Genevieve “Genna” Knox was sʜᴏᴄᴋᴇᴅ when she managed to get pregnant at the age of 39 without any particular difficulties. But that wasn’t the only surprise, and her pregnancy had two more unexpected twists.
The first surprise came to the woman in the 20th week, when the ultrasound revealed that she was expecting twins. The technician was silent for a long time, then suddenly asked, “Shall we wait? Are you expecting twins?” Knox said no, but the next moment she understood what the technician was talking about. “I looked up and saw as clear as day that there were two babies,” she said.
Knox, who teaches fifth-grade children in San Diego, California, gave up the ɴᴜᴄʜᴀʟ sᴄᴀɴ in the first trimester, during which the thickness of the fluid collection located behind the back of the ꜰᴇᴛᴜs’s ɴᴇᴄᴋ is measured and, among other things, enables the recognition of twin pregnancies.
“All the ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ tests were normal, so when my doctor asked if I wanted to skip the occiput test, I said yes. I was working full-time, and that meant one less appointment,” explained the mother.
When they found out they were expecting twins, Genna and her husband, Kyle, who were already parents to a 6-year-old boy, Liam, felt like they were the luckiest people in the world.
“I decided to have children relatively late, and I didn’t know if I could even have a child. We were very happy,” she said.
But, of course, in addition to joy, they also had concerns. “I remember telling Kyle that I couldn’t fit three child seats in my car,” Knox said. Later, it became clear to him that he would definitely need a bigger car.
Nine weeks later, the couple decided to make a four-dimensional ultrasound of the ꜰᴇᴛᴜsᴇs, not for health reasons but just as a souvenir, so that they could show the pictures to their family.
Knox said the sonographer took a long time to examine her, but she didn’t say anything, and she was starting to get scared when she finally asked when she found out she was expecting twins. The woman said that the matter was discovered during the 20-week ultrasound examination, and the sonographer informed her that she was actually expecting triplets. “I barely remember anything else about that moment. I was really sʜᴏᴄᴋᴇᴅ,” said the mother.
Knox gave birth to her daughters on March 21, 2019, at 33 weeks’ gestation. Kaylee, Lily, and Cecilia spent a few weeks in the ɴᴇᴏɴᴀᴛᴀʟ ɪɴᴛᴇɴsɪᴠᴇ ᴄᴀʀᴇ ᴜɴɪᴛ, but then they quickly got stronger and are now in kindergarten.
“Hidden triplet sʏɴᴅʀᴏᴍᴇ” isn’t as rare as you might first think, according to obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Sean Daneshmand. “When the fetuses are still very small, one can hide behind the other,” the doctor explained, adding that the “hidden” fetus usually becomes visible between the 26th and 28th weeks of pregnancy.
“As the baby gets bigger, the ultrasound probes see a little less because of the size. So while we can see individual organs, it’s hard to see the whole fetus at once after about 15 or 16 weeks. So ultimately, over time, it’s a little bit easier to lose sight of a second or third ꜰᴇᴛᴜs,” explained obstetrician Dr. Ashley Roman, adding that thanks to advances in technology, it’s unusual to miss a ꜰᴇᴛᴜs for so long.
Cecilia, the “hidden triplet,” according to the mother, is the most challenging, Knox says. “She has a very big personality,” Knox shares. “She is hilarious, and we love her to death, but she definitely marches to the beat of her own drum.”
After Knox, now 43, shared her story on TikTok, it went viral with more than one million views.