A mum who gave birth to quadruplets three weeks ago has finally got to hold her babies for the first time.
Ashley Gardner and husband Tyson became parents to four daughters after a lengthy fertility struggle.
The mum had to wait to hold her tiny 2lb girls because they were receiving round-the-clock treatment in a neonatal ward after being born 12 weeks premature on December 29.
But now, after an agonising three-week wait, Ashley got to cuddle her quads – and the heartwarming moment was captured on video by their dad Tyson.
With Ashley sat on a sofa, a team of three nurses helped carry each child - and their mobile milk tubes - to rest in her arms.
With tears in her eyes, Ashley looked down at the two sets of identical twins - Indie and Esme, and Scarlett and Evangeline - and gasped: "I can't believe I have four kids!"
She later wrote on Facebook: "If our hearts could explode from love they would have already.
"Every day I don't think it's possible to love them any more than I already do and then the next day I find that I do!!!"
She added: "God has a plan for us, and he's trusted us with four babies."
The Gardners, from Pleasant Grove, Utah, spent eight years trying to have kids and finally achieved their dream with IVF.
The couple have been sharing messages on a Facebook page and have also documented Ashley's pregnancy on YouTube.
Photos of the couple looking shocked after receiving the news about their multiple babies gained wide attention online, and their Facebook page has more than 350,000 likes.
Tyson said: "People identify with our story. There are hundreds, thousands of people that struggle with infertility. Our story's a story of hope.
"It was scary at first, and then, you know, the second you see the babies' faces and hear them cry, it just is, it's all worth it."
Doctors made the decision to deliver the babies by Caesarean section after Ashley started experiencing contractions early. Their survival was called a 'miracle' after emergency surgery was needed to stop contractions when Ashley was around 20 weeks pregnant.
The couple flew to a specialist centre at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, where Ashley was admitted for surgery in late October.
Doctors managed to stave off the earlier delivery after an operation, which allowed the unborn babies vital extra weeks to improve their chances of survival.
Surgeons also managed to cure two of the girls of their twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), which could have resulted in developmental problems.
The couple now say the babies are doing 'great' and receiving 'fabulous care'.
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