London - Tucked up snugly side by side, these adorable triplets are the picture of health.
But their lives were saved by a risky operation while they were still in the womb.
The sisters had developed a rare condition that threatened to kill them all. Thanks to the skill of surgeons who performed the operation, all three survived and were born tiny but healthy.
Eilah, Erin and Elsie were delivered safely in October, weighing 3lb 1oz, 2lb 12oz and 2lb respectively. Elsie was so tiny her parents were warned she might have to stay in hospital for several months but – to their delight – she thrived and was allowed home on Christmas Eve, joining her sisters, who came home in early December.
Mother Laura Slinger, 26, said: “We have three healthy daughters and that’s the best Christmas present anyone could ask for.”
Miss Slinger, a beauty salon manager, and her partner Martyn Halliwell were thrilled to discover they were expecting triplets, conceived without fertility treatment. But 17 weeks into the pregnancy, doctors detected a problem with the blood supply between two of the babies.
Although all three were growing in the womb together, two of the girls, Eilah and Elsie, were identical twins and sharing their blood supply from the placenta.
They were diagnosed with Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, where one twin gets too much blood, while the other is effectively starved of nutrients. Elsie was at risk of not developing properly while her sister Eilah was receiving too great a share.
The only hope was an operation to divide the twins’ blood supply, although the procedure meant all three girls were at risk.
Mr Halliwell, 29, a sales manager, said: “It was devastating when we knew that they were literally killing each other.”
The surgery was carried out by Dr Amar Bhide at St George’s Hospital in south London, using a laser to separate the twins’ blood supply. The parents, who live near Burnley, then faced an anxious two-week wait to learn if it had been a success.
Mr Halliwell said: “We were so thrilled when we heard that we hadn’t lost any of the girls. They were all little fighters. We are so proud of them.” - Daily Mail