For Sara Kahen Gutovich, delivering quadruplets was all about the power of “positive vibes.”
The California mom, 36, gave birth to four healthy babies — two boys and two girls — on July 4 at Cedars-Sinai Guerin Children’s hospital in Los Angeles.
Although there could have been plenty to worry about, Sara credits her husband, Rabbi Jay Gutovich, family, and Dr. Steve Rad, her “Doogie Howser” obstetrician/gynecologist — who at age 39 has already overseen 8,000 births as a maternal-fetal medicine/perinatology specialist — for helping her “stay focused on what could go right.”
Sara’s road to becoming a mom of quadruplets came following a three-year struggle with fertility, which began shortly after she gave birth to 3-year-old son Chezzy.
While Sara and her family call the outcome a “miracle,” Rad can only speculate that she conceived the four babies one of two ways: either by one IVF transfer and three spontaneous ovulations or via four spontaneous ovulations.
As for the moment she and her husband found out there were four embryos? Sara says at first she had no idea what she was looking at on the screen.
“What’s going on?” she remembers saying, to which she was told, “‘Hold on, we’re not finished counting.'”
“At the beginning, it was like, ‘Oh my God, this is really dangerous,’” Jay says.
Rad says higher-order multiple gestations, such as triplets or quadruplets “are very high risk to the mother and fetus.”
“It put Sara and each fetus at risk for adverse outcomes, including stillbirth and maternal death,” he says. “The biggest risks are fetal growth abnormalities, preterm birth, prematurity, stillbirth, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and severe maternal morbidity and mortality. Sara represented five lives in one. If something happens to one of those five individuals, all their lives are at risk.”
But from the very beginning, Sara was determined to see her pregnancy through. “I was willing to take the risk,” she says.
She was even feeling so good at 33 weeks pregnant that she visited Disneyland with her family!
Originally, the couple and Rad were eyeing July 7 as a delivery date. Sara would have been 35 weeks pregnant and it was Rad’s 39th birthday, which seemed like a fitting culmination of her pregnancy journey.
But Sara started experiencing contractions early and the decision was made to have a cesarean-section at 34 weeks and three days.
Despite a team of some 40-plus doctors, nurses and other specialists, Sara says “it was a freaking party in the delivery room.”
Less than an hour later, the babies were born. Shira Chana and Chaya Nessya were the smallest and largest — at 4 lbs., 2 oz. and 5 lbs, 9 oz. — while the boys, who have yet to be named, checked in at 4 lbs., 13 oz. and 4 lbs., 15 oz.
Three of the babies needed supplemental oxygen at birth, but are all now thriving, Sara says. Dr. Rad shared all of them should be home by the end of the week, which is “absolutely amazing,” he says.
Now, the joyful parents are happy to look back on their pregnancy journey, as they look to their future as a family of seven.
“It was miraculous, absolutely miraculous,” Jay says. “Sara was an absolute … I don’t even, I don’t know a word to use. She worked so hard and we had the best people around us.”