By MARY BENDER
LOMA LINDA - They were supposed to arrive in October, in the thick of Major League Baseball's playoffs -- 100 years after the Chicago Cubs were last crowned World Series champs.
But the odds of quadruplets going full term are roughly equivalent to ... well, the Windy City's heartbreak team winning the Fall Classic.
So on Tuesday, a contingent of doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists the size of a ballclub roster delivered Amber and Michael DeMaria's four tiny babies at Loma Linda University Children's Hospital. The couple, Cub fans and first-time parents who live in Crestline, fielded questions Thursday about their daughter and three sons, born at 28 weeks and 3 days of gestation.
Michael De Maria kisses his wife Amber after placing a Chicago Cubs T-shirt on the incubator of their son Michael Huston DeMaria while visiting their quadruplets Thursday at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital.
A full-term pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, which would have made Amber's due date Oct. 18.
The DeMaria quadruplets were conceived through in vitro fertilization, during which the couple's physician implanted two fertilized eggs. Not only did both result in a pregnancy, but one embryo split three ways to create identical triplet boys.
"They fertilized two and told us we might have one (baby)," said Amber, 30, who teaches biology, anatomy and physiology at San Gorgonio High School in San Bernardino.
"Most women go through in vitro several times, but that was our first try," she said.
The well-choreographed medical team delivered the babies by cesarean section, starting with Anthony at 11:11 a.m., followed quickly by Michael, then sister Jaileigh, and finally the smallest quad, Jakob, who weighed in at 1 pound, 15 ounces.
As if becoming the parents of quadruplets isn't earth-shaking enough, a half-hour later -- the earth shook.
A 5.4-magnitude quake, centered in Chino Hills, jolted a vast swath of Southern California at 11:42 a.m. Tuesday. Doctors were tending to Amber when the rocking began.
"She was getting stitched up," said Michael, 37. Their first concern was for the newborns' safety. The babies came through the temblor unscathed.
But the quake rattled their relatives in the waiting room: Michael's older brother, visiting from Las Vegas, and Amber's parents and younger sister, in from Utah. "They were a little shocked," said Michael, an Illinois native.
His love of the Cubs' storied ballpark explains the little girl's middle name: Addison. "Wrigley Field is on the corner of Clark and Addison (Street)," said Michael, wearing one pink and three blue hospital bracelets on his wrist.
The baseball connections don't end there.
Two-pound, 11-ounce Michael, the heaviest quad, was given the middle name Huston after Oakland Athletics pitcher Huston Street -- not because he's a favorite ballplayer, but because Amber likes his name, her husband explained.
Jakob's middle name, Thomas, is a nod to Amber's father, while firstborn Anthony Joseph's name is the reverse of Michael's father and brother, Joseph Anthony Sr. and Joseph Anthony Jr.
They combined Amber's middle name -- Jai -- with that of her 17-year-old sister, Rori Leigh, to christen their lone female quad, Michael said.
Amber worked until June 11, the end of the school year, and heard plenty of prospective baby names from her San Gorgonio students. The next day, her doctor ordered her to go on bed rest.
"The day I was admitted (to the hospital) was my baby shower," Amber said. "I came in for my appointment and I was dilating and contracting."
She wasn't allowed to walk for six weeks.
On Tuesday, Amber DeMaria gave birth to quadruplets — three boys and one girl.
It was rough. It was boring," she said. "It was hard to stay in bed that long." Amber passed the time scrolling the Internet and watching her favorite cable stations.
Amber will be released from the hospital Saturday, but the babies will remain in the neonatal intensive care unit for eight to 10 more weeks, said Dr. Lily Martorell-Bendezu, the quadruplets' attending physician.
Doctors prefer to keep premature babies in the hospital until they grow to 5 pounds and can breathe without the help of ventilators, said Martorell-Bendezu, a Loma Linda neonatologist.
Michael must return to his job as a pharmaceutical representative Tuesday. He said he'll take parental leave from work once the babies are discharged from the hospital.
"I'm taking a year's leave of absence," Amber said. "We're hoping our insurance pays for cooking and cleaning," she joked.
Reach Mary Bender at 909-806-3056 or mbender@PE.com