When Fort McMurray couple Annie and Darrell Simms saw four small outlines on the ultrasound screen, they realized their lives were about to change in a big way.
“Annie and I looked at each other and we were in shock,” said Darrell. ”We laughed and then we cried a little bit.”
On Oct. 30, 2018, Carter, Nathan, Heidi, and Julia were born at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, ranging in weight from one pound and three ounces to three pounds and four ounces.
The couple already has a three-year-old daughter and when they were looking to have a second child, they turned to artificial fertilization. Annie said the chances of success were low.
“[Our chances of getting pregnant] were only 10 to 15 per cent, so we were so happy,” said Annie. ”Then we were totally floored when we found out that it was four.”
Each baby spent some time in the NICU since they were born at 30 weeks. The boys went home first and now all four have been given the green light to head home.
Darrell said the reality of having four newborns is finally setting in.
“We’ve got maybe 24 bottles in cycle at a time,” said Darrell. “It’s quite a process. We’ve got a station set up.”
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According to the 2017 Perinatal Report, Alberta has one of the highest rates of multiple births in the country. The study shows that number has stayed steady since 2009.
The report also estimated that around 100 sets of triplets and quadruplets are born each year in Canada.
Another set of four babies was born in Calgary to a Rocky Mountain House couple this year and the two families have been in touch.
“We’ve reached out to get opinions on things and it’s been helpful just knowing that there’s someone else that’s going through what we’ve gone through,” said Annie.
The Simms are headed back home to Fort McMurray and ready settle into their new life as a family of seven.