As if growing and giving birth to four babies at once isn't enough to handle, Katie Sturm also underwent brain surgery while pregnant.
The Texas mum was thrilled when she found out she was pregnant late last year, excited for a sibling to join her three-year- old son Ryan. The 27-year-old then got the shock of her life when she was found out she was expecting quadruplets. However, the excitement was short lived when doctors discovered she had a brain tumour after she had a seizure at work when she was three months along.
After suffering a second seizure, doctors made the decision to remove the tumour, with neurosurgeon Dr Toral Patel explaining surgery would help lower the risk of future seizures and "improve the overall health of both the mother and the babies". The surgery was carried out in Sturm's second trimester, which Dr Patel said was the safest point for babies when operating during a woman's pregnancy.
The surgery was successful, and the four babies were delivered by caesarean at 32 weeks by a team of 21 physicians, nurses, and health care staff. Each baby was assigned three health care professionals in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to look after them.
Ryan Sturm and his new baby brothers; Austin, Daniel, Jacob, and Hudson. Photo: Facebook
Dr Patricia Santiago-Muñoz, a high-risk pregnancy specialist, said babies' delivery couldn't have gone better.
"After all the routine preparation and other precautions, it all occurred without any hiccups," she said. "It takes a village to carry this out, and Labour and Delivery, Anesthesia, and the NICU were all ready and even able to roll the C-section back an hour earlier than planned."
"I don't know what other way to describe it but to say it was something special – it was amazing," Ms Sturm gushed in the press statement about the moment she first saw her sons, adding she was so relieved when "they came out crying."
The odds of conceiving quadruplets naturally are highly unlikely, and even more so for the mother-of-five after she was diagnosed with primary ovarian insufficiency and told she would be unable to have biological children when she was 16.
The Sturm's named their newborns Austin, Daniel, Jacob, and Hudson and the four of them remained in the NICU while they gained weight, learned to feed from a bottle and until their breathing improved. The babies were then released from hospital, the first at four weeks and the last at seven weeks, joining big brother Ryan and dad Chris.
"You're never really ready for four babies – I don't know that I was ready for one. There is no manual for parenting, so you just figure it out as you go," says the-father of-five.
"It's been a great experience," he says. "With everything that is going on, it's nice not to have to worry about this as much because I know we're in good hands."