A couple who were told they could never have children now have five – after they had miracle quadruplets.
Selina Torbett, 28, and Kev Ashe, 35, had their first daughter Myla through IVF treatment after years of failed fertility treatments, but with just two frozen eggs left, the couple were desperate to give her a sibling.
Now three years old, Myla has her work cut out playing with identical triplet brothers and her little sister – the result of the two ‘last chance’ eggs, one of which split three ways.
Selina, who works as a hospital ward sister, had never had periods, and suffered from polycystic ovaries and endometriosis, so always feared she would have problems with her fertility.
Doctors warned her she was likely to experience early menopause and would never conceive naturally.
The couple were even told by medics that they should abort the quadruplets because of high miscarriage risk, early labour and other complications, but Selina and Kev were desperate to give their babies a fighting chance.
Selina, from Winchester, Hants, said: ‘It is unbelievable. We had one little miracle – then we had four more.
‘It is exhausting and totally insane but we wouldn’t change it for the world.
‘We look at our family and feel filled with so much love.’
Selina and Kev, met in a local pub when Selina was just 19, and two years later they started trying for a baby after Selina’s gynecologist told her she needed to get started as soon as possible.
After three years of negative pregnancy tests and procedures such as ovarian drilling, where holes are made in the ovaries to help them release eggs, Selina was finally allowed to get IVF treatment on the NHS.
Selina explained: ‘We were trying all of those methods but nothing was working.
‘It was a very hard time. We both wanted a family so much.
‘We wanted to try IVF but at that time you had to be at least 31 to have it on the NHS.
‘I remember that just as I was coming up 24, that changed, and our GP called to say they dropped the age to 24.
‘The IVF took three months. We didn’t really have much hope that it was going to work, because everything else had failed.
‘When we had IVF, we went in thinking it wasn’t going to work – but it worked first time.
‘In October 2014, Myla was born. When she was a year old, we thought we wanted to try again.’
The couple had just three frozen eggs remaining, and went through two more years of trying for another baby, spending their savings for a mortgage on the costly treatment.
Selina added: ‘The second attempt at IVF failed. We were shocked because we had such high expectations after our first try with Myla – I was very upset by it.
‘We were so desperate to complete our family. It was a dark and horrible time.
Each IVF attempt cost around £3,000, so the couple had to save up each time they wanted to try again.
‘With the last two eggs, we decided this was our final chance, we wouldn’t try to do any more.’
The couple were thrilled when what would be Selina’s final pregnancy test came back positive, but she was experiencing heavy bleeding and was terrified of losing the baby, so asked a colleague at the hospital where she worked to scan her at five weeks.
She said: ‘I hadn’t told Kev because I didn’t want to worry him.
‘They told me there were four pregnancy sacs so potentially four babies and I was in utter disbelief.
Two weeks later, Selina and Kev returned to the fertility clinic for the official scan and were stunned and overjoyed when the sonographer discovered four healthy heartbeats.
She added: ‘But we had quite a lot of negativity from the healthcare professionals and they wanted us to abort the identical triplets – which we didn’t know at that time were three boys.
‘They thought they probably wouldn’t all survive, but we thought we would let fate take it’s course.
‘We’d already been through so much to complete our family. We hoped we could be the ones to defy the odds and so we plodded on.
The quadruplets arrived 11 weeks early at 29 weeks gestation, being born on July 23 last year.
Now the three boys – Roman, Austin and Arlo – who Selina describes as ‘chilled out’, and their tiny sister ‘cheeky’ Raeya, who still wears clothes designed for a three-month-old, are set to turn one.
‘We got the boys bracelets with their initials on them so that we can tell them apart,’ Selina joked.
The parents, who are hoping to move to a larger house before the big day, are planning to hold a family barbecue to celebrate their miracle quadruplets.
‘To have them all at home together for the first time was very overwhelming.
‘Every time I look at them all, I feel incredibly proud. We did it, despite all the people who doubted us.
‘I have always longed for a big family but had accepted that wouldn’t happen for me – but our babies are proof that miracles do happen, and I feel so blessed.’