By JEANNIE WILEY WOLF
David Flick and Haley Hassan saw their family grow by three on Monday, when the Findlay couple welcomed identical triplets, born at Toledo Hospital.
Identical triplets come from the same fertilized egg and share one placenta. They are extremely rare, particularly when they are conceived naturally, as Flick’s and Hassan’s were, so it is difficult to measure their frequency.
Some experts put the odds at one in 1 million, others at 1 in 100 million.
The babies were delivered by cesarean section at 30 weeks, well in advance of their June 2 due date, said Haley’s father, Thom Hassan. Kiley Christine was born at 10:49 a.m., weighing 2 pounds, 2 ounces; Keeley Ann at 10:50 a.m., also 2 pounds, 2 ounces; and Cami Nichol at 10:51 a.m., weighing 1 pound, 1 ounce. Kiley and Keeley were both 14 inches and Cami was 11 inches.
Thom Hassan said the early delivery was necessary when it was determined that Cami’s fluid levels were dropping dangerously low. Although she is the smallest, Cami is the strongest of the three, he said.
Kiley and Keeley are struggling because their heart valves did not close properly. Thom said the family has been told this is not unusual in premature infants. Doctors will give them three weeks or so to see if the valves close on their own. If not, the girls may need open-heart surgery.
“Other than that, they’re doing fantastic,” Thom said.
Haley Hassan, who was on her way home from the hospital Thursday afternoon, said she and Flick are thrilled.
“They all came out crying,” she said. “They’ve had their ups and downs, but they’re all stable.”
“He’s (David) a proud daddy. He’s grinning from ear to ear,” she said.
The new babies join big sister Kenley, who is 18 months, and Flick’s daughter Caitlen, 11.
In the days leading up to the birth, Flick and Haley Hassan were excited but not sure what to expect.
“We were just wanting the one more to complete our family, and the Lord apparently wants us to have three more children,” Flick said. “It’s just a blessing.”
The couple said they didn’t use fertility drugs, and multiple births don’t run in either family.
“It was all done with the grace of God,” Haley Hassan said.
Together for nearly seven years and engaged to be married, the couple were thrilled about the prospect of having three more babies, although triplets weren’t exactly part of their plans.
They started trying for a second baby in August. A month later, Hassan found out she was pregnant. An ultrasound on Oct. 24 revealed three babies instead of one.
“It was funny because right before the ultrasound started … I said, ‘Are you sure you want this to be our last baby? This is it? This is the last time? You only want three?'” Hassan, 25, recalled.
Then the technician got a strange look on her face and Hassan feared something was wrong.
“She (the technician) said, ‘You wanted three, right?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, this will make our third one.’ She’s like, no, there’s three heartbeats in here,” Hassan said. “So I automatically start crying, but it was like tears of joy because I was laughing.”
Flick’s initial reaction was a bit different.
“When she said that, I put my hands across my face and threw my hat off. And I literally asked her for the trash can because I thought I was going to be sick,” he said.
“I’m still shocked,” he said. “This doesn’t happen very often, and for them to be identical is I guess the craziest part.”
The couple expected that the babies would be born early.
“With multiples you usually don’t make it past 34 weeks,” Hassan said.
Before the births, the family was making weekly trips to Toledo to see the doctor. They also spent several days having tests done at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
Thom Hassan said the babies won’t be ready to come home for two to three months. Haley said they’ll probably be in the hospital until her original due date.
“It will be hard,” she said. “But I know that’s where they need to be.”
Haley does not drive, her father said, but will want to make daily trips to the hospital.
The couple acknowledged that life has presented some challenges before the birth and know that it will continue to do so. Flick, 33, had neck surgery and was on disability from June through January, while Haley went on disability in October due to the pregnancy. Both work at Lowe’s Distribution Center.
Flick has had to take a lot of personal time off from work, and Haley does not plan to return to Lowe’s in order to care for the babies.
“Our biggest thing this whole pregnancy … is we can’t stress (about) the things we can’t change. We just put it in God’s hands and we go from there,” Haley said.
The couple recently bought a bigger home and will need a larger vehicle to accommodate their expanded family. Even finding clothing for the babies will be a challenge as clothes for premature babies are hard to find.
Haley said Susie Malone and the Friends of Santa group helped them out last year and are continuing to try and find items for the babies.
“They’re going to need a lot of help,” Thom Hassan said.
“Even one baby is life-changing, but three is, I mean it’s a blessing,” Flick said. “We try to give our kids the best with what we’ve got.”
“It’s going to be a wild ride,” Hassan said. “But I think it’s going to be worth it.”
Thom Hassan anticipates that the family will be receiving offers of help and he is asking that anyone wanting to make a donation call him at 419-429-9302. Well-wishes may be posted to a Facebook page, “Please pray for baby b,” that was established before the babies were born when doctors became concerned about Cami. The page includes updates on all the babies.
Family Editor Margaret Dwiggins contributed to this story.
Send an E-mail to Jeannie Wolf