Identical triplets Dakota, Savannah, and Brooklyn recently celebrated their first birthday because their mother, 21-year-old Kandace Smith, refused to “terminate” them as she was counseled by her doctors, who told her “she was too small and weak to bear even one child, much less triplets,” reported Beliefnet.com.
Cystic fibrosis is a serious hereditary disorder that affects the lungs, making it difficult to breathe and often leading to early death. Smith was told that she would likely never be able to have children. “I couldn’t believe that I was actually pregnant,” she recalled to the British newspaper the Daily Mail, “and when the scan showed there were three heartbeats I nearly passed out. I didn’t actually believe it was possible — and there were three babies in my womb.”
The mother-to-be weighed only 85 pounds, and was frequently hospitalized for treatment of the mucus that blocked her lungs and made it difficult to breathe. When the doctors discovered that she was carrying three babies, they advised her to abort them for her own safety, and because of the possibility that the babies would also suffer from the disease. It was counsel that, in the years to come, her daughters will thank her for disregarding.
“I’ve always had such a problem putting on any weight,” she told the Daily Mail. “They told me that to have a termination would be better as it would make sure that I survived. But I was determined. I knew that it was going to be difficult and risky for me, but I wanted to take that risk. I had never thought it was possible that I could ever be a mom, so I wanted to have that chance.”
Obstetrician Gabriella Pridjian of Tulane-Lakeside Hospital, where the babies were born, told the Daily Mail that she and the other doctors “were very concerned that her lung function wouldn’t be able to tolerate the triplet pregnancy. And if we had to deliver the babies early, they may not have been at a gestational age where they would live.”
Twenty-eight weeks into her pregnancy, Smith’s breathing became so labored that doctors made the decision to carry out an emergency caesarean to deliver the triplets in order to save the mother’s life. “My breathing got worse and worse and eventually it got so bad that they didn’t think I was going to make it,” Smith recalled. “So even though the babies were tiny, they needed to deliver them. I was so worried about them because they were being born so early. I just had to pray that they would all survive.”
A spokesperson for Britain’s Cystic Fibrosis Trust told the Daily Mail, “We have never come across a case where a woman with CF has given birth to triplets. Pregnancy is a strain on the body anyway, but for a person with CF it can be life threatening because of the extra pressure on the lungs. And with triplets, that risk is trebled.”
While the three identical girls were born premature, they were healthy, and after several weeks in the hospital, they were able to go home. (Click here to view a YouTube video of the babies shortly after their births.) Said Smith, who is engaged to the children’s father, Steven Bowers, “It has been the hardest fight of my life. But it has been worth every second. I would have died for my girls if I’d had to.”