A mother has given birth to identical triplets after rejecting advice from doctors to “abort Triplet B to give the others a better chance of surviving.”
Summer Shillingford and her partner, Davidson Shillingford, believed they had been blessed with a miracle when they discovered they were expecting triplets.
But, 19 weeks into Summer’s pregnancy, doctors diagnosed her with Twin-To-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS).
The condition affects 10-15% of pregnancies where identical siblings share a placenta.
Abnormal blood vessel connections form in the placenta and allow blood to flow unevenly between the babies.
Recalling events, Summer told the Mirror: “The doctors suggested we abort Triplet B to give the others a better chance of surviving.
“But I said there’s no chance I’m going to do that. I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I’d let him die.”
Echoing his wife’s sentiments, Davidson went on to say: “I focused on just positive thinking really. As for reducing because of the TTTS, that was never an option for either of us.
“These boys were meant to be here and it was our responsibility as their mum and dad to give them all a fair chance.
“We were very clear with the doctors we wouldn’t reduce from the start of the pregnancy and that didn’t change when TTTS was diagnosed.”
Because of the TTTS, Summer was sent for specialist laser surgery to break down the blood vessels in her placenta.
A check-up one week later revealed the triplets were doing well.
But, at 32 weeks, one day before she was due to have a caesarean section Summer started bleeding heavily and was rushed to University College Hospital in London.
Within three hours, Summer and Davidson had welcomed their three baby boys into the world.
Otis, Rocco and Prince were born weighing between 2lb 6oz and 4lb 1oz (1.1kg – 1.8kg).
Due to their size the brothers are currently being monitored in a neonatal intensive care unit, but are otherwise thriving.
Describing the birth, Summer said: “When the first baby, Otis, came into the world, he seemed to know his arrival was long awaited. He had his arms up and it was as though he was saying, ‘I’ve arrived, we’ve made it.’”
Davidson went on to say: “It was a very happy moment which was mixed with relief to see my babies all come out crying.”
Sadly, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the boys haven’t yet met their six-year-old sister, Violet, or any of their extended family yet.
Summer said: “Violet has given them her favourite cuddly sheep and drawn them pictures saying she loves them”.
“I spend every day at the hospital and it’s relentless. They go through at least ten to 12 nappies each a day.
“We may eventually need to move to a bigger house or get a bigger car too. But for now we’re just delighted that our family is complete.”
Davidson added: “I hope my sons will grow up and become respectable young men who are kind to the planet and all the people on it… and maybe all play for Leeds United one day too – dads can dream.
“We hope to just enjoy lots of family time together in the future and are looking forward to introducing the boys to their big sister and all their relatives soon.”