Recalling the World’s First Known Surviving Set of All-Girl Sextuplets

May 15, 2019 Updated: July 5, 2019

A U.K. couple who gave birth to the world’s fourth known surviving set of sextuplets were also the world’s first all-female sextuplets.

Hannah, Luci, Ruth, Sarah, Kate, and Jennifer were delivered on Nov. 18, 1983. All of them were about 2 pounds at birth except for Jennifer, who was 3 pounds, 8 ounces.

Janet Walton, their mother, recalled what a sonographer told her during her ultrasound. “She said, well, it looks as though you might be carrying more than one. So I thought, hurrah! It’s twins,” she told The Guardian.

For the past five years, Walton and husband Graham were trying to have a child. They had taken fertility drugs, which didn’t work properly. On their final attempt, they thought, they were having twins.

However, doctors and nurses came into her hospital room and whispering began, the paper reported.

“Eventually I asked what was happening,” noted Walton in the article.

“That’s when the doctor dropped a bombshell. He said, it’s definitely a multiple pregnancy. You’re having six babies.”

Amid the chaos and confusion, she remained calm.

“I knew, somewhere very deep inside myself, that these babies were going to be fine. I simply didn’t consider an alternative. I decided I was going to be the best patient the hospital had ever had and do whatever it took to keep these babies safe,” Walton told the Guardian.

The next day, she didn’t go to work but instead was sent to the hospital and stayed there for the rest of her pregnancy.

“They put me on a gynaecological ward because I didn’t fit in anywhere else,” she recalled. “But I didn’t really fit in there either: we’d just come back from holiday and I was tanned and healthy, and there I was in a room with mostly older women having hysterectomies. I’d hear people whispering: ‘There’s the lady who’s having six babies.’”

Walton made it to 31 weeks before she had a C-section, delivering all the babies.

“The hospital staff were all really excited but I’m sure there were plenty of people around me who didn’t think I had much chance of taking six babies home,” she recalled.

Graham, her husband, had to take off work for a year. “We worked out that we used 11,000 nappies a year,” he told the Daily Mail, referring to the British term for diapers.

The Daily Mail reported that Sarah has given birth to her own daughter. “It’s a miracle, isn’t it? I took the first photo of Jorgie half an hour after she was born,” her father said.

“She was perfect, so tiny. She weighed 7lb 6½ oz at birth. Sarah was only 2lb 5oz at birth, so her little girl was three times as big as her mum. Yet I couldn’t believe how delicate and small she looked,” Graham said. “I felt a tremendous surge of protective love. It flooded into me the moment I saw the pictures from her first scan.”