Rare Identical Triplets Born in Oklahoma

A couple in Oklahoma have expressed their joy after welcoming rare identical triplets.

Stephanie Norman gave birth to her identical girls Aspen, Kensli and Layken on June 2, but all three had to spend nearly two months in Norman Regional HealthPlex in Norman because they were premature and were born at just 29 weeks.

Stephanie and her partner T.J. have described how they have been coping now that they have been able to take their children home following their stint in hospital.

"I never thought this could happen to us," Stephanie told FOX Television Stations. "My sister has twins, so I never thought we could have multiples."

Stephanie was told she was going to have triplets when she was eight-weeks pregnant. A month later, she was told that all three girls were sharing the same placenta and would be born identical.

"I just laughed," T.J. said "I didn't know what else to do."

Identical triplets occur when a sperm fertilizes an egg which divides into three, or into two with one of those halves splitting again. This forms three embryos with the same genetic material such as DNA, blood type, eye and hair color.

The couple said all three babies are healthy after being born premature and have since doubled in weight.

The mother added the biggest challenge so far has been telling her children apart, although she has since come up with a solution.

"We have little anklet bracelets on them right now. Aspen has a pink anklet and then Kensli has a blue one and then Layken has a purple anklet on," Stephanie said.

The pair added they are thankful for all the attention and support they have been given since the birth of their children.

"Never thought we would have a laugh like this where everybody is reaching out to us," T.J. said "Everybody has been really supportive throughout the whole thing."

Speaking to KOKO, Stephanie explained that her daughters all weighed just over two pounds when they were born.

"So, they were really small," Stephanie added. "Aspen, she actually got to come home first," she said. "The other two were still in the NICU, so that was really hard."

Stephanie said she and T.J. wanted one more child after giving birth to their 2-year-old, Wyatt.

"We wanted one more and we were hoping it would be a girl. And then we were surprised we got three girls" Stephanie said.

"I kind of joked about it on the way there for the first ultrasound. Yeah, what are we going to do if we hear more than one heartbeat—and then there were three of them in there," T.J. added.

The odds of having identical triplets vary, with estimates being reported as between one in 60,000 to one in 200 million.

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(File photo) A nurse embraces and teaches the foot of a newborn baby at University Hospital region of A Coruna, Galicia, October 26, 2010. A couple in Oklahoma have expressed their joy after welcoming rare identical triplets. Xurxo Lobato/Cover/Getty Images