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In 1963, Mary Ann Darling became one of the most publicized mothers in the world when she gave birth to the first set of quintuplets in the United States known to have lived past infancy.
She and her husband, a grocery store clerk named Andrew Fischer, already had five children when an X-ray revealed they were expecting quints. The news left the couple in a state of complete shock and awe. After all, quintuplets only occurred about once in 54 million birth at the time — and this was way before modern-day fertility treatments.
On September 14, 1963, just days after the life-changing X-ray, Mary Ann gave birth to four girls and one boy.
Journalists swarmed the hospital the very second Mary Ann, Mary Catherine, Mary Margaret, Mary Magdalene and James Andrew were born. These days, it seems like families with multiples clamor to be in the public eye — but the Fischers grew jaded and overwhelmed by the media attention.
Scroll down to meet the Fishers, a family who broke new ground long before the reality TV families of today…
In 1963, a North Dakota couple learned they were expecting another baby. Actually, make that babies. Mary Ann and Andrew Fischer already had five children, but they were about to get the biggest shock of their lives.
Mary Ann noticed her belly was unusually large… and that’s because she was pregnant with quintuplets!
On September 14, 1963, Mary Ann gave birth to the first set of quintuplets in the United States known to have lived past infancy.
After the quints were born, The Saturday Evening Post published a 10-page article which included text written by Mrs. Fischer herself.
“They came into the world as tiny, premature babies, so small that any one of them could be held in a hand.” she wrote. “The odds were very much against their survival, and we know that around the world thousands of good-hearted people prayed for them.”
The Saturday Evening Post
Gifts flooded in for the quints, from diapers and baby clothes to babysitting offers and even savings accounts. The family was regularly featured in magazinesand won praise from the White House to the Vatican.
The Fischers later welcomed another daughter, for a total of 11 children.
One month after the quints were born, Mary Ann and Andrew led a two-hour parade through the town of Aberdeen. Nearly 50,000 people were in attendance.
However, the public eye wasn’t fit for the Fischer family. Mary Ann and Andrew wanted their children to have a normal upbringing, and they didn’t want their quints to be treated any differently from the rest of their children.
After 1967, the Fischers were barely seen in the media.