SPECIAL REPORT: Mothering Multiples

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Doctors say more women are waiting to get pregnant later in life, and have started turning to fertility treatments to increase their chances for pregnancy.

As more women are taking fertility treatments, doctors says more multiple birth pregnancies are occurring.

Barren County native, Karissa Newberry always wanted children, but after she was diagnosed with a disease preventing her from getting pregnant, she started seeing a fertility doctor.

Her doctor told her she would be likely to carry twins, but she was shocked to find out she would quickly become the mother of four children.

Meet Maylin...

"Sydney's favorite color is pink, mine's blue and Ally's is green. I have no clue what Skylar's favorite color is."


"Skylar has his own group of friends because you know he's a boy and stuff, but us girls we have our own group of friends."


"Skylar, he's mean!"

And Skylar...

"If we're playing something, they'll team up against me."

And together, they make up the Newberry quads.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the 80's and 90's doctors saw an increase in multiples greater than two by more than four-hundred percent, and the numbers have staggered since then.

There are currently eleven sets of multiples at Jody Richards Elementary in Bowling Green alone.

The CDC relates two-thirds of all multiples to the increased use of fertility drugs.

"Even if you correct for the use of fertility drugs, there's actually still an increase in the birthrate of both twins and triplets, so we can't really explain it all with that, but we are seeing that," says Graves Gilbert Clinic Pediatrician, Dr. Debbie Sowell.

When Karissa Newberry was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome, she knew she would have trouble getting pregnant.

And when she was ready to have a baby, she turned to fertility treatments.

She says her doctor warned her of the high risk for twins, but she never expected she would end up carrying four babies.

"I always thought I wanted two kids. I never thought I would have four kids, but I love having a big family and I wouldn't have it any other way now," Karissa says.

"And, you got double," says her daughter Ally in response.

The American Society of Reproductive Medicine says as much as one in three women end up carrying multiples when using certain fertility drugs.

"We've gone to like 1 out of 65 pregnancies now that come to at least 35 weeks are twins, so it's fairly common and that number used to be over a hundred," Dr. Sowell says.

Doctors strive to reach 36 weeks with multiple birth children.

The ASRM says 90 percent of multiples more than two are born early.

"Skylar's placenta ruptured so that's why they were delivered at 26 weeks so the whole pregnancy I was just emotionally drained," Karissa says.

Karissa spent six weeks on bed rest hoping for four healthy babies.

"They were so little they were about a pound and a half each. They were hooked up to all kinds of equipment and ventilators. They had a hard time in the hospital . So, those three months were pretty rough too," she says.

The quads were born Oct. 2nd, 2002.

Maylin and Sydney would be the first to come home from the hospital on Dec. 17th.

Skylar came home right after Christmas on the 29th.

And Ally would be the last to make it home on Jan. 7th, 2003, two days before their original due date.

"With multiples many of the kids have chronic health problems. Now, the Newberry quads are a little bit different, they are just very great kids and have had absolutely no developmental issues," says Dr. Sowell, who has been the doctor for the Newberry's since they were babies.

Raising pre-mature multiples was a difficult task for the Newberry's with different feeding and medication schedules, but ten years later, Karissa calls her life with the quads "organized chaos".

"That's exactly how we put it. I would like to say that we have everything planned and it goes that way, but it doesn't. We fly by the seat of our pants around here and that's the way I like it. I do better spontaneously," Karissa says.

These multiples will always share a bond.

"That's important that they emerge as their own personality and they are not being labeled as the quads their entire life," says Dr. Sowell.

And that's exactly what they are doing.

"I sure do like horses quite bit," Ally says.

"We have our arguments. (what's that like?) Oh, It's like tackling Skylar and usually winning," says Maylin.

"I would probably trade them for a brother," says Skylar.

"If you're like me and you have one brother and two sisters, it's kind of fun," Sydney says.

Dr. Sowell says about 1 out of every 65 births today are multiples, which is more common.