In February 2014, Ivanna Cardenas Gutierrez was excited to learn that she was going to be a mom. However, when she and her husband, David Gutierrez, went to the doctor to confirm her pregnancy, they received an unexpected surprise.
“The doctor said we were having twins – and I was shocked,” said David. “Then he said there were three babies. Two minutes later, he said there was a fourth. I was speechless.”
The couple conceived quadruplets naturally, an extremely rare occurrence that happens in just 1 in 700,000 pregnancies. Approximately 90 percent of quadruplets are conceived with the assistance of medical technology.
Ivanna, 27, turned to Salih Yasin, M.D., a UM/Jackson obstetrician/gynecologist who specializes in high-risk pregnancies and the delivery of multiples, to care for her throughout the pregnancy.
The pregnancy was going smoothly and Ivanna was feeling great when she went in for her 27 week check-up. But tests revealed that one of the babies was not getting enough nutrients and was at risk of dying. A decision was made to deliver all of the babies that day, August 18 – three months earlier than her November 15 due date.
A multidisciplinary team of specialists, including doctors to care for Ivanna and neonatologists to care for the newborns, staffed the operating room at Jackson Memorial Hospital for the emergency C-section. In less than two minutes, Dr. Yasin delivered three boys and one girl – Julian, Sebastian, Gabriel, and Francesca. Julian, the largest, weighed 2 pounds, 3 ounces, while Gabriel, the smallest, weighed 1 pound, 3 ounces.
The babies have been under the care of a team of neonatologists at the Schatzi and Stanley Kassal Project: New Born Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Holtz Children’s Hospital, where they continue to grow and get stronger.
On November 12, Francesca was the first to be released from the hospital. A press conference in honor of the event was held that morning. Ivanna and David, who have been at the hospital every day visiting the babies, were ecstatic.
“There have been a lot of ups and downs, but we have gotten through it,” said Ivanna. “We know how blessed we are.”
Since then, Sebastian has also been able to go home. The other two boys are expected to follow shortly.