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15 / 06 / 2009 - N. Ireland sextuplet parents tell how they ignored doctors who said to abort some of the babies
A Catholic couple who had sextuplets last month have revealed how they were told by doctors to abort some of the babies.
Nuala Conway, who gave birth to the first sextuplets in the UK for more than 25 years, was warned about the high risks of carrying so many children.
The first-time mother and her husband Austin were told at 14 weeks that they could terminate some of them to reduce the risk during the pregnancy.
But the former fashion store worker insisted she was putting her faith in God and wanted to go ahead.
'They more or less advised us to [abort]. They told us about the risks we faced if we went ahead with the pregnancy,' Mrs Conway told the Sunday Express.
She added: 'Doctors gave us a couple of days to think about it but we knew without discussion what we both wanted. Whatever God laid out for our lives we were taking it.'
The babies - four girls and two boys called Austin, Eoghan, Kerrie, Ursula, Shannon and Karla - were delivered by Caesarean section in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital.
They were born within five minutes of each other and weighted between 1lb7oz and 2lb2oz and have been in intensive care for the past three weeks.
The children were conceived naturally after the Conways had been trying for a family for two years. Only their immediate family knew six babies were on the way.
Of the moment she was told she was expecting six children, Mrs Conway said: 'It just didn't sink in at first. We were so shocked.
She added: 'I prayed as much as I could for a child. I would have been happy with one, but God blessed us with six, which is amazing.
'I can't wait to have them home. I just feel lost without them. We have a house here but if feels so empty. It's not a home until all our babies are here safe and sound.'
Doctors initially gave the tiny babies a 50 per cent chance of survival but they have all made good progress.
They remain vulnerable to infection but it is hoped they will be strong enough to go home in two months, about the time they should have been born.
Their mother was allowed to go home last week but is finding it hard being separated from her brood.
'Every day seems like a year. Every minute seems like an hour. I just want time to go faster so they can get home. I just want to have a cuddle with them,' she said.
Mr Conway added: 'They are thriving really well but it is 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.'
The children are the first sextuplets born in the UK since the Waltons, all girls, who were born in Liverpool in 1983.
The birth of sextuplets is rare, occurring in about one out of 4.5 million pregnancies.
Source: Daily Mail