FRANKLIN, Ind. — Avery, Cassidy and Bentley Doss have arrived — in that order. And now their parents are doing their best to tell their three girls, identical triplets, apart.
The babies were born at 1:05, 1:06 and 1:07 p.m. on Monday at St. Vincent Women's Hospital in Indianapolis and are doing well, say their parents Amanda and Chad Doss of Franklin.
Chad and Amanda can hold Avery and Bentley — born at 3 pounds, 15 ounces and a whopping 4 pounds, 3 ounces. Cassidy — who weighs 3 pounds, 11 ounces — has a feeding tube in her umbilical cord, so they have to wait to cuddle her. All can breathe without assistance, and they're putting on weight.
So far, no distinct personalities have emerged, say Mom and Dad, but they're already getting a sense of their little ones.
"When they're in their little giraffe warmers, they're pretty sleepy, but it's really cool that when we pick them up, they kind of recognize us and open their eyes," Amanda said.
Although Amanda Doss gave birth at 31 and a half weeks, she and her husband had only about three months to prepare for the triplets, who were conceived without assistance.
Just one year ago, the Dosses didn't even know whether she would conceive. Chad, who has two children now 9 and 12 from a previous marriage, had had a vasectomy. In February, he had the procedure reversed, and the couple waited to see what would happen.
In June, Amanda learned she was pregnant and her pregnancy proceeded through the summer. In early October she had a routine ultrasound.
She had entertained suspicions she might be having twins, but she never thought of triplets.
After all, having identical triplets is a rare event. In the past six months, two sets of identical triplets have made headlines, one born in Great Britain and the other in California.
Experts differ on how common such pregnancies are. Some put the odds at 1 in a million. Others say it's closer to 1 in 100 million.
In Doss's case, ultrasound revealed the three girls shared a placenta and chorionic sac but had three amniotic sacs. This suggests that one fertilized egg split in three soon after conception.
The Dosses gave the babies names, based on their location in utero.
The delivery, Amanda says, was easy. She had been on bed rest at home throughout November and early December. Then about three weeks ago, her doctor admitted her to the hospital.
Over the next few weeks she felt contractions but did not progress any further.
Then on Monday, Chad left to pick up some lunch around noon and her water broke. He came rushing back and within the hour, the babies had all arrived.
"It was definitely just like in the blink of an eye that it happened," Amanda said.
The hospital staff took the babies into another room, cleaned them up, and invited Chad to step in and have a look.
"It was just crazy to see three babies in three beds sitting here and doing well," he said.
Doctors have told the Dosses the babies will likely remain in the hospital for another eight weeks.
But Amanda is getting discharged Friday. While the couple has only one vehicle — they traded in their other two to buy the minivan that the rapidly expanding family now requires — they'll do their best to get up to the hospital as much as possible to spend time with their little girls.
"Seeing them for the first time was a very overwhelming experience, to feel them in my stomach for so long and just wonder what they will look like," Amanda Doss said. "To finally be able to see them was the best day ever."