A WOMAN who suffers with a rare condition which means her womb is split in two and appears ‘heart-shaped’ has defied the odds by giving birth to TRIPLETS.
The disease would make it nearly impossible for Jemma Sheppard, 33, of Newport to carry even one child, much less three.
She and husband Anton, 32, were shocked when they were told by doctors that they were expecting triplets. Incredibly all three babies squashed up in one of the womb cavities. However, the non identical two girls Elevyn and Areya and son Rome were born at 35 weeks healthily.
Jemma, who works in finance, said: “Anton and I would have been thrilled with just one baby, but to have such a beautiful family in one go is amazing.
“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.
When Jemma, who has polycystic ovarian condition, was told she had a rare “heart-shaped womb,” it was after she had already been told she would have trouble conceiving and had already been trying without success.
Also known as an arched womb, the condition can range from just a small bump to the uterus being completely split in half – known as a bicornuate uterus.
There is no cure to alter the curvature of the uterus, which makes pregnant women more prone to miscarry or deliver their babies early.
“I was devastating news,” Jemma said, explaining that while drugs helped her ovulate and get pregnant, the pair suffered three miscarriages.
The couple turned to private fertility treatment, using intrauterine insemination, and while it was successful, they were told there was only a 15 per cent chance each fertilised egg would survive.
However, two weeks later a pregnancy test came back positive, and their initial scan revealed there were three babies inside Jemma’s womb.
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 heart shaped uterus to have a premature both, so Anton and I were prepared for the worst.”
But despite the odds stacked against them, all three triplets were delivered at 35 weeks by cesarean section at Cardiff’s University Hospital.
A bicornuate or arched uterus is the medical term for the abnormality. Miscarriages are frequent in women with this disease. To help other women with the same issue not give up hope, Jemma and Anton wanted to spread awareness of the condition.
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 Sheppards took their family home.
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 heart- shaped womb. They truly were born with love.’