"Have you got any twins in the family?" the ultrasound technician said to shocked Emma Robbins from Bristol, UK. But the surprised didn't end there, as the tech soon added: "Actually, I see three sacs. Oh, and there's two in the third sac. It's quads!" And the unusual things about Emma's pregnancy just kept on coming two of the quads are actually identical, and they were born on "leap day", February 29!
The babies were born at 29 weeks and 1 day, a total of 11 weeks before term. They are all said to be doing well, but of course the quads were very small. Zachary, Rueben, Joshua and Samuel were between 1.1kg and 1.4 kg heavy. Pictures showed the four in the NICU with various tubes attached to them. But they are a miracle the first naturally conceived quads to be born in any western country in decades. The extra dimension of the two identical twins makes this conception even rarer. Doctors said there was a one in a million chance of this happening.
During pregnancy, Emma was filmed saying that she didn't even dare fantasize what it would be like to be a mom to four babies. After all, a quad pregnancy is extremely high risk. She had been on hospital bed rest for a month at St Michael's Maternity hospital in Bristol. The BBC spoke to here there just before the quads were delivered (by cesarean section, within six minutes of each other).
Emma described the look of fear she saw on the face of that ultrasound technician, and said that she was really worried until the tech started asking questions about twins. Doctors provided quality care in the months following, but they were concerned due to the fact two of the babies were sharing a placenta. In the end, it all seems to have worked out fine. Congratulations to the new parents and big brother Luke!