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(Creve Coeur) (AP) – Rare identical triplets born to a St. Louis-area family were expected to remain in intensive care for a few weeks after they were born healthy but weighing less than 4 pounds.

Laura Partridge of Des Peres gave birth on March 19 to Sonja, Sylvia and Scarlett. The babies will remain in intensive care at Mercy Children’s Hospital in Creve Coeur.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Laura and Brad Partridge conceived the triplets without fertility treatments. They also have a 3-year-old son and 17-month-old daughter.

Brad Partridge’s grandmother has twin sisters, but otherwise, there was no family history of multiple births on either side.

“We were hoping to see one healthy heartbeat, and my doctor said there are two,” said Laura Partridge, 34, said of learning of the triplets early in her pregnancy. “Honestly, I think I blacked out for a second. I don’t remember her saying there are three.”

Some estimates put the odds of having identical triplets as high as 1 in 60,000 births. The Partridge girls are only the third set obstetrician Dr. Gilbert Webb has seen in his 27-year career.

Laura Partridge said relatives, neighbors and church friends have lined up to help with the babies.

“The next couple years are going to be a great strain, but everyone is just so anxious to help, it’s been wonderful,” she said.

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