By Michaela Gibson Morris
TUPELO – The Hernandez family had four precious gifts arrive via special delivery just before Christmas.
With the help of a small army at North Mississippi Medical Center Women’s Hospital, Veronica and Helias Hernandez of New Albany welcomed quadruplets on Monday – the third set in the hospital’s 27-year history. All four babies – Allyson, Ashley, Alexander and Anthony arrived at 25 weeks gestation via Caesarian section, weighing between 1 pound 13 ounces and 2 pounds.
“They’re extremely large for their gestational age,” said Veronica Hernandez, 33, who has been hospitalized in Tupelo since the day after Thanksgiving to ensure the babies didn’t arrive by surprise. The babies were all on ventilators Wednesday, but are all doing well.
The support the family has received, especially from their church, Hillcrest Baptist in New Albany, has been extraordinary, they said.
“Everybody has been praying for these babies,” Veronica Hernandez said.
Helias Hernandez, 27, is a twin himself, and he has two other sets of twins in his family, but no one was expecting four babies when the couple became pregnant this summer.
“It’s not unheard of, but it’s exceedingly rare,” to have quadruplets that don’t involve assisted reproduction, said Dr. Leo Bautista, the obstetrician who cared for Veronica Hernandez and delivered the quadruplets with his partner Dr. Gregg Willis on Monday. “It’s about 1 in 750,000.”
The original ultrasounds showed three babies. It wasn’t until November and a third ultrasound with maternal fetal specialist Dr. Justin Brewer that the fourth baby made herself known.
“We already knew we had three, so what’s one more baby,” said Veronica Hernandez, who said they took the news of quadruplets much better than they did the news of triplets. But it’s still hard to wrap their heads around the logistics of caring for four babies, who will join older siblings, Micah Crawford, 16, and KaraLynn Ochoa, 10.
“Right now, I’m just happy,” Helias Hernandez said, that the babies arrived safely. When the babies come home – likely April if all goes well – that’s when the shock will set in, he said.
It will take a case of diapers a day just to keep those bottoms covered, Veronica Hernandez said. She’s not sure how they will juggle day care and work – she works as a consultant for an auto parts manufacturer, he works for a furniture plant.
“It will all work out,” she said.
Anyone who would like to assist the Hernandez family is asked to work through Hillcrest Baptist.
By the numbers
Hernandez quads were born on Monday at NMMC Women’s Hospital. They are the third set of quadruplets born at the hospital since it opened in 1986.
• Allyson Sophia – 1 pound, 15 ounces, 13 1⁄2 inches long
• Ashley Marie – 1 pound 13 ounces, 13 inches long
• Alexander Ivan – 2 pounds, 12 5⁄8 inches
• Anthony Ricardo – 2 pounds, 13 1⁄2 inches