SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (KSL) — A Utah family turned to science to grow their family, but the resulting pregnancy came with a surprise and a mystery to unravel.
After experiencing multiple miscarriages, Shelby and Chase Stewart tried for one more through in vitro fertilization. Hoping to up their chances, they implanted two embryos. But then something miraculous happened. The two turned into three babies, and how that happened puzzled their doctors.
There’s truly never a dull moment in the Stewart’s home. It’s a home full of laughter and love, but getting to this point wasn’t easy.
“I woke up one day, and I just had like a lot of chest pain, and we ended up going to the emergency room, and they did a scan and found a tumor on my heart,” Shelby Stewart said.
As a teen, Shelby beat childhood cancer. Unfortunately one of the side effects of treatment was not being able to get pregnant naturally.
“When I turned 20 I decided to go see a fertility doctor, and they said it’s not possible,” Shelby Stewart said.
Through the help of fertility treatments, she and her husband Chase gave birth to a baby girl, Bennett in 2018.
“As soon as we had her I felt like … if we’re going to have another kid we need to have one soon,” Shelby Stewart said. “So when she was six months, we went back.”
They tried multiple treatments and suffered three miscarriages but never gave up.
“We went through some hard stuff, and it was hard on Shelby to go through,” Chase Stewart said.
The couple documented their journey on social media.
“Here we go, hopefully, the last shot ever,” Shelby said while giving herself a shot in the kitchen in one of her videos.
“I felt like, you know, just being like kind of naïve to how complex fertility can be,” Chase Stewart said.
Their medical team decided to try one more time through IVF.
“All right, we are on our way to our fourth embryo transfer,” Shelby said in a video on Instagram. “You ready babe?” “I guess so!” Chase responded.
“And we are going to put in our two strongest, our best boy, and our best girl, so we will see!” Shelby said.
In October 2020, two embryos went in, and days later during the couple’s first ultrasound, they got the surprise of a lifetime.
“There’s three perfect little sacs on the screen, and we’re all quiet,” Shelby Stewart said.
It puzzled the ultrasound tech.
“She goes, ‘How many embryos did you put in?’ I was like, ‘two.’ And then she keeps moving it around, ‘there’s three,'” Shelby Stewart said.
“We’re seeing three, but how can that be possible?” Chase Stewart said. “It was very confusing for us.”
Doctors told the couple their girl embryo must have split, becoming twins.
“We are going to have identical girls and a fraternal boy. I even bought them different color bracelets because I was worried about telling them apart,” Chase Stewart said.
Shelby gave birth to triplets Margot, Garner, and Etta at 35 weeks.
“One of the things that I totally remember from my C-section is saying, ‘she has so much hair like when Margot was born,'” Shelby Stewart said. Shortly after birth, the couple said they noticed the two girls didn’t look much alike.
“Even the NICU nurses were like, ‘your girls are identical right?” Shelby Stewart said. “And I’m like, ‘they’re supposed to be.'”
Family and friends asked the very same question. So much so that the couple decided to do a DNA test.
The results showed that the two, Etta and Margot, had different DNA. They were sisters but not identical twins. The couple took their results to a genetic counselor.
“She had been a genetic counselor for 25 years, never had this happen,” Shelby Stewart said. Doctors believe Shelby must have gotten pregnant naturally.
“It literally implanted with the other two day-five embryos and they were all measuring the same exact,” Shelby Stewart said.
It was a miracle, something they never thought possible.
“I’ve never ovulated on my own without medication, and everything was just perfect,” Shelby Stewart said.
The family’s journey has been an unconventional one. They say timing played a key role.
“Everything had to be the very last minute, the very beginning, perfectly timed to have this happen,” Chase Stewart said. And although triplets were never in the plan throughout their fertility journey, Shelby and Chase say it was meant to be.
“We had three miscarriages and ended up having three babies and we feel like they were meant to come together,” Chase Stewart said. Because Shelby Stewart had heart failure after giving birth to the triplets, doctors told her she won’t be able to carry another child, but the couple is OK with that.
They actually use their social media platforms to help educate young couples about the ups and downs of infertility, hoping their story brings comfort to others.