Kimberly Fugate should have been used to surprises when she had delivered what she thought were triplets at University of Mississippi Medical Center on Feb. 8.
Her first surprise was learning she was pregnant just shy of her 42nd birthday. Her second was being told after a sonogram that she and her husband Craig were having twins. The third surprise was learning that she actually was carrying triplets.
But the biggest surprise of all didn't come until the Caesarean delivery when, after "Babies A, B and C" were born, Fugate learned that one had been hiding, and out came a unexpected fourth daughter.
"They had three incubators in the room for the three babies they were expecting," said Fugate's mother, Kathy Reid of Jayess. "They had to put two babies in one, and they immediately took them to (neonatal) intensive care."
The Fugates, who live in Jayess, weren't trying to conceive and no fertility drugs were involved.
They are now parents of five girls: 10-year-old Katelyn and her four tiny sisters, in order of their birth, Kenleigh Rosa, Kristen Sue, Kayleigh Pearl and Kelsey Roxanne -- all named, in part, for family members.
The identical quadruplets are known at UMC as Babies A, B, C and D. Kenleigh was born at 7:55 a.m. and weighed 2 pounds, 1 ounce; Kristen was born at 7:56 and was 2-5; Kayleigh, born at 7:57, weighed 2-8, and Kelsey, the biggest surprise, was born at 7:59 and weighed 2-7.
Fugate's road to delivery came with a whirlwind of emotion.
Big sister's guess
After she learned she was pregnant, her daughter Katelyn told her that she felt babies in more than one place and foretold, "You're having twins." Fugate said, "Don't even say that; I'm not."
Fugate's initial pregnancy test was at the health department in Brookhaven. The result, of course, was positive.
Katelyn learned that her multiple-birth guess was right a week later when Fugate went for a sonogram.
During the procedure, Fugate heard someone say, "I need another set of eyes. This baby is moving so much," and her mother said Fugate thought something was up. Then the sonographer said Fugate was carrying twins.
"They said Kim just threw up her hands and cried," Reid said.
But there was more shocking news. After the sonographer consulted an OB/GYN, Fugate was told she was not carrying twins, but triplets. Then they brought Katelyn and Reid into the room.
"The sonogram took about an hour," Reid said. "When we were called in, they were smiling, so we knew it wasn't bad news. Kim said to them, 'I'm not just having one. I'm not just having two, I'm having three.' I said, 'Oh my God, can I sit down?"
That was Nov. 13, the day before Fugate turned 42.
Reid said because of her daughter's age and the multiple birth factor, health officials in Southwest Mississippi consulted OB/GYNs at UMC about the high-risk situation.
"University is prepared for these tiny babies and the pregnancy," Reid said.
Babies arrive early
Fugate started seeing Dr. James Bofill at UMC every two weeks. On Jan. 9, one day shy of 24 weeks' gestation, the doctor told her he wanted her to have steroid shots to help strengthen the babies' lungs, as he knew his patient would certainly have the babies prematurely.
The doctor didn't want Fugate traveling to Jackson two days in a row, so she went to the Brookhaven Health Department to have a shot.
At that time, Fugate's body was measuring as if she were 40 weeks along, and she had what turned out to be a contraction.
"They induced labor for Kim with her first child, so she didn't really know what a contraction felt like," Reid said.
After heading home after getting the shot, Fugate had car trouble. She contacted family to help her and they in turn called UMC. Reid said the doctor told her to get to the closest emergency room "ASAP." That was Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center.
Fugate's brother-in-law got her to Southwest, where she learned that she was in labor.
"They got in touch with Jackson," Reid said. "The ladies in the ER and nurses at Southwest just hugged us and were so nice. They told her they were praying for her."
When Fugate arrived at UMC by ambulance, the team of doctors and nurses was able to stop her labor, and she had a second steroid shot that night.
"They put her up on the fourth floor and she didn't leave until the babies were born," Reid said. "She had total bed rest for the whole month."
At 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8, Fugate called her mother and told her she had been having a dream about being in pain.
"But she really was in pain. She was having contractions," Reid said. "They called her husband, but didn't call me. They had monitors on the babies, but they were hard to read because (the babies) moved so much."
After an examination, the delivery team learned that it was too late to stop the labor and told their patient, who was 28 weeks pregnant, "It's time."
"Kim called me crying, and I asked what was wrong," Reid said. "She said, 'Mama, it's time.' "
'This one was hiding'
Reid couldn't get to Jackson in time for the births, but she notified her cousin, Dr. Margrit Wallace of Madison, and Wallace went to UMC to relay delivery news to the family.
After the first three girls were successfully delivered, Fugate was relieved then went into a slight panic when she heard the words, "We see more feet."
Reid said Kim cried out "no," and a nurse ran to her and told her she would be all right. And she was. Baby D was delivered just before 8 a.m. They had three incubators in the room but had four babies.
"Kim was in shock, and we had no idea about the fourth baby," Reid said.
When Reid and Craig Fugate arrived, they were allowed to go into the recovery room for just a minute.
"Craig and I got in there, and Kim said, 'I have a surprise,' " Reid said. "I didn't know what to think, we had already had so many."
Then Fugate told them to count the hospital bands on her arm. And there was the final surprise -- a fourth band for a fourth baby.
"This one was hiding," Fugate told them.
Babies getting stronger
Now that the shock of delivering four babies has worn off, Fugate's family is concentrating on the health of the quadruplets. All have been on respirators, except for Baby C, Kayleigh Pearl. But she has been anemic and has had to have blood transfusions. As of Friday afternoon, Kenleigh and Kelsey were back on respirators. Reid said UMC confirmed the quadruplets are identical, and are believed to be one of only 60 such sets in the world.
Meanwhile, Fugate is staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Jackson, where she takes a shuttle daily to see her babies.
"I can't say enough for that (house). I will never look at a McDonald's the same," Reid said.
The quads' births are nothing short of a miracle, Reid said, and they are expected to be at UMC until May.
"They're in incubators. You can touch the palm of their hand and the bottom of their feet," she said. "We can talk to them. I told them who I was. I sang 'Jesus Loves You' and I read a book to all of them. I got to touch Baby C. I put my little finger in the palm of her hand and she closed her hand all the way around my finger. They're so tiny, but so perfect."
As for mama, Reid said her daughter is doing well.
"The Lord has blessed her. The doctors and nurses said somebody had to be praying for them to have delivered all four and all to be over 2 pounds."