SACRAMENTO — They arrived in quick succession: four genetically identical girls, conceived without fertilization drugs and delivered minutes apart Monday at Sutter Memorial Hospital.
The odds of that occurring are 1 in 11 million, said Dr. Alex Mentakis, who delivered the quadruplets by caesarean section to 22-year-old Ornsee Khamsa.
"It's a wonderful experience, one that you're never going to have again in your life," Mentakis said.
The girls were born from a single egg fertilized by a single sperm cell. They shared a single placenta, although each had a separate amniotic sac, Mentakis said.
They were born at 30 weeks, and the largest weighs 2 pounds, 8 ounces. But given the complications that often afflict multiple births, and given that their parents, young and without insurance, waited until Khamsa was 20 weeks pregnant to get prenatal care, the girls are remarkably healthy, Mentakis said. Only one briefly required a breathing tube.
"They were pink, they were kicking, and they were crying, which is what you want to see," he said. "It's incredible that they made it this far so healthy."
Khamsa and her husband, 20-year-old Verek Muy, are Laotian immigrants who live in West Sacramento. They have a 4-year-old son, Raymond.
The girls, named Preana, Audreana, Natalie and Melody, probably will remain in the Sacramento hospital's special care unit for several weeks, said spokeswoman Linda Pinkham.
Khamsa is "so happy, excited and nervous," said her sister Katie.
Katie, who promised to chauffeur the girls around in her Suburban, said she hadn't believed her sister at first.
"I didn't believe it until a couple of weeks ago," she said.
The doctor, who was assisted by about 30 people during the delivery, said, "If this happens to me again, I'm going to go out and buy lottery tickets."