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August 10, 2008

Identical girl triplets

Friends pitch in to help Clagetts keep up with brand new baby trio

FREDERICK — Words can’t describe the emotions and amazement that come with doubling the size of your family of three in less than two minutes.

It’s even more incredible when it happens unexpectedly and naturally — no fertility drugs, no in-vitro fertilization.

Tom and Erin Clagett always planned to expand their family, which includes daughter Hannah, 4. Doing so with triplets — identical girl triplets — didn’t cross their mind, though.

On May 31, the girls arrived via Cesarean-section with Brooke Julianne first at 4:57 p.m. followed quickly by Alexis “Lexi” Michele at 4:58 and Brynn Erin, 4:58:30. At 33 weeks, they were a bit early, but for triplets, doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore were ecstatic.

The family now is all nestled into its Frederick home, adjusting and taking one day at a time.

“We truly are so blessed,” Erin said.

Triplets wasn’t what Erin, a native of Frostburg, expected to hear Dec. 7 when she went in for a prenatal vitamin visit. But when she described her discomfort, the nurse sent her for a sonogram.

Tom was with Hannah when Erin called.

“I was a little bit shocked,” he said. “I thought she was calling me because something was wrong. She just said there were three heartbeats. I said, ‘Are you sure?’”

He said he may have expected twins because Erin’s father, Bill Determan, is a fraternal twin. Statistics vary as to the chance of naturally conceiving triplets, but http://multiples.about.com puts it at about 1 in 8,100.

So began the journey that now has Tom outnumbered 5:1, unless you count their dog, Jackson. Either way, it’s a statistic he doesn’t mind.

The Clagetts chose the University of Maryland Medical Center for care because it is one of three in the country that specializes in Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

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