In the last blog entry I detailed the story of Zahra Aboutalib, a Moroccan woman with a rare complication of an ectopic pregnancy, a lithopedion. The second incredibly rare complication of an ectopic pregnancy that I will cover happened to an English woman named Jane Ingram. Jane was a 32 year old woman living in Suffolk, England, when she discovered in early 1999 that she was pregnant for the third time. She and her husband Mark had a total of four children from previous marriages; this was their first child together.
Shortly into the pregnancy, a routine scan showed that she was carrying twins. Continued abdominal pain led to further scans that showed eighteen weeks into pregnancy that Jane was indeed carrying triplets, the third baby had not implanted in the uterus as the other two had and had ruptured Jane’s fallopian tube. This baby, the only boy of the pregnancy, had miraculously survived the rupture and continued to grow attaching his placenta to the outside of Jane’s uterus. Jane had not been taking fertility drugs, a frequent cause of sets of multiple babies.
Immediately, the rarity of Jane’s case caught the attention of top doctors in the United Kingdom and leading obstetrician Davor Jurkovic at King’s College Hospital in London became the lead attending physician. Jurkovic placed the odds of all three children and the mother surviving this situation were one in 60 million–if they did all survive it would be the first time in medical history.
Jane was closely monitored and at twenty-nine weeks, eleven weeks prematurely, it was decided that the cesarean section should go ahead. A team of twenty-six medical professional assembled at King’s College Hospital on September 3, 1999 to assist in the two-hour long procedure. The twin girls, Olivia (2lbs 10oz) and Mary (2lbs 4oz) were delivered first and the procedure went routinely. The next challenge was to safely access the boy, who was in an awkward position. Doctors decided to shift Jane’s intestines in order to reach him and successfully delivered Ronan (2lbs 4oz).
Amazingly, the triplets were born with no more complications than would be expected of any other triplets born at twenty-nine weeks. Each was kept in the intensive care unit and placed on ventilators. They only remained on the ventilators for about a week, Ronan being the first to grow strong enough to not need its assistance. The worry remained that the pieces of Ronan’s placenta that could not be removed would cause complications for Jane. No such complications arose and Jane was discharged from the hospital after about a week.
Today, the triplets are in fine health and not long ago celebrated their ninth birthdays. The parents say that each has his or her own very distinct personality. Doctors and newspapers have called Ronan a miracle baby. Mark Ingram described himself shortly after the birth of the triplets as “the luckiest man on earth.” With such amazing odds against them, many point to Jane’s optimistic though realistic attitude as the key to their survival. So what do you think about Jane and her triplets? Such a rare complication is not likely to be see again during our lifetimes. Comments, questions, or otherwise? You know what to do!