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'I felt blessed with four fetuses who wanted to live, so who was I to decide otherwise?' says Israeli woman who gave birth to quadruplets

'Seeing them healthy and live was incredibly moving,' says senior doctor at the hospital

Shelly Hakimi during the birth of quadruplets (Photo: Rabin Medical Center)

An Israeli woman gave birth to healthy quadruplets at Rabin Medical Center in Tel Aviv on Sunday.

Shelly Hakimi (34) and her husband welcomed two sons and two daughters in what is regarded as an extremely rare birth, with a team of 30 medical experts. Only one in 720,000 to one million births is a quadruplet birth and is usually the result of various fertility treatments.

Dr. Kinneret Tenenbaum-Gavish, a senior physician in the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Department at Rabin, recounted the unique event.

"Until the surgery, during which I delivered one baby after another, each developing in a separate amniotic sac, I had only seen them through numerous ultrasound exams. Seeing them healthy and live was incredibly moving," Tenenbaum-Gavish said.

Hakimi and her husband, who both work in the high-tech sector, already have two children aged seven and four. They were understandably overwhelmed when they discovered that they were expecting quadruplets. Hakimi recalled that she had secretly hoped and prayed for twins during her pregnancy in December.

"On the first night of Hanukkah 2023, I prayed for twins, modestly, just one set. During the pregnancy, I discovered my prayer had been answered and even doubled," Hakimi said days before giving birth.

"I accompanied my wife to a routine ultrasound check, and the doctor casually pointed out one sac, then another, and another, and another," Hakimi’s husband recalled. "I nearly fainted, literally. The news hit us completely unexpectedly. Quadruplets? Now what?" he added.

Shelly Hakimi (Photo: Rabin Medical Center)

Dr. Tenenbaum-Gavish said she had informed the Hakimi family about the risks involved with quadruplet births.

"Our role as doctors is to provide the family with all the information, possibilities and risks involved in delivering quadruplets. I informed the couple that research shows lower fetal numbers improve survival and health outcomes, so I recommended the standard protocol of reducing the number of fetuses," she said.

However, Hakimi who is religiously observant, placed her rare quadruplet birth within the wider context of the Oct. 7 terror attack, when Hamas terrorists murdered 1,200 Israelis, including children and infants.

"In the last ultrasound, we heard all four heartbeats. Although according to halakha it is permissible to reduce, morally it didn’t sit well with us. I felt blessed with four fetuses who wanted to live, so who was I to decide otherwise? Additionally, the events of October 7, where so many people, including infants and children, were killed, strengthened my resolve. I thought maybe I am meant to bring children into the world," Hakimi said.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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