Hollywood could never write a story this good.
Ashley and Tyson Gardner of Utah have been trying to get pregnant for the last eight years. That's eight long years of heartbreaking failures, negative tests time after time, countless doctors visits and hope running on empty. After special diets, tests and even exploratory surgery into Ashley's abdomen, the culprit was finally found: she had severe endometriosis, a condition that affects the tissue lining a woman's uterus. The disorder was compromising her eggs to the point that there were none viable.
The Gardners decided to try one last-ditch effort. The expensive procedure of in vitro fertilization was their only remaining option, so they spent time saving up and then took the plunge. After a full month of special injections to strengthen Ashley's eggs, they were harvested to be paired with Tyson's sperm. But where normal harvesting can result in far more eggs than are needed, Ashley's doctor was able to retrieve just 16. And not only were those likely Ashley's last chance at getting pregnant, the 16 eggs started to die immediately after harvesting.
In the end, only two eggs survived to become viable embryos. The doctor implanted both eggs to increase the chances of pregnancy, and the Gardners endured the long wait to find out if all of their hopes and prayers and effort had paid off, or if it was all for nothing.
The in vitro procedure not only worked, it really worked. It worked so well, its results so exponentially against the odds, it can only be called a genuine miracle. Both embryos survived inside Ashley's uterus — and both of them split. The Gardners got the shock of their lives at the doctor's office in July when they found out they were having quadruplets.
Fortunately for us, a friend was in the ultrasound room with the couple to capture their reactions on film, and the resulting pictures are absolutely priceless. Ashley told CNN that she'd "never been so excited and terrified in the same instant."
For obvious reasons, the photos have gone viral. Have a look.
Just a few weeks ago, the couple announced the quads' genders to their families. This too was captured on film.
That's right: the Gardners are having four girls, aka two sets of identical twins. Ashley's official due date is in March 2015, but since multiple births typically deliver earlier, she's now expected to give birth right around this Christmas. (Talk about a Christmas present!)
Ashley's sister, Whitney, set up a Facebook page where she's chronicling the couple's journey. An Amazon registry has been created for the parents-to-be, and a silent auction is happening on October 11 to benefit their parental expenses. Donations can also be made via Paypal, to firstname.lastname@example.org.