Multiple Birth Stories, Pictures and Statistics
There Once Was A Woman...
Do you recall hearing about and seeing (on tv) eight tiny babies born to a single mom in the US - one who already had six children, among them a set of twins? Can you even wrap your head around caring for 14 little ones? There was a time when twins and triplets were a big item - now multiple births of four or more babies is happening quite regularly. In 1934 a Canadian family by the name of Dionne had quintuplets (five little girls in this case) and it was so rare that the babies were taken away from the parents and put in the custody of a doctor who displayed them as a tourist attraction. They were a world-wide phenomena.
Multiple Birth Stats
Multiple birth statistics have changed over the years, from very low percentages to high numbers of multiple births, especially since the advent of IVF. Spontaneous conception of more than three babies at a time is very rare. The odds for a spontaneous conception of quadruplets, for example, are 1 in 571,787 pregnancies. High order multiple births are thought to be 90% the result of fertility enhancing drugs or IVF. As of 2009, there were 19 sets of octuplets in the world, but of that number only five sets have any living members, and only one set had all babies alive. In 2005, the National Vital Statistics report for the US reported 68 quintuplets and higher order multiples. That number includes quints, sextuplets, septuplets, and octuplets.
Tiny Little Babies
Nearly all pregnancies of high order multiples results in a cesarean delivery. Interestingly, not all of the babies are necessarily born on the same date. Sometimes days or weeks can pass between births. In high order multiple pregnancies, gestation rarely goes over 30 weeks and the babies are all very tiny at birth, ranging in weight from one pound to three or four pounds, maximum. They must be cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit of a hospital and are at risk for many different health issues due to their prematurity and size. With today's technology and the ability of the medical profession to sustain life, babies in high order multiple births have a better chance than ever at survival.
Multiple Birth Stories and Pictures
Since having a bunch of babies at one time is such a novel thing, many of the families of these babies have created website and post pictures and stories about their growth and lives together. Once such family is the Goerlich Family, home to a set of quadruplets - three boys and a little girl. As with many of the other families who post multiples birth stories and pictures, you can follow their lives as they grow up. It's fun to learn about the integration into family life that takes place, and the joy that these little ones bring to the extended family. You also learn about the challenges and trials of parenting a large number of children who are all going through the same things at the same time. Can you imagine a houseful of two-year-olds - and it's your job to ensure they're all fed, potty trained and getting along?
There's an organization created and serving moms of multiples. The Mothers of Super Twins (MOST) was established as a gathering point to help these mothers deal with the day-to-day things of raising lots of kids. They are also the go-to place for women who have been told they're expecting more than one baby. Some of the multiple birth stories, videos and multiple birth photos are available through this organization.
It is possible to observe actual deliver of multiples on the internet. By doing a search on any of the groupings, twins, triples, quadruplets, quintuplets, and so on, you can find information and videos of births. It really is a miracle!