March 22, 1999
|(Left to right) Quadruplets Ahmed, Omar, Alhasan, and Marwah.|
Woodinville residents Nada Bakkar's and Maher Shebl's cup runneth over with joy. They are proud parents of a set of quadruplets born Dec. 22, 1998.
The three boys and one girl were delivered at UW Hospital weighing between one pound, ten ounces and two pounds, ten ounces. In order of their appearance came Ahmed, Alhasan, Omar, and Marwah, the lone female of the bunch.
Bakkar learned that she was having quadruplets when she was only one month into her pregnancy. Although she had used fertility drugs prior to pregnancy and was aware of the fact that use of these drugs could possibly result in multiple births, the news still came as quite a surprise to both her and her husband.
"We were very surprised," Bakkar said. "It was quite a shock to us, but we felt very excited. We also felt nervous because of the high risk involved."
Nada spent the last seven weeks of her pregnancy on bed rest at the hospital to allow the babies more time to develop. As it was, they were delivered at 27 weeks. Ahmed, Alhasan, and Marwah are still at the hospital, but Omar is at home now.
"I am learning how to take care of them, one at a time," Bakkar explained. "It's a little nervous for me because I need to be so careful with them. Each was born with a critical lung disease and other complications. For example, I must keep everything very clean with Omar so he doesn't get an infection."
Alhasan is due to come home in another week, and the other two will follow when they are stronger. The babies must be able to take in nourishment on their own before being released. The prognosis for all four of the quadruplets is optimistic, although they will need much care in their first years of development.
Bakkar's family is in Saudi Arabia and Shebl's is in Egypt, so the couple has no immediate family support here. However, help has come from their friends, the Multiple Mothers Group, and the Islamic community.
"I'm thankful for all the support I've gotten and the equipment that has been donated," Bakkar said.
It has understandably been overwhelming for the couple, particularly Bakkar, who is frequently very tired. Each of the babies has their own set of doctors and specialists, and there are many appointments to attend with much information to learn about the conditions and care of the infants.
"I am always worried and nervous about their health," Nada commented. "It is a big responsibility, but we are filled with much happiness and hope."