A mother has revealed how she gave birth to quadruplets after believing that a battle with bladder cancer had put an end to her dreams of having children.
Virginia Johnson, from Arizona, discovered she had tumour when she had a scan to examine an ectopic pregnancy in October 2013.
The 35-year-old, who had her right Fallopian tube removed as a teenager, was devastated when doctors revealed they would have to remove her left tube to stop the spread of the disease, fearing it would mean she would never become a mother.
But IVF proved successful and she gave birth to daughter Zoe, now three, in October 2014. Hoping to give their daughter a sibling, Virgina and her husband Victor, 45, had one final round of IVF last year – and fell pregnant with quadruplets.
She said: ‘I feel so lucky when I look at my children because I never thought this would happen to me. It hasn’t been your typical journey into parenthood, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.’
Virginia has suffered fertility issues since puberty and had her right ovary and Fallopian tube removed aged 13 due to complications with Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
She and Victor, a car dealer, tried for years to conceive before falling pregnant. But they suffered further heartbreak when they discovered the pregnancy was ectopic and would have to be terminated.
It was only when doctors conducted a scan to monitor the pregnancy that the malignant tumour in Virgina’s bladder was detected.
If the pregnancy had not been ectopic, doctors believe the cancer would have most likely gone undetected and might have spread throughout her body.
Virginia said: ‘When doctors discovered the cancer I was so broken. After trying to have a baby for long, we were just so incredibly happy to have conceived naturally.
Doctors removed the tumour and her remaining Fallopian tube in November 2013 to stop the cancer spreading, eliminating the couple’s remaining hope of conceiving naturally. But just a month later they started IVF, determined to start a family.
Virginia revealed the swift dive into IVF was ‘a coping mechanism’ and a way to ‘numb the pain’ of the couple’s loss a month earlier.
Shortly after they discovered it had been successful and a year later they welcomed daughter Zoey.
After an ‘incredible’ year and a half of being parents, Virginia said she felt like she wanted to have another child.
Following an unsuccessful round of IVF, the parents discovered they were having twins. A week later they discovered one of the embryos had split in two and that they would have triplets. Two weeks after that, they were given the news that two babies were sharing one sac and she was actually carrying quadruplets – three identical girls and a boy.
‘It was such an emotional rollercoaster,’ Virginia said. ‘I went from being excited for twins, to being overwhelmed at the idea of triplets and then being completely gob smacked that I was pregnant with quadruplets.
Virginia carried her quadruplets to 32 weeks before a scheduled caesarian section, where all babies were delivered safely. Six weeks later, the family came home.
She said: ‘It was incredibly chaotic bringing them home “.
‘We hardly got any sleep and were awake every three hours for bottle feeds. It’s hard enough with one newborn but with quads it’s four times as demanding.
‘But I also feel four times as blessed. We’re so lucky that we have such a good support system here and we do get a lot of help.’