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Extremely rare identical triplets born in Idaho Falls days before Christmas


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IDAHO FALLS — Three identical baby girls are living miracles this Christmas after their 22-year-old mother gave birth to them on Monday.

“I think it was probably the most amazing moment of my life,” Olivia Gessel, the mother of the triplets, told

The babies were 30 weeks gestation when Gessel delivered the children at Mountain View Hospital in Idaho Falls on Dec. 20 at 7:54 p.m.

Gessel says baby A is Lina and weighed 3 pounds 2 ounces, Baby B is Jane and weighed 2 pounds 10 ounces and Baby C is Marceline and weighed 2 pounds 14 ounces. All three babies are currently in the neonatal intensive care unit at Mountain View Hospital.

“I am doing good. I am recovering. All the babies are doing better than expected and I actually got to hold one today for the first time,” Gessel said. “I held baby Jane. She is the smallest of the three.”

Gessel and her husband Connor live in Rexburg. They were married in February and she didn’t plan on getting pregnant – let alone having identical triplets.

“In June, I started getting really nauseous. I had an IUD in and I thought, ‘I am fine and I am just sick.’ But my husband was like, ‘No, you are pregnant,'” Gessel explained. “So I took a test and sure enough I was. We went to the hospital on July 1 and they said, ‘It’s triplets.’ It was so crazy. I never ever imagined.”

connor and olivia
Connor and Olivia Gessel. | Courtesy Olivia Gessel

Twins run in Connor’s family. His oldest sister and her husband are the parents of a set of twins. Additionally, one of Connor’s first cousins and his wife are the parents of identical twins.

According to WebMD, several factors can increase your chances of being pregnant with more than one baby including heredity, age, previous pregnancies, race and in vitro fertilization.

After learning she was pregnant, Gessel began visiting the Madison Women’s Clinic in Rexburg.

“They (doctors) told me that they (my babies) all shared the same placenta, which is very high risk, so I just kept going back every week for doctor appointments,” she said. “They told me they had their own sac which is a huge deal because that made everything a little bit better. From then on, I saw a specialist in Idaho Falls and my doctor every single week.”

Experts say giving birth to identical triplets is extremely rare.

“During the whole pregnancy, they told me there would be lots and lots of complications with these babies and there were lots of things that could go wrong,” she said. “But after every appointment, they just said everything is doing good and they couldn’t believe it and neither could I. It’s basically a miracle.”

Gessel’s original due date was Feb. 27, which happens to be her and her husband’s wedding anniversary. An induction date was set for Jan. 17 but plans changed after Gessel went in for an appointment on Dec. 20.

“I was dilating and so they sent me right into the hospital and they took them that night because it was going so fast,” she said.

These are Gessel’s first children and when asked if she plans to have anymore, she joked, “During the whole pregnancy I was like, ‘No Connor, we are done forever!’ because it was so miserable. I have said ‘Okay, in eight years minimum, we’ll have kids again.'”

Gessel says the timing of the births has created a “crazy Christmas” and the babies will most likely be in the NICU until their original due date in February.

“I am definitely overwhelmed and scared out of my mind but the more that I get to see them, the more I am so happy,” Gessel says. “I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

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Baby Lina. | Courtesy Olivia Gessel