Their parents Dimitri and Varvara Artamkin have just one wish for the New Year – for that the babies to be strong enough to leave their incubators and be held all at once.
Unfortunately that won’t happen anytime soon due to the fact that the babies are being looked after by two different hospitals.
Just one day after the five girls were born two were whisked to London’s Queen Charlotte hospital and then, on December 10, transferred to Stoke Mandeville hospital in Buckinghamshire because so much specialist equipment was needed to care for them.
Three remain at the John Radcliffe where they were born.
The couple rents an apartment in Oxford spends their days travelling between the two hospitals to check on their babies’ progress.
The girls were born at 26 weeks gestation weighting between just 1lb 13oz and 2lb 2oz. Despite doctors’ predictions that they could not all survive, the girls have continued to surprise everyone with their fighting spirit.
During Varvara’s pregnancy, the couple had a hard time finding a doctor that would care for her during her pregnancy. Most refused saying they believed the risks were too high.
Eventually, they found one who wanted to help, but he warned them that in order to give their children the best possible chance, they should leave Russia, to seek better care elsewhere.
Dimitri says: “He told us that in his opinion the best place for looking after premature babies was Britain, and he gave us the name of the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford.
“We had a friend in Oxford at the time, so we sent her some papers explaining our situation and asked her to pass them on to Dr Lawrence Impey, the top consultant at the hospital.
“She spoke to him and he agreed that if we travelled to Oxford, he would treat us. He said that although he would have given us the same facts and figures about selective terminations, he would have left it to us to make the choice.”
A wealthy friend of the family offered to pay all of the medical bills, ensuring that the quints have not placed burden on the NHS.
“He said, ‘Just don’t worry about money,'” says Dimitri. “He is a very kind and generous man and he wanted to help us. He has paid for everything, from our medical care to our living expenses here. Without him, we could not have come here.”
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