FAQs Round 2!

With every passing day, I begin to feel that our life centered around four babies is totally normal. Like not weird or unusual at all. Until I count how many diapers we went through in the past 24 hours, the number of bottles I just prepared or the fact that I have, um, quadruplets in my living room.

Okay, so it's not your every day. But it's definitely ours! So I completely understand the curiosity and intrigue that it sparks and thus I happily commence with answering your latest inquires below. (For more insider info, read my first FAQ post here.)

*Why the names you chose? If you had to choose different names for each of the kiddos, what would they be?
We chose names that we felt were strong. We knew these kids were going to have to defy all the odds during the entire pregnancy and the first several months of their lives. So I wanted names that were solid and would reflect these babies' determination to survive. I also wanted the names to sound respectable for when they grew into adults, so we tried to avoid names that sounded adorable for a baby, but rather focus on names that sounded good if you were meeting a 20- or 30-something person for the first time.

However, Logan's name was chosen long before we ever even got pregnant. Years and years ago, actually. For some reason, the husband and I both agreed that we loved the name Logan and thought it would be wonderful for if we ever had a daughter. It was a strong name, especially when used for a girl, and sounded like she would be a person that didn't listen to the rules, always got into trouble and lived according to her own agenda! And we loved how it paired with the middle name, Lee. We knew Logan Lee would be an incredible girl—and we were totally right! We named Logan specifically, because she was the tiniest of the quads when I was pregnant and being a pain. Literally. She was often stuck up in my upper right rib cage, making it difficult for me to breathe or to lay on my side. She was the smallest of the bunch when born, weighing just 2lbs 6oz, and she was the first to come off oxygen support (in less than 24 hours) and the first to be held. She does everything her way!

Harrison was a manly name I adored. My husband also thought it sounded good and strong. And Trystan was a name we'd discussed briefly before and we knew it'd be perfect for one of the girls as well. We chose to spell it with a "y" to make it more feminine. And Kailey was the girliest of the girl names, if you will, but my husband loved that one and so we appointed it to Baby B—who turned out to be very fitting with long eyelashes, pretty dark hair and a smile that shines every time you say her name. :)

We literally chose each name as we went, so we had no other optional names on our list! I feel these names truly embody the personalities and characteristics of our children. It's amazing that we named them all before they were born (based on their position in the womb, Baby A, Baby B and so on...) and they turned out to be perfect. They all share the middle name Lee, which appears on both sides of our family and was also a name we loved. It paired well with everyone's names and so we decided it would be a cool yet subtle connection for them to have as quadruplets.

Me and my little man. :)

*Do you still chart everything?
Yes, we do. We still chart our daily feedings—time of feed, amount consumed and any spit-ups or feeding aversions, etc.—as well as medications given, what food was spoon fed that day, if prune juice was added to any bottles, what each of their diapers are (wet or dirty) and any other notes of interest, like milestones met (first laugh, sitting up, etc.). It's so helpful in determining when it's time to increase the amount of milk in someone's bottle, since we can flip through the last few pages and see if they've been finishing most of it or if they've been eating less than normal. We include weights, which we take every time we bath the quads (bath days are Monday, Wednesday and Friday), and this helps track their growth and any areas of concern. It's also good for knowing when someone might be constipated, since it's hard to remember the contents of 20+ diapers in a day!

Our Quad Binder contains daily charts, keeping track of info like amount consumed each feeding, meds administered, diapers, weigh ins and more.

*With all the formula, bottles, baby food, etc., have you had to do any major rearranging in the kitchen cabinets/fridge? And also with all the clothing, diapers, bedding and such? How much more storage have you added in the nursery?
Storage is probably one of our biggest issues with the house we're in now. It's a small house and it has no "extras" like a dining room or game room or oversized closets. Our next house will most certainly be bought with these things in mind (as well as a strict budget!), but for now I've done lots of rearranging. I purchased a baker's rack that I added to the kitchen to store bottle parts, bottle brushes, burp cloths, bibs, rice cereal, medications and some of the store-bought baby food. This has been great because it meant I didn't have to sacrifice any of my kitchen cabinet space. Quarts of ready-made formula have found a home on the floor next to it. We have several hampers scattered around the living room that hold blankets and toys, a couple fabric bins that store tummy time equipment (those bins live right outside our bedroom door) and a baby laundry hamper that I used to store all the girl's footed sleepers and PJs in the nursery, since we have to have so many. I also have a closet organizer in the nursery closet. It hangs down from the clothing rack and holds boppy covers, pack-and-play sheets, crib sheets and extra stuff like socks and headbands for the girls. Underneath the changing table are bins of hats and socks and the baby scale. I manage to squeeze all the quads' clothes in a single set of dresser drawers in their nursery. They get sorted every time the babies transition to the next size up. We've had to create storage areas out of spaces that didn't formally "exist" and I've gleaned and cleaned many drawers and random storage areas around the house! I'm constantly re-situating things and re-organizing stuff as our needs and focus change as the babies grow, and I'm glad getting rid of stuff we don't use is not an issue for me!

A baker's rack in the kitchen provides much needed extra storage.

*Have you thought when you will have to add 2 more cribs?
Yes, all the time! But it definitely won't be until we move to a slightly larger home. If we had to add two more cribs right now, we'd literally have to put them in the living room or our room. And there's hardly any space in those areas right now as it is! Right now, the quads sleep great with two babies to a crib. They all like to stay close to each other and always migrate to each other during the night. It's cool to see how comforting it is for them to sleep next to one another. But we know they also sleep well alone as some nights their crib mate has to sleep in a rocker due to reflux or spit-up. Once we move and the quads start taking up more crib space, hopefully sometime after nine months, we'll invest in two more cribs. We have chosen the convertible kind, so we'll able to transition to toddler beds, then daybeds then a full size bed-frame without buying four sets of new furniture every time.

The babies' room.

*Do you constantly have to move the baby swings and other equipment or do you leave it all up in your living area?
No, we leave everything up. We use our baby swings, bouncers and pack-and-plays throughout the entire day every day. We found it worked best to find sort of permanent spaces for everything in our living room—even if that means cramming two full-sized swings in front of the fire place. Hello close quarters.


Our living room on an "average" day!
*How are the furbabies doing, especially your elder kitty? How do you handle them being around the babies?
The pets are doing well, though they have taken on a toll on us to keep up with. We have two cats and three dogs. The cats are very old, my gray-and-black tabby is 20 and my white Persian mix is 15. The tabby meows loudly at random during the day and night, she has hyperthyroidism and this can cause them to be a bit more vocal sometimes. She's also very hard of hearing and I don't think she realizes how loud she really is! I give her a thyroid pill mushed up in a spoonful of tuna juice every morning and evening.

The Persian kitty is diabetic and gets a shot of insulin every morning and evening as well. She does very good with it. The real issue, though, was when she stopped using the litter box very much. I take every precaution to keep my house as clean as I feasibly can due to having premature babies in the house. My husband took over the litter box duties before I was even pregnant and he still does them now. But the white cat had started peeing and pooping in our room, on her bed, in front of the cat box, etc. It was driving me crazy. And it'd gone on for a few months to the point that I was considering the option I truly didn't want to. But I couldn't handle having to clean up those messes several times a day, especially when my free 10 minutes was meant for a shower not scrubbing the floor! After hundreds of dollars (that we didn't have to spare) spent on special cat boxes, cat attractant litter and such, I spent $5 on a storage tub at Wal-Mart and it's worked like a charm. It keeps her butt from hanging over the edge where she used to pee. And buying her a $10 bed for the living room made her feel like she had a place of her own after feeling displaced with the addition of the quads. Whew!

Our dogs do great. They are all outside dogs and have been ever since we got them years ago. The older one, Shiner, is nearly six. He's a white lab and a trained hunting dog and the husband's dad has been gracious enough to take him on several hunting trips this season since my husband is a little occupied lately! The other two dogs, Jersey and Reese, are younger and are great playmates. They all three love the babies and every time they're inside for any reason they have to make "the rounds" and lick all the quads' in the face and sniff around the swings and baby equipment.

*As I am now constantly chasing my little crawler around the house and she is getting into EVERYTHING in sight, I'm thinking it won't be long before your four little superstars are mobile! What is your plan and what advice have you received from other quad moms for handling that stage? Will you set up a Romper Room of some sort?
As I mentioned above, space is a big issue for us in this house. We definitely don't have the area for a special room to contain the quads' toys and gear, but we hope to have a playroom of sorts in the future. For now, our plan is to get a very large play pen—much like a kid corral!—to set up in our living room with mats on the floor for playtime. This will come into, well, play as soon as they start crawling. It won't be where they stay the entire time, but it will help when we need to contain the quads to get a few things done or for the sake of my sanity! We've also discussed cordoning off part of our kitchen with gates and putting down the puzzle-piece rubber mats as a play area. From what I've heard from other quad moms, having a sectioned-off area of the home—where the babies are contained but still have room to crawl/run around—is the best solution.

*How can I tell them apart when looking at the photos? Do they look more like your husband?
Kailey looks just like my husband. And just like me. It's so weird for us to see so much of us both in her! She has the darkest hair and the prettiest eyes. Harrison looks very distinctive to me because he's the boy, but he also has cute little hair that looks like it's been combed down and he's the largest of the quads. Trystan has the most adorable chipmunk chunks and Logan has the most baby chub going on. I mean, you should see the three leg rolls she has on each thigh. Soooo cute!


*I know it's super nosy and you don't have to answer, but how do you guys make it financially?
It's a very valid question, having babies is expensive business! We've been blessed with very supportive family and friends, who all constantly ask how they can help. Over the course of a few baby showers early on (before I went on bedrest just after the first trimester), we were completely blown away and humbled at the generosity of said family and friends. From strollers, car seats, clothes, bottles, bumbo seats and diapers to gift cards, we received more than we could have every hoped for. It was amazing. We've stretched every penny of those gift cards as far as we could and they've helped immensely with the hundreds of dollars we spend on formula each week and diapers each month. There's plenty of stuff we have to purchase on our own every month, but the gift cards have definitely helped lighten the load a bit and we've just now used up the last of them.

I wrote in to several companies for coupons, especially companies that had established multiples programs, and was glad I actually received some. We also clip coupons and keep a close eye on sales. Our buying is very strategic, depending on what's on sale, what we're running low on and things that are hard to find. Sometimes there's no helping it—we need diapers and need 'em now, but we try to buy smart as much as possible.

Having quadruplets certainly impacts your lifestyle and so we rarely get out for dinner and outings any more. Thus our bar tab from nights on the town no longer exists, we make it to the movies and/or dinner once (twice if we're lucky!) a month and we haven't been breaking the bank to buy new clothes for us or things for the home. Instead, those funds have been used up by baby needs and supplies. It doesn't necessarily break even, but we do the best we can. I also still work part-time from home (I'm an editor and writer for magazines, newspapers, etc.), which helps a bit.

*How often do you purchase your diapers/wipes?
I signed up for a delivery of wipes every other month from Amazon and we buy wipes about once or twice a month from Babies R Us when they go on sale. Diapers are much more frequent. We stocked up on TONS of diapers before the babies arrived and we carefully open boxes and packages only as we need them, so that we can return any unused diapers and exchange them for the next size up. When Babies R Us runs their big diaper sales, we stock up on four to eight boxes at a time.

A recent trip to Babies R Us to get our usual purchases.
*Would you be interested in any coupons for them, or any other baby product?
Heck yeah! Coupons are golden for us. Any savings is savings! We use mostly Pampers diapers, but will also use Huggies or Luvs, too. And there's no secret about it, we spend a fortune on formula. Currently, the quads are still on Similac Neosure formula, which is higher calorie and better for weight gain. (Keep in mind it took nearly five months for them to get to a newborn baby weight!) We'll be switching to Enfamil formula soon and are also collecting coupons for that brand. Coupons for wipes, baby food, purified water and clothes are other collector's items around here! You can email me (see the "contact me" tab at the top of the page) for my address if you have any coupons to spare. And you'll probably be, like, my new best friend. I also need to give a shout out to the friends who recently sent me formula coupons, such a huge help! Thank you!!

*With the babies sleeping thru the night, and starting spoon feeds, do you still feed them every three hours during the day? 
Yes, we do, but they now get four bottles instead of five. They are fed at 8am, 11:45am (followed by a spoon feed), 3:30pm and 7pm. They get rice cereal in their last bottle of the day, as this helps with calorie content and longevity—keeping them fuller and more satisfied to sleep through the night. They also drink anywhere from four to six ounces per bottle, so the cereal helps entice them to really fill up and make up any difference for a bottle they might not have drank as well earlier in the day.

Our daily bottle prep.

*Do you still go by the schedule you and your hubby set up awhile back?
Basically, we do. My husband gets the babies changed before he leaves for work then I do the first morning bottle feed by myself. My help, whether it's my mom or the nanny, arrives afterward. Then the quads spend time in their cribs and swings, then it's a second bottle feed and a spoon feeding, then bath time and/or tummy time followed by naps, then the third bottle feeding and another nap and "lounge time" with mom and dad, a few minutes in their bumbos with a Baby Einstein DVD, then PJs are put on and they're given their last bottle at 7pm followed by bedtime. About every two to three weeks we have to adjust our schedule a tiny bit to reflect the latest feeding times, increased play time or tummy time, the husband's work needs for that month and my own deadlines for work. We've learned that the biggest thing we can do to help ourselves is to be flexible. Things are always changing around here and our help comes and goes, so we have learned to roll with the punches!

The husband manning tummy time.

*What do you do when there are multiple crying babies and not enough hands to go around? 
Pick up the one that's loudest! Call it our "method of elimination." Typically, there's always two people around. It's usually me and either my nanny, my mom or the husband or my mom and step-dad are keeping the quads. But it's rare that we have more adults than babies and thankfully all the quads don't usually scream and cry at the same time. In fact, they really don't cry that much. Our house is pretty peaceful and quiet 90% of the time. The only sure-fire occasion they fuss and cry (right now, anyway) is after they've been changed and sat in their boppy and they know a feed is coming. Then Trystan usually leads the chorus with blood curdling screams and shouts and her face gets really red! But we just go about our business, changing the other babies and warming the bottles, because we know as soon as they get a'hold of them they'll quiet right down. Other times, if someone's crying there's something wrong, like a burp or dirty diaper or something.

If there is more than one screaming for attention, I often can pick up two and hang out with them in the recliner until they quiet down. However, we have a "rule" that if after we've picked them up and tried to soothe them for a reasonable amount of time and they are not calming down, we put them in a swing or back in their pack-and-play to work it out. There's no point in holding a baby if it's going to continue to shriek in your ear! The rule has had a 100% success rate around here, they always calm down after a few minutes when they realize it's not getting them anywhere. When they start teething, it could be a different story....so don't quote me just yet!

Harrison, Logan, Trystan and Kailey.

*How are your solo times going?
Periodically I take care of all the babies myself—and I realize I'm very blessed that I'm not doing this on a daily basis. (Yet.) I have to focus solely on the babies though. Trying to work, do laundry or clean house only gets me frustrated and creates an unnecessary divide of my attention. Then I end up feeling like I'm not getting much accomplished. However, if I set out to only take care of the quads that day, then I feel like a huge success at the end! And when they decide to take a solid nap for an hour or two and I have enough energy, extra project accomplished become a big bonus. ;)

*How often does your nanny come to help out? 
Right now we have our nanny two and a half days a week. At the end of the year, though, she'll be leaving us. We only had enough funds to keep her for a certain amount of time and we've stretched it as far as we could. There's a possibility we might be able to rearrange part of our budget to allow for us to keep her a few hours a week moving forward, but we'll be working that out at the end of December. Our nanny April has been a total Godsend, I found her on Care.com and she's been the perfect addition to our household as we've adjusted to having quadruplets. She helped us through the end of night feeds and she works very hard when she's here and I have already cried tears at the thought of not having her around any more!

Behind the scenes of our recent photo shoot—pictures coming soon! It took a crew of helpers, like my mom, step-dad and our nanny, to change babies, hold babies, position babies and more!

*How are the kids with reflux doing, is that still an issue?
Reflux is still an issue but it's definitely improved. Logan and Kailey were both diagnosed with it and they are both on Prevacid, which they take daily. It's compounded into a liquid form and we give it to them once a day orally in a medicine dropper about 15 minutes before a bottle. About two weeks ago, we noticed Kailey having increased discomfort that seemed to come out of nowhere. She was riving and arching her back and crying, but it always got better when we picked her up and patted her back and she would often have a burp stuck in there. We think it's mostly gas pains but we did increase her Prevacid dose, per our pediatrician, and after a week or so of the new amount it seems to have helped. But she was very uncomfortable sleeping flat in a crib at night and as soon as we moved her back into the Fisher Price Rock & Play sleeper, she slept great. She's still in there nightly until we see a significant improvement again. We're also visiting a gastroenterologist this week to rule out any other causes.

*Also, how easily are the babies to put to sleep? Do they go right to sleep when you put them down for naps or bed or is there crying, rocking, pacifying, etc?
We are so proud of our babies sleeping habits. They are now doing a solid 12 hours every night, from about 7:45/8pm to 7:45am. Sometimes they wake up as early as 7 or 7:15am, but they just lay in their crib and roll around or talk or kick their neighbor awake so they have some company.

During the day, they take about three naps. Usually it's after they eat and they fall asleep in their boppies on their own. Sometimes they're awake and very alert, so we'll do something like tummy time first and then naps follow—again they will fall asleep on their own. After their first bottle of the day, at 8am, we do put them back in their cribs for playtime with each other and naps. Doesn't matter if they protest or stay awake the whole time, it's "mandatory" and everyone must participate! It's also a chance for us to switch up who's in what crib with whom, so everyone gets to spend one-on-one time with each baby through the course of the week.

While we feed them their last bottle of the day at 7pm, we turn off the TV, all music and sounds (and we don't run the laundry or dishwasher during this time) and we turn down the lights so it's very dim. This helps relax everyone—including mom and dad!—and they drink their bottles in peace. Then we burp them and read them a bedtime story then, one by one, we put them in bed. Generally, they are all still awake when we put them down and they drift off to sleep on their own. We have a noise machine that mimics waves on the beach and this remains on all night. Sometimes a baby or two might have already fallen asleep during story time, and sometimes one or two will be fussy when we put them down in the crib. If it's the latter, we pick them up once we've got everyone situated and give them a couple minutes of patting or rocking to be sure there's not a burp causing discomfort. When we feel confident there's not, we put them back down and leave them be! Occasionally, there's still some lingering crying going on and it may last 15 minutes or so but they all have learned to self-soothe and eventually fall asleep.

Wonderfully enough, our babies no longer use pacifiers. They stopped showing interest in them about two months ago, when they were around four months old, so we didn't force the issue. You could stick them in their mouth and about two seconds later, when they figured out it wasn't their bottle and didn't contain food, they'd spit them out! A nice little perk we've enjoyed along the quadruplet roller coaster. ;)

Our TV monitor for nighttime. Logan and Trystan are holding hands in the crib on the left.

* * * *

Alright, folks, that's it! It was a beast of a post but I think I got all your questions answered pretty thoroughly. If you think of more questions you want to ask, please leave them in the comments section and I'll put together FAQs Round 3 a few weeks from now. Thanks for reading (and asking)!

8 comments:

  1. Wow..I am blown away, I am positive it is not easy,but it looks like you have everything so well organized and under control.
    I will start mailing you any and all baby coupons, also I get online coupons for Carters and Oshkosh will forward those to you, have one for todays Cyber Monday sales if you get a few minutes may find a deal or two.
    Has anyone told you how doggone cute those babies are:)
    On a sour note, it took a new coach and a super freshman quarterback but your Aggies beat my Tigers good Saturday nite and broke our 3 game winning streak against you all:(
    Enjoy those little ones, and Thanks for sharing.

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  2. WOW, you'll are just amazing, babies are precious and such a good writer! Thank you for the update and I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!

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  3. Hugs & kisses to all four of them for us!

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  4. I can't believe how organized you are and how content your babies are. Two wonderful things. I will gather together all the baby coupons I can find and send them to you. If you can't use them, you can throw them out or pass them on. I don't get very many, but some is better than none! Thanks for this fact-filled post. It was great!

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  5. I loved reading this post! We too have a small house and every square inch is thought out on how I can fit more into each space. I dream about the day that we will have more room and I don't have to cram things everywhere. I love how your cat food is right next to the formula!!

    I am super jealous of how much help you have. I love when I don't have to do a feed solo. At least one of my daughter's loves to feed the babies so she has become a huge help.

    You are an amazing mom and your kids are so lucky to have you as their mommy!

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  6. Hello Quad Squad!

    I love reading your blog and your mom's too! I have extra coupons from my entertainment book that we will never use. Please email me and I will send them to you! Dukechristi at gmail.com. Thanks!

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  7. Well done, and the babies are all sooo cute! I can't get over how much Trystan and Logan look like each other and their mama. I see a lot of your husband in that gorgeous Kailey, and I think maybe Harrison is the perfect blend of you both :).

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  8. I just love how all of this looks perfectly normal to me! That is the great thing about connecting with other quad mamas :). Seriously, I could not do it without you. We pretty much had to carve out storage too. George literally tunneled through a tiny linen closet so it now goes under our stairs and added shelves to every closet. We couldn't manage living here if he weren't so handy! Oh, we also prefer pampers! I think they work best for our skinny legged preemies. We take whatever and when we exhaust our gifted stash, will buy the Costco brand most likely. Looking forward to your next FAQ!

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