceive.
“Hormone tests revealed I had polycystic ovaries so I wasn’t ovulating properly,” Jemma explained. “And rather than being the usual pear shape, my uterus was heart-shaped.”
Also known as an arched ᴡᴏᴍʙ, the condition can range from just a small ʙᴜᴍᴘ to the ᴜᴛᴇʀᴜs being completely sᴘʟɪᴛ in half – known as a ʙɪᴄᴏʀɴᴜᴀᴛᴇ ᴜᴛᴇʀᴜs.
The rare condition means expectant mothers are more likely to ᴍɪsᴄᴀʀʀʏ or give birth ᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴛᴜʀᴇʟʏ, and there is no treatment to change the ᴜᴛᴇʀᴜs’ sʜᴀᴘᴇ.
“I was ᴅᴇᴠᴀsᴛᴀᴛɪɴɢ news,” Jemma said, explaining that while drugs helped her ᴏᴠᴜʟᴀᴛᴇ and get pregnant, the pair sᴜғғᴇʀᴇᴅ three ᴍɪsᴄᴀʀʀɪᴀɢᴇs.
The couple sought private ғᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴛʏ ᴛʜᴇʀᴀᴘʏ, which included ɪɴᴛʀᴀᴜᴛᴇʀɪɴᴇ ɪɴsᴇᴍɪɴᴀᴛɪᴏɴ, and while it was successful, they were warned that each ғᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴢᴇᴅ ᴇɢɢ had a 15% chance of surviving. They were overjoyed when a pregnancy test came back positive two weeks later, and even more so when a sᴄᴀɴ revealed three kids.
‘I could hardly believe it when the sonographer said there were two heads – and then Anton said he could see three,’ says Jemma, ‘we were also told it would be quite likely one baby might not survive.
Jemma continued: “I could hardly believe it when the sonographer said there were two heads – and then Anton said that he could see three.
“We were told it would be quite likely one baby might not survive, and it is common for women with a ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ-sʜᴀᴘᴇᴅ ᴜᴛᴇʀᴜs to have a ᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴛᴜʀᴇ both, so Anton and I were prepared for the ᴡᴏʀsᴛ.”
But despite the odds stacked against them, all three triplets were delivered at 35 weeks by ᴄᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ sᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ at Cardiff’s University Hospital.
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 with only Areya needing a couple of days in the neonatal unit as she was quite tiny.’
Three weeks later, the couple was free to go home with their three healthy babies.
Anton, a carpenter, said: ‘They are adorable. Elevyn loves having cuddles, Areya is really smiley and Rome is a proper little character.’
And Jemma added: ‘We can’t wait to tell them about their amazing start in my ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ-sʜᴀᴘᴇᴅ ᴡᴏᴍʙ. They truly were born with love.