These Are The Rarest Triplets In The Entire World – Take A Closer Look

Having triplets is rare in and of itself. These triplets, however, are extra-special. This is because they all had the same skull condition at birth, something doctors have never seen before. This is the story of the Howard triplets.

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The Rarest Triplets In The World

Amy Howard and her husband Michael welcomed their triplet boys Kaden, Jackson, and Hunter into the world in October 2016. The birth was uncomplicated, however, shortly afterward their doctors noted that there was something strange about the triplets’ skulls. Kaden’s head was triangular in shape with a pointy forehead, while his brothers’ skulls protruded at the back. Upon further investigation, the doctors diagnosed each of the boys with craniosynostosis. 

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The Howard Triplets
The Howard Triplets. Image Credit: The Howard Family

What Is Craniosynostosis?

When babies are born, their skull is in three parts. The spaces between the baby’s skull bones are called sutures and are filled with a flexible material. This is so that as their brain grows, their skull can grow along with it. Around two years of age, the baby’s sutures close, aka their skull bones join together.

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Craniosynostosis in an infant. Image Credit: CDC

Craniosynostosis is a birth defect in which the bones of the skull fuse too early, before the baby’s brain is fully developed. As the baby’s brain grows, the skull cannot grow properly to accommodate it and therefore becomes misshapen. This can limit or slow the growth of the baby’s brain. It can also lead to a build-up in pressure inside the skull if there is not enough room for the baby’s growing brain.

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“Your skull is made up of plates, it’s not a single bone,” said the Howard triplets’ surgeon Dr. David Chesler, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. “[If the seams join together too early] the brain can be put under pressure. … That can be detrimental to the brain, the vision, the life of the child. It’s not imminently life-threatening, but it can cause real consequences down the road.”

The condition itself is not overly rare. Researchers estimate that one in every 2,500 babies are born with the condition each year. What is rare, however, is to have triplets born where all three babies have it. The cause, however, is still unknown. Thankfully, modern surgical procedures exist to correct this and allow the baby’s head to grow properly. In mild cases, surgery may not even be necessary. Most have no further or future complications or developmental issues.

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Read: Mom gave birth to identical triplets – The chances of it happening was as high as 1 in 200 million

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The Howard Triplets

The Howards: From left, Michael Howard holding son Jackson; Amy Howard holding son Hunter and Dr. David A. Chesler holding another of the triplets, Kaden.
The Howards: From left, Michael Howard holding son Jackson; Amy Howard holding son Hunter and Dr. David A. Chesler holding another of the triplets, Kaden. Image Credit: John Griffin via NewsDay

The three baby boys all needed surgery to correct their skulls’ conditions. During the surgery, the surgeons made small incisions in each of the boys’ heads. Next, they had to cut out a strip of bone to remove the fused seam. For six to nine months after the procedure, the babies had to wear custom-made, orthotic helmets for 23 hours each day to help shape their skulls. Each baby did amazingly well and went home just a few days later. Their parents said that they continued to thrive while at home.

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“It took them a little bit of time to adjust, but they don’t give me any problems taking them off or putting them back on at all,” said mom Amy.

From there, the new family of five spent time adjusting to being new parents. They went through all the same things new parents go through – only times three. They said that it was at times overwhelming and a little bit chaotic, but that they were absolutely in love with their three new family members.

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“It’s a little chaotic. It’s awesome, I wouldn’t change it for the world, but it’s crazy,” said their dad Mike.

Amy added to that sentiment:

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“The babies want to be picked up all at the same time. It is a little bit hectic, especially around bed time,”

We are certainly glad that all three boys are doing well and wish this family all the best.

Keep Reading: Pregnant Mother Is ‘Brain Dead’ So They Keep Her Alive For 123 Days To Give Birth To Twins

Sources:

  1. “Triplets make medical history, thrive after surgery for rare birth defect” Today. January 2017
  2. “Facts about Craniosynostosis” CDC. No Date.
Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.
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