Katherine van der Veen and her husband Ain Baird, photographed in Burnaby, where they are currently staying, and where their children will be born. Photo submitted

After two failed pregnancies, B.C. couple expecting identical girl triplets

Pregnancies of this type are incredibly rare

The odds are 10 in one million, but after two failed pregnancies a Nelson couple will be bringing home identical triplets this summer. Katherine van der Veen and her husband, Ain Baird, were stunned when they heard the news.

“It was a huge shock. My husband didn’t even believe me until I showed him the sonogram images,” van der Veen told the Star from Burnaby, where she is staying with her in-laws. It’s also where the babies will be born.

There is no neo-natal intensive care unit in the Nelson area, and the three baby girls will need to spend time in the unit to ensure they are healthy before making their way home to the Kootenays in the couple’s new minivan, recently purchased to accommodate their yet-to-be-born children.

The road to van der Veen and Baird’s miracle pregnancy was far from easy.

Van der Veen had a miscarriage in 2017. Then, after giving childbirth a second shot, she had a preterm birth at the start of her second trimester. Their child, Ivy Kate, did not survive.

“It was incredibly traumatic to lose a child that way. You feel helpless. Your hands are tied.”

Van der Veen took sick leave and worked through the pain of losing her second child with the help of a team of specialists and friends, including a naturopathic doctor, grief counselor, and acupuncturists.

Then, she and Baird tried again.

In late October 2018, van der Veen was laying on her side during a routine ultrasound. She says the technician kept looking at the screen and looking back at her. Her first thought was, “Oh no, it’s another miscarriage.” Then the nurse asked her if it was a natural conception. Van der Veen said yes. The nurse informed her she was pregnant with triplets. She couldn’t believe it.

It’s incredibly rare for this kind of natural pregnancy to occur. A study in the the Journal of Bio Social Science, published by the school of public health at Cambridge University, says the odds are 10 in a million.

Van der Veen says each of her children, still in utero, have unique personalities. They do, however, reportedly have one thing in common: they love the Toronto Raptors. Van Der Veen says they kick like crazy when the Canadian NBA team is on the television, a hint that leads her to believe she has three little athletes inside of her.

But even if they don’t turn out to be athletes, van der Veen thinks Nelson, where she has lived for almost 15 years, is the perfect place to raise children.

“I think this place affords them lots of opportunities to simply be themselves, whoever they turn out to be,” said van der Veen. “And I’m grateful they get to grow up in a beautiful mountain town.”

The last identical triplets born in Canada were also from B.C.. Mahalia Meeuwesun, 43, gave birth to identical triplets in Salmon Arm, in November 2015.

Van der Veen is currently seven months pregnant. Doctors are anticipating the girls will be born early and the babies are expected to spend a month in intensive care.

A GoFundMe campaign has been started to help offset the costs of raising triplets. Nelson Family Place is also accepting donations of clothing, toys, diapers, etc., on their behalf.

For more on the history of triplets in the West Kootenay, see Greg Nesteroff’s piece from his blog, The Kütne Reader, here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

An early ultrasound image of Katherine and Ain’s triplets. Photo submitted

Just Posted

Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Chilliwack 2020 provincial election candidates, clockwise from top left, Josue Anderson (Independent), Andrew Coombes (Libertarian), Tim Cooper (Green), John Martin (BC Liberal), Diane Janzen (BC Conservative), and Daniel Coulter (NDP). They will face off tonight (Oct. 14, 2020) in a virtual All Candidates Meeting at 6 p.m. The Chilliwack-Kent riding meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m.
B.C. VOTES 2020: DEVELOPING: With polls closed, Chilliwack awaits results

Elections BC is calculating the preliminary numbers

(Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay)
QUIZ: A celebration of colour

Fall in British Columbia is a time to enjoy a spectrum of vivid colours

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Mounties looking for teen boy ‘unlawfully at large’ from Riverview psychiatric hospital

Nolan Godron left the hospital, located at 2721 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, without consent on Saturday

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

BC Hydro map showing where power has been knocked out is dotted with over a dozen outages. (BC Hydro map screenshot)
Thousands without power in Lower Mainland on election day

One outage in Langley and Surrey is affecting over 4,000 customers

Most Read