Weeks 20-24—the border of viability: Most babies born during this time zone do not survive. Those who do must remain hospitalized for many months. Their chances of experiencing permanent adverse health effects are high.
Weeks 25-28—very early preterm: The odds of survival are better, but babies born during this period must still spend weeks or months in the NICU. They are at risk for long-term medical consequences.
Weeks 29-32—early preterm: Many triplets and quadruplets are born during this time zone. Although the babies typically remain in the hospital for several weeks, or more, the outlook is generally good.
Weeks 33-35—preterm for multiples: Twins are often born during this time period. If they are well grown, they generally spend a week or two in the hospital and are unlikely to experience any long-term serious effects of their early birth.
The percentage of survival for the quads drastically increases between 24 and 25 weeks and again at 26 weeks. It continues to rise after that, but most assuredly our next HUGE goal will be 26 weeks. In the meantime, every day we get past 24 is a blessing. I continue to pray that our little babies are strong, healthy fighters! They at least seem to have the fighting part down with each other in my stomach. ;)
These days my photos include no makeup, hospital bracelets, an IV and a curtain for my backdrop. Not quite like the pictures I prefer to take, but I refuse to give up on my weekly snapshots! The stomach is getting pretty huge, especially for my 5' 3" stature. I'm measuring 40+ weeks pregnant for someone my size and have gained approximately 32 pounds to date. I can tell the quads are growing, because I'm eating normal-sized meals for the first time my entire pregnancy and managing a few snacks in between. That's never happened! Normally there isn't enough room for me to store much food but they are blazing through the calories, I think.
(I feel like my face is getting a little more round and my eyes are pretty relaxed from the magnesium sulfate IV I'm on, but I'm sharing the pics anyway!) The husband continues to amaze me with his endless efforts to be sure I'm comfortable in my hospital room. He visits me every day after week and extensively on the weekends. Today, he'll be bringing up steaks from Texas Roadhouse for our early dinner to celebrate 24 weeks and he'll be taking me on a short wheelchair ride later! I haven't been out of my room in days and I've not been on a "joy ride" yet, due to either medications, contractions or feeling bad. But I think I'm up to a short outing today, I need to see something other than these four walls!
My mom has also been an enormous help during her frequent visits. Not only does she keep me company at the hospital during the day when she's here, she rubs my feet, arms and legs (which are all sore from inactivity and the magnesium IV), makes me tea, helps me to and from the restroom and more. And then she feeds and tends to the pets at our house when she's staying in town, which is a huge advantage for the husband so he can get to work on time. What an incredible mom! I've learned from the best. :)
Recently, some close friends of ours came up to visit and brought fajitas with them for our dinner. The husband and I love their two kids dearly and I was thrilled to see them after many weeks. Thank you guys for stopping by!
Things are continuing to go well at 24 weeks—because the babies have now reached their first point of viability, their heart rates will be monitored more extensively each day. I'm also looking forward to the anatomy scan I get this next week that will reveal how much they all weigh now! The husband and I hope they are all at least 1.5 pounds, but it's hard to say. I have no idea how I've got the room for four babies on any given day.
Thanks to you all for your amazingly supportive comments, emails and messages. I read each of them to the husband and they have truly brightened our days! Time to keep on truckin'...