When Ashley Gardner found out she was pregnant with quadruplets in October, her husband snapped a photo of her expression that went viral almost overnight. But now that the new parents have delivered the four babies, the look of surprise has been replaced with a look of (exhausted) joy.
"Mom and babies are doing incredible!!!" Ashley's mother wrote on the family's Facebook page, A Miracle Unfolding -- Gardner Quadruplets. The page was set up to document the couple's difficult experiences with infertility and pregnancy. "We are so happy with how everything turned out today! The doctors, nurses, and staff were incredible!! More updates to follow soon!!"
The Christian couple has made no secret of the importance faith has played in their journey to this point, and their Facebook page is full of inspirational messages. "Ashley and Tyson have a STRONG and wonderful relationship with Each other and with God and we believe that he is watching over them and providing as He sees fit," the family posted earlier today. "He has given them another platform to increase infertility awareness and they are eager to be able to do that."
Ashley was diagnosed with endometriosis in her early twenties, meaning that she and her husband would face a low possibility of ever having children. But through the help of several years of fertility treatments, including in-vitro fertilization earlier this year, the couple became pregnant with not only four babies at once, but two sets of twins.
The chances of two identical sets of twins is approximately one in 70 million, according to Dr. Alan Penzias, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School. And according to statistics at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were only 276 sets of quadruplets born in the U.S. in 2012.
The smallest baby of the four weighed in at less than two pounds, but the rest are all over two pounds. All four are girls, and all have dark hair "like their dad."
Throughout the pregnancy, Ashley and Tyson have kept curious fans up-to-date on the progress not only through the Facebook page, but also a YouTube account with regular videos and livestreams, and various other social media outlets. The family has received donations to help with the cost of the high-risk chidbirth, and have even had to deal with critics claiming that the whole thing is some sort of publicity stunt to raise money. But the family has stayed true to their faith and are now reaping the rewards of that dedication to God.
"How grateful I am for my savior Jesus Christ," the family wrote on Christmas Day. "He is the greatest gift we could ever ask for. Through his infinite sacrifice, we can all have eternal life if we choose. He is the way, the truth and the light. As we follow him, we learn of the great responsibility we have as his disciples to share his truth and light with the world. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and remember what a great gift we have all been given by the savior of the world."