A family of three suddenly became a family of eight over the weekend after a Pauoa woman gave birth to quintuplets.
They are the first-ever surviving quintuplets in Hawaii, born to a woman who at one point never thought she would have kids.
After giving birth Saturday, Marcie Dela Cruz, 37, didn’t actually see all five infants until the following day, four boys and one girl.
“Seeing them for the first time was like wow, it’s still surreal, unbelievable that they were all just in me,” she said.
“It’s like a dream, yeah, now it ain’t,” said father Raymond Dela Cruz, 63.
Marcie Dela Cruz thought giving birth was never going to happen, but two years ago through in vitro fertilization (IVF), she gave birth to their son Makaio.
“I really just wanted a little brother or sister for him and I got my money’s worth,” she said.
So she went through the process again, and something spectacular happened.
Of the two embryos injected into her uterus, one of them split, which is how you get identical twins. Then those two embryos split again, which resulted in the four boys who are identical.
“To have identical quadruplets, all the boys stem from one, that’s not scientific. That’s a natural occurrence that’s just amazing in and of itself,” Marcie Dela Cruz said.
Marcie Dela Cruz was 28 weeks and six days when she gave birth. The babies weighed less than three pounds each.
Doctors said it will be another three months before the babies are allowed to go home. The biggest concern is making sure the lungs develop so they can breathe on their own.
“There are signs that they’re doing very well,” said Dr. Janet Burlingame with Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children. “The other problem’s with prematurity, but the babies haven’t shown any signs of those yet. Primarily it’s been lung issues which would be expected.”
Mom and Dad they aren’t ready to share pictures yet because the babies are still in intensive care.
They are looking a bigger place to stay than the two-bedroom apartment they’re in, and a bigger ride.
“We’ve been looking at big passenger vans like 12- to 15-passenger vans because after a minivan, that’s the next size up,” Marcie Dela Cruz said. “My only request was that it’s not white. I don’t want to look like the Manapua Man.”
One local fertility specialist says IVF first started routinely in Hawaii about 20 years ago.
Since then, Dr. Thomas Kosasa estimates approximately 10,000 babies have been born here through IVF.
But this case, he says, defies all logic.
In Hawaii, Kosasa says the chance of having twins is one in 100 (six sets per month), triplets are one in 6,000 (once a year), and quadruplets one in 700,000 (one in 10 years), and quintuplets are one in 55 million.
“We’ll never see (another) set of quintuplets in our lifetime… This is it,” he said.
Kosasa says medical science has improved so much, and doctors are getting so good at what they do, that they prefer to put in just one embryo to lessen the likelihood of multiple births and potential complications.
He says the success rate is now close to 80 percent with healthy embryos.
However, one thing Kosasa says doctors cannot do is turn back the clock, and that age is still the most important factor.