During the month of April 2009, at the Butaro Hospital in rural northern Rwanda, an ultrasound of a 20th week pregnant woman showed she was carrying twins. Three months later she returned to the hospital to be seen for a persistent cough. The timing couldn’t have been better as she went into full labor before leaving the facility. Her large abdomen warranted a new ultrasound which revealed the presence of a third child. All three were delivered successfully, followed by the unexpected delivery of a fourth.
The chances of naturally giving birth to quadruplets in this region is less than 1 in 800,000. Even rarer, these babies shared a single placenta, the odds of which are around 1 in 10 million.
On December 1st I was invited to visit the four and a half month old quadruplet girls. Beautiful, happy, and healthy, with two proud parents and 5 older siblings, the four babies are a joyous sight. The former family of 7 has adjusted to becoming a household of 11, and the government of Rwanda has stepped up to provide extra services including two new cows to provide milk for family.