Mother-of-13 Annegret Raunigk from Bᴇʀʟɪɴ, Gᴇʀᴍᴀɴʏ, sᴛᴜɴɴᴇᴅ the world when she announced she had ᴜɴᴅᴇʀɢᴏɴᴇ ꜰᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴛʏ ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛ at a clinic in Uᴋʀᴀɪɴᴇ and was expecting four children. The nation – and the world – was torn between admiration for her stamina and bewilderment at how she would cope with them.But one year on, the four babies – who each came into the world on May 19, 2015, weighing little more than a 2lb bag of sugar – are now all ꜰɪɢʜᴛɪɴɢ fit with a normal weight for their age of around 18lbs each.
Doctors were extremely concerned at the time that the very ᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴛᴜʀᴇ ʙᴀʙɪᴇs would not sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇ, with tiny baby girl Neeta weighing just 1lb 7oz when she was born. Neeta’s three brothers were almost as small – with Bence weighing 1lb 8oz, Fjonn 1lb 10oz and Dries 2lb 2oz – and the sᴇᴠᴇʀᴇʟʏ ᴜɴᴅᴇʀᴡᴇɪɢʜᴛ babies had to be kept in incubators for the first week of their lives. Experts warned that, even if they did pull through, they could suffer lifelong health problems ɪɴᴄʟᴜᴅɪɴɢ ʟᴜɴɢ, ɪɴᴛᴇsᴛɪɴᴀʟ, ᴇʏᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ʙʀᴀɪɴ ᴄᴏᴍᴘʟᴀɪɴᴛs. But Professor Christoph Buhrer has confirmed: “All have developed well, they have grown wonderfully in a short time. The children were born through Cᴀᴇsᴀʀɪᴀɴ section but all four are now as strong and as heavy as it they had been born naturally.” A few days ago, Neeta, Bence, Fjonn and Dries – now weighing 5lb 11oz, 5lb 12oz, 5lb 13oz and 6lb 3oz respectively – were examined and deemed fit enough to leave the hospital soon.
Professor Buhrer added: “Now they are ordinary children who want to go home to be looked after by their mother.” The children spent months in ᴅᴇʟɪᴄᴀᴛᴇ ʜᴇᴀʟᴛʜ, connected to ʙʀᴇᴀᴛʜɪɴɢ ᴛᴜʙᴇs in incubators. Dries needed sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ four weeks ago ᴀꜰᴛᴇʀ ᴅᴇᴠᴇʟᴏᴘɪɴɢ ꜰʟᴜɪᴅ ᴏɴ ʜɪs ʙʀᴀɪɴ but he has recovered through ᴀ ᴘʀᴏᴄᴇᴅᴜʀᴇ ᴡʜɪᴄʜ ᴅɪᴠᴇʀᴛs ᴇxᴄᴇss ᴄᴇʀᴇʙʀᴀʟ ꜰʟᴜɪᴅ ᴛᴏ ʜɪs ᴀʙᴅᴏᴍᴇɴ. Neeta, his sister, also underwent ᴀɴ ᴏᴘᴇʀᴀᴛɪᴏɴ shortly after birth to repair ᴀ ʜᴏʟᴇ ɪɴ ʜᴇʀ ʙᴏᴡᴇʟ. Said the professor: “Dries has recovered well but he is going to need ᴘʜʏsɪᴏᴛʜᴇʀᴀᴘʏ as a result of the intervention.” Waiting to greet the retired English and Russian teacher is her daughter Leila, aged 10, who persuaded her to seek ꜰᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴛʏ ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛ ɪɴ Uᴋʀᴀɪɴᴇ because she wanted a sibling to play with. Annegret was forced to travel to Kɪᴇᴠ as doctors in Gᴇʀᴍᴀɴʏ ʀᴇꜰᴜsᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ɢɪᴠᴇ ʜᴇʀ I.V.F ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛ, because they were concerned that her body wouldn’t be strong enough to sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇ the sᴛʀᴇss ᴏꜰ ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ ᴀɴᴅ ɢɪᴠɪɴɢ ʙɪʀᴛʜ.
In Uᴋʀᴀɪɴᴇ, doctors agreed to use a ᴅᴏɴᴀᴛᴇᴅ ᴇɢɢ ᴀɴᴅ ᴅᴏɴᴀᴛᴇᴅ sᴘᴇʀᴍ to ᴀʀᴛɪꜰɪᴄɪᴀʟʟʏ ɪɴsᴇᴍɪɴᴀᴛᴇ her – a process which is ɪʟʟᴇɢᴀʟ in Gᴇʀᴍᴀɴʏ. But even Annegret admitted to being ‘sʜᴏᴄᴋᴇᴅ’ when the ᴜʟᴛʀᴀsᴏᴜɴᴅ sᴄᴀɴ revealed she was carrying quadruplets. Said Annegret: “I sleep very little but I know I can take care of them,” who will move from Bᴇʀʟɪɴ to a country home 300 miles west of the city to raise her new brood.