What began as a lighthearted joke turned into a journey, a celebration and the medical miracle of identical triplets, or monozygotic multiples, for Nebraska City’s Lindsey and Derek Teten.
Late last year, the couple found out they were pregnant and wondered about the future.
“When we first found out we were pregnant, right before Christmas, we kind of joked before our first appointment, ‘What if we have twins,’” Lindsey recalled.
The surprise that awaited them defied the odds. Lindsey and Derek found out they would have triplets, an extremely rare occurrence for a couple who conceived without fertility treatments or any other medical intervention.
What are the odds?
The agreed upon odds are one in a million, or, to put in another way, there are about four or five such pregnancies in the United States each year.
After the initial finding of triplets, the Tetens visited Dr. Brendan Connealy, maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Methodist Women’s Hospital in Omaha.
“I saw her when she was about nine or 10 weeks pregnant,” said Dr. Connealy. “The ultrasound done by her local physician did indicate triplets and, during our exam and ultrasound, we confirmed the single placenta with one fluid sack per baby. They were indeed pregnant with spontaneous identical triplets.”
Lindsey said the confirmation of triplets was exciting. But that was just the beginning of what would be a long process.
“From that initial appointment, we began to follow Lindsey’s pregnancy very closely,” Dr. Connealy said. “A pregnancy involving multiples is always at risk for complications, both for mom and babies. The uniqueness of this pregnancy certainly added to that.”
The journey from conception to delivery wasn’t an easy one. Lindsey said she had to have gall blatter surgery at the 16-week mark and said that it was difficult having continual appointments in Omaha.
There was a certainty and a care that made Lindsey comfortable, however.
“I knew if I felt something or had questions, I could call the clinic in Omaha and all my questions would be answered,” she said. “Working and managing a high-risk pregnancy, with unexpected stays in Omaha, was just something that we had to do. The end result is we have three healthy, beautiful girls.”
As the Tetens went through the pregnancy, Dr. Connealy said that celebration was as much a part of the process as was rigorous monitoring to assure that all was well.
“We celebrated every milestone,” said Dr. Connealy. “When the pregnancy hit 12 weeks, we high fived. We did that a lot during this pregnancy.
“Lindsey is an amazing person—one of the hardest working persons I’ve known. She went through a lot with this pregnancy,” said Dr. Connealy. “Her goal was to make it to 32 weeks, which is average for a multiples pregnancy. She darn near made it.
“She and Derek are a couple that I won’t forget for a very long time.”
Lindsey said the 24-week mark was celebrated as much as the 12 because it meant the chances were higher for her and the babies. As the goal got closer, blood pressure issues and growth concerns led to a delivery a day shy of the 32-week goal.
The Teten triplets were born on June 23 via C-section. Juliet Ann weighed four pounds and measured 16 and a half inches long. Adeline Kay weighed three pounds and four ounces and measured 16 and a quarter inch long. Marian Rae weighted three pounds and 15 ounces and was 16 and three quarter inches long.
After the babies were born, much work was still to be done as the Teten triplets had to pass tests that began with breathing and eventually with passing a test that allowed the babies to be discharged and sent home.
Dr. David Minderman, a neonatologist at Methodist, oversaw the process.
“I took care of the girls during the first two to three days in our neonatal intensive care unit,” said Dr. Minderman. “They needed breathing assistance, but that is pretty typical for our babies
“Breathing is always the first hurdle that NICU babies must cross,” he said. “In those initial days, they are fed with a tube in their nose or mouth.”
The NICU team is part of the deliver and join the maternal-fetal medicine team.
“Our job is to do what we can to support the babies at delivery,” said Dr. Minderman. “In the case of triplets, we have to triple all our services. We have three to five team members at each bedside ready to do whatever that may be. A lot of people were eager to see these babies born.”
By July 21, the Teten babies were ready to be discharged with Dr. Minderman estimating that they were about a week and a half ahead of schedule.
The last test the babies passed prior to being discharged was the car seat safety test.
“We do that because NICU babies have weak head and neck control,” Dr. Minderman said. “We don’t send our babies home until that test is passed.”
In the Teten’s case, as in every high-risk pregnancy, the journey from conception to delivery is one that takes a team of care providers.
“It takes a team to provide the care that we do for all our more high-risk moms,” said Dr. Connealy. “That’s a compliment to our staff/nurses. We are working with patients over the phone who may be a long distance from us.
The detailed ultrasounds our techs provide are so necessary to what we do,” said Dr. Connealy. “We couldn’t do it without them.
“The high-risk care we provide at Methodist is second to none. It’s top notch care,” said Dr. Connealy. “We very much have a team approach in our clinic. I have eight other parters and we rely on each other when we have a pregnancy like this.
“It’s nice to have colleagues who can help you—especially with unique pregnancies,” Dr. Connealy said.
“We had another set of spontaneous identical triples at Methodist Women’s Hospital in 2015 and, to turn to my parter for expertise in this pregnancy, was beneficial.
“We see a lot complicated things in our field,” said Dr. Connealy. “Our experience helps us with these individual scenarios. We see a large number of high-risk pregnancies—more than most practices.”
The Tetens were certainly excited to get back to home and to the preparations that they had made prior to delivery.
“We have done a lot of prep at home,” Lindsey said. “We live on Derek’s family farm, so he has spent the past several months remodeling to make room for these girls. It’s going to take the help and support of many to help us manage this transition.”

UPDATE
“We brought Juliet home on Sunday, 23rd, Marian on Tuesday 25th, and Adeline on Thursday the 27th,” said Linsdsey. “Needless to say the girls are adjusting to life on the farm, while everyone else is adjusting to having them here (including the dog). Everyone has been to see their doctor (Dr. Meyer). The girls are all growing and doing awesome! They will be monitored by doctor weekly to make sure everyone stays on track.