{Daily Pics} My Shopping Excursion!

Today I drove to a store, went inside, walk around and bought things. It was crazy. If you've been following the past few weeks, then you know it's been approximately a month since I'd been anywhere by myself, and that wasn't a doctor's office or hospital. At this point, I'm exactly three weeks out from my surgery and doing very well. I can drive short distances on my own and do pretty good with walking. I can't carry heavy things, though, and I do get pretty tired by the afternoon. My back starts hurting toward the end of the day since I've still got a little bit of hunch left in my shoulders. Otherwise, I'm standing mostly upright, which is so much easier than it was to walk around at a 45 degree angle!

Anyway, I dodged into TJ Maxx while my mom watched the babies at home and then grabbed us cokes from Sonic on my way back. Dying to know what this fabulous mom of four bought on her first shopping trip in weeks? Well, wonder no more...

In celebration of my new health and future work outs, I finally got a new pair of running shoes! I wanted a similar looking pair of Nikes but found these New Balance sneaks for $37 on clearance in just my size. :)

I have a wall full of black and white frames. This double 5X7 frame for $7.50? Yes, please!

I like pretty gift bags and this one was just $1.

Clothes for the little people! All $7.

New canisters ($3.99 and $5.99) to hold rice cereal and oatmeal for the babies.

Have you found any fab finds lately?

Next up: the quadruplets turn eight months + my five minute beauty treats!


{Quad Squad} How We Got Four Babies Sleeping 12 Hours

Sleep training is a very hard thing to do. There is no doubt about it, whether you're working with one child or more. And everyone feels differently about a crying baby. Around these parts, it's a daily slice of life. Generally, our house is pretty quiet—and always has been. Our quadlings are good babies and we haven't dealt with colic or any of those pesky scenarios that can cause babies to cry and wail for hours on end. However, we did get a Kailey Lee and that little girl loves to scream and screech for no good reason! She fills some of the quieter moments with her own "sweet" voice and we've learned to (lovingly) deal with it.

When it comes to sleep training, you have to be prepared to deal with some crying. Now, I'm not writing this post because I'm suddenly an expert on getting babies to sleep at night, no way! I'm just an expert at getting our babies to sleep through the night so I recount to you now what we did to get it that way.

The babies were initially fed through feeding tubes in their mouth or nose for weeks after being born.
The biggest thing we did for ourselves was to keep the babies on a schedule. Granted, they sort of "came that way" since the NICU—where they lived for two months while learning to breathe on their own and, after weeks, to eat from a bottle—kept them on a three-hour feeding schedule. We continued that same schedule at home, feeding eight bottles per baby per day for a grand whopping total of 32 bottles every 24 hours. We fed at 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm, 12am, 3am, 6am then started over again. Keep in mind, it took roughly 10 minutes to get all their diapers changed before each feeding and the bottles warmed then it took over an hour to get all four fed. Even with multiple people. They were still learning to eat from the bottle nipple so much of our time was spent encouraging them, keeping them awake, stimulating their mouth and throat to swallow and burping. Then when we were done, we typically had just over an hour before we started the process over. And that hour was for eating, sleeping, cleaning, laundry, making bottles, etc. It was exhausting.

But, as two and three pound babies at birth, this schedule ensured they stayed full throughout the day. They were on Similac Neosure, a high calorie formula, for the first six months and we were adding a few more milliliters to their bottle every two days or so. I remember when we first started feeding them at home, we were doing just two to three ounces. Now they suck down full eight ounce bottles at eight months old!

After the babies were home for just a few weeks, we decided to start letting them wake us up at night to eat. We fed them as usual up to the 9pm feed, then put everyone to bed in their cribs and raced to our own bed to get a little shuteye before the first barrage of demands met our ears. We were so tired and so desperate for more sleep, we really hoped by some miracle they'd sleep for four or five hours straight. But the honesty of the situation is that these little babies were still tiny and plowing through food like clockwork, and we'd trained their bodies to expect food every three hours on the dot. Habits don't die easy! They woke us up at three hours exactly and I wanted to cry. But we fed them all and put them back down. After the 9am feed, we'd take everyone out of their cribs and start our "day" in the living room with pack-and-plays and swings and toys.

Our high tech bottle warmer. :)
I think this went on for maybe two, possibly three, nights. Then something wonderful happened. We pushed through a feed time. It was working! We fed on the four hour mark, meaning we were down to just two night feeds (usually around 1am and 5am) and resumed our three hour feeding schedule at 9am the next morning. Keep in mind, we weren't feeding them just because we heard someone rustle around. They had to wake up and be crying for a couple minutes before we'd go in there and start changing their diapers (I always believed in clean diapers to cut down on diaper rash and help them sleep better). Even if just one had woken up, they were all got up and fed. This ensured we did one group feeding and weren't feeding individual babies all night long. The point, after all, was for our house to get some rest! Once I also got it through my head that the babies weren't going to starve in the 15 minutes it took us to get things ready, I stopped tripping over myself to race in there and scoop them up. They were just as happy to get their bottle in five or 15 minutes every time.

Trystan and Kailey at just a few months old, when we started bottle propping to feed more than one at a time!
Once we hit six straight hours of sleep at night, we started pushing them a little more. They were going to bed at 9pm and waking up around 3am or so for a bottle. When they'd wake up crying, we'd mute the monitor for five or 10 minutes before we got up to start warming the bottles. We really pushed at the 6am mark. They'd wake up and we'd delay 10 minutes, then 15 minutes the next night, then eventually we were pushing them about 30 minutes when they'd wake up to feed and they would start falling back asleep after screaming their heads off for a little bit. That's when we really started gaining more ground and they were going to bed at 9pm, sleeping till around 3am, then we'd feed them and put them back down until 6am, when we'd start our three hour schedule.

Then we took the babies to their four month pediatrician appointment and she readily gave us her blessing to pull out that last night bottle. "They can do it!" she said. She also warned us that it could be a bit trying and to be prepared for them to cry an hour or more but that we did not need to go in there. Let them cry it out. I must note it also helped that we had a video baby monitor the husband installed in the ceiling of the nursery. We could flip on our TV in our bedroom or living room and see all four babies so we knew they were fine.

Our video monitor.
A few days later, we fed them their 9pm bottle and put them to bed with no intention of getting them out of their cribs until 6am. Trystan cried for 15 minutes and that was it. We felt that because we'd been pushing them a little more each night, even by just a few minutes, leading up to that point that it helped A LOT! We weren't trying to make some big leap, instead they just needed to sleep another two to three hours. Hallelujah!!! They were four months old and sleeping about eight hours at night. It was amazing. During the day at this point, we were feeding bottles at 6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm and 9pm. We also began adding rice cereal to their 9pm bottles to give them extra calories and keep them fuller through the night. We started with just one tablespoon, eventually going up to two. We put a level higher nipple size on that last bottle so the thicker formula could pass through and the babies loved it. Success!

By this time, we'd noticed about every two weeks our schedule shifted and the babies were ready for the next step. So about two weeks after we'd reached eight hour sleeps, we dropped to five bottles a day. This also meant the babies began sleeping nine hours at night because they weren't getting up as early. Our daytime feeding schedule morphed into bottles at 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm and 8pm. They'd be in their cribs asleep at 9pm. At this time, we introduced spoon feeding with the 11am feeding. We learned the best way was to give them their bottle first (so they'd get all their calories) then we'd feed them rice cereal mixed with formula. After a week of that, we began introducing first foods like bananas, sweet potatoes, squash and pears.

Our liberation: feeding four at once.
The quads after eating carrots.
Three weeks later, we were ready to drop another bottle. It was November 18, the day we had a massive three-hour photo shoot at our house with all four babies plus myself and the husband. I have a penchant for always doing things to the max! Fortunately, it worked out great. The babies didn't seem to notice a bit. We fed them at 8am, 12pm, 4pm and 8pm. But we wanted them to get to sleep a little more since we'd noticed that they were typically still asleep when we'd go into wake them up at 7:45am. (The rule of not waking a sleeping baby does not apply in our house!)

I decided to adapt the same feeding schedule my fellow quad mom, Ashley, was using so we began feeding at 8am, 11:45am, 3:30pm and 7pm and would have them in bed asleep by 8pm. They easily made the transition and now sleep until about 7 or 7:30am then play quietly in their cribs until we come in to begin diaper changes and warm the morning bottles. Three more weeks and we introduced a second spoon feeding, this time working in more vegetables. Our schedule changed to bottle at 8am followed by rice cereal or oatmeal with fruit, bottle at 11:45am with fruit/veggie combo, bottle at 3:30pm then bottle at 7pm with rice cereal mixed in.

I make all our baby food with fresh organic produce and freeze weeks worth at a time.
The quads turn eight months old tomorrow (woo hoo!) and at nine or 10 months, I'll begin introducing pureed meats and some Greek yogurt. We've worked our way through most of the "major foods" and I'm happy to report they are great eaters as well as great sleepers. They love kale and apple, peas and pear, zucchini with brown rice and pear, avocado and banana and many other food combos. They eat spinach, butternut squash, mangos, pineapple and more. Our pediatrician has told us more than once that she thinks they all have such a great disposition because they get such great sleep at night. I agree!

We aren't overly scheduled with naps just yet, that's something I plan to improve on as they get older and it becomes easier to schedule those. For now, they do tend to sleep after they eat, which is fine with me. They take a one hour nap in the morning and then generally two more naps in the afternoon. We keep them very active with jumpers, swings, mat time and interactive toys and they are more than ready to eat and go to bed at night.

Six month pediatrician appointment.
It's amazing to have four babies sleeping 12 hours at night. We definitely worked hard for it and didn't let up and I couldn't be more proud of the husband and myself for sticking to our guns. At the time, our parents were coming and going helping with night feeds as was our night nanny, April. We taught them all how to stick to the schedule and not give in so that everyone was on the same page and it worked! When people out in public (doctor's office, neighbors, etc.) say how tired we must be with four babies and not getting any sleep, we quickly make them aware our quads sleep for 12 hours. Then they tell us how lucky we are that they do and we again quickly tell them we worked very hard to accomplish that.

My crew!
I would imagine a similar schedule could work well for a single infant, if you're in the stages of trying to accomplish less night feeds. Obviously I don't have one infant, so take that with a grain of salt! I do know that if I'd just had one baby, I would've wanted to have some sort of feeding schedule to abide by rather than feed-on-demand since it makes it so much easier to anticipate, prepare and handle feedings. Having a feeding schedule also makes it easier to push the babies to go longer at night in between eating.

I am so happy we did it this way, it was not too painful and totally doable with our high order multiples family. Hopefully this inspires confidence or motivates other parents out there looking to get more sleep at night, and also helps encourage those with multiples that it can be done! Power to the sleep!!


{Daily Pics} A picture is worth a thousand words...

...or in this case, four thousand words. :)

Chubby cheeks!

Must concentrate to get out of this.

Myself and the husband serving assembly line lunch.

Mischievous all the way!

Four very different little personalities.

A glimpse into my future.

Hope your Monday is now a little bit sweeter. :)


{Weekend Recap} Recharge!

I have been indoors with four babies, a hunched back and various people around for a pretty solid two weeks. Minus one follow-up trip to my surgeon and a quick visit to the movies with the husband on the way home. Needless to say, I had to get out.

The husband suggested I go hang out with my mom at their RV resort and maybe go for a soak in the hot tub. My mom jumped on board so she picked me up early yesterday afternoon and away we went. Freedom!

We started with a late lunch at Olive Garden, one of our favorite places. We reminisced about how it was the first place she and I ate after I had begun recovering from the quadruplets' delivery. I'd been home in bed for days and once I was able to get up and shuffle around we went for lunch—it was also my birthday and the quads were about a week old. (You can read about it on my mom's blog here. Wow, how times have changed!)

It had felt weird to be out in the general public then and it felt weird yesterday, too. I just haven't spent all that much time out of the house lately and I definitely haven't had the ability or freedom to run errands and galavant around town like I enjoy. Lunch was a good place to start. I ordered the multi-course lunch, which came with a mini dessert. They were out of the mini so they gave me a monster. Mom and I devoured the chocolate cake with no guilt. Tummy tuck, what??

Next we headed to their RV resort, which has been a Godsend for my mom and step-dad. It's really nice with a luxury apartment-like pool and hot tub with flagstone patio, a club house and outdoor grill, pond and fishing dock, locker rooms and laundry resources, dog park and more. They love it!

That's their camper to the right of the white truck.
A peek inside during Christmas. Decorated exactly like my childhood home. 
Afterward, we went for a dip in the hot tub and I soaked up some rays. Which was awesome. Because in-home fluorescent lighting does not count as Vitamin D.

Hot tubbin' in my Coach sunglasses.

We had to keep a time limit, though, since I'm supposed to be spending 23 out of every 24 hours in my compression garment to help with the swelling and healing after my abdominoplasty surgery. When I first had the garment on, I felt like a sausage crammed into too-tight casing. Stuff was spilling out everywhere. Now I can get both sides of the garment zipped up with minimal effort, which means stuff ain't spilling so much anymore. Loads of swelling has gone down, but I still have quite a ways to go. It'll be about six to eight weeks from the date of surgery (Jan. 10) until I start really seeing my new body in true form. Anticipation is in its highest state these days.

Freshly showered and relaxed, I then hung out with my mom and step-dad, Louis Dean, for a couple hours sitting in lawn chairs talking about all we have going on. It was so good to be outside in the open air and I also realized how much I enjoyed that time with my mom. We see each other five to seven days a week with her and Louis Dean returning home about one week a month. It hadn't dawned on me that all our time was spent together in my tiny house taking care of four babies. And now I'm on my second major recovery in a year, so things have been very challenging the past few weeks. Soon it'll all be better than ever and I can't wait to feel whole again. I'm so very tired of getting broken apart then put back together. The quad pregnancy, delivery and recovery were single handedly the most difficult things I will EVER do in my life! All that to say our time together was, literally, a breathe of fresh air and a rejuvenating afternoon in our own relationship. :)

What did you do this weekend?


{Quad Squad} Four Ways Sideways!

This week has been...a week. It's been hard, it's been relaxing, it's been busy, it's been painful (for me, still recovering) and it's been full of little pieces of "new." I love that feeling every day when one of the babies does something a little different or a little better—you can literally see them growing and maturing before your eyes. And it's four times the excitement because there is always someone doing something every day.

My mom and our former-nanny-now-family-friend April took care of the quads part of the week, a close friend came another day to help and then my mom and the husband's mom have been manning quadville for the past two days. I've been focusing on re-cooperating and resting but I have become a bit more mobile and am able to get down on the floor with the babies and play with them a little every day. I have to keep my knees under me and not bend or lean too far, but its doable. Yesterday I may have overdone it a little bit but I was glad to wake up this  morning feeling better and not as much pain. On top of being sick with allergies, I've been sneezing and coughing so much this past week that my stomach has been really sore. I was freaking out at first, worried that all that racket was going to tear my newly reconstructed muscles—not to mention how much it hurt my incision site to create all that pressure and pulling. But an appointment with my surgeon on Monday confirmed that all was good and now that I'm two weeks post-surgery, everything should stay in one piece. Even if it doesn't feel like it. Ugh.

I was very happy to get my drains out early this week, and then a couple days ago a rash popped up on my legs and arms. It's not spreading and its not getting worse, so its either a result of stress and being maxed out or from the combination of allergy meds and pain pills I've been taking. I've stopped taking ALL pain pills at this point, which has been doable so far, and hope it goes away soon. It hasn't transferred to anyone else either, so we're good. I think it's Zyrtec and Advil from here on out. If it's not one thing, it's something else! The good news in all that mess is that I'm now 90% upright. As in nearly standing up straight after two weeks of hobbling around like a hunchback. The last 10% is going to be the hardest, I think, since my skin and muscles are really pulling. But I'm patiently waiting for the day that I can wake up, get out of bed and stand, well, as tall as I am. Stay tuned.

But amidst all that, I have soaked up loads of baby smiles from the quad squad this week and relished every single one. We put out a quilt in the sun in the front yard yesterday and soaked up a few rays...

...and practiced standing up!

We read bedtime stories...

..and fed in assembly lines!

We've played and smiled...

...and read books...

...and sat up by ourselves! Go Logan Bear!

We've had lots of group playtime, including some with mommy (yay!)...

...and, reflecting all of us at one point yesterday, we fell asleep in the middle of what we were doing.

Happy weekend!


{Guest Post} A Beautiful Ruckus!

My friend, Rebecca, was kind enough to assemble this really informative guest post for you guys on what it's like to have and raise quadruplets. I love that she shares insight and experiences garnered over the past two years with her adorable crew—everything from dealing with the curious (not so nice) public to handling the rapidly changing family dynamic that is multiples. She survived the baby phase and is one of the many inspirational women that gives me the confidence of knowing I will, too! You can follow Rebecca and her crew at her own blog, A Beautiful Ruckus.

* * * *

I was so excited to get an email from Amber asking if I would guest post! I’ve been following her journey since I found out about her when she was pregnant. I always get a little on the wildly excited side when I find out that a new set of quads are on the way!

Of course, once the excitement of writing a post wore off, I realized that I actually had to write said post. How does one cram life with quadruplets into a few measly words?

We began our road to quadruplets like many other multiple parents to be…looking at a negative pregnancy test. We struggled with infertility because I hardly ever ovulate, and when I do, it’s completely inconsistent. That definitely hampers the ability to have kids. Because of that, we started pursuing our options by speaking with my OB-GYN. We weren’t interested in any of the more invasive fertility options right off the bat. We just wanted to know the basics…how do I get myself to ovulate?

The answer seemed simple enough: Use an ovulation drug! All the drug was meant to do was cause an egg to drop. That’s it. Boy, it worked like a charm. Two months of that, my ovaries got overly enthusiastic, and *BAM* quadruplets. 

27 weeks pregnant...six days before giving birth!

I’d be lying if I said I was “wildly excited” at first. Terrified and angry is a little more accurate. A higher-order multiple, high-risk pregnancy is no small thing. But, God was incredibly gracious to our family, and my husband took up the brunt of the housework while I attempted to grow four little kids at the same time.

They were born at 27 weeks, 6 days gestation and that was followed by three months of NICU time. We finally brought the last baby home from the hospital on their original due date. 

Caleb, Elijah, Elizabeth, and Abigail just after they came home from the hospital.
Photo by www.abundantmoments.com.
Next month, our kids will be two (already?!), and we are constantly running after our toddlers at this point! We have certainly had our ups-and-downs as every set of new parents experiences. Ours were just times four!

I think the hardest part of adapting to quadruplets is just the lack of resources and understanding that goes with it. It is never comforting to a mother’s heart to hear the doctor say, “We just don’t have enough information about quadruplet pregnancies to give you any sort of idea what’s normal.” Uh-oh!

8 months old by www.edahlphotography.com
Additionally, well-intentioned strangers also seem to want to share their wisdom about how things should be done. Coming from people who have no idea what it’s like to raise multiples, let alone quadruplets, it can be a little hard to swallow smart aleck retorts…especially when the same comments are made over and over again. I absorb as much as I can from more experienced moms (of any number of children!) but I do have a hard time when someone tells me what I should do.

A lot of the challenges have come from needing to find our own way of doing things by changing what normally works for a singleton or set of twins to fit what will work in our situation. It’s uncharted territory which makes it exciting and scary at the same time!

But it is easily one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done. This “raising quadruplets” project is really hilarious on so many levels. 

The kiddos in August 2012.
First of all, watching them interact is pure joy! They have this silly little game where they chase each other around screaming in delight. It’s noisy, but so sweet to see them playing together! Or when one of them is sad, another will bring over their special loveys to comfort them without me even asking. They know each other so well; it’s truly amazing.

Second, watching ourselves try to maintain some sanity while figuring this out is a riot! One of my favorite stories from our sleep deprived days involved my husband. He looked down at his feet and couldn’t find his socks. He was so exhausted that he literally didn’t know where his socks went or remember ever taking them off of his feet. And then of course, there is the job of simply stepping over the gate from our kitchen into our living room while navigating four short people who insist on watching our every move.

Third, if you ever want to know what people are really thinking, parade a set of quads past them. All of the social niceties and screens disappear in a blink. I don’t mind answering questions about how we ended up with quads or what it is like to raise them, but there is a nice way and a not-so-nice way to pry into someone’s personal life. I find the questions funny-even the rude ones-only because if I didn’t, I might find it irritating.

The biggest thing I’ve learned though is that our family has its own reality. There are many accepted ways of raising, feeding, putting to sleep, taking out to play, and all of the other parenting responsibilities that go with having children. They don’t all work at our house. Not because we have no interest in them, but because they simply can’t work with so many little ones. I used to kick myself for not being that mother I thought I would be, but now I’ve come to respect that I’m the best mother that I can be in this situation. 

October 2012 at the Pumpkin Patch.
To us, quadruplets are normal. While I still have a hard time believing we have quads, it doesn’t feel strange to us at all. That’s what we know. That’s what we’ve adapted to. And that’s what we enjoy!

So, going back to my goal of summing up our journey in a few words, I guess I would have to go with: Exhilarating, Exhausting, Hilarious, Terrifying, Fun, Exciting, Tedious, Cautionary, Hyper-Vigilant…but ultimately, Worth It.


Week by Week

Things have long been taken day by day, week by week around here. The pregnancy was a day by day event. Toward the end, I was so miserable and stressed about the babies survival I focused on literally 24 hours at a time. When the babies came home, we just sought to make it one day and then the next. We often didn't even know what day we were on! Now with my surgery, we counted down the weeks and then the days until my abdominoplasty procedure. I worked hard leading up to it to get things ready at the house with diapers, formula and meals stocked and instructions and schedules laid out for easy following.

Now as I recover, I am just taking it one week at a time. I'm nearly two weeks into recovery and I'm starting to get pretty antsy about not being able to do much, but I keep reminding myself that after six weeks I'll be pretty much fully recovered and will never have to look back! The difference this surgery has made will last me the rest of my life, I can't wait to feel strong again and plan to enjoy my new core. I also plan to enjoy the fact that no one will ask me when I'm due anymore!!! That seemed to plague me all the way to the very end. The nurse who checked me in and prepped me for surgery asked if I was having twins. Uh, seriously? Apparently she didn't read all my paperwork saying I was getting a tummy tuck. Thanks lady.

Today I get my drainage tubes taken out, which is about as lovely as it sounds. I had two plastic tubes extending out of the bottom of my stomach, emptying excess blood and fluid post-surgery. There's quite a lot of swelling and fluid retention with this surgery and it takes weeks for it to all go down. I can't wait to see the end results! My incision extends from hip to hip and, while that seems pretty big, it's actually not that much larger than the incision I had from my c-section. My stomach was so big when I delivered the quad squad! The c-section scar shrank drastically as my stomach did in the months after delivery. In fact, I no longer even have it after my tummy tuck, and there's only a small portion of stretch marks left from what existed before. I also have a new belly button—and after a quadruplet pregnancy, well I'm pretty excited about it!

Here's some photos from the past couple days with my munchkins:

Me and LoLo Bear hanging out & watching movies.

Harrison is trying really hard to crawl!

About one week post-surgery and able to sit on the floor with the babies. I'd missed them!

Trystan LOVES her daddy!

Another sweet smile from T.
So while I continue to recover, I'm extremely grateful for good friends and family, like my husband's brother, that pulled shifts all weekend to help with the babies. This in turn gives the husband some relief and also gives him a little time to help me out. My mom and step-dad have been super stars during the week days, feeding, bathing, entertaining and enjoying the quadlings as much as we do! And we look forward to more family coming over the next few weekends until my recovery is complete. Like I always say, it takes a village!


{Guest Post} Four to Adore!

Thankfully, I'm not the only person in Texas with quadruplets.  I've got a great little group of gals who also have quads, ranging from toddlers to newborns and in between. About five of us had our babies within two months of each other! Turns out, I'm also not the only Amber in Texas with quads! Meet my fellow quad mom, Amber S., whose sweet babies were born just weeks after mine. Today, she shares her inspiring fertility journey and the birth of her own fantastic four. 

* * * *

I stumbled across Texas Tales a little less than a year ago as I feverishly Googled “quadruplets”, “quadruplet pregnancy”, “pregnant with quads” and all things quadruplets. I wasn’t stalking quad blogs. Okay, I was stalking, but for good reason. I was hoping to find someone, anyone expecting quads who could offer support. There is plenty of literature about twin and even triplet pregnancies, but you are hard pressed to find anything about quadruplets or more. I hoped Octomom and Kate Gosselin weren’t the only ones would could relate to me. Once I reached Texas Tales, I immediately contacted Amber hoping for any advice tips or just someone to tell me I wasn’t a freak of nature. Little did I know, I would find a friend, confident, and cheerleader in Amber. She was about 7 weeks ahead of me in her quad pregnancy and always shared what to expect next. She offered countless words of encouragement during the dog days of bed rest, navigating the NICU, and then managing sleepless nights. In fact, she still does! I absolutely love seeing what her quadlings are doing because chances are mine will follow suit within the next two months. The best part is when I can snag her schedule and adapt it for my brood. Amber is now someone I call a friend, but we haven’t even met in person (yet!).

My cousin took maternity pictures while I was on bed rest at 20 weeks.
Here I am with our furbabies, Sasha and Lily.
By now, I’m sure you’re wondering how I became part of the 40/40 club. For exactly four years, my husband, George, and I traveled the painful, frustrating road of infertility. After the first few years, we eventually sought help from a reproductive endocrinologist (RE). Because infertility treatment was not covered by our insurance, we contemplated finances and decided where to draw a line in the sand. Our RE recommended we try IUI. IUI is considered low tech and is usually the place to start. After four failures, patients are encouraged to consider moving to IVF. George and I thought about this and decided we could financially and emotionally afford four IUIs and would abandon the idea of biological children if unsuccessful. The first two were total failures. We were overjoyed when the third resulted in a singleton pregnancy. At the first ultrasound, our RE found a strong heartbeat and boasted that 96% of the time when a heartbeat is seen the baby is delivered full term. A week later, as I confidently went alone to a follow up ultrasound, I learned that we fell into the four percent group where the baby could not survive. George and I were devastated by our loss especially with the impending holiday season. We didn’t know whether our baby was boy or a girl, but the loss pained us in an unexpected way. It was the loss not only of a baby, but of our dreams of having a family. After a lot of prayer, we chose to head to Mexico for Thanksgiving as a means of reconnecting with each other. 

As it turned out, our last minute getaway resulted in a crummy resort and we doubted our decision to skip the family gatherings. I recall praying on our first night that we would find solace and hope that we would someday build a family together. That night was a restless one and we ended up getting up as the sun rose that morning. By 7:00 am, we had already eaten breakfast and began a long walk along the beach. About 30 minutes into our walk, we noticed a crowd forming for no apparent reason. As we approached, we quickly realized there was a clutch of sea turtles that recently hatched and began their journey to the sea. As I saw these tiny sea turtles make such a treacherous journey, an overwhelming sense of calm washed over me. Thankfully, my aviator sunglasses concealed the warm tears streaming down my cheeks. The scene unfolding in front of my eyes was absolutely incredible and I felt as if God was whispering directly into my ear that yes, we would someday have the family of our dreams. My hope was restored and I was ready to try again. When I rehashed the story of the sea turtles to a friend, she told me that sea turtles are symbols of motherhood and fertility. Amazing! 

On New Year’s Day I underwent my fourth IUI full of hope. I vividly recall our RE saying our chances of multiples were very slim considering our previous failures. We were given a mere 15% chance of success at that. Two weeks after the procedure we were elated to discover a big fat positive on my home pregnancy test and were stunned when my blood work showed extremely high levels of HcG (pregnancy hormone). George and I hoped we might be expecting twins and feared the possibility of triplets. February 2, 2012 we went to our clinic for our first ultrasound hoping to see a healthy heartbeat. We were stunned when the computer screen revealed not two or three dark circles but FOUR! Our RE appeared a bit flustered by the revelation and left the two of us alone to simmer on the news. As soon as we were alone, I glanced at George and said, “We are meant to have quadruplets. Do you recall how many sea turtles we saw? FOUR.” Each of those fragile sea turtles made it safely to sea and I knew our tiny babies would all survive their treacherous journey as well.

On July 20, 2012 our quadlings, Rylin Skye, Harper Stone, Sydney Raine, and Mason River made their debut. We never could have fathomed how forty tiny fingers and forty tiny toes could turn our world upside down in such a beautiful way. They are all growing and thriving six month olds with a zest for life. Raising quadruplets is not for the faint of heart. It’s an incredible amount of work, but we would never change one thing!

Here the quads were four weeks old and took their first picture together. They are all squished into Harpers’ crib in a single Boppy pillow. I am on the left and my sister, Courtney is on the right.

This is our first family picture taken in the NICU when the quads were five weeks old.  

A family friend hand made these beautiful sea turtle capes.  
I feel incredibly honored to share our story here at Texas Tales. To find out more about our us and what we’re up to these days, please visit our blog at www.fourtoadore.wordpress.com.

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