Boise & Garden City

It’s quadruplets! 4 healthy babies, a rare day at St. Luke’s

New father Rodolfo Ayala touches the head of one of his quadruplets, Angela, in St. Luke's neonatal intensive care unit in Boise.
New father Rodolfo Ayala touches the head of one of his quadruplets, Angela, in St. Luke's neonatal intensive care unit in Boise.

Maria Ayala and her husband, Rodolfo, got used to people asking about her pregnancy. Strangers would ask if she was having twins.

Maria would just raise four fingers.

The response: sometimes gasps, sometimes expletives, often, “Oh, my God!”

Some new church friends at St. Mary’s in Boise asked how the couple got pregnant with quadruplets.

Rodolfo told them they were helped by the fertility drug Clomid and a lot of prayer.

The church ladies laughed, Rodolfo said, and replied, “Well, you got to pray a little less than that!”

Friday morning, at 34 weeks into the pregnancy, Maria delivered four healthy babies at St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center. The two boys and two girls — Rodolfo, Rogelio, Aylin and Angela — all weighed between 3 pounds, 5 ounces and 4 pounds, 3 ounces.

The babies are in the neonatal intensive care unit but hardly need any help with oxygen, said Dr. Rich Lee, the couple’s obstetrician.

As she waited for her C-section Friday morning, Maria was in bed, beaming. “Me siento tranquila,” she said.

Her husband quickly translated. “She feels good,” Rodolfo said. “She’s all right because so far everything’s been right, like the doctors said, everything’s right. She feels good in that aspect.”

The couple had been trying to start their family since they married eight years ago. They didn’t have any luck until they started on Clomid.

“We wanted one and here we have four,” Rodolfo said. “My boss was all, ‘You couldn’t get luckier than this, even if you tried a thousand times.’ 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tallied just 246 births of quadruplets in the U.S. in 2014, the latest statistics available on its website. That year, there were 135,336 births involving twins.

Reaching 34 weeks before delivery is also impressive — that’s one month longer than average for having quadruplets, according to St. Luke’s.

“I am always hopeful and optimistic but she’s exceeded our expectations,” Lee said of Maria before the babies were delivered Friday morning. “It’s been tough. ... I mean, she’s had to be away from her family for (12 weeks).”

Maria and Rodolfo live near Twin Falls, but she had to move to the Bishop Foote Guest House in Boise when she reached 22 weeks to be closer to the St. Luke’s NICU.

When they were first told they were having four babies, they were taken aback.

“You got quadruplets here. You really don’t know how it’s going to turn out,” Lee said. “It could be not good, where the babies don’t survive at all.”

After they got the news, Maria and Rodolfo went to lunch and talked it over.

“We’re Catholic, and, you know, our faith is fairly strong,” Rodolfo said. So they decided “we’re just going to keep them, you know. That’s what we believe in and they’re here for a reason.”

And as they prepared for the final step Friday morning, things looked good.

“With the guidance of the doctors and everything and our family and our faith ... we were put in the right hands of the doctors,” Rodolfo said.

Their family is ready to spring into action and help as soon as the couple and newborns come home. That’s likely a month out since the babies are premature.

The couple prepared by getting the normal supplies: diapers, cribs, etc. Rodolfo said he felt “nervous, excited.”

“Is there a way to prepare for this? I guess, like, I don’t know,” Rodolfo said as he and Maria smiled.

The birth was about as successful as doctors hoped it would be, Lee said.

“As uncomplicated as you want,” he said. “They’re doing great. I mean, it’s been awesome taking care of them. They’re awesome: down-to-Earth, hardworking, appreciative.”

Erin Fenner: 208-377-6207, @erinfenner