WHEN Starlyn Cafferata and her husband Bill decided they wanted to start a family, they had no idea of the battle that lay ahead of them.
After ten years of infertility, the couple welcomed their daughter Zoe two years ago, after a successful round of IVF.
Then nothing short of a miracle happened for the shocked couple, who live in Texas.
After six failed attempts at fertility treatment, they tried IVF with their one remaining embryo – left over and frozen from the same cycle that created Zoe.
And amazing Starlyn, 36, a pediatric nurse, fell pregnant with not one baby – but another four.
Starlyn said: “The doctors said they think that the one embryo split into identical twins, and then my body amazingly produced another two eggs at the same time as the transfer, which were fertilised naturally.
“To have one embryo put in and then find out I was pregnant with quadruplets was just unbelievable.
“We couldn’t take it in. We knew that it was our last go, so at the best, we had hoped for one baby. We never imagined that we would get more than one.”
The couple didn’t find out about the quadruple surprise until Starlyn was two months pregnant.
She said: “We were just so thrilled when I got a positive pregnancy test result two weeks after the transfer. We just thought I was pregnant with one baby, and we were thrilled that Zoe was going to get a little brother or sister.
We couldn’t take it in. We knew that it was our last go, so at the best, we had hoped for one baby.
“When I went for my first scan, I was lying on the scanning table and the sonographer was running the scanner over my stomach and she kept looking at the screen.
“I was panicking that she was going to say she couldn’t see a heartbeat, or that something had happened to the baby. Then she turned to me and said she couldn’t believe it, but she could actually see four heartbeats.
“I didn’t think I’d heard her right, and neither did Bill. We just didn’t know what to say. Then she pointed to the screen to show us, and we could see the four little heartbeats pumping away.
“I started almost hyperventilating. I had to take my mask off as I couldn’t breathe properly. I looked at Bill and he had gone bright red in the face with the shock.
“When the doctors told us that I had produced another two eggs naturally that were both fertilised, it just seemed like a miracle. For nearly ten years we had so desperately wanted to start a family. Now suddenly we were going to be parents of five.”
Starlyn’s pregnancy went smoothly, although she had to be monitored very closely as her quadruplet pregnancy was deemed ‘high risk’. She was scanned every fortnight to check all four babies were still alive and growing properly.
She said: “My bump was absolutely enormous. Even when I was just six weeks pregnant, my bump was the same size as a 15 week pregnancy. By the time I got to 31 weeks, I couldn’t even see my own feet and I couldn’t walk more than a few steps at a time.”
At 29 weeks, she was admitted to hospital on bedrest to await the birth. The quadruplets – son Enzo, and daughters Lennon, Stella and Francesca – were delivered at the end of January, when Starlyn was just 31 weeks pregnant.
But a freak snowstorm in Texas, combined with Covid visiting restrictions, meant the couple couldn’t see their babies for eight days.
Starlyn said: “It was awful. We weren’t allowed inside the hospital for a week because of the storm. The electricity was knocked out at the hospital and we had to FaceTime the nurses caring for the babies inside.
“I even had to express milk in the parking lot outside and then one of the nurses would come and get it, to give it to the babies. Luckily after the storm passed, we were allowed in for restricted visiting.
“The quadruplets did so well, we were eventually allowed to bring two of them home in February, then the last two came home in March.
“It was so wonderful just to be able to cuddle them whenever we wanted to. Zoe was so thrilled to meet her brothers and sisters. She has been so excited ever since they were born and they will all have such a close bond growing up.
“They are actually conceptual quintuplets – as Zoe was conceived at the same time as the identical twins – it’s just they were in the freezer for the next two years.
“So to see them all finally reunited at last is amazing. When they are old enough to understand, we will tell them all about their amazing birth. And how their mummy and daddy tried for ten years to get pregnant – then five came all at once.”
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