By Tracy Hughes, Salmon Arm Observer

The Canadian Press

Salmon Arm, B.C.: A British Columbia couple who’ve waited years to become parents are expecting three babies at once, identical triplets, which doctors say come along only once in 50 million births.

For Mahalia Meeuwsen and her husband Mike, just having one baby seemed like a miracle.

Meeuwsen, 42, is 30 weeks pregnant with identical triplet girls, conceived naturally without the use of fertility treatments.

“To look on the ultrasound and see the three of them growing, to see their hearts beating, it is simply amazing,” the mom-to-be said. “And to know how rare this is, it’s staggering.”

Meeuwsen said all the babies appear healthy.

“There are so many complications and so many worries and yet, every appointment we’ve heard nothing but good news, so my plan is to just try and stay calm and each day they grow a little bit more.”

Meeuwsen was admitted to hospital for bed rest on Monday morning.

Doctors are hoping the triplets will continue to grow in their mother’s womb until a C-section on Nov. 16, when they will be at 34 weeks gestation. A normal singleton pregnancy is around 40 weeks.

The couple from Salmon Arm married in 2005 with hopes of becoming parents. By 2011, they were still waiting and visited a fertility clinic to try and discover the cause of the infertility.

“They really found nothing,” Meeuwsen said. “It was simply termed unexplained infertility. We looked at options like in-vitro, but we decided not to go that route.”

A month later, Meeuwsen was pregnant, but an ultrasound a month later detected no heartbeat.

“That was devastating to us but, at that point, we just decided we were not going to be parents and were going to love our furry kids, our English bulldog, and that would be that.”

However, in April, Meeuwsen was experiencing some unusual symptoms she chalked up to early menopause _ until a call from her doctor’s office confirmed she was pregnant.

“I thought I was too old, so it was pretty shocking.”

Then an ultrasound revealed what medical staff thought was twins.

Two weeks later, the shock multiplied.

“I had another ultrasound and the tech goes, `There’s a heartbeat here and here and here.’ And I thought he was joking,” Meeuwsen said. “But, he showed me _ and there they all were. I was dizzy.”

When they brought her husband in for the news, they propped him up between the bed and the wall.

“They figured he’d need something to lean on,” Meeuwsen said with a laugh.

“Just look at that stroller,” she said showing the $1,500 purchase. It’s like a train.”

The expenses will multiply for the couple while their babies remain in a neonatal intensive care unit, perhaps in Kamloops, where the new parents would have to stay in a hotel. (Kamloops This Week)

© 2015 The Canadian Press