By 13 children, most moms would be ready to consider their birthing years done. But Annegret Raunigk is certainly not most moms. The 65-year-old mother of 13 delivered quadruplets, and she's living proof that God created our bodies to do some pretty amazing things!
65-Year-Old Mother Of 13 Delivered Quadruplets
Annegret Raunigk from Berlin clearly loves children. From working as a teacher to raising her own 13 children, kids have just always been part of her life.
Still, by the time her youngest, Leila, turned ten, not many would have guessed she'd ever decide to get pregnant again. But when Leila started pestering her mom for a "sister to play with," Annegret started considering the idea.
“She’s a great kid and I wanted to fulfill her wish,” she said.
With her oldest child in her 40's, and Annegret in her 60's, she already had seven grandchildren. Yet, she started thinking maybe she'd give it a try. And once she'd made up her mind, Annegret wouldn't be stopped!
Not everyone agreed with Annegret's decision to take on the role as expecting mother so late in her life. In fact, she had to travel all the way to the Ukraine in order to receive in-vitro fertilization (IVF) of donated eggs and sperm to make the pregnancy possible. Germany has strict laws around reproductive medicine, including age restrictions. And her pregnancy sparked plenty of debate in Germany, with some feeling the decision to be irresponsible. But Annegret doesn't agree.
Doctors in Kiev used donated sperm to fertilize donated eggs. They implanted multiple eggs in the hopes one would survive. They didn't have high expectations for success, given Annegret's age. Miraculously, though, all four grew into viable embryos. And much to the surprise of her doctors, the 65-year-old mother of 13 delivered quadruplets!
Overcoming The Odds
The pregnancy certainly wasn't easy. Doctors delivered the quadruplets 3 months early via c-section. Annegret welcomed three boys and one girl -- Dries, Bence, Fjonn, and Neeta -- all weighing slightly more than a 2 pound bag of sugar upon arrival. But doctors feared the worst.
For months, the little ones fought hard in the NICU to stay here, and it was touch and go. Dries needed surgery after developing fluid on his brain. His sister, Neeta, also needed surgery soon after birth to repair a hole in her bowel.\
But God is good -- all four babies survived. Nearly two years later, the quadruplets are at completely normal weights for their age and are thriving. God clearly has a special purpose for these little ones!
Living A Life That's Never Dull
With help from their older siblings, as well as other friends and family, life is busy and at times stressful, but certainly never boring. And raising these four little angels is something Annegret "wouldn't miss for the world."
"I sleep very little but I know I can take care of them," she says.
Though the mother of 17 expects to remain perfectly fit to care for her younger children, she has made provisions just in case anything changes. While that doesn't stop the continued debate around her decision, Annegret doesn't spend too much time focusing on the controversy sparked by her incredible birth story.
"This is not about egotism and it is not selfishness," she explained. "I like children - they keep me young. You get more tolerant the older you get. . . I am looked after, consulted, observed. I was fit to have them and I am fit to care for them."
We look forward to seeing what God has in-store for these little miracles!
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