1983: Gaither quints make history as Indiana’s first set of surviving quintuplets

Gaither Quints
Posted at 5:14 AM, Aug 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-30 17:34:38-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Just 4 hours after his second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth children were born, Sidney Gaither spoke in front of Indianapolis television cameras on Aug. 3, 1983.

Sidney Gaither addresses media
Sidney Gaither addresses the Indianapolis media on August 3, 1983.

The 33-year-old was the proud father of Indiana’s first set of quintuplets. The Gaither quints, Ashlee, Joshua, Renee, Rhealyn and Brandon, were born at 7 a.m. at Indiana University Hospital.

Gaither quints at birth
The Gaither quints are pictured alongside five teddy bears.

“It went so quick,” Gaither said. “I thought it was going to take longer. I think in about 60 seconds there were five babies born.”

Their mother, 21-year-old Suzanne Gaither, delivered the three girls and two boys via Cesarean section, a feat that left their father relieved.

“Relief knowing she did as well as she did. She surpassed all the expectations of the doctors and the people in the hospital, certainly mine.”

1983: Gaither family welcomes Indiana's first set of surviving quintuplets

While it was Mr. Gaither who was in blinding lights of local television cameras, he said the day belonged to their mother.

“It’s her day in glory, not mine. She was the one that delivered and went through the pain, the agony, of carrying five babies for 35 weeks or so."

Sidney said Suzanne complained very little during her pregnancy.

“She did more than anyone could’ve asked for, so I love her for that.”

Sidney also recalled the moment he and Suzanne found out they were going to be parents of multiples.

“The first lady looked and then she called in for a second lady to look because she wanted to be sure. After they looked a little bit, they said, ‘Well I see A, B, C, and D, and I’m not sure about E.'”

It was an especially unique pregnancy because fertility drugs were not used.

“Most of the recent deliveries of quints have been from the use of fertility drugs,” Dr. Frank Johnson said. “The incidence of spontaneous, non-induced [pregnancies] is about 1 in 30 to 50 million.”

Four of the five Gaither quints were released from the hospital on Sept. 12, 1983. Ashlee Gaither, the firstborn, required additional medical treatment and was released at a later date.

Four of the five Gaither quints are released from the hospital.

WRTV cameras periodically checked in with the Gaither quints as they grew up.

Reporter Linda Lupear covered their first birthday, which featured a five-tiered cake.

1984: Gaither quints celebrate their first birthday

The quints cut cake in front of cameras once again when they turned 25 in 2008. WRTV’s Julie Pursley traveled to Riley Hospital for Children for the celebration. Riley doctors told WRTV that the Gaither quints are the only naturally conceived surviving Black quintuplets in the world.

2008: Gaither quints celebrate 25th birthday