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Triplets find out their birth order at age 18 in viral TikTok. Why their parents waited: EXCLUSIVE

The triplets' parents explain to why (and how) they kept the birth order a secret for 18 years.

Most multiples are keenly aware of their birth order, but for triplets Janie Hilbert, Wright Hilbert and Luke Hilbert, the answers as to who came first (and second ... and third) didn't come until they reached age 18.

In a TikTok video that's been viewed more than 20 million times since being posted in February, Janie shared her and her brothers' reactions to discovering their birth order on their 18th birthday.

“POV ur, a triplet, and ur parents waited to tell you birth order until ur 18th,” her caption for the post reads.

Their eyes go wide, their hands fly to their mouths and their jaws drop as they receive the news. At the end of the video, they share a warm hug ... but viewers didn't receive the actual reveal.

"I WANNA KNOW," one user replied.

"I NEED TO KNOW," another wrote.

Why did the parents keep the birth order a secret in the first place?

The triplets’ parents, Stewart Hilbert and Clay Hilbert, revealed exclusively to that their choice to keep their birth order hidden was significantly influenced by their eldest son, Clayton, who was 3 years old when they discovered they were expecting triplets.

“He was also definitely precocious, a rule follower and very literal,” Stewart explains, adding that she and Clay knew he would be likely to try and enforce an ‘oldest gets the bottle first’ mentality once the babies arrived.

“We just didn’t want to play his game, and we were like, alright, let’s just keep it a secret. It’ll be fun. They won’t have to subscribe to any of the stereotypes of oldest, middle, youngest, all that.”

“The very first time I was asked, I almost told the order,” Clay admits, noting that Stewart quickly intervened and explained they wouldn’t be telling anyone. “It was a brilliant idea, though. In hindsight, it’s been really fun.”

How hard was it to keep the secret?

Safeguarding the secret was initially easy as the four children were too young to question it. However, as they grew older, so did their curiosity.

“They definitely wanted to know, and that made it even more fun,” Stewart explains.

“We tried to figure it out for so long. We begged and begged. They wouldn’t crack,” Janie recalls.

“I remember being in third or fourth grade, and my friends and I would sneak up to our attic and try and go through and find something (but) my parents were so careful and strategic about it," Janie adds. "They had every little piece of information written and all about our childhood, all about how we acted. And in none of those books was the order."

The actual birth order revealed

Janie did ultimately make the reveal in a follow-up TikTok.

On their birthday, the triplets learned that Wright came first, then Luke came after and Janie came last.

“I did not want to be the youngest,” Janie admits. “That’s the one thing I really hoped I hadn’t been waiting 18 years to be the youngest, and then here we are.”

They all also learned that the answer had been right in front of them all along. The family group chat listed their children's names in birth order.

Their father had come up with the idea to keep the information right where they would be able to see it.

"I was so excited to try to tell them that it was in front of them the whole time," Clay says.

Janie adds that the new information hasn’t changed their dynamic in the slightest.

"We all just bond. We really do. Our relationship with each other is really special," Janie says. "I don't think (the reveal) has really changed much, but it's been interesting to think back about our childhood and think about whether we just naturally went into those roles."

The triplets
Wright Hilbert, the eldest; Janie Hilbert, the youngest; and Luke Hilbert, the self-described "knucklehead" middle triplet, on their 18th birthday.Courtesy Janie Hilbert

Stewart says that, as their mother, their personalities today fit their positions in the womb.

“Wright was at the bottom. I always think of him as being dependable and reliable, and he kind of the gatekeeper had to keep everybody safe,” she says.

“Luke was kind of in the middle, and he was actually on like a diagonal, and so every night he would flip in my stomach,” she continues.” I always felt like Luke was checking on Wright at the bottom and Janie at the top. And that is totally Luke. He has the biggest heart, and he still kind of definitely is that sibling that really wants the best for all (of his siblings).”

Then there’s Janie.

 “Janie was at the top. She would always kind of press right on my ribcage. So I always knew that Jamie was like completely thriving and doing well,” she adds. “I feel like that’s totally her personality. She is like a cartwheel. She’s just in constant motion and busy and happy and joyful, and that’s how I felt like she was in my belly.”