A woman giving birth to triplets is not terribly unusual these days. But when the mother is 54 years old it is - especially when the babies were conceived without fertility treatments. Not only that, but Arcelia Garcia already has eight children, 13 grandchildren and two more grandkids on the way.
The fraternal triplet girls were born on Saturday. They're all doing doing well and breathing on their own.
Garcia spoke with CBS Early Show Anchor Bryant Gumbel Monday morning, from Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital in Washington state.
Garcia, a farm worker who picks apples and cherries, said she found out she was pregnant when she was feeling a little tired.
"I didn't feel like doing anything. I felt weak. So I started to suspect it, but it seemed impossible," said Garcia.
"I went for a checkup, and that's when one of the nurses told me that I was pregnant. So I was really surprised. I wasn't expecting this at all. Perhaps it is such great surprise for me that I really didn't know whether I should cry or I should laugh. Or if I should jump with joy because I was so happy about this."
The two biggest babies, Cecilia and Brianna, weigh over five pounds. Areana, the littlest, weighs three pounds and eight ounces.
Dr. Diana Smigaj, who delivered the babies by Caesarean section, had a staff of 14 to help her. She said she's never heard of a 54-year-old woman with triplets.
"I don't know if it's the only case, but it's extremely rare," Smigaj said.
Even with more and more women taking fertility drugs, only one out of every 250 births is twins, and one out of every 3,000 births is triplets.
She said Garcia did phenomenally well to carry the babies 35 weeks. "The average age for delivery of triplets is 32 weeks," explained Smigaj.
Garcia said that her children are "very very happy," about the triplets.
"I didn't expect to give them this news," Garcia said. "They were really touched. They are so, so happy. They can't stop thanking God."
Garcia, who attributes her health to years of hard work as a farm worker, plans to return to work as soon as her health and the babies allow.
She doesn't think she'll have any more children.
"At my age, I imagine this would be the last surprise such as this one that God will give me. Well, I imagine that. In any case, I don't know. I'm in God's hands, and if God sends me another one, I will gladly accept it."
©MMII CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed