Saskatoon

Last of quadruplets born on leap day to Sask. family joins her siblings at home

It's been a little over three months since Savannah Ratt gave birth prematurely to quadruplets on Feb. 29, leap year 2024. All are doing well and gaining weight, she says.

Despite the stress, extra work and lack of sleep, parents are overjoyed

Rare quadruplets born on leap day are released from Saskatoon hospital

12 days ago
Duration 2:55
The last of quadruplets born on leap year day to a couple from northern Saskatchewan has joined her three siblings and parents at a temporary home in Saskatoon. Savannah Ratt and Gilbert Merasty welcomed Aleah, Beautiful, Cecelia and Dominick on Feb. 29, 2024.

A family from northern Saskatchewan marked the leap year in rare fashion, bringing quadruplets into the world well ahead of their due date.

And on Monday, parents Savannah Ratt and Gilbert Merasty welcomed Cecelia, the last to leave Jim Pattison Children's Hospital in Saskatoon, where she and siblings Aleah, Beautiful and Dominick were born on Feb. 29.

They were due at the end of May.

CBC's Scott Larson meets up with Savannah Ratt and Gilbert Merasty and three of their quadruplets.

According to a Statistics Canada post from 2020 — the previous leap year — close to 25,000 Canadians have been born on Feb. 29 as of July 2019. That amounts to 0.066 per cent of the country's 37.6 million population at the time. 

According to the Associated Press, about five million people worldwide share the leap birthday out of about eight billion people on the planet. Not surprisingly, it's less likely to be born on Feb. 29 than any other date simply because of how seldom it comes around.

Quadruplet babies Aleah, Beautiful, Celia and Dominic were born Feb. 29 at Jimmy Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon.
Aleah, Beautiful, Cecelia and Dominic were born Feb. 29 at Jimmy Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon. Cecelia, who joined her siblings on Monday, was the last to leave hospital. (Gilbert Merasty)

Despite their premature arrival, the parents say all four babies are doing well and gaining weight.

The couple is trying to develop a daily routine.

"Diapers and bottles, man. Diapers and bottles," Merasty said.

"Oh my god, I don't know," Ratt said. "Burping them is getting pretty hard, too. But I'm starting to master it... It's hard because I'm so exhausted I can barely sleep but I still manage to keep going."

Baby with soother and cap that says "Beautiful."
Beautiful is one of the quadruplets born to Savannah Ratt and Gilbert Merasty. Her father said she is "mellow." (Travis Reddaway/CBC)
Baby resting on a chest
Aleah is the "bossy" baby among the quadruplets, according to her dad. (Travis Reddaway/CBC)
Boy sleeping in car seat with cap that says "Dominick."
Dominick is the only boy among the quadruplets born to Savannah Ratt and Gilbert Merasty. (Travis Reddaway/CBC)
Baby in hospital staring up at camera.
Cecilia was the last of the quadruplets to leave the hospital. (Submitted by Gilbert Merasty)

Merasty, who works at a northern uranium mine, says his shifts take him away from home for four weeks at a time. He says it's been hard to keep focus at his job drilling up north.

"I know they're in good hands with [Ratt] — like she has super mom power. I'm just happy our daughter is here to help her with that," he said. "It's really stressful."

Ratt says it took some time for them to get into the rhythm of caring for four babies at the same time. Ratt's 15-year-old daughter has taken time off of school to help out.

The couple already had five children between them, and the quadruplets made nine. The parents said each of the infants has a unique personality.

"They're all very grunty, like bossy," Ratt said.

Merasty pointed out each one: "She's a boss, he's more of a crybaby, she's really mellow, yeah, she's the calm one."

The La Ronge couple has been staying near the hospital at Saskatoon's Ronald McDonald House. 

But at three months premature, the babies will have lots of follow-up medical appointments, so the couple has decided to get their own place in Saskatoon instead of returning to La Ronge.

The quadruplets will join their five siblings [clockwise from top right] Kyla, Gilbert, Kaitlyn, Surriah and Kerrian.
The quadruplets will join their five siblings, clockwise from top right: Kyla, Gilbert, Kaitlyn, Surriah and Kerrian. (Gilbert Merasty)

The parents both say it's still sinking in that their family has grown to 11 from seven. Despite all the stress, extra work and lack of sleep, they say they can't get enough of their four infants.

"It's a heartwarming feeling, knowing I have all these babies that I can just turn over and hug that one, turn the other way, hug that one, then the other, then the other," Ratt said.
A woman in a white dress.
Despite all the extra work and lack of sleep, Savannah Ratt says it's heartwarming to care for the new arrivals. (Travis Reddaway/CBC)

With files from Scott Larson