A mother has become the first woman in the UK to give birth to triplets from two different wombs.
Melanie Bassett, 32, from Waterlooville, Hampshire, was already a mother-of-two but was left stunned when doctors discovered that she was carrying identical babies in one of her wombs and another child in a second womb.
She first discovered that she had two wombs when she was pregnant with her first daughter Phoebe, three, in 2016.
Along with her husband Ben, 33, Melanie then welcomed their first son Blake into the world.
Nothing could have prepared her for the triple pregnancy though, with Brooke, Isabelle, and their younger triplet Beau all being born in January.
Having twins from two wombs, known as uterus didelphys, is estimated to be a one in a million occurrence.
There are only four known cases of the condition leading to triplets and it is believed Melanie is the first example of it in the UK.
The mother-of-five said: ‘When we were told it was quite crazy!
‘Ben is one of four and I’m one of three but I don’t think having a big family was on the cards.
‘But I wouldn’t change it for anything. I noticed a difference being pregnant with the triplets.
‘I would often find myself having to deal with them kicking on both sides. One would kick and it would set all of them off!’
Melanie has uterus didelphys, which is a congenital abnormality meaning there is a double uterus and also creates the possibility of a second vagina.
Rather than looking like a regular womb, Melanie’s is heart-shaped with two chambers.
The condition makes it no harder for a woman to conceive but it does increase the risk of miscarriage or premature birth.
Their daughter Phoebe was delivered via C-section at 29 weeks in February 2017 and weighed 2lb 3oz.
While Blake was born at 34 weeks in February 2019 via C-section weighing 6lb 5oz.
However, just two months later, Melanie discovered she was pregnant again.
Due to her unique anatomy, Melanie was booked in for an early eight-week scan where she was told there were two heartbeats.
But it was not until the 12-week scan that the sonographer told the couple they were expecting triplets – miraculously growing in separate wombs.
The couple was advised to go to fortnightly scans so doctors could keep an eye on the pregnancy.
It was feared that the triplets could develop twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), a rare pregnancy condition whereby multiple fetuses share the same placenta.
Melanie alternated trips between Portsmouth and Southampton hospitals, with three other visits to St George Hospital in London.
Melanie said: ‘It wasn’t until I was pregnant with the triplets and had been seen up at St. George’s in London where the consultant carried out more testing involving internal scan to see how thick the septum was splitting the two uteri.
‘A gynecologist then carried out a speculum test and discovered I had two cervixes side by side. It’s never been picked up on any of my smears.
‘Weirdly, I had the same cravings as I did with the other two. I just craved jelly sweets, particularly Haribo. I was pretty big and felt enormous
‘I was very uncomfortable day and night, extremely tired but had to get on with it for Phoebe and Blake!’
The triplets were eventually born via C-section at 32 weeks on January 26 this year and ever since, Melanie has had her hands full raising five young children.
She said she is looking forward to spending time this Christmas as a big family.
Melanie said: ‘We really are looking forward to Christmas.
‘We can’t wait to see their little faces on Christmas morning. It’s all about the children.
‘We are cooking Christmas Day for my sister and her boyfriend and then Ben’s brother and family joining us for games on Boxing Day.
‘Our family is now complete!