In 2001, as my sister approached her 40th birthday, she decided to try one last time to give birth through in vitro fertilization—a process she had tried several times without success when she was married, a decade earlier. Although single now, her biological clock was ticking. She’d saved enough money as a self-employed floral designer to cover her medical expenses and planned to work through her pregnancy so that she could give herself at least six months of “maternity leave” once her baby was born. A single baby.
Her fertility specialist, however, recommended injecting my sister with four embryos to increase the odds of delivering a single baby. My sister demurred. Eventually, they compromised at three. As fate would have it, all three embryos embedded themselves into the thick lining of her uterus, and one divided, creating twins. Overnight she became a single mother expecting quadruplets.
Now she was embarked upon a high-risk pregnancy. Now she could not work throughout her term, but was confined to bed for four long months. Now she faced the fears of friends and family members that no one could raise four infants alone. She also reaped the wrath of strangers as far removed as Bill O’Reilly and Dr. Laura who condemned her for becoming a burden to taxpayers, or for embarking upon parenthood without a father.
She had many days and nights to stare at the ceiling and face her own doubts and the world’s criticism. In the end she refused “to limit what love can do,” or to believe that her four precious infants were a “mistake.” Instead, she summoned the courage and faith to exercise her own “right to choose.”
This is the first chapter of her incredible story.