When you have a baby early and they spend time in the NICU, the general rule is to expect them to be released by the time their original due date arrives. In our case, our due date—had we gone to a full 40 weeks like most "regular" single pregnancies—was August 11. But by now we all know that having quadruplets means things run on an abbreviated time scale, and any quad pregnancy that can get past 30 weeks is a real miracle. I have come to know many amazing fellow quad moms through Facebook and blogging, and I've read and heard about so many quad pregnancies. It's incredible how we each have our own unique experience while still sharing many similarities along the way. It should be no secret that multiple pregnancies are hard and higher order multiples are extremely challenging. Quad babies have been delivered as early as 23 and 24 weeks and as late as 34 and 35 weeks! It all depends on potential complications that arise during pregnancy (like a reverse blood flow in a babies' umbilical cord or preeclampsia for the mom, like in my case) and how one's body responds to the pressures and stress of holding four babies. In the past three days, three of my new quad mom friends have delivered their own quadruplets—ranging from 28w4d to 30w5d! I am so excited for all of them as we have become closely connected over the past few months.
But back to the exciting news: babies being discharged! Needless to say, the husband and I were well aware that our quads could be expected to stay in the NICU for at least two months. So we were completely floored when we walked into our pod there just over a week ago and found little miss Kailey sleeping in her car seat! She'd passed the car seat challenge, explained our favorite day nurse, and was ready to go home the very next day. We were elated! Finally, a baby at home! The next morning, we were anxiously getting things ready to go pick her up when the NICU called and told us that Harrison was also ready to go home! Wow! He would be discharged the next day (Sunday) and we had the option of either taking Kailey home and coming back for him on Sunday, or staying overnight at the NICU and having them both in our room with us then take them home together the following morning. We quickly chose to bring Kailey home first so we could get one night with one baby under our belts before catapulting ourselves into two. Then three. Then four. No biggie!
Needless to say, I was a nervous "new momma" as we loaded up our little girl and packed up her closet at the NICU. Was she in her car seat correctly? Is she still breathing? Is she comfortable? I watched her like a hawk the whole drive home as I sat in the backseat with her. Preemies barely fit in car seats as it is, so we had to use some rolled up receiving blankets to help anchor her noggin and keep her from looking like a bobble-head doll! She got lots of loving that night at home and was and still is a great baby. She sleeps very well, gobbles down her bottles and looks great in pink. (I am learning to accept the color, I have three girls now after all! I even wore a pink shirt, on purpose, the day we picked up Kailey in her honor!)
Kailey is also a mini-me. My mom says not only does she look just like I did as a baby, but she acts much the same, too! She's already earned the "little diva" title around our house. Here's me as a seven-week old baby on the left and Kailey at seven weeks on the right:
After my initial update on Facebook about his condition, a prayer chain thousands strong was lit like a wild fire. And just 12 days later, Harrison was moved from his isolette and into a crib with nothing more than his standard heart rate, oxygen and respiratory monitors. Not only are my husband and I constantly amazed that our quads were able to safely grow in my belly and then successfully delivered at 30 weeks gestation, but we are moved to tears every time we recall our little man's transformation and miraculous recovery. This entire pregnancy and quadruplet experience has certainly strengthened our faith exponentially and we feel so blessed to have been entrusted with raising quads.
|Harrison telling his sister, Trystan, he'll see her at home!|
Three babies threw us for a loop for the first few days. Thankfully, we were able to keep up a basic schedule of feeding every three hours, diaper changes and baths every other night. All that time we spent at the NICU learning how to care for our preemies—there are quite a few things that are different than caring for a full-term baby—and all the knowledge that the fantastic nurses imparted to us has been a lifesaver. It all has helped keep us sane and not worry that we weren't doing things right. After a couple days, the laundry was getting done (thanks mom-in-law!), bottles were washed and everyone was happily eating, pooping, sleeping and growing. Yes, that includes us weary adults, too!
Then we got a huge boost in confidence when we made our first public outing with all three babies to their follow-up eye appointment downtown. We successfully loaded 'em up in car seats, made the drive while they all slept, unloaded them into the strollers in record time and wheeled our way into the doctor's office early enough to change and feed them before our appointment! I was soooo proud of myself, I'd even packed a helluva diaper bag that had everything we needed. Then we took all three out again to their two-month pediatrician appointment yesterday and had another smooth experience, making me think perhaps this quad thing ain't so bad. That is until they received their second round of vaccination shots and we ended up with two screaming, crying girls for the better part of the afternoon when we got home—their poor little legs were so sore. Harrison, however, said he'd had worse and slept soundly in the pack and play while we did our best to console Kailey and Logan.
So what's going on at our house these days? Well, I recently changed out of spit up-stained pajama pants into clean pajama pants (and, uh, PJs count as dressing up in our house right now!). We live in a constant state of repetition: pee, poop, change diapers, feed, sleep, make bottles, wash bottles, rinse and repeat. We go through more outfit changes then a runway model, we've both momentarily fallen asleep while feeding a bottle to a baby that's falling asleep, we're constantly short on C batteries to power our arsenal of baby swings, we've created storage spaces out of spaces that didn't even exist in our house before and we've learned how to operate on three hours of sleep. I caught the husband humming "Hush Little Baby" while he was doing paper work recently, and he also picked up Harrison a couple days ago and said "Good girl, Harrison!" He may not always be able to keep these little look-alike quads straight as to who's who—let's be honest, they all strongly resemble each other—but he sure does love his babies! But the biggest thing I've learned in the past week? I never knew teeny little people could fart so much and with so little shame. An invaluable piece of knowledge, to be sure. :)
|Logan, Harrison and Kailey.|
Coming up on the blog this week: the fourth and final homecoming + a tasty 20-minute recipe + a day in the life of quadruplet babies + reflections on our time in the NICU + answers to frequently asked questions! Is there something you've been dying to know about our life with quads? Leave your query in the comments section and I'll answer it in my FAQ post!