Monday, 7 March, 2011
A lesbian couple are beaming with happiness after becoming parents to quintuplets in a world first.
Melissa Keevers, 27, and Rosemary Nolan, 22, have entered the record books after their five babies, conceived with a U.S. sperm donor, came into the world in Australia.
The chances of a woman becoming pregnant with quints from a sperm donor without the aid of IVF are estimated at 60million to one.
The two boys and three girls join an IVF child already in the family - 18-month-old Lily - born to Miss Keevers.
Miss Keevers has become mother again to the five newcomers, Charlie, Noah, Eireann, Evie and Abby but the multiple births have not come as a surprise - the couple told the world about their expected quints last October.
Now Miss Keevers has told Australia's Woman's Day magazine that in the days leading up to the births she spent three days in the birthing suite - 'they wouldn't let me leave in case it happened'.
Irish-born partner Miss Nolan, who met Miss Keevers after arriving in Australia from Waterford in 2008, said that at the time 'I was running around like a headless chicken!
'I was in shock thinking it was actually going to happen.'
The women, who live in Brisbane, admit that they are going to need a team of volunteers to help them raise the children in the first few months and years.'
They have realised this in the weeks following the births in January - and even during the births Miss Keevers had to be attended by a team of 25 hospital staff.
'We couldn't hold them, as they were so small,' said Miss Nolan. 'We wanted to cuddle them but we knew the biggest thing was to make sure they're all right.'
As the babies grew stronger the two mothers were allowed to have what they described as 'kangaroo cuddles', where the baby is placed down the front of their shirt so they can have skin contact.
Miss Keevers recalled for the magazine that when she was pregnant with Lily she knew it was her who who moving.
'With the quins, I just knew the one on the bottom right was moving.
There were movements all over. I couldn't pinpoint who it was.' At first it was feared that Eireann would need an operation to correct a murmer in her heart, but she has improved and doctors hope they won't need to operate after all.
The women are now looking forward to taking the babies home to live with Lily.
'We're not sure she understand they're all going to come home,' said Miss Nolan. 'But she likes going to visit them at the hospital and kissing them through their crib.'
The quints' father is a 27-year-old dark-haired law student with good teeth and eyesight and a high IQ. He waived all rights to meet the children.
Under Queensland law, Miss Nolan will not be legally recognised as a parent of the children.
Only the birth mother will be known as the parent and Miss Nolan will also not be allowed to adopt the children.