While all new parents believe their babies are ᴍɪʀᴀᴄʟᴇs, the Turner babies really are, the ᴏᴅᴅs of giving birth to two sets of ɪᴅᴇɴᴛɪᴄᴀʟ twins are 70 ᴍɪʟʟɪᴏɴ ᴛᴏ ᴏɴᴇ.They’re so similar that a mix-up could so easily result in James ending up being Joshua, and Lauren becoming Emily.
The couple Julian and Sharon married in 2007, but Sharon ғᴀɪʟᴇᴅ to ᴄᴏɴᴄᴇɪᴠᴇ because she had ᴘᴏʟʏᴄʏsᴛɪᴄ ᴏᴠᴀʀɪᴇs, ᴀ ᴄᴏɴᴅɪᴛɪᴏɴ which often ʜɪɴᴅᴇʀs ғᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴛʏ. In 2011, the couple decided to try ⒾⓋⒻ. After one round of ⒾⓋⒻ on the ⓃⒽⓈ, and one privately, they decided to try a ᴄʟɪɴɪᴄ in Athens that has high success rates. Sharon said :” They use different ᴅʀᴜɢs, have different protocols. I had the procedure last May, but it was not successful. We were ᴅᴇsᴘᴀɪʀɪɴɢ by this point. We thought a family wasn’t meant to be.”
The couple decided to have one more try at the Athens clinic. Then, in September, Sharon stared down at her ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ ᴛᴇsᴛ in disbelief, it was positive. She said :” Julian was still in bed and heard me screaming. I made him check the kit was working, I ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅɴ’ᴛ believe it. Julian was elated.” But, they was sʜᴏᴄᴋ, when a scan at 14 weeks confirmed both ғᴇʀᴛɪʟɪsᴇᴅeggs had split in two and Sharon was carrying two sets of ɪᴅᴇɴᴛɪᴄᴀʟ twins. She ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅɴ’ᴛ bring herself to look at the monitor, and did so only when the sᴏɴᴏɢʀᴀᴘʜᴇʀ announced that there was not one but four babies. Sharon said: “We were told there were three options. ᴛᴇʀᴍɪɴᴀᴛᴇ one set of twins, ᴛᴇʀᴍɪɴᴀᴛᴇ both sets and ʟᴏsᴇ all the babies, or keep them all. The ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs simply laid out the facts. Although they didn’t say it, we had the impression they wanted us to ᴛᴇʀᴍɪɴᴀᴛᴇ at least one set of twins. Julian and I knew we ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅɴ’ᴛ do that, but we were sᴄᴀʀᴇᴅ. When we said we were going to proceed with the quadruple ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ, the ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs said: ‘That’s fine, let’s get on with it’.”
At 29 weeks ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs discovered Sharon’s ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ ᴘʀᴇssᴜʀᴇ was ᴡᴏʀʀʏɪɴɢʟʏ ʜɪɢʜ and she was ᴅɪᴀɢɴᴏsᴇᴅ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴘʀᴇ-ᴇᴄʟᴀᴍᴘsɪᴀ, ᴀ ᴄᴏɴᴅɪᴛɪᴏɴ that can ᴄᴀᴜsᴇ ɢʀᴏᴡᴛʜ ᴘʀᴏʙʟᴇᴍs for the ᴜɴʙᴏʀɴ ᴄʜɪʟᴅ and, in ʀᴀʀᴇ ᴄᴀsᴇs, ʙᴇ ʟɪғᴇ-ᴛʜʀᴇᴀᴛᴇɴɪɴɢ to mother and baby. She was informed by the medical team that she had to have a ᴄᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ section the next day. Once the ᴏᴘᴇʀᴀᴛɪᴏɴ began, the babies were delivered quickly. James came first at 4.55pm, weighing 2lb 4oz, then Joshua a minute later weighing the same, then Lauren a minute after that at 2lb 6oz and, lastly, Emily after another minute, at 2lb 4oz. Sharon said :”I didn’t see them because they were ᴘᴜᴛ sᴛʀᴀɪɢʜᴛ ᴀᴡᴀʏ on to ᴍᴀᴄʜɪɴᴇs to help them ʙʀᴇᴀᴛʜᴇ.” A week after the birth, the quadruplets were transferred by ᴀᴍʙᴜʟᴀɴᴄᴇ to ᴀ ʜɪɢʜ ᴅᴇᴘᴇɴᴅᴇɴᴄʏ ᴜɴɪᴛ ᴀᴛ ᴛʜᴇ Rᴏʏᴀʟ Bᴇʀᴋsʜɪʀᴇ Hᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ in Reading. The babies spent their first six weeks in ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ, ʜᴏᴏᴋᴇᴅ ᴜᴘ ᴛᴏ ᴛᴜʙᴇs ᴀɴᴅ ᴡɪʀᴇs in ᴀ sᴘᴇᴄɪᴀʟɪsᴛ ʙᴀʙʏ ᴜɴɪᴛ, ᴀ ɴᴇʀᴠᴇ-ʀᴀᴄᴋɪɴɢ and ᴇxʜᴀᴜsᴛɪɴɢ ᴘᴇʀɪᴏᴅ for their ᴀɴxɪᴏᴜs parents.
Taking care of 4 children at the same time is not easy. 18 hours of feeding, five loads of washing and countless nappy changes every single day. Sharon said :” For the first few months, we hardly got any sleep at all. They require constant attention, and just feeding them is a huge task. It takes around three hours to feed all four babies, and they need to be fed every four hours. So once I have finished, I know I have an hour’s break before it all starts again.” She and husband Julian, 44, also put on at least five full loads of washing a day to keep on top of the dirty bedding and clothes, and estimate they will have to complete 30,000 nappy changes before the babies are grown up.
Then the family car had to be replaced with a nine-seater VW transporter large enough to fit their brood and all the necessary supplies, including two double buggies. And despite the ᴇxʜᴀᴜsᴛɪᴏɴ, the couple insist they have not ruled out having more children. Mr Turner said: “Never say never. They have been a huge blessing in our lives.”