At the age of 42, the thought of expecting triplets may be a daunting one. It was a situation Kimberly Fugate was faced with back in 2013, however, and one that was already enough of a shock for the expectant mom. But when the time came for Kimberly’s babies to be born, there was yet another surprise in store for her…
Kimberly hails from Jayess, Mississippi, although she now lives in Brookhaven in the south of the state. Back in 2013 she was married to Craig, and together they already had one daughter, Katelyn, who was ten years old at the time that Kimberly was pregnant again.
Before Kimberly and Craig found out that they were expecting the triplets, however, they had chosen not to have any more children. This meant that the pregnancy was unplanned – a shock consolidated by the fact that the couple were due to welcome not one but three more babies.
“It’s one surprise after another,” Kimberly would tell ABC News in a 2014 interview. But, as it turned out, the jaw-dropping news didn’t end there. When the mom got to the hospital, in fact, she was informed of something else that may very well have left her speechless.
Kimberly arrived at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in February 2014, at only 28 weeks pregnant. Then, she underwent a cesarean to deliver the triplets – and that’s when her doctor revealed the stunning truth about the situation.
In particular, the medical professional had noticed something very strange. “There are more feet,” he said to Kimberly. “No!” she gasped in response. That’s right – the triplets were actually quadruplets, all girls.
And, naturally, Dr. James Bofill, Kimberly’s physician, felt rather sheepish about the whole situation, as he had had no idea that the mom was pregnant with quads. That was even despite the fact that the fetuses had been previously seen via ultrasound. Mistakes such as this do happen though, especially when that many babies are being viewed in a 2D image in such a tight space.
What’s more, even though Bofill had been working in his field for 27 years, this had been the first case he’d experienced of there being another baby being discovered during delivery. “I was very embarrassed, obviously,” he admitted to Mississippi’s The Clarion-Ledger in 2014. He added, “The news was sent to me by one of my fellows. I thought she was kidding.”
Despite their premature births, though, all four identical babies were healthy. They were put into intensive care, however, so that their progress could be monitored. And the little girls were given names, too: they’re now known as Kenleigh Rosa, Kristen Sue, Kayleigh Pearl and Kelsey Roxanne.
Meanwhile, Kimberly was accommodated at the Jackson, Mississippi, Ronald McDonald House so she could be closer to her girls while they grew. She was not able to hold her children in the hospital, though, simply because they had been born so prematurely. But, of course, the new mom was full of anticipation for the day that the babies would finally be discharged, admitting to ABC News, “It will be very exciting to get to take them home and love them.”
Furthermore, Bofill told The Clarion-Ledger how rare it is for Kimberly’s daughters to be born in the way that they were. “We’ve seen quadruplets here before, but we’ve never seen identical quadruplets,” he explained. “That’s what makes this case so unique and unusual.”
And considering Kimberly’s age, the chances of a successful quad pregnancy were extremely low. It’s even more extraordinary that she wasn’t taking any medication to improve her fertility – something that typically increases the odds of multiple births.
Indeed, Bofill would reveal that the likelihood of a 42-year-old giving birth to identical quadruplets are “almost incalculable.” According to experts, the chances are in fact 13 million to one, emphasizing as a result the sheer improbability of Kimberly’s situation.
Bofill further explained to The Clarion-Ledger, “No one really knows what makes a single zygote separate into identical twins or identical triplets or, in this case, identical quadruplets.” He continued, “It’s definitely an accident; it’s not supposed to happen, and in some cases, like Ms. Fugate’s, it happens in a spectacular manner.”
Quadruplets are more common when fertility drugs are used because they cause more eggs to be released. Otherwise, one egg must divide three times when fertilized for a quad pregnancy to occur. This is extremely rare – and it’s even more so for the babies to be identical. There are only 60 cases of identical quads in medical history, in fact.
Dad Craig, meanwhile, only discovered the fourth baby’s existence when he visited Kimberly after she had given birth. She was in recovery when she asked him to count how many identification bracelets she was wearing. And as he knew that there should be one for each child, he was understandably astonished when he saw that his wife was wearing four of the items.
What’s more, since the quadruplets were born so early, the Fugates were missing some essential baby supplies. Perhaps even more concerning, though, was the fact that their family vehicle wasn’t now big enough for the seven of them.
Kimberly and Craig therefore required help wherever people could offer it. Fortunately, however, the local community stepped in to lend a hand. Churchgoers even offered to babysit the little girls when the children had come home from hospital.
And even given the extra work on her hands, Kimberly considers her quadruplets to be “a blessing.” It’s understandable, though, that she has since decided that the girls are definitely the last of her children. “This. Is. It,” she emphasized while talking to The Clarion-Ledger.
Whether Kimberly will change her mind remains to be seen, especially as the quads approach kindergarten age. It’s perhaps safer to say, then, that Kimberly’s eldest, Katelyn, may very well have a lot of babysitting to do throughout her teens..