Durban - It's hard to say who was more surprised on Sunday, a pregnant KwaZulu-Natal woman or the medical team assisting her when she gave birth to not one, but four babies.
Nobuhle Qwabe's birth to three girls and one boy - weighing between 1kg and 1.3kg - has been hailed a miraculous delivery by the provincial health department. She gave birth at the Benedictine Hospital in rural Nongoma.
Qwabe, 27, told the department on Monday she did not know she was carrying four babies because she did not attend antenatal classes.
"I honestly didn't know... I was surprised when the nurses told me I was carrying more than one child. I was really not expecting it.
"When the doctors arrived and the babies kept coming, I didn't know what to say. I was shocked but I'm excited now," she said.
Qwabe said while she was happy for her bundles of joy, she was concerned about caring for them.
The woman, who is unemployed, lives with her grandmother and two sisters. She also has a 9-year-old daughter she is caring for.
"I don't know how I’m going to care for the babies because I only have two hands. I will also need help with baby formula and clothing."
Photo supplied by the KZN Health Department
Triplets more common than quadruplets
Dr Sibusiso Sithole and Dr Kenneth Mbele travelled 50km from Nkonjeni Hospital to help with the delivery.
Sithole said he was called at around 19:00 when nurses realised that the mother was carrying more than one child.
"When we arrived in the ward we examined the mother and discovered she may have been carrying more than one baby in her. We helped her deliver the second baby and we were surprised to learn that there was a third [and a fourth] baby still coming…"
Sithole explained that triplets were a lot more common that quadruplets.
"We could have assumed that she had had triplets, but we checked and discovered a fourth baby. We were truly, truly surprised.
"I've delivered many sets of twins before, but I've never done triplets - let alone quadruplets. This has been a real miracle," said Sithole.
KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo congratulated the team who delivered the babies.
"A surprise of quadruplets in a district hospital and so well-managed is a miracle. We wish both the mother and babies good life," he said.