Friday, 12 November, 2010
Sarah Pavlenko made history 21 years ago as one of the world's first IVF quintuplets. This week Ms Pavlenko has returned to the same Perth hospital where she was delivered to begin a career caring for miracle babies just like her. "I always wanted to be a nurse," she said. "I grew up hearing stories about my time in the neonatal ward being cared for alongside my brother and sisters."Those stories inspired me to get into the health system."
The Pavlenko quintuplets Sarah, Jessica, Joshua, Aimee and Breeanna were born at King Edward Memorial Hospital on January 18, 1989.The births made headlines around the world and the Pavlenkos are still the only quins on record to be born at WA's maternity hospital.
"People always ask me what it was like to grow up as a quin," Ms Pavlenko said. "The best part was that there was always someone around to talk to or hang out with. The older we've got, the closer we've become."
Ms Pavlenko returned to KEMH on Monday to start her nursing career after graduating from Edith Cowan University.She will be working in the neonatal intensive-care unit where the state's sickest babies are kept alive.The hallways to the neonatal unit are still covered in newspaper clippings and photos of the Pavlenko quins as babies.
"I've had hospital staff come up to me and tell me that they were working the day that I was born," Ms Pavlenko said. "It's amazing. They're so happy to see me again it's like I'm family. "It shows that the hospital must be a good place to work if the staff are still there 21 years later." Ms Pavlenko said it was surreal to look at the babies in the neonatal ward and imagine that once it was her. "They're so tiny," she said. "Holding them you can't help but think that it was once you. But, each baby is an individual with its own special needs."
One of her sisters, Breeanna, will also become a nurse within months at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children.Amazingly, the same day the Pavlenko quintuplets were born, quadruplets were also delivered at KEMH.