Katie Sturm, 27, was floored when she discovered she was pregnant with quads but in the same moment, she also found she had a brain tumor.
And while the news seemed grim, the mom survived her tumor and gave birth to four healthy boys in Haslet, Texas. In fact, the first time Sturm got pregnant, it seemed like a miracle.
When Sturm was just 16-years-old, she was told she had primary ovarian insufficiency. It is a condition where the ovaries stop functioning before 40 — which meant she would never be able to have biological children.
But amazingly enough, Sturm was able to get pregnant with her oldest son, Ryan, three years ago.
When she learned she was pregnant again — with quadruplets — she was shocked.
And while it would be major news for any growing family, for Sturm (who works as a medical-surgical nurse) she was shocked due to what she understood about her condition. Her pregnancy was not without complications — in February, the mother had a seizure while she was working. Doctors informed her it was a brain tumor.
Sturm’s doctor recommended she get the tumor removed after a second seizure, even though she was pregnant with multiples.
Her doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center removed a glioma, or tumor that occurs in the brain and spinal cord, in March — a decision that was carefully made to help lower Sturm’s chance for seizure.
It “improves the overall health of both the mother and the babies,” neurosurgeon Dr. Toral Patel said in a press statement released by the hospital. The surgery happened in Sturm’s second trimester, which Patel revealed is the safest point for babies when operating during a woman’s pregnancy.
On July 3, eighteen weeks after Sturm’s first seizure, she gave birth to her sons via C-section.
At the time, the mom was 32 weeks pregnant and had to be tested amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Thankfully, she was negative but it still took a team of 21 doctors, nurses, along with other health care staff to assist Sturm with the delivery.
“I don’t know what other way to describe it but to say it was something special – it was amazing,” Sturm revealed in the press statement about the moment she first saw her sons.
“The delivery could not have gone better,” shared Dr. Patricia Santiago-Muñoz, who is a high-risk pregnancy specialist with experience in high multiple-birth deliveries.
“After all the routine preparation and other precautions, it all occurred without any hiccups. It takes a village to carry this out, and Labor and Delivery, Anesthesia, and the NICU were all ready and even able to roll the C-section back an hour earlier than planned,” she said.
She decided to name her sons Austin, Daniel, Jacob, and Hudson. The quads were then taken to the NICU to recuperate.
All the boys would eventually be released from the hospital — the first baby just four weeks after he was delivered while the last little mister at seven weeks.
But what was even more amazing was how the Sturm conceived naturally. Santiago-Munoz revealed the odds of having spontaneous quadruplets are estimated at 1 in 700,000 births.
“The boys really did quite well for what you’d expect for babies born at 32 weeks,” Dr. Becky Ennis, medical director at Clements University Hospital’s NICU and associate professor of pediatrics at UTSW, shared in the press statement.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.