Woman pregnant with twins gives birth to quadruplets
Newlywed Samantha Weng was overjoyed when she got pregnant just one month after her wedding. Samantha, who is originally from Taiwan but now lives in the U.S. , was looking forward to becoming a mom, but she wasn't expecting the roller-coaster ride of a pregnancy that was about to follow.
During a regular checkup at seven weeks, doctors couldn't find her baby on the ultrasound scan. Samantha was told she might have an ectopic pregnancy – where the fetus starts to develop outside the womb – and was advised to have an abortion. With the hopes of meeting her new baby shattered, she decided to wait a couple of weeks, only to be told by the doctor at her next checkup, "Congratulations, you're having twins!"
Waiting had been the right decision, and Samantha and her husband where both excited and relieved. They switched doctors and went for another prenatal checkup a few weeks later. They were in for another shock. They'd told their doctor they were expecting twins. But after frowning at the ultrasound screen for several minutes, the doctor went to have a discussion with colleagues. When they came back, they told the surprised couple, "You're not having twins, you're having triplets!"
Samantha remembers feeling simultaneously happy and scared when she heard the news, but she thought she should be fine to bear three children. Now classified as a high-risk pregnancy and 12 weeks along, she was transferred to the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.
The doctor there suggested it would be as well to do another scan for safety's sake. After 20 minutes of carefully checking the ultrasound, he told the couple: "Oh wait! I found your fourth baby!"
This was the first time Samantha started to feel truly worried. Why were the babies showing up one after another? The doctor strongly advised her to have a multifetal pregnancy reduction. Her parents also supported this option, saying: "Giving birth to quads is going to be risky, no doubt. You are still so young and have more chances, why would you risk your life?"
The doctor told her: "You should have the reduction. It's too much!" At which point, Samantha couldn't help crying.
The medical advice was that she should remove the placenta inside her womb that sustained two babies, allowing the other two with individual placentas to go on growing. But in the end, Samantha couldn't bear to give up on any of the children. She said: "No matter which baby it is, it's not fair to him or her. I think I should give every life a chance." With four fetuses developing on three placentas, she held her nerve. She stayed in hospital for a whole month, receiving various treatments to help the pregnancy.
On October 21, 2010, the quads were born prematurely at 26 weeks, delivered by C-section. While most new moms get to hold their newborns and relish the satisfaction and happiness of bringing them into the world, all Samantha wanted to know from the doctor was whether her babies were breathing. With the four of them all born prematurely, there was still a long road ahead.
Samantha and her husband named their four daughters Audrey, Emma, Natalie and Isabelle. After several weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), one by one, the girls were finally well enough to be taken to the family home.
The challenge for their parents, especially Samantha, was just beginning. Between them, the girls needed more than 40 diapers a day, and Samantha felt like she was almost constantly breastfeeding during numerous sleepless nights. Getting a rest became a thing of the past.
Seeing the family with their four cute girls, people aren't always aware of the problems they've faced. Due to being born prematurely, not only are the girls small for their age, but they also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which means they have serious problems sleeping, eating, breathing, and listening.
Every time she imagines what it must be like for her daughters to live with such conditions, Samantha cannot help feeling guilty for not having been able to provide them with a healthier start in life. Following doctors's suggestions, the couple have tried oral rehabilitation, tonsil surgery and various other treatments to help the girls.
For an insight into the quads' lives, have a look at this video: