A Missouri doctor has reunited with three sets of healthy triplets that he delivered within weeks of each other.
Dr. Michael Paul, head of maternal-fetal medicine at Missouri Baptist Medical Center in St. Louis, delivered the first set of triplets on November 2, the second set on November 26 and the third on December 16.
Along with the babies, friendships were also born.
The triplets' mothers, Jessica Kennedy, Kristen McCloy and Jeri Wright, met in the hospital and helped each other welcome their multiples into the world, which can sometimes be a lonely process, Dr. Paul said in an interview shared by the hospital.
"I have delivered lots of multiples over the years, and the moms are often hospitalized for extended periods of time where they can feel isolated away from their friends and family," said Dr. Paul, who is a stepdad to triplets and dad to twins.
"All three moms helped each other by setting goals together and supporting one another to achieve those goals. They all had the same endpoint goal of getting as close to 34 or 35 weeks as possible to deliver. They didn't want to let anyone down."
Jessica Kennedy said she and her husband, Ben, were hoping to have one more child to join their son and daughter when they learned she was pregnant with triplets.
"I was completely shocked, and my husband about fainted," she said in an interview with the hospital.
On November 2, 2016, she welcomed identical boys: Reed, Knox and Finn.
"It's very unusual to have identical triplets and very rare," Dr. Paul said. "It's about a one in 60 million chance."
Kennedy was hospitalized at 31 weeks and gave birth at 34 weeks. During that time, she bonded with Jeri Wright, whom she met via a mutual Facebook friend.
"When I was a patient waiting for the babies to arrive, Jeri would come visit me and we would talk about everything," she said. "Once my boys were in the NICU, I'd stop in to visit Jeri, who was hospitalized, and then we both met Kristen."
Kristen McCloy, who gave birth to identical boys — Lucas and Colton — and a girl named Emalyn on November 26, joined the other moms after getting a room next to Jeri's.
"Jeri and I would walk the halls and talk all the time," McCloy said. "Jessica would come visit us when she came to see her babies in the NICU. Today, we're all friends on Facebook and we message each other, check in on each other and make sure we're all still sane."
Jeri, 39, was the last to give birth. She welcomed her three boys — Oliver, Finn and Beckett — on December 16 and took them home after a few weeks in the NICU.
"It's a scary time, but we were all there to cheer each other on," she said.
Dr. Paul credits their friendship for their successful pregnancies. Statistically, two of the nine babies should have been "compromised in some way," he told the hospital. But that did not happen.
"Now that these moms are all friends, they will be able to share the unique challenges of raising triplets," he said. "And they'll have one another."