Harbor-UCLA patient and mother Maria Cervantes is expecting quadruplets. She and her husband Rodrigo Cervantes have not had an easy road but since they came to Harbor-UCLA, they've received excellent care and are excited about the incoming additions to their family.
It wasn't until four months into her pregnancy during a visit at her previous hospital that Mrs. Cervantes found out that she was pregnant with not one baby, but four. The surprise came when Mrs. Cervantes was feeling sick during her pregnancy, and what was supposed to be a routine ultrasound revealed four babies and not just one.
"Doctors and nurses were coming in and out. They wouldn't show me the monitor. I said 'If something is wrong, I want you to please tell my husband to come in. I want him here before you tell me something is wrong.'" After Mr. Cervantes entered the room, the doctor asked the married couple of 17 years "how many children do you want?" In disbelief and not quite getting the hint, Mrs. Cervantes saw the doctor type Quad A into his computer and her suspicions arose.
"Why are you typing that in?" she asked. Again the doctor said "How many babies do you want? I have plenty for you." After finally revealing the ultrasound monitor and counting off Quad A through D, Mrs. Cervantes became overwhelmed with emotions. Incredulous, Mr. Cervantes asked "Are you sure this is for us? Are you sure this isn't from the previous lady?"
After much laughter and many tears of joy, Mrs. Cervantes said the process of having quadruplets began to get overwhelming. "The phone was ringing off the hook because we had to do so many things for the babies."
The laughter soon ended when Mr. Cervantes was laid off from his job and their health care was thrown into jeopardy. Just two weeks after learning they were having quadruplets, the future for Mr. and Mrs. Cervantes looked bleak. "We didn't know what we were going to do, where we were going to turn and we didn't know how we would afford it," she said.
"I just couldn't believe it. We made phone calls to insurance companies to see if we could purchase insurance. We tried to get COBRA. We tried to qualify for Medi-Cal. Everything was a 'no.'"
A nurse at the hospital who had been helping them with their treatment got wind of their situation and placed a phone call to a helpful doctor who would eventually facilitate a smooth transfer of care from their previous hospital to Harbor-UCLA where they have been ever since.
Mr. and Mrs. Cervantes make a great team; Mr. Cervantes escorts his wife gingerly through hallways and corridors and Mrs. Cervantes always notes "we're pregnant," with an inclusive glance at her husband. She gushes with enthusiasm about their future. Despite the hardships along the way, their faith gives them resolve. "We couldn’t have done this without prayer, without God."
Before their first son was born, the two tried unsuccessfully to conceive for 17 years until artificial insemination was used. Now, three years later and again with artificial insemination, they are expecting quadruplets.
Though they have an idea what the names of the babies will be, they won’t reveal them until they have every single first and middle name worked out. Their first born son, middle named Mateo (Gift of God), will be a helper in the family as he welcomes four siblings. "We make him participate so he feels like he is part of the group and doesn’t feel left out," says Mrs. Cervantes. "We talk to him about it every day to get him prepared."
Mr. and Mrs. Cervantes visited the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Harbor-UCLA with Dr. Soina Dargan to see recently born babies and the incubators that will temporarily house their quadruplets. Seeing the tiny babies, Mr. Cervantes teared up. "It's very emotional," he said.
"Mr. and Mrs. Cervantes will probably deliver within the next 1-3 weeks," says Dr. Dargan. "The average delivery time for quadruplets is at 32 weeks and Mrs Cervantes is now 29 weeks. As of last week, all four babies are growing well and are roughly 2.5 pounds"
For the staff, coordinating the large team to ensure a successful delivery is the challenging part. An obstetrician, anesthesiologist, and four neonatal teams comprising of an attending, fellow, resident, neonatal nurse, and pediatric respiratory therapist all make up a team of 16-24 people working on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Cervantes and their quadruplets.
Through their faith and the love and support of their family and friends, Mr. and Mrs. Cervantes have survived a deep roller coaster of emotions. Thanks to their faith and the safety net provided by Harbor-UCLA, the additions to their family will arrive shortly and in good health. Mr. Cervantes will be in the delivery room as he was for Rodrigo Jr. when the quadruplets take their first breath.