Triple joy for family

They are once-in-a-generation medical marvels.

They are once-in-a-generation medical marvels.

Identical brothers Alfie, Sebastian and Zak are too young to realise it yet but their arrival into the world has well and truly beaten the odds.

For experts believe the chance of identical triplets being conceived is about one in 100,000 and say that a set of identical triplets is usually born just once in every 20 years in Norwich.

The trio were conceived naturally without IVF treatment and their proud mum, Emma Spooner, 28, said: “It is quite amazing. It makes us feel quite special. They are each a bundle of joy. They are fantastic.”

Mrs Spooner and her husband, Ken, 35, found out they were expecting triplets when Mrs Spooner was seven weeks pregnant - news that Mrs Spooner said left them feeling “gobsmacked and overwhelmed.” There is a family history of twins, but nobody from either side of the family has had triplets before.

Following what Mrs Spooner described as “a really good pregnancy” the little tots were delivered by a planned caesarean section on April 8 at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital - with Zak weighing 5lb 2oz, Sebastian weighing 4lb 12oz, and Alfie weighing 4lb 11oz.

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And despite being born at just 34 weeks, the healthy baby boys only needed to stay in hospital for eight days.

Now Mr and Mrs Spooner and their two other children, Molly, eight, and Jacob, five, are enjoying getting to know the new arrivals at their Cockley Cley home - although they say telling them apart can sometimes be quite tricky!

“Zak is a bit bigger and has chubby cheeks so we call him chubber. Alfie and Sebastian especially look very similar but they all have different phases of looking like each other. We make sure we dress them in different clothes.

“We want to make sure they each have their own identities,” said Mrs Spooner, who added that it was only on Friday that the family was told the triplets were completely identical when doctors revealed the results of a test on the placenta.

Mr Spooner said: “I am absolutely ecstatic about the triplets. I am very excited and looking forward to the future.

“It is getting harder to tell them apart though. I have been waiting to see some little facial differences but their noses, mouths, eyes and ears are all the same.

“We would really like to thank all the staff at the N&N, especially our consultant Richard Smith. We had named the triplets before they were born and Richard made sure they were delivered in the right order so that they were all given their right name.”

Mrs Spooner said the whole family has been helping to look after the boys, including Mrs Spooner's mum and stepdad, Diane and Doug Raymond, who came to stay for the first two weeks after the triplets came home.

Identical triplets occur when one fertilised egg splits to create three separate embryos. Non-identical triplets occur when three separate eggs are fertilised.