DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – “You don’t figure you can find something that can outshine being pregnant with quadruplets, but we managed to do it,” says Chris Sturm of Haslet.
For Chris and Katie Sturm, welcoming four new babies was supposed to be enough of a challenge, but this is 2020.
“And then two weeks later, I found out that I had a brain tumor,” says Katie, then 26.
The couple turned to experts at UT Southwestern for care, and doctors immediately began making a series of incredulous phone calls.
“A pregnant patient admitted to the neurosurgical unit because she had a seizure, and she was coincidentally pregnant with quadruplets, which is never two things you want to hear in the same sentence, right?” says Dr. Patricia Santiago-Munoz, a high-risk pregnancy specialist.
“I almost thought I was getting pranked,” adds neurosurgeon Dr. Toral Patel with a laugh. “It was sort of hard to believe.”
According to Dr. Santiago-Munoz, the odds of quadruplets without fertility assistance is roughly 1 in 700,000.
Dr. Patel says the plan, initially, had been to monitor the tumor and perhaps delay treatment until after Katie delivered, “but the tumor had other plans.”
A second seizure forced them to reconsider their approach.
“When I saw the second one myself and it became a real thing,” says Chris. “It became one of those moments `holy cow’, the possibility that something could happen to my wife and my kids was very real.”
Katie underwent brain surgery before her boys were delivered and doctors have called her ability to handle both the high risk pregnancy and tumor, “amazing.”
“If you didn’t know she had brain surgery, you wouldn’t know she had brain surgery,” says Dr. Patel. “She has coped with this better than anyone could have imagined, she’s remarkable.”
Katie says her faith was critical.
“At that point, I had to turn it over to God and I guess he wouldn’t give me quadruplets if he didn’t want me to be around for them.”
When the boys– Jacob, Daniel, Austin and Hudson– arrived at 32 weeks in July, the months of planning paid off.
“They all came out crying,” says Dr. Becky Ennis. “Very smooth and really went off without a hitch.”
After a few weeks in the NICU, the Sturm boys have joined big brother Ryan at home in Haslet.
Not a bad haul for a woman who was told as a teen that a medical condition would prevent her from having biological children.
“These babies are a lot to handle, but they are a blessing,” says Katie.
The Sturms say they aren’t picking any winning lotto numbers, but it’s clear that they’ve hit the jackpot, many times over.