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City woman gives birth to quadruplets

May 23, 1998

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer

BALTIMORE - A Hagerstown woman has given birth to quadruplets, 14 weeks before they were expected for delivery at Johns Hopkins Children's Medical Surgical Center, the parents and officials said Friday.

The babies weighed just over a pound each and were about 13 inches long following their birth Wednesday at the hospital, said Denise Davis, their mother.

Davis, who lives with her husband Craig in Doub Meadows apartments, said doctors have told her that the outlook for the two boys and two girls is good, although she knows that raising quadruplets can be a "rocky road."

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"It will be hard to get used to, but I can manage. It's still hard to believe," Davis said.

Having quadruplets is very rare.

For every one million births, only two to four are quadruplets, said Dr. Marilee Allen, director of neonatology at Johns Hopkins.

Only a few multiple births have been reported locally in the last decade, including delivery of quadruplets in 1993 to Keedysville couple Joe and Julie Dagenhart.

One of Davis' infants was born naturally and the others were delivered following a Caesarean section operation, Davis said.

Davis said she is doing well and is expected to be discharged from Johns Hopkins today, although the babies probably will not be able to be released until about Aug. 26, the date they were due.

Davis said she was prescribed fertility drugs before becoming pregnant and was told in January that she was carrying quadruplets.

"I was speechless," she said.

Davis said she had no problems with the pregnancy until Mother's Day, when she began experiencing labor contractions. She went to Washington County Hospital, and was referred to Johns Hopkins.

The labor contractions subsided two days later.

Davis said she begain experiencing back pain on Wednesday. By the time doctors checked her, it was too late to stop the delivery, she said.

The births started at 5:14 p.m. and were over in 14 minutes. The lightest baby weighed 1.1 pounds and the heaviest was just under two pounds, Davis said.

Other than confirming the birth of the quadruplets, hospital officials said they could not comment on the delivery.

Generally, infants born at the 26th week of gestation have about a 70 to 80 percent survival rate during the early phase of their treatment, Allen said.

Davis' babies are on ventilators to help them breathe and are being fed intravenously, which is common, Allen said. Some premature babies require up to 100 percent oxygen be pumped into their lungs in the early phase of their treatment, she said.

"They have the impulse to breathe, but don't have the ability," Allen said.

Davis, 29, worked as an administrative clerk at Reeders Memorial Home in Boonboro until Feb. 25. Craig Davis, 23, works as an nursing assistant at the home.

Davis said she is not sure whether she will return to work because the baby-sitting services she will require probably will be more expensive than what she can earn.

But Davis said she will have plenty of help with the babies. The babies' grandparents live in the area, and Denise said she has a 12-year-old daughter at home who can help.

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