Guillermina Garcia and her husband Fernando were keen to add to their family, which initially consisted of the couple and their one daughter, Julietta. As a result, then, they opted to use fertility drugs to increase their chances of conceiving.
In fact, more American women than ever are using fertility treatments to get pregnant. However, there are possible repercussions in doing so, and some that even the most broody of moms might not be prepared for.
One major consequence is an increased likelihood of more than one egg developing, otherwise known as multiple gestations. In the case of some types of fertility treatment, one out of every three of the women who successfully become pregnant may experience this.
So, perhaps it didn’t come as a complete shock when Guillermina was told at an early prenatal appointment that she wasn’t carrying just one baby. However, the big surprise no doubt came shortly after – when it was revealed she was in fact carrying no fewer than five little ones…
Guillermina and Fernando live in Utah, some 1,800 miles from their birthplace in Mexico. And it was at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City where the expectant mother would undergo a cesarean section in the hopes that all five babies would be delivered successfully.
Unsurprisingly, incidences of quintuplets are uncommon. In fact, in the United States, fewer than ten sets of quintuplets are born annually. In 2014, moreover, only 47 live births were recorded in sets where there were five or more babies.
Quintuplets, or quints, are so rare, furthermore, that the University of Utah Hospital had not encountered such a case before. But that didn’t stop a team of no fewer than eight doctors, an anesthesiologist and a legion of nurses from facing the challenge head-on.
Still, mom and babies needed the careful surveillance, since Guillermina was suffering from something potentially very dangerous indeed. She had severe pre-eclampsia, which causes an expectant mother’s blood pressure to shoot up and her extremities to swell. Nevertheless, Guillermina never lost her cool, even in the face of this adversity.
Indeed, the University of Utah’s Tracy Manuck even remarked that, despite her health concerns during this time, Guillermina was an “extraordinary person who never complained,” according to a CTV News report in May 2013. And considering how dangerous pre-eclampsia can be, it’s hard to disagree with the physician.
In fact, when left unchecked, severe pre-eclampsia can cause a pregnant woman’s organs to fail. Sadly, unborn babies fare no better, either: the condition stops blood flowing through the placenta, a fetus’ lifeline.
In addition to the pre-eclampsia, Guillermina suffered abdominal bruising caused by the number of babies jostling for space in her womb. Thankfully, however, despite them making her look like she might have fallen down several fights of stairs, Guillermina’s blemishes were actually no real cause for alarm.
And luck continued to be on the Garcias’ side. Guillermina managed to carry the quints until 32 weeks – around 20 days longer than the average quint pregnancy – in spite of needing to spend a large portion of her pregnancy in bed due to complications.
These extra weeks inside their mother’s belly were good news for the unborn babies. It gave their tiny lungs more time to develop, which would later mean spending less time in the neonatal intensive care unit.
At last, then, the big day arrived. Joining Guillermina in the delivery room was Fernando, donning blue scrubs and holding his wife’s hand throughout the birth.
And, against the odds, five babies were delivered without a hitch, within just two minutes of one another. Eight physicians, an anesthetist and 12 nurses helped ensure that things went smoothly for the Garcias and their new additions.
Three girls – Marissa, Fatima, Esmeralda – and two boys, Jordan and Fernando, each made their way into the world, weighing between two and three pounds apiece. And as each arrived, they were handed to the waiting doctors and nurses.
“We feel like we’re dreaming,” Fernando said at a later news conference. “It’s incredible that we have five.” But how would the young couple manage with so many little ones all at once?
“Now that they’re here, we’ll find a way,” Fernando explained. “We’re through the hardest part.” Certainly, given the fears and worries that may have accompanied the pregnancy, the quints’ safe arrival must have been a relief.
Fortunately, too, the parents have a network of family members nearby to help with things like diaper changes and milk feeds. Meanwhile, Fernando’s employer was generous with paternity leave upon the babies’ births.
Undoubtedly, however, the Garcias already possess one of the most important ingredients to raising healthy, happy babies: love. And with that, their against-all-odds kids will hopefully thrive well into the future.