For most people, becoming parents is one of the greatest joys in life. Sadly, not everyone succeeds in becoming one because of one reason or another. Sometimes, they simply don’t get lucky enough to find the person they would share that special role with. Other times, no matter how hard they try, couples fail at getting pregnant.
Stephanie, 27, and Graham Freels, 29, got married in 2017 and dreamed of welcoming a child ever since. However, that didn’t came easily to them. Instead, they failed at conceiving and even turned to the doctors for help.
What’s most, Stephanie was forced to undergo a surgery during which a pituitary cyst was removed from her body which made things even harder for this couple as it caused hormonal imbalance.
After years of trying and one disappointment after another, Stephanie turned to God and decided to pray for a miracle.
”For years, we had prayed that God would bless us with children, and now it was finally coming true! I’ve always wanted a large family, but I could have never imagined it would happen all at once,” she said in a statement according to St. Joseph’s.
Just before Christmas Eve, God listened to this woman’s prayers. Stephanie took a pregnancy test and it turned out positive. Needless to say, the couple and their families were over the moon.
”It was a pretty incredible morning for us,” the mother-to-be said.
Stephanie and Graham went to the hospital for additional tests and one of them stood out. The test showed that Stephanie carried multiple babies. Later on, ultrasound showed that they would become parents of quintuplets.
”It was one of the craziest moments of our lives,” Stephanie said and continued: ”We were so excited and confident that God had purposefully entrusted us with these five precious babies. However, we also knew there were serious risks to carrying quintuplets.”
The chances of delivering quintuplets are extremely rare. In 2020, out of over 3.6 million births in the United States, only 29 were quintuplets or higher-order multiples.
No matter how excited the Freels were over the thought of welcoming that many babies, they were well aware that this pregnancy came with risks of complications.
“Right after we learned that we were expecting quintuplets, I hopped on YouTube and started doing some research to find the right doctor and hospital to deliver our babies,” Graham said.
Luckily, they got in touch with Dr. John Elliott, a renowned perinatologist based in Phoenix, specializing in higher-order multiple pregnancies. Without giving it a second thought, they moved places and left Washington for Phoenix. While Graham was able to continue doing his full-time job remotely, Stephanie spent all her time and effort on managing her pregnancy.
The doctors’ plan was Stephanie to carry the babies until week 34, but that wasn’t what happened. Unfortunately, she suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, and she delivered her bundles of joy at week 29 via c-section.
”It was upwards of 20 people in the delivery room because each baby has its own team of nurses, respiratory therapists, and physicians to help transition them after birth,” Andrea Hassler, nursing director at St. Joseph said.
“And then Stephanie had her own team on the obstetrical side as well to ensure that she was safe during the delivery as well.”
Having been born 13 weeks prematurely, babies Adelyn, Eliana, Linnea, Fisher, and Harper Freels, known as the “Freels Five,” had to spend some time at the NICU.
”As expected, they did need some respiratory support in the beginning,” Hassler told Good Morning America.
”And then it was really a focus on being able to have those babies grow outside of mom’s womb up into the healthy babies that you see today.”
The final quintuplet was released from the NICU after 76 days.
“One of the best moments of our NICU journey was being able to hold all five of my babies for the first time,” said Stephanie, adding that she was “so emotional leading up to the moment I could finally hold all of them in my arms after carrying them in my belly.”
“It was a moment I will forever cherish,” she continued. “I am so thankful to the NICU nursing team for giving me this experience.”
“So many people have prayed for us and our family throughout our journey and NICU experience. We are so grateful that so many prayers have been answered and we are looking forward to creating new memories as a family of seven.”
The sweet babies, who were welcomed into the world in June 2023, are all healthy and happy. We wish them long and fulfilling lives.
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