IT’S a moment of pure joy for any parent to be – the baby scan.
But when mum-of-four Mary McCandlish discovered she was expecting once again, her visit to the ultrasound department was even more exciting. Because, when she looked at the screen, Mary realised there was not one new baby on the way… but three!
And in an amazing 160,000-to-one chance they are identical triplets – and all boys.
Mary, 34, from Barrhead, East Renfrewshire, says she was stunned when doctors broke the news.
She discovered she was having triplets in her first visit to maternity unit of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she smiled.
“It was my youngest son James, six, who spotted them on the ultrasound screen.
“I was just 12 weeks into pregnancy on my first routine scan.
“The sonographer carrying out the scan was examining the image on the screen when James shouted, ‘There’s two mum!’
“The sonographer quickly added, ‘No, three.’
“I was stunned as I had hoped to have just one baby. I hadn’t bargained on three. But there is nothing like a new baby about the house. Three will be hectic but fun. I can safely say I’m going to be very busy, probably for the rest of my life.”
Mary’s other children Peter, 16, Emily, 14, Katrina, 13, and James, six, are excited about the triplets impending arrival.
Mary got a high-definition colour scan at Glasgow’s Bumptobaby clinic. It offers mums advanced 3D, 4D and live scans of the babies in the womb.
It is run by sonographer Gayle McTaggart and her business partner Donna Maria Bean, who is lead sonographer at Glasgow’s Princess Royal Maternity Hospital.
Gayle, a twin herself, said: “We were delighted to show Mary her triplets moving about in her womb.
“We don’t get many triplets and identical ones are rare so it was a big day. It’s a joy to watch them move about doing somersaults and jostling for space in the womb.”
Mary smiled and said: “I felt the babies move earlier than I did with my last pregnancies. I guess that’s because it’s tight for space in there.
“I can’t stop looking at my scan pictures – it’s incredible.”
Doctors have told Mary her triplets will be delivered by Caesarean section around 30 weeks into pregnancy. That is 10 weeks earlier than full-term babies.
Mary explained: “Apparently identical triplets struggle to remain nourished after that time.
“Mine are linked to the one placenta and it will struggle to feed all the babies after 30 weeks.
“I am 17 weeks into pregnancy and feel huge already.”
Identical triplets happen when one fertilised egg splits into two and another splits again.
They will all be identical genetically, except for their fingerprints which form between six and 12 weeks in the womb.