A mother of sextuplets has told how she and her husband rejected doctors’ advice that several of the babies should be terminated.
All six children were born 14 weeks early by caesarean, and are now in intensive care where they are stable.
Their parents, Austin and Nuala Conway, had been given the option of aborting some of the six babies earlier on in the pregnancy.
Mrs Conway said: “They more or less advised us to. They told us about the risks we faced if we went ahead with the pregnancy.”
She added: “Doctors gave us a couple of days to think about it, but we knew without discussion what we both wanted.”
Ursula, Austin, Shannon, Karla, Eoghan and Kerrie Conway, who were conceived without IVF treatment, weighed between 1lb 7oz and 2lb 2oz when they were born at Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital in Belfast.
A team of 38 people helped to deliver them.
“I just feel lost without them. We have a house here but it feels so empty. It’s not a home until all our babies are here safe and well,” Mrs Conway said.
“I’m in love with every single one of them. I fell in love when they were in the womb. When one moved they would all move and I could definitely feel 24 limbs kicking.”
Mr Conway said: “It has been like a rollercoaster. The babies have been on and off antibiotics and ventilators.
“They are thriving really well but it’s hard to get a good day. There are so many of them there are always days when one or two will not be doing so well.”
Mrs Conway, a Roman Catholic, said she had been praying to become pregnant after the couple had faced problems conceiving.
“These babies are a wonderful gift from God,” she said.
“Whatever God laid out for our lives we were taking it.”
Dr Clifford Maynes, a neonatal consultant at the Belfast hospital, said the birth had taken “a massive amount of planning”.
“The biggest worry we had was if labour started in the middle of the night when we would not have been so prepared,” he said.
“The babies have all had normal head scans which is reassuring and have all made some progress, but it is still very early days.
“The big objective now is to get them off drips and antibiotics and gaining weight.”