“My name is Lourdes Fuentes, and I’m from Mexico City.” The first thing I’ll say about myself is that I am a very fortunate and, above all, blessed individual. I am 26 years old and married Francisco Sánchez, an outstanding man. We share the incredible blessing of being parents, and he is 32 years old. But we aren’t your typical parents.
My spouse took me to the emergency room on March 11, 2018. We planned to celebrate our first anniversary that day, but I wasn’t feeling well. My abdomen had begun to expand a few days before, making it difficult for me to breathe. I started to worry that something strange was going on with my body.
They ran a battery of tests and decided that I was in good health. Due to the fluid accumulated in my body, I seemed to be seven months pregnant. They could retrieve 4 litres of it, but they were still unable to determine what was causing the fluid retention.
I decided to take a pregnancy test soon after. We made an appointment with a gynaecologist once the results came back positive. She did an ultrasound during the first appointment. Because the fluid made it impossible to detect minor signs of life, we were told that we were expecting twins. After my body had released the excess liquid, I was urged to return in a week for a more precise result.
The chance of having twins appeared to be a possibility. There are multiple sets of twins in my husband’s family. She did another ultrasound at our second appointment with the doctor to ensure everything was okay and confirm whether there were one or two kids. I stood there watching as the doctor’s expression shifted. For an extended period, she was deafeningly quiet. ‘There’s something unusual about this,’ she said. I began to feel frightened.
The doctor wasn’t looking at a single or even a couple of embryos. She was staring at the number four. Quadruplets! My spouse began to wonder whether it was all a prank, but the doctor verified it. We’d be the parents of four children.
Fear gripped us as soon as we stepped out of the clinic. We’d heard about the dangers of such pregnancies. Not just for myself but also the children. We were stressed and worried out of our minds.
When we told our family, they offered us support and positive vibes right away. As practising Catholics, my husband and I began praying the rosary every day. We became closer to God in need of a miracle.
But there had already been one miracle. During our research into other quadruplet cases, we discovered that quadruplets occur in less than 0.5 per cent of the world’s population, or 1 in every 75 million pregnancies, the majority of which are conceived through fertility or in vitro treatments. Our multiple pregnancies, on the other hand, was a natural blessing. We felt God was directing us to do this challenging yet excellent assignment.
We relocated to Phoenix, Arizona, near Dr Elliot, a multiple births specialist, to prepare for our quads. She had assisted in the birth of almost 6,000 infants, and I was the 109th patient who was expecting quadruplets. Knowing we were in the hands of someone with a lot of experience provided us peace of mind.
One of the babies breached the sac on September 8, when she was just 29 weeks pregnant. I was sent to the emergency room, where I was given medication to help our infants’ lungs and brains develop faster. Given that one of our babies was suffering from a lack of amniotic fluid, it was a challenging period. In addition to causing labour pains, the drug they gave me began to speed up my heart and induce breathing problems. But I was determined to do everything in my power to ensure the safety of my children.
On September 12, at 5 a.m., I began to bleed, necessitating an emergency caesarean section. A team of 25 individuals was assembled for us, including physicians and nurses. Each newborn would have a couple of medical professionals.
Each baby was delivered with my husband by my side in the operating room. Although I was drugged, the doctor presented them to me one by one as they entered the world. Between the first and fourth babies, only two minutes had gone. Each of them weighed somewhere between 2 and 2.5 pounds. I was worried about their well-being from the minute they left my body. They were all perfectly healthy, much to our surprise.
We’ve had a lot of challenges in the five months since they were born. We’ve subjected them to a slew of tests. When one of the babies caught the flu, they all saw it. Taking care of four sick babies is the same as taking care of ten healthy babies; it’s insane. It takes a lot of planning to move four babies around.
But it’s been the times when I’ve had to care for them on my own that have been the most challenging. I chose to quit my work when I found out I’d be having quads. My husband will have to shoulder the financial burden of supporting them. His job compels him to travel outside of the country on occasion. His rigorous career prevents him from getting enough sleep or eating on other days. We hope to see each other soon.
Being a mother is an incredible experience. I’d always wanted to be one, but I’d never expected to have quadruplets. Even though it is so complex, I would not trade this fantastic blessing for anything else in the world. The most satisfying thing for me has been seeing their faces when I wake up.
Their small smiles give me the energy I need to keep going every day. They have poured so much love into my spouse and me. We decided that each of their names would be derived from the initials of the word Affection because of this love.
Octavio, Luciana. Emilio and Valeria.
Every day, we wake up grateful to God for such a wonderful gift. We could not have imagined this even in our wildest dreams. I was warned before the pregnancy that I had an extremely slim possibility of ever becoming pregnant. I was told I had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and that one of my fallopian tubes was blocked. My odds of becoming pregnant were estimated to be fewer than 40%. “It turned out that 10% was just right for each little angel.”
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