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"Medical Miracle" Gives Childless Family Two Sets Of Triplets

Courtney Garrett

Teasing newlyweds about when the stork will bring them a baby is a fun tradition.

But as our society becomes more conscientious of women who struggle to conceive, those jokes are falling out of fashion.  

Women in my own family have struggled to give birth, so I know how much that kind of innocent teasing can hurt.

But for a couple from New Orleans who struggled for years to start a family, their prayers were finally answered sixfold.

"Is this ever going to work?"

Garrett triplets
Garrett Family

Courtney and Phillip Garrett were struggling to conceive a child in 2009, when Courtney was in her late 20s.

The couple eventually settled on using in vitro fertilization (IVF), but as many women know the process can be grueling.

"Going through IVF was very emotionally draining and we started to feel like, 'Is this ever going to work?'" Courtney remembers.

"'Are we ever going to get the chance to be parents?'"

The couple had their first stroke of good luck that year, when doctors inserted two fertilized embryos.

One of the eggs split, creating a very rare - but happy - situation.

"How did this happen?"

Garrett triplets
Garrett family

The odds of having a multiple birth (twins or triplets) is around one in 67.

But Courtney's case was even rarer: one of her fertilized embryos had split, leaving her with three fertilized eggs.

The couple say they were "ecstatic" to hear the news.

"We were just like, 'How did this happen?'"

Garrett triplets
Courtney finally gave birth to triplets in 2009.Garrett family

Later that year, Courtney gave birth to Jack, Oliver, and their sister Ellie.

But the Garrett family's good luck was just beginning.

"The ultrasound came up and we could see there were two circles"

Last year, the Garretts decided to push their luck, and try IVF one more time to give the triplets a younger sibling.

But a routine ultrasound gave the couple even more shocking news.


"The ultrasound came up and we could see there were two circles, so I was like, 'Wait a minute.'"

In a twist of fate, Courtney had conceived naturally and from IVF in the same month.

She was expecting twins from two different methods.

After the good news, Phillip joked, "Watch one of them split."

"I said, 'You are crazy, that won't happen again,'" Courtney remembers.

But sure enough, he was right.

Less than 1 in a million

More tests revealed Courtney was pregnant with triplets again after one of the embryos had split.

The lucky mom says her doctor turned white when he saw the results.

Garrett family

Her unusual case had a very special meaning.

Babies born from split embryos are identical.

But since one of Courtney's babies was naturally conceived, her second set of triplets are not identical.

Doctors say such a set of triplets only happens ".5 to two times per million cases," meaning the chances could have been literally less than one in a million.

The Garrett family went from two people to eight in a pair of incredibly lucky breaks, and the fortunate couple couldn't be happier.

"It just makes my heart swell"

The Garretts admit there's "never a dull moment" in a home with two sets of triplets, but they wouldn't have it any other way.

They enlisted their older kids to help by assigning them each a younger sibling to look after, according to birth order.

Garrett triplets
Garrett family

The unusual system has "helped them bond and they have fallen in love with them," and it also lightens mom and dad's load.

It's a big change from when the Garretts first told they older triplets they were expecting: the kids whined because they had been expecting a puppy instead.

Garrett triplets
Garrett family

"It just makes my heart swell to see all these beautiful babies and think they are mine," says the proud mom.

"There are a few people in the world with two sets of triplets but certainly not any that happened in these sort of circumstances."

What are the chances?

Stories like the Garrett family's are rare, but not unheard of.

Crystal Cornick from Baltimore made headlines in 2000 after delivering two sets of triplets in less than two years.

Crystal Cornick triplets
Crystal Cornick's second set of triplets.BBC

Just 19 at the time, Cornick had her world turned upside down by the pair births.

Suddenly she was changing 252 diapers a week, and preparing 215 bottles of formula.

"It's not like I planned this," the young mother explained.

"I was on birth control, and I was that 1 percent where it doesn't work."

While Williams didn't plan to have a house filled with children, other woman have had their lives changed for the better by IVF.

Their lucky numbers

A couple from Minnesota who had been struggling to conceive for years had their prayers answered in the best possible way.

The pair - known only as Julie and Lance - say they had gone through four rounds of IVF and three miscarriages, with no success after five long years.

Julie and Lance say their prayers were answered.Julie

On a whim, they went to the Resolve Midwest Family Building Summit, a conference for couples trying to conceive with free advice and expert guests.

Their attendance included tickets in a raffle for two free IVF cycles (valued at around $12,000).

Julia and Lance sobbed after learning they had won the raffle.

"I was so happy," Julie told People.

"My head was in the clouds. I really felt like that was a gift from God."

A full house

Julie's first free cycle resulted in 10 viable embryos,

In quick succession, the couple welcomed a daughter, and three sets of twins.

The couple went from no children to seven thanks to the raffle.Julie

But they still plan on making the most of their blessing, and implanting Julie's two remaining embryos later this year.

As Julie says, "I want all my kids."

The couple say even with all the extra work, they're grateful for their full house.

The couple still plan to use their last two embryos.Julie

They hope their story will inspire other hopeful parents to never give up.

"It's been amazing. My children have fulfilled my life's calling," Julie says.

"My calling in life is to be a mom above all else. I wouldn't trade it for the world and I love it. We're thankful to God. We're so thankful and blessed. Each one is truly a blessing."

How lucky are these moms?

[H/T: New York Post, WWLTV, Daily Mail, People]

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories.