POUGHKEEPSIE — They're not even a month old and already they were the stars of their own news conference.

POUGHKEEPSIE — They're not even a month old and already they were the stars of their own news conference.

Olivia, Chloe, Cody and Dustin Licata-Valone, quadruplets born to Marisel Licata and Theresa Valone of Sullivan County, said not a word on their own behalf at a unique news conference at Vassar Brothers Medical Center Monday afternoon. They let the grown-ups in the room do the talking, and the grown-ups had quite some stories to tell.

But first, Vassar CEO Dr. Daniel Aronzon had to shoo a gaggle of photographers away from the gathered babies.

"Back. Back. Back," he told them, acting the infection-conscious lion tamer dealing with recalcitrant charges.

Then he got down to business. The babies — whom Aronzon called "Munchkins" — were the first quadruplets born at the venerable institution. They were delivered by C-section, which, according to Marisel Licata's obstetrician, was the easiest part of the pregnancy, consuming all of five minutes.

The minutes leading up to their births, though, were fraught with anxiety and met with careful preparation. Multiple births are not only extremely rare (one in 800,000) but also extremely risky, Aronzon said.

Licata began weekly visits to the medical center's high-risk pregnancy program beginning in late November. Had they been born that early, the babies would have been critically sick, according to Dr. Kim Heller, director of maternal fetal medicine at the medical center.

Licata spent the final three weeks of her pregnancy in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit, the only one of its type in the region. More than 20 Vassar staff and physicians were on hand when the babies were born, one per minute, beginning at 10:28 p.m. Feb. 6. They'd had 33.5 weeks to prepare for their debut. They ranged in weight from 3.2 to 4.3 pounds and were out of NICU and back home in two weeks.

Aronzon called the births "a neonatal slam dunk."

Theresa Valone said that though the couple had known to expect quads for months, "you can't really plan."

The couple are not new to parenting — they already have a 2-year-old son, Casey. But going from one child to five has had its dizzying moments.

"We went shopping at Babies R Us on Black Friday," Valone recalled. "We got 10 boxes of diapers. When we got home, I started counting."

She figured she'd just bought about a week's worth of diapers.