The First Time I … Delivered Quadruplets
Dr. Kathryn Whitten
Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Eastover OB/GYN
It was in my second year in private practice. A thirty-year-old woman had gone through fertility treatments and ended up with quads. There's been improvement in the technology of fertility shots, but it used to be very hard to control the number of fertilizations that would occur. You might end up with four or five babies.
Surprisingly, her pregnancy had been pretty uneventful, which is really unheard of. With triplets and beyond, the pregnancy is like walking on eggshells. There are higher medical risks, higher preterm births, and always the potential to lose the whole pregnancy. So those patients have to be followed closely. She came in at about thirty-two weeks (eight weeks premature), and I was on call. Her water had broken, and she was contracting. When she showed up, she was concerned because she hadn't been in the hospital until that point; we had planned on delivering the babies around their due date. Now she was eight weeks early, and looking at an eight-week stay in the hospital with her babies.
Patients are awake during a C-section, under spinal anesthesia, so she could see us take one out, then take the next one out, and so on. There were probably sixteen people there for the delivery, two to three with each baby, three nurses, an anesthesiologist, and myself. The mother was very apprehensive, showing a lot of concern for how they looked, how they were doing, and whether or not everything looked normal.
The children ended up doing great. There were two girls and two boys, and they stayed in the hospital for three or four weeks. Her family moved in to help her and her husband take care of the four babies, because it really does take a village with that kind of delivery. The kids are twelve now, and I've seen their family ever since. I still get Christmas cards from them. —As told to Annie Monjar
Dr. Whitten's vitals
- Years in practice: 13
- Babies delivered: Between 1,800 and 2,000
- Most deliveries in one day: 13
- Percentage of deliveries premature: 12
- Most weeks prior to a due date that she's delivered a baby: 16
- Most weeks after a due date she's delivered: 2
- number of triplets delivered: 6
number of quads: 2