The new mother-of-three, Jemma Sheppard, 33, from Newport, told the MailOnline she was shocked when she discovered she was expecting triplets with her husband Anton, 32, as she believed the condition would make it difficult to have one baby.
Mother with heart-shaped womb gives birth to TRIPLETS https://t.co/ZjZECJ306z
— Daily Mail U.K. (@DailyMailUK) 16 June 2019
The condition, known as bicornuate uterus, is an uncommon abnormality and is believed to affect about 3 percent of women, increasing the likelihood of miscarriage later in pregnancy and giving birth prematurely, according to Healthline.
Sheppard, whose uterus is divided into two cavities, is now mother to 6-month-old son Rome and daughters Elevyn and Areya. She told the MailOnline she is overjoyed at the additions to her family.
“Anton and I would have been thrilled with just one baby—but to have such a beautiful family in one go is just amazing,” she said.
“The chances of me conceiving and carrying one child was so small. Every time I look at our babies I pinch myself. It’s just a dream come true.”
The good news came after Sheppard and her husband tried for years to start a family following their wedding in Sept. 2015.
After a year of failing to conceive, Sheppard explained how she and her husband were referred for tests by their doctor, adding that it was then that she discovered she had the rare condition.
“Hormone tests revealed I had polycystic ovaries so I wasn’t ovulating properly, and also that my rather than being the usual pear shape, my uterus was heart-shaped,” she said.
According to Healthline, women with the condition will have their pregnancies treated as high-risk, and will be monitored carefully with frequent ultrasounds to observe the position of the baby. The chance of requiring birth via a Cesarean section is also more likely, according to the site.
— Fabulous (@Fabulousmag) 15 August 2018
“While I could take drugs to help me ovulate, my uterus shape was very pronounced and there was no treatment. It felt devastating news [sic],” Sheppard explained.
Two months after the initial tests, Sheppard told the publication she fell pregnant after she was prescribed drugs to help her ovulate, but the baby tragically died at seven weeks.
Sheppard said five months later she had another miscarriage when the baby was six weeks old, and her following pregnancy also ended in an early miscarriage.
Sheppard and her husband decided to take a big step six months later, using intrauterine insemination.
“My ovulation was tracked by ultrasound and just before I was due to produce eggs, Anton’s sperm was injected into my womb,” she explained.
The couple were told they only had a 15 percent chance of conceiving one baby.
“Although doctors said there were three follicles—so potentially three eggs—we were told there was only around 15 percent chance of a pregnancy with one baby. So we didn’t get our hopes up,” Sheppard continued.
The pair were left stunned when a scan two weeks later showed Sheppard was carrying three babies. They were then warned one of the babies might not last the pregnancy.
“I could hardly believe it when the sonographer said there were two heads—and then Anton said he could see three,” Sheppard said.
“We were also told it would be quite likely one baby might not survive … Anton and I prepared ourselves for the worst.”
The three babies were born at 35 weeks on Dec. 20 by Cesarean section at a hospital in Cardiff, Wales, and were brought home three weeks later. Elevyn was born first weighing 5 pounds 7 ounces, followed by Rome at 4 pounds 11 ounces, and Areya at 3 pounds 5 ounces, reported the MailOnline.
Sheppard’s carpenter husband said: “They are adorable. Elevyn loves having cuddles, Areya is really smiley, and Rome is a proper little character.”
“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,” Sheppard said.
“We can’t wait to tell them about their amazing start in my heart-shaped womb. They truly were born with love.”