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The odds of Texas freezing over were slim. But so were the odds of Texas couple Bill and Starlyn Cafferata having quadruplets.

“We had fertility issues going way back to when we first got married 10 years ago,” said Bill, a teacher, coach and Realtor. It took six IUI (intrauterine insemination) tries and one round of IVF to conceive their daughter, Zoe, who was born in 2018.

 

But on Jan. 31, Starlyn welcomed four babies: a son Enzo, and three daughters, Lennon, Stella and Francesca. Born at 31 weeks, the accidental quadruplets are thriving in the NICU — and have needed to limit contact with their parents and each other due to the pandemic.

Last week’s out-of-the-blue storm made things worse. The parents couldn’t make it inside the hospital for more than a week. Although their electricity got knocked out, they FaceTimed the nurses caring for their babies as much as they could, and even delivered milk to them in a parking lot.

Now, the parents have just reunited with their tots — documenting the tearful hospital visit for their 440,900 followers on their TikTok account @CaffSquad — and are on track to bring them home from the NICU next week.

“You look at the odds of this and how crazy this is. It’s wild,” said Bill, 37. “But the fact that [Starlyn] stayed out of the hospital as long as she did? Delivered as late as she did? And the fact that all four of them are superhealthy and almost ready to come home soon? It’s beyond. I can’t even comprehend the odds of all of that working together.” 

The couple had only one embryo left after the 2018 birth of Zoe and a failed transfer in 2019. “It was our last shot,” said Bill. In July of 2020, they made the transfer. Six weeks and a positive pregnancy test later, the couple got the surprise of their lives at the ultrasound appointment.

Looking at the screen, “Bill goes, ‘This doesn’t look like Zoe’s,’” remembered Starlyn, a 36-year-old pediatric nurse. Their doctor was shocked, too, at the sight of four distinct sacs. “She had never seen this before.” 

Bill and Starlyn Cafferata with their first-born daughter, Zoe. Bill and Starlyn Cafferta

Though extremely rare, multiples like this are possible. As the frozen embryo was implanted, Bill and Starlyn got pregnant with two more babies (not twins) the old-fashioned way. (Starlyn said it’s possible this was because she was on medication to ovulate for the implantation.) Then one embryo, most likely the frozen one, split into identical twins. 

“I started hyperventilating. I said, ‘I need to take my mask off, I need water. I feel like I’m going to pass out …’” the mom of five said. Bill was “beet red.”

“He was like, ‘We need a bigger house. What kind of car are we going to get?’” 

At six weeks along with quads, the mom was measuring as large as a single 15-week pregnancy. “I was at 18 weeks, and people would be like, ‘Congratulations! Any day now!’ ” she recalled. 

Starlyn proudly showing her babies’ bump by the hospital entrance.Bill and Starlyn Cafferta

By 29 weeks, Starlyn was admitted to the hospital for bed rest. Bored, she decided to make a TikTok video showing off her extra-large bump. “We woke up the next day to 12,000 followers,” said Bill. “We feel so fortunate that so many people care about these babies,” Starlyn added.

Indeed, nearly 40 medical experts were in the room to help the quads come into the world. But due to COVID, even family visits are limited. “We can’t both go in at the same time,” Bill said.

“We haven’t been able to kiss on them or snuggle on them because we’ve been wearing masks the whole time,” said Starlyn.

It also means that Zoe hasn’t met her younger siblings yet, although she’s been practicing their names. “I’m a big sister,” the tot told The Post. 

But barring any more freak winter storms, they’ll all be home together next week.

“They’re at the right weight, they’re at the right age, it’s just about learning to eat,” said Starlyn. “I just want to be able to touch them whenever I want.”

Filed under babies ,  Coronavirus ,  fertility ,  texas ,  TikTok ,  winter storm ,  2/23/21

News Source: New York Post

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Weeks After Winter Storms, Mississippi City Still Grappling With Water Crisis

JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI - Officials in Mississippi's largest city, Jackson, are aiming to have running water largely restored by the weekend, nearly three weeks after devastating winter weather left tens of thousands of residents without service.

The city was again distributing non-potable water Friday at four sites so people can flush their toilets, and residents must still boil any faucet water before using it for food preparation, drinking, washing dishes or brushing teeth.

Charles Williams, the city's public works director, said Thursday that workers should soon be able to sample enough water to lift the boil advisory.

"I see the light at the end of the tunnel," Williams said at a news conference, sounding more optimistic than he did Wednesday, when problems at the city's treatment plant caused pressure to drop across the entire system. At that time, he estimated that about a quarter of Jackson's 43,000 water connections — most of which serve multiple households — were not operating.

Ben Mitchell and Deon Sanders work at a public water distribution site after a recent bout of cold weather caused large numbers of water outages, in Jackson, Mississippi, March 4, 2021.

Officials did not have an updated estimate as of Friday, though city spokeswoman Michelle Atoa said the system was able maintain pressure overnight.

Tamiko Smith, 53, spent several anxiety-filled days scrambling to find clean water to perform the at-home dialysis treatments her husband, Otis, requires four days a week.

She tracked down some packaged water at a dialysis training center. Her husband's uncle, however, who comes to Jackson to receive his own dialysis at a clinic, went three days without treatment because the facility had no access to water.

"It was very stressful," said Smith, who compared the situation to living in a "third-world country."

The problems stem from the same cold snap that wreaked havoc in Texas last month, shutting down the state's power grid and leaving millions without heat in sub-freezing temperatures.

Jackson, the state capital with a population of more than 160,000 people, has seen more than 100 water main leaks since the storm and has been repairing them as quickly as possible, officials said.

The city's mayor, Chokwe Lumumba, sent a letter to Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves earlier this week requesting $47 million in emergency funding to repair and improve Jackson's water system.

Resident Jennifer Cattenhead, 39, and her three children finally had water service return Thursday after more than two weeks without it. "I was like, 'Oh Lord,'" she said with relief.

Jennifer Cattenhead shows a cooler with non-potable water she's had to use for flushing water in her home after a recent bout of cold weather caused large numbers of water outages, in Jackson, Mississippi, March 4, 2021.

Cattenhead had driven miles to find stores with jugs of water in stock, and she melted ice to use for flushing toilets. The first week after the storm, her house also had no power or heat, forcing her family to sleep in their cars for warmth.

The crisis has also shuttered businesses across the city.

Jeff Good, the co-owner of three restaurants, said his pizzeria, Sal & Mookie's New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint, would open Friday for the first time since February 17 after getting water restored Thursday.

Workers at his Broad Street Bakery & Cafe, meanwhile, were spending all day on Friday baking after the water returned ahead of reopening Saturday morning. 
 

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