Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Thankful for the People in our Lives

Today, I did an interview with a lady from the Lafayette Journal and Courier.  This was my 4th interview since the quads were born, but the first time that I got emotional (yes, I cried) during the interview.  There were many of the same questions:  How did you react when you found out you were expecting four?  What is the most difficult part of raising multiples?  How has Lilya adjusted?  and the question that got me...Do you have a lot of support?
Yes, I've been asked that before and have answered without getting choked up, but this time was different.  I think maybe it's because we are here 7 1/2 months later, and the love and support that we have coming in is still as strong as ever.  How do I thank the people who donate time, money, baby items or all of the above.  In a world where there seems to be so many bad people, I sure feel blessed that we know so many that are wonderful.  I only wish there was a way that I could give back to them.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's Christmas Time

Wow, I have not been as good at this blog thing as I'd like to be.  I can't believe that Halloween was the last time I posted.  I have so many posts saved (Things I'm Thankful For), but never posted.  I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to writing, and tend to read them over and over again, and not post.  So, here it goes, one that I'm going to post without reading and trying to fix it first.

I took the kiddos to see Santa last night.  Again, so thankful for Anne.  She met us there, and helped things go as smoothly as possible.  Thankfully, even at 7 months, the babies seemed to be ok with him.  Benjamin and Harrison sat on his lap while I held Jaylyn and Oscar.  Lilya stood next to his chair...very careful not to get too close.  I knew the lady that was taking the pictures, so she offered to take individuals of the kids with him.  It will be so nice to have them, and by the time each baby took a turn, Lilya had warmed up and took a turn of her own.  She told Santa that she wanted a baby doll and a rattle for her sister, Jaylyn.  So sweet of her to think of her babies.  I can't wait to post the pictures that were taken.  Until then, here are a few pictures of them in their Christmas outfits that I have taken.  Hope you enjoy!

Benjamin's first look at the lights.

Jaylyn looking so cute wrapped in lights.

Harrison is pretty curious.

Big Sister, Lilya, is quite the ham.

Love Oscar's bright eyes!

These could be the cutest little elves ever!

Benjamin, Harrison, Oscar, Jaylyn and Lilya

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trick or Treat

I love Halloween!  For Lilya's first Halloween (she was only 6 weeks old), we dressed her as a ladybug and stayed home to pass out candy.  This year, for the quads first Halloween, we decided to venture out.  The events started on Friday night with Trunk or Treat at Blue Ridge Elementary.  The kids were a huge hit with everyone, and the comments cracked me up as always. 
Stranger 1: Wow, are those 4 twins?
Me:  Wouldn't that be 8 babies? (in my head, not out loud)
Stranger 2:  Wow, you have triplets?
Me:  Oh no!  Did I leave a baby at home? (in my head again)
We made the Fox 59 news again with this picture!
We decided to rest up on Saturday and Sunday, and did the regular trick or treat thing on Monday.  We stayed in Mulberry, and pretty much just walked up the highway and then back with the exception of a detour to go by Uncle Rob's.  I think people must have given Lilya enough candy for all five kids...she came home with a ton!  What a great night!  I hope everyone got to enjoy it as much as we did.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Fan is a Fan is a Fan

Ok, I admit it, we're Cubs fans.  In fact, we're fans to the extent that we named one of the quads Harrison Kerry (get it...Harry Kerry)!  We also gave Benjamin the middle name Ryne after another Cubs great, Ryne Sandberg.  Yes, we are aware that they had a losing season this past year, but we are fans no matter what.  Anyway, if you've ever seen Back to the Future II, you know that 2013 is their year, so we're going to at least stick it out until then.
With that said, we haven't given up on our Colts either.  It was another rough day with a loss to Tennessee to put them at 0-8 for the season, but we are still wearing our blue and white with pride and will do so for the entire season.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

We're on a Roll

 5 months old already!  We went for a check up last week, and here are their stats:       
They have grown so much, and look so big to me until I see singletons that are the same age or younger.  While we are already on the growth chart for their actual age (Jaylyn is at the very bottom, of course), they are all still small for their age.

Benjamin is 14 pounds, 14 ounces and 24 inches long.
(Big Ben)
Jaylyn is 10 pounds, 6 ounces and 23 1/4 inches long.
(Our little peanut)

Oscar is 12 pounds, 9 ounces and 23 1/2 inches long. 

Harrison is 12 pounds, 13 ounces and is 24 1/4 inches long.

We are hitting new milestones by the day it seems like.  The boys are now able to roll from their bellies to their backs, and Jaylyn will be soon to follow, I'm sure.  They have all discovered their hands in the last month, and like to suck on their fingers more than their pacifiers.  They are all smilers and cooers.  Benjamin will laugh outloud more than the others.  Everyone loves to do patty cake.  Our biggest change in the last couple of weeks has been our sleeping arrangement.  For their first four months at home, we slept downstairs; me on the couch, babies in random spots (swings, bouncy seats, boppy seats, crib).  They are now in cribs in their own room upstairs, and I am able to sleep in my own bed again...yay!!!!  It is all new for me.  With Lilya, we never put her in bed awake.  She never cried herself to sleep.  Not the case with the quads.  After their last bottle of the evening, we put them in bed...sometimes they cry, and sometimes they are so tired, they just go right to sleep.  Either way, they usually fall asleep fast, and the best part is that they are sleeping anywhere between 8 and 10 hours a night!  I can't believe how fast time flies!
We have a busy week again this week...First steps evaluations, RSV prevention shots, trick-or-treating, and our normal day to day adventures.  Some things are fun, and some are not so fun.  I think we'll make the best of the fun things.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Good Friends + Max and Ruby = FUN

Headed in!

My best friend, Amy, and I have been to many concerts together.  We've seen Rascal Flatts, Jason Aldean, and even sang with Keith Urban a couple of summers ago, but I think I can speak for both of us when I say that this weekend's concert tops them all.  Seeing how excited our little ones were to see Max and Ruby (for those of you who don't know, they are a brother and sister bunny pair that have a show on Nickelodeon.) was priceless.
After my father-in-law had mentioned that there was going to be a show at the Murat Theater in Indy, I was searching for tickets on the internet, and came across a very cool site called macaronikid.com.  It is a site that advertises activities that are happening for kids.  A website to help plan family outings.  It just so happened that they were having a contest, and were giving away 4 Max and Ruby tickets.  I took my chances, entered the contest, and WON!
The girls loved it!  They sang, danced, yelled,"MAX...RUBY" trying to get their attention, pretended to be Max and Ruby...it was awesome.  I am so glad that we got to spend the day with such great friends, but even more, I LOVED having such a fun time with Lilya. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Busy Beginning to October

Harrison enjoying the swing
We couldn't ask for more beautiful weather to begin the month of October.  We have been keeping so busy.  Lilya is still loving pre-school on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and I have enjoyed getting to go to Suncrest to work with some of their kiddos.  We have been able to play outside some, and yesterday we walked the babies up to the bank, post office, phone company (to visit Daddy), Pizza King (for a drink), and finally to the park.  Lilya was such a trooper...she has to walk so that I can push the babies in the stroller.  After playing for a short amount of time at the park, she decided she was tired, and wanted to go home.  She started to whine about how her legs were hurting, so I just put her on my shoulders and carried her (yes, I still had to push the stroller) home.  She kept telling me, "We're almost there, Mommy.  You can do it."  She must have been able to hear me panting.  I was exhausted by the time we got home, so it was nice that it was "church dinner" night.  The Trinity Church members have been taking turns making us dinner on Wednesdays to give the Methodist Women a break.  It is amazing how our community has surrounded us with so much love and support.
Benjamin back in the ER
I wish that I could say that we've just been out and enjoying the nice fall weather, but we have sickies again.  Everyone, including myself, have had a cold...Benjamin ended up the worst again.  Monday, we saw the doctor who sent us across the street to the ER.  We ended up spending 3 hrs there getting steroid shots and breathing treatments before they let us go home.  Wednesday, it was back to the doctor for a recheck.  His chest sounded much better, but he still sounds pretty wheezy, so she decided it would be best to send him to Indy for a swallow study.  This is to rule out that he might be aspirating while he eats.  We will be headed down next Tuesday for the test.  Today, First Steps is coming out to evaluate the babies.  They are a service that offer therapy for developmentally delayed children.  I don't imagine that they will qualify because they are all progressing so well, but we wanted to make sure that they get anything they need.  Tomorrow, Lilya goes for her 3 year check up.  She's going to have to get a flu shot, so it should be a really fun trip (can you sense the sarcasm there?).
Saturday is going to make up for it all.  I won 4 tickets to see Max and Ruby at the Murat Theater, so Lilya and I and Amy and Ellie are going to have a girls trip to Indy.  The girls are so excited...so are the moms!  I can't wait to write about our trip, and how much fun the girls had.  I hope we all stay well enough, so I have the time.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lilya Turns 3!!!

Loves her teddy bear from Anne
Jumping with Judy!
I cannot believe she is 3 years old already.  She wanted a Hello Kitty birthday party, and for gifts...a teddy bear and flowers (real and pink).  I have no idea where that came from, but of course she got all she wanted and more.  I was really worried about what the weather was going to be like.  We do not really have space to accommodate a lot of people now that our house has been taken over by baby furniture.  We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day filled with friends and family.  Here are some pictures to give you a peek into the party if you were not able to be there.

Emily and Amy swinging their little ones.

Thank you, Brenda Thomas, for a beautiful cake and delicious cake pops!
Time to blow out the candles!  Love the faces of everyone!
Just sneaking a little taste...
Enjoying her favorite birthday lunch, taco salad, with Kaleb.
Yay, a Hello Kitty shirt from Aunt Carolyn and Uncle John
Didn't even mind sharing her new Mustang with her friends, Claire and Isaac.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tis The Season...

First (hopefully the last) stay at Riley.
It's that time of year.  It is only the middle of September yet some stores have already started putting out their Christmas decorations.  It seems like it gets earlier and earlier each year, and I swear that as soon as the decorations are out, cold and flu season hits.  I have been dreading this season more this year than ever before.  With 4 times the risk of RSV (Respiratory syncytial virus, which causes infection of the lungs and breathing passages, is a major cause of respiratory illness in young children.
In adults, it may only produce symptoms of a common cold, such as a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, mild headache, cough, fever, and a general feeling of being ill. But in premature babies and kids with diseases that affect the lungs, heart, or immune system, RSV infections can lead to other more serious illnesses.), the chances that we will have to spend some time in the hospital between now and spring are pretty good.
Poor Sick Little Guy
In fact, it's already struck the Stewart household.  This past weekend, all of the kiddos (Lilya included) came down with runny noses.  By Sunday, we were running two vaporizors, using nasal spray and lots of kleenexes, and using the suction bulb often.  While everyone had it, Lilya and Benjamin were the only two that were coughing, and it sounded pretty bad.  I called our doctor on Monday morning, and because of the fact that Benjamin was a preemie, she decided it would be best for her to see him.  I really didn't think much of it.  He has always sounded a little raspy, and when I had asked the doctor about it before, she said that his tonsils were big, so it caused him to breathe a little harder than the others.  After stripping him down to a diaper in the dr.'s office, I watched his little diaphram work as he took breaths in and let them out.  I felt terrible...I hadn't realized that he was working so hard to breathe.  His oxygen levels did register low, and even after a treatment with a nebulizer, the dr. decided that it would be best for him to get a little extra attention from the folks at Riley.  I was in shock when she said that they wanted me to take him to the ER, and they would send a transport team to get him. 

It was so hard to see him in that big hospital bed with the oxygen canual on his face.  Thankfully, after a few hours of oxygen, a steroid shot, and a few breathing treatments, the dr.s felt like he would be okay to come home.  We are still giving breathing treatments every four hours, but it is nice to be back home with the rest of our family.  Praying that is the last of our stays at Riley.

Happy to be going home!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Off to Pre-School

Wow, we have been so busy.  Last week was Lilya's first week of pre-school.  She is going to Blue Ridge as a peer in their developmental classroom.  She loves it!  It probably helps that her teacher is Miss Sarah, who just happens to be one of my good friends that has been around all summer.  I was prepared for her to cry on that first day.  Instead it went more like this:

As we pulled into the school parking lot.
Lilya:  Oh, there's my school!  I'm going to love it here!
Me:  Yes, you are.
As soon as the teachers came out to greet them.
Lilya:  Bye Mommy, I'm going to school all by myself today! (with a big smile on her face)
Me:  Bye Sweetie, have a great morning. (with a tear in my eye)
No tears shed by the little girl who wouldn't even be three until the next week, but a couple by her mommy that couldn't believe she was already going to pre-school.

She LOVED it! She has cried 3 out of the 4 days when I picked her up, because she didn't want to leave.  Sarah says she's doing great.  She enjoys singing, reading books, coloring, playing with the other children, and singing...yes, I know, I said that first.  She talks mostly about how they do music.  She loves to sing, and this is obviously her favorite part of the day.

Here's to hoping that she continues to enjoy school this much for the next 15 years or more!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Reason For Everything

Although I have five beautiful children now, I remember clearly the days when I thought that I would never be a mother.  Infertility was hard on me.  It took a toll on my emotions making me wonder why I couldn't just be "normal".  The first fertility drug I took, Clomid, made my hormones go crazy.  I would have highs in which I felt on top of the world and lows when I thought that things couldn't get any worse, all in the same week.  I could be laughing one minute and crying the next, you just never knew what you were going to get around me.  The fact that my body didn't respond the way that it should to the medicine, made me feel even less of a woman.  Moving on to see a specialist and to try the next steps in treating the infertility had another set of challenges.  With the injectible medicine, not only did I still experience the emotional roller coaster, it added in physical challenges as well.  With this treatment came daily blood draws and ultrasounds (not the fun kind).  My arms were black and blue by the end of the week.  I remember the pain of hyper stimulated ovaries.  I couldn't sit or walk with my back straight as my stomach filled with fluid, but it all became worth it the day the nurse said to me, "I think all of this pain is a good sign."  Less than a week later, the blood test showed a positive result!
This was definitely not the end to the emotional and physical pain.  I had said through the entire process, "I would rather God not let me get pregnant at all, than take a baby away from me."  Of course, I was talking about miscarriage.  Unfortunately, His plans were already set.  20 weeks after getting pregnant for the first time, I gave birth to two precious little ones.  Gavin, our little boy, was already gone, but  I will never forget holding little Greta, so tiny, as her little heart stopped beating.  I couldn't help but wonder why.  It has been four years today that I gave my first babies back to God, and I no longer ask that question.  I have always been a true believer that everything happens for a reason.  My trials and losses while working my way to motherhood have made me the person that I am today, and I am so happy to be the mother of five beautiful children.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Reason to Celebrate

September has not been the best of months for me.  In fact, until 3 years ago, Sept. 12th, I absolutely despised the month.  It holds the two worst memories of my life, my car accident that took the life of one of my best friends and the loss of our twins, Greta and Gavin.   If you have lived through any kind of tragedy, I'm sure you can relate to the way I feel during this month.  I think of Monica and the twins daily, but as the anniversaries of their deaths approach, it seems as though I recall the incidents that led up to them more clearly.  They are by far the worst two days of my life, and not only because I suffered a loss, but because of the loss that I feel like I put upon others.  As thankful as I am today for the love and support through our most recent joy, I am so grateful that I had the same love and support during those difficult times.  I read a saying today that said:  I am strong because I know weakness. I am compassionate because I have experienced suffering. I am alive because I am a fighter. I am wise because I've been foolish. I can laugh because I've known sadness. I can love because I've known loss.
This month, I will celebrate my oldest daughter, Lilya's, 3rd birthday.  I will not think any less of the events that took place on Sept. 17, 1994 and Sept. 4, 2007, but I am grateful that God has given me reason to celebrate the month of September.  I am so glad that I am able to share my joys with those who love us, and thankful for those who understand my sadness.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Wedding Weekend!

Wow, what a great weekend!  We survived our first weekend getaway.  My brother, T.J., got married, and I was in the wedding.  We had enough time to make plans to take helpers with us, so on Friday afternoon, Anne and I loaded up the car and headed to Indy.  As always, we were the center of attention from the time that we popped the hatch to the back of the van.  It looked like we were moving in instead of staying two nights.  Bags of diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, cereal, boppy pillows, boppy seats, clothes, toiletries...we loaded up two carts full of things.  Luckily, we had enough family that had already arrived at the hotel to help us carry everyone in at once.
I had just enough time to get us checked in and settled in the room before I had to leave to go to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.  I know I say it a lot, but I don't think I could ever say it enough...I have the most wonderful friends and family ever.  Anne, Jayme and Missy took care of the kiddos all Friday evening while I followed the routine of being a part of the bridal party.  Anne said it was as if our room had a revolving door.  Everyone wanted to come and see the babies.  What wonderful friends to not only take care of all of my little ones, but also to put up with all of the visitors while I was out!
I was up and out again by 8 a.m. on Saturday morning with barely enough time to give the kiddos a kiss before I had to be down to have my hair done.  Once my hair and make-up were on, and I was dressed and ready to go, I made one last trip up to see everyone before heading to the church.  Lilya was so cute when I walked into the room.  She said, "Mommy, you look beautiful!"  It made me feel so good.
It was an extremely busy day...pictures, actual wedding (was gorgeous), pictures, more pictures, reception.  It was great to see so many people that love T.J. and Angela, and were there to celebrate their love for eachother.  The girls met us at the church with the babies and Lilya, and stayed in the nursery during the ceremony.  They brought them up for pictures, and headed back to the hotel.  For the reception, they were able to walk them over to the ball room, and take a little break themselves while family and friends took over with holding and loving on them.  Lilya was able to go and dance too!  My favorite moment was seeing my little brother, John, spin her while they were dancing together.  Since feeding time was at 10:30, we got everyone loaded back into the stroller, and Anne headed back to the hotel room with all 5 kids.  We hadn't really thought about the fact that it was 10:30 on a Saturday night, downtown Indy and Anne would be pushing a stroller with 4 babies while trying to coax Lilya to keep up.  I guess if you ever want to feel famous, all you need to do is take our quads for a walk downtown Indy on a Saturday night.  Anne said that people were snapping pictures, gathering around her, and one guy even stopped traffic so that she could cross the street!  They made it back just in time to feed again, and Lilya was so exhausted from all of the dancing that she fell sound asleep.  I'm sure Anne was thankful.  She was on her own for the night, and as always, I didn't have to worry about a thing...she took very good care of them.
Yesterday, we had to load up and head to T.J.'s to watch them open gifts.  We had to make a couple of pit stops on the way.  Lilya had to have a chicken nugget happy meal, and we had run out of formula, water, rice cereal and baby wipes (wow, I can't believe how much we use in just 2 days), so we had to stop at Target too.  The babies were great at T.J.'s, mostly sleeping the entire time we were there.  Lilya had fun playing with Judy too!
It was a weekend that I will never forget, and I am so blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life to share events like that with.  I could never express enough how grateful I am for the help that I had so that I was able to relax and enjoy the weekend!  I have to admit though, I missed feeding my little ones.  I have not minded one feeding (even at 3:00 a.m.) since we got home yesterday.  Back to reality, and I wouldn't want anything less!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oh Yes, I Did...

Some might call me crazy, and others might...well, everyone I know just called me crazy.  Yesterday, I packed up all 5 kiddos and the big quad stroller and headed to the mall.  It was Tony's brother, Matthew's, birthday, and I had not had a chance to get him a present.  I didn't want to show up for his birthday dinner without one and had noone to watch the kids, so we experienced our first shopping trip.  We were working with a bit of a time crunch.  I left the house at 11:30 and had to be home for the 2 o'clock feeding.  I have gotten pretty quick at loading and unloading, so I thought I would have plenty of time to look for a gift.  I forgot to take into account that I wouldn't be able to walk 10 feet without being questioned about the babies.  Luckily, Lilya was an angel, and walked beside the stroller the entire time.  This meant our only interuptions were other curious shoppers.  My favorite question that I was asked yesterday was, "Oh, you didn't bring them all by yourself did you?"  It was nice to prove to myself that I could do it.  I can get out and do things that I used to do without thinking twice.  Now, I just have to make sure I schedule plenty of conversation time in.
We were able to buy a birthday present, and made it home in time to feed at 2.  We packed back up at 7 and went to dinner at Tony's mom's.  It was a long evening.  The babies were all fussy, and I was really tired from our shopping trip.   We did manage to eat dinner, sing Happy Birthday, watch the opening of gifts, and eat cake.  Fussy or not, we like a good party...especially when there is good cake involved.  We can't wait to party and celebrate my brother, T.J. and Angela's wedding this weekend!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Our First NICU Reunion Picnic

Last Saturday was the St. Vincent Women's NICU reunion picnic.  This is a yearly event that they put on so that families can reconnect with their doctors, nurses, and other families that were in the NICU.  It was wonderful!  There were so many things for kids to do; bounce houses, rock climbing, train rides, pony rides, petting zoo, carnival games.  I can just imagine what it will be like in a couple of years when the quads are able to participate in all of the fun.  This year, Lilya was able to enjoy all of the entertainment while the quads just looked cute and drew lots of attention.  It was also great to meet other families that we have been in contact with on Facebook, but had never met in person.  I really do feel a special connection to other quad families. 
When the picnic was over, we headed over to St. V's to visit our two favorite nurses since they had to work and miss the picnic.  It is so nice to stay connected to people that are so special.

Speaking of special...We would not have been able to go at all on Saturday if it weren't for our favorite helper, Anne.  Tony had to work, and ther is no way that I would have been able to go on my own, so it was Anne to the rescue AGAIN.  She has been a wonderful help, and we are so glad that she is able to share in the memories that we are making!

Load, Unload, Load, Unload...

First trip to school

 We loaded up the van last Wednesday with all 5 kids at about 11:45.  Our first stop, Suncrest.  It was a teacher work day, so I thought it would be a perfect chance to show off the little ones without too many little hands wanting to touch.  We unloaded with the help of Jayme, Missy, Amy and Lesley, and had a wonderful time visiting and bragging on what good babies they are.  Lilya entertained as always.  I'm almost embarrassed to tell the story, but I have to document it for the future.  She had been carrying around a brush I got from the hospital pretending it was a phone (it folded in half).  I put her in her Hello Kitty dress for our outing...she looks so cute in it.  Being the resourceful child that she is, since she didn't have pockets, she chose to carry her "phone" in her panties.  I was so embarrassed when she leaned back on my lap during our school visit, and I noticed it for the first time.  I'm so glad it's not a brush that I use!
3 months old already!
From there, we had to go to the doctor for a 3 month wellness check for the quads.  My plan was to ask the doctor about skipping the night time feeding, but all four babies screamed through the entire appointment, so I just wanted to get out of there.  I didn't end up asking many questions.  She decided to try some Prilosec for Jaylyn to see if it will help with her reflux. She is now20 3/4 inches and weighs 8 lbs. 6 oz.  I asked about Benjamin's breathing (he sounds very congested all of the time), and after she looked at him, she said that his tonsils are big, but he will grow into them. He is 22 1/4 and weighed 10 lbs. 15 oz.  Harrison is 21 3/4 and weighs 9 lbs. 9 oz., and Oscar was 20 1/4 and weighed 8 lbs 15 oz.  I cannot believe how much they've grown in the past three months!  Benjamin and Harrison are already on the growth chart for their actual birthdate.
After our doctor appointment, we loaded up and headed over to Blue Ridge to visit Anne and Sarah.  It was fun to share the little ones with more of my teacher friends.  I had no problems finding enough hands to feed all four little ones at once.  Lilya was thrilled to be able to explore Sarah's classroom where she will start pre-school two days a week after Labor day.  I cannot believe my little girl is old enough to go to preschool.  Where does the time go?  She is so excited.  She has played "school" at home since we started talking about it.  I am excited for her...I know that she will have a wonderful experience with Sarah.  Once the babies were fed, and I talked Lilya into leaving, Anne and I loaded everyone back up.
We unloaded and loaded one more time to visit my mom and George before we headed home and unloaded for the day.  It was 6 o'clock!  It was a long day filled with a lot of loading and unloading, but it was worth it to share my kiddos with so many special people.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Stroller=Freedom...sort of

We were so thankful when my brother told us that he was going to get us this stroller as a baby gift.  Singleton strollers are expensive, so you can imagine what it was going to cost us for one that would carry four!
Anyway, it's finally here, and put together.  We took our first ride, and the kiddos seemed to love it.  We are lucky enough to live in a small town, so we only got stopped twice to talk about the fact that we were pushing around four little ones.  The only other problem that I could foresee was the fact that it only seats 4, and we have 5 children that are under 3, but for the first outing, Lilya was visiting with friends.  Yesterday, we took our second walk, and Daddy pulled Lilya in the wagon while I pushed the stroller.  Luckily, that was good enough for her. 
It is so nice to feel like I can get out of the house with all of them.  Now, if only I could find a way to push this gigantic stroller and pull a wagon at the same time.  Then, I might be able to escape my house with all five of my kiddos!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends (and Family and sometimes even a stranger)

One day, when Tony and I were visiting the quads in the NICU, we had an unexpected visitor.  Pastor Lee, from the Lebanon Church of Christ came down to see us, and to welcome the quads.  Pastor Lee had been there and prayed with us the night that we were losing the twins, so it meant a lot for him to take the time out of his day to come and pray with us during such a happy time as well.  While he prayed for the health and well being of the babies, he also prayed a special prayer for Tony and I.  He asked that God give us the humility to ask for help when it is needed.  Right away, I knew that it was something that needed to be prayed over us.
I have thought long and hard about writing this entry.  I want this blog to be something that my children can look back on someday, and know what joy they brought us.  I also want them to know the reality of what our lives were like at the time.  The truth is, we did not plan on having 5 kids.  Last summer was a tough summer, as many of my friends were having babies or finding out that they were expecting again.  Tony and I had discussed having another, and lets just say, we were not on the same page.  Lilya was almost potty trained (no more diapers!) and hadn't been on formula for over a year.  Did we really want to go back to having those expenses agian.  Then, one day he said to me, "Ok, lets have one more."  I let him think on it for a couple of months before we ended up going back to the doctor, and I was sure that he was ok with adding one more.   We would have to cut out some of the fun stuff (Cubs games, concerts, eating out) again for awhile to get through another diaper/formula stage, but it would be worth it.  Then, it was a whole new ballgame when we got the news that we were adding 4.  That is 4 times EVERYTHING!  On top of that, I would need to be off work while I was pregnant in order to help ensure that I could carry them.  Tony and I have always gotten along fine financially, but we had not planned on me going without work.  Luckily, we had some money saved, and we were able to get through the financial staints from the bedrest period.  Now, it is the time that I would be going back to work.  We decided that it would be best for me to take at least this school year off.  I want more than anything to be able to stay at home with my little ones...and enjoy it.  I just saw a segment on the Today Show called The Secrets of Motherhood.  It claimed that a study showed that 42% of women would rather have money than spend more time with their kids.  I immediately felt guilty...like I belong in that 42%.  But, all I seem to think about these days is how we are going to be able to make it financially.  We have been so lucky to have so many wonderful people surrounding us and helping us out.  I don't need to be rich.  I just want to be able to support the children I have and possibly put back some money for their futures.  I wonder how many women of that 42% fit in my shoes.  We don't want money for ourselves...we just want to be able to raise our children without the stress of how we are going to pay our bills.  Unfortunately, in today's society it often means that both the husband and the wife need to work.
 I struggle with being dependent on others.  We have such wonderful friends and family.  I am so thankful that I have had the support and help with feeding so that again, I am able to enjoy the time that I spend with my children without feeling overwhelmed.  It seems like we hardly have a visitor that doesn't come with many gifts...from diapers to dinner, our friends, family and neighbors have brought us so many things.  Where would we be without so many special people in our lives?  I know that we'll get by with a little help from our friends...but that won't stop me from looking for ways to make money and help support my family from home (is it bad that I fit into that 42%).

Friday, August 5, 2011

From the Beginning (May 2011)

Sunday, May 1, 2011 9:36 PM
We're on day 5 in the hospital. Things have been really calm for the most part. I actually thought Dr. Sumners was going to send me home, but then, he said I could go ahead and tell the Alere nurses that I won't be going home. There was a little bit of relief with that since I've not been feeling the best at night. My contractions have gone from being up high, to very low with a lot of pressure. They are still spread out, so it hasn't required anything special, but I would probably freak out about them at home. I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. I have been lucky to have lots of visitors to help pass the time. I loved my flowers from Janelle, Craig, and Grant...they really brighten up my room. Missy and Jayme were wonderful to pick up Lilya and bring her down on Thursday...I loved watching her play Dr. I'm so glad I've seen her everyday since then. :) my mom and George, and T.J. and Angela all deserve credit for bringing food when they came. I was also excited to see the Perez's, and appreciated the bag of snacks and pic of Lilya. Sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve so much love. All of the visits along with the messages and phone calls are really helping to pass the time! 30 weeks tomorrow...only 3 weeks, and I'll have hit my goal. I think I can, I think I can!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011 10:07 AM
Our first week in the hospital has come and gone, and we are now on our way to 31 weeks. Things are still really calm, and today the dr ordered physical therapy and massage therapy to help get me through, what we hope to be, a couple weeks of bed rest. The nurse also got them to order wheel chair rides if I want them, so I can get put of this room for a while. I couldn't ask for a better staff to be taking care of me. :)

I've been keeping up with all that's happening around the world since I have plenty of time to watch t.v. Since I've been here, I've seen plenty of the 2nd worst tornado disaster to strike the southern U.S., watched the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Kate Middleton, and most recently, watched as the nation celebrated the death of the most wanted terrorist in the world, Osama Bin Laden. Sometimes it is hard to watch the news and see all of the "bad" that is out there, and then we add the weather, so rainy, cold and gloomy. The funny thing is, I know I'm about to add 4 more rays of sunlight to help brighten it up. I am getting so excited that within the next few weeks, we'll be sharing our little miracles with the rest of the world. What a blessing I know they will be!
Thursday, May 12, 2011 12:50 PM
We are quickly approaching the 32 nd week! I apologize for not updating this site for awhile. I've written about 4 tomes now, and somehow got kicked off each time.

I have been blessed with many visitors since last week. I am thankful for those who give up lunch breaks to stop in, as well as those who give up their entire evening to drive an hour here and back. I have felt the love of so many since I've been here.

I am so well taken care of here. I love massage days! Everyone seems right on top of my needs and are willing to listen even if I just want to tell a story about my daughter. I was so welcomed into the NICU for a tour yesterday. Nurses praised how far I've come, and made me feel even more confident that they will be well taken care of once they're here.

I have had some rough evenings lately, and I'm now in the middle of my last round of indocin. The nurses and doctors are doing there best to keep me as comfy as possible. They talk like I could be running out of room in there, but I'm going to do my best to prove them wrong. Tomorrow is a big ultrasound day! They will not only do bio-phiysical profiles, but they will also measure to see how big they're getting. I can't wait, and I hope to update with more good news soon!

Friday, May 13, 2011 4:59 PM
I love massage days! Today was even better because I got to top off an ultrasound to measure babies and do bpp's with a massage that I had to postponed from yesterday.

The ultrasound went perfect. All babies passed their BPP's breathing, fluid and movement very quickly. Then, it was time to measure. Baby A & C weighed in right on target, 3 lbs 11 oz. Baby B is about a week ahead of schedule, weighing exactly 4 lbs! Baby D is going to be our little runt, only weighing 3 lbs 3 oz. This is just a week behind schedule. I am hoping to keep them baking for at least 10 more days, but I thank God for the time He has given us. Now, it's up to the kiddos...when they say it's time, it's time. Getting very excited, anxious, nervous, and scared to meet our precious gifts!

From the Beginning (April 2011)

Friday, April 1, 2011 10:08 AM
Another weekend has arrived! Lilya and I have enjoyed a pretty relaxing week. I am so thankful that the doctor prescribed me a zpack on Tuesday when I went for my regular check up. I am feeling better already. Things still looked great at the doctor, but I am starting to feel a little more uncomfortable. The weight of my belly is starting to put quite a bit of pressure on my pelvic bone, and it doesn't feel so hot. I know that it is a good sign though...means that our babies are growing!

We were lucky to have a visitor, Lauren Weston, on Wed. She was on spring break this week, so she came for the day and played with Lilya. Lilya loved it! She had someone to chase her around the house, take her outside to play, and take her to the potty all day long. Mommy loved it too. She has been doing great potty training these last few days...I'm so proud of her!

It was also nice to have Wendy and Barb (from church) visit yesterday. We are so lucky that people are so anxious to help us out. Funny thing is, I only know to tell people that the only thing I worry about is diapers. We really don't know what it is going to be like to bring home four babies, so it is hard to tell people what we need. We still feel very blessed that so many people are willing to help in any way that they can. I'm sure it won't take us long, once the babies are here, to start figuring out what exactly we need.

I'm starting to get nervous about how little they are going to be when they are born. I just looked at pictures of a friend of mine on facebook. She had twins at 35 weeks this week, and they look so tiny at just over 4 1/2 pounds each. It scares me to think that 35 weeks is probably the longest I will carry my babies, so they are bound to be smaller than her little angels. I'm not thrilled about them needing a long hospital stay either. Just new worries as the time gets closer. It's crazy that in just 2 more weeks, we will have reached Dr. Sumner's first goal for us! I am amazed at how quickly the weeks fly by. Next week, I will get all of my blood work done, and they'll give me my rohgam shot (for being Rh-), and then we'll be ready to go when they decide that they're ready to arrive...hopefully not for another 6 or 7 weeks though.
Sunday, April 3, 2011 6:38 PM
Wow, the weekend went by so fast! Yesterday was a day filled with excitement of babies entering the world...luckily, they weren't ours. Tony's cousin, Emily, and her family, welcomed her second baby girl, and My cousin, Danielle and her husband, welcomed their first baby girl, Mary Jean. She is the one that I wrote about in one of my previous journals...she named the baby after our Grandma Mary Lou. We got to go hold baby Colbie today. She looked so little (even though she weighed 8 lbs. 4 oz.) We wish we didn't live 1200 miles away, so we could go and hold baby Mary Jean too. :(

Just when we thought that the weekend couldn't get any better (welcoming 2 new babies and all), Butler went and won their Final Four game, so they will be playing in the championship game tomorrow night! I am going to work at getting not too excited during the game.

I am so lucky that things are going so well. I haven't had any contractions all weekend. The Alere nurses can't believe how well I'm doing, and most importantly, I'm still at home with my family. In fact, I'm getting ready to play a game of Shrek Memory with Lilya! 26 weeks tomorrow...the time is flying by!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 6:43 PM
Today's ultrasound was so much fun! I was super excited that my cousin, Hilde, got to take me this time. It is so nice to get to visit on the car ride and in the waiting room, and then to share the experience with those that I love. I am disappointed that I didn't get any new pictures from today, but the babies were great during the ultrasound. Three of them were laying with their heads together...it was so amazing to see all of the tops of their heads in one shot. We got to see profiles or straight on face shots of everyone but baby A, and at one point we were looking right up one of the baby's nose. They are starting to look like "real" little people...even in what used to be a scary straight on face shot. It is so crazy how much they change from week to week!

Everything else checked out great again this week.. Contractions are down, and the cervix is still long. I also gained 2 lbs. which was a huge plus. I have been feeling pretty light headed this week, so they were going to go ahead and test my blood sugar with the other normal tests they ran this week. I will have to wait until next week to get my shot of rohgam. Everyone is so positive there that I will carry past the 30 week mark, so I feel very encouraged every time I go. I have been blessed in so many different ways during this pregnancy, and I really feel like I am getting the best care possible. What an amazing journey I'm on, and so lucky that so many are willing to join me.

Saturday, April 9, 2011 1:51 PM
As long as the rain stays away, it is looking like it will be a beautiful weekend. I am really hoping for sunny weather tomorrow, so Amy can take some pictures for us. We were hoping for one more family picture before the family doubles in size!

I'm really excited that Monday marks the beginning of our 3rd trimester (I'll be 27 weeks)! According to the email update I got today, the babies should be about 14.5 inches and weigh close to 2 lbs. Last night I had a dream that they were here, and they all weighed close to 4 lbs. (they looked like about 8 lb. babies though). I'm getting so excited to see what they look like, but I'd like them to stay snuggled in there for at least another 5 or 6 weeks. Anyway, my mom is in New Mexico for the next week, so they can't come at least until she's home. The week after that is Easter, and I bought a cute maternity dress to wear, so they can't come that week either. I figure if I keep coming up with excuses like these, they have to stay in there. I'm still feeling great, and contractions are staying low, so things are looking good at this point. I hate going so long without pictures to share, but I think it will still be the week after next before they give me any. It will be exciting because I will have reached that very important 28 week mark at that time! Each week is such a milestone...I never dreamed that I would carry them this far, but now that I'm here, there is no doubt in my mind that we're going a lot farther!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 10:22 AM
While we continue to get good reports at the doctor (heart beats are strong, the cervix is still long and closed tight, I'm gaining weight like I should be, blood pressure is good, and there is no sign of swelling in my ankles), I couldn't help but look past our own joys for the moment to all of the crazy things that are happening around the world. My heart aches for those in Japan who are still dealing with aftershocks from the huge earthquake that, along with the tsunami, caused so much damage. I can't imagine living in fear of radiation poisoning from that nuclear power plant. I also feel for the families whose loved ones are sent over seas to the many countries there that are at war within themselves. I read yesterday that a Frankfort native was critically wounded in Afgahnistan lately. While I know that this is something that happens daily, it seems so real when it affects those that are so close to home. I hope that many will take the time to say a prayer for all of those around the world that going through such trying times.

I would also like to ask for prayers for my mom's family. I have mentioned before that we lost my grandma and my uncle in November, and my mom was able to be in New Mexico with them during their final weeks. It has taken a heavy toll on my mom, and she has been very sick since then. This week, she is back in New Mexico. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, they ae having a sale at my grandma's house. It makes me so sad to think of strangers going through and buying my grandma and grandpa's things, but it is even harder for me to think about what it is doing to my mom. My heart hurts for her, and I would give anything for her to not have to go through this.

So, while today we celebrate more good news on our journey, I also want to lift those up who are not experiencing the joy that we are right now. May God hold us all close to him and comfort us in the ways needed.

Sunday, April 17, 2011 1:16 PM
Well, we are inching closer and closer to the doctor's first goal of 28 weeks...only one more day. We have been so lucky over the last 5 days to get to spend time with some of our favorite friends and family. Amanda, Andrew, and Judy came out Wed. night for pizza and a little play time for the cousins. Thursday, we had a great morning visit with Elizabeth and Mac...we can't wait to find out if Mac is going to have a baby brother or sister. In the afternoon, Baby Colbie and Layners came to play too. Lilya got to hold Colbie and get some practice being a big sister. She was so gentle with her, and seemed to love every bit of it...sure hope that's her reaction when we bring home her brothers and sister. Friday, we were treated to a movie and popcorn by our best friends, the Perez's. People are always so surpised that I can still get out and do things like that, but really as long as I don't have to walk a lot and am able to sit most of the time, it really doesn't cause contractions. Yesterday, we got to spend more time with the Perez's helping Ellie celebrate her 3rd birthday. I can't believe how quickly the time goes by. Someone asked me yesterday if I was getting bored yet...haha! We don't usually have this much going on, but even when we don't, I am loving the one on one time I get to spend with Lilya. Believe me, I enjoy adult conversations when we have visitors, but I also know that I'm never going to get this "alone" time back with Lilya, so I am trying to make it as special as possible. I can't believe that sometime within the next 7 weeks, we're going to go from a family of 3 to a family of 7 (8 on weekends that we have Kaleb)! So excited for Tuesday's ultrasound when we get more measurments and updates on how the little miracles are doing. I can't wait to share the news!
Tuesday, April 19, 2011 8:56 PM
When I first started seeing my high risk doctor, I was lucky to be put in touch with another of his patients from the past who has quads of her own. They are now 4 years old, and she writes a very inspiring blog called 4tunate. One of her recent posts reminded me of all that I am grateful for and inspired me to write this...

I'm grateful for...

All of the trouble we had getting pregnant on our own, the medicine that wasn't covered by insurance and the painful fertility treatments that we had to go through because it shows that God had big plans for us, and we were willing to do what it took to get you.

I'm grateful for...

The hospital stays (expected for transabdominal cerclauge or unexpected for hyperstimulated ovaries and again for a discontinued medicine that was being used to stop contractions) because, this means that we have professionals that are willing to go above and beyond to make sure I am getting the care I need.

I'm grateful for...

$100's of dollars spent in gas to drive to and from Indy each week because, this let's me know that everything is going the way that the doctor expects it to go, and I get to spend the rest of the week in the comfort of my own home, loving on our first little miracle, Lilya.

I'm grateful for...

The uncertanty of leaving my job much earlier than planned because, it has shown us the love and suppoort of so many friends and family members who have stepped up to help in any way they can.

I'm grateful for...

little arguments that Tony and I get in to because, this is a reminder that I am not alone in the fear of how to go from a family of 3 to a family of 7.

I have so much to be grateful for right now including 4 little miracles in my belly that at this point weigh in at 2 lbs 4 oz, 2 lbs 6 oz, 2 lbs 8 oz and 2 lbs 4 oz. I'm sure that I could spend the rest of my life listing the more and more I become grateful for each day!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 6:32 PM
Well, I can't say that yesterday wasn't another great visit. The babies looked great and cervix is still really long. The difference was that I have been contracting more with a lot more lower back pain, so they decided to go ahead and admit me and monitor for a while.

At first, they said I would be staying all night, but I could wear my own clothes and there were no plans for an iv. About 15 min. on the monitor changed that. The nurse came in with a gown, said I'd be getting a catheter, and I watched her hang that dreaded bag of Magnesium Sulfate. Like always, I went through two nurses and a blown vein before they finally had the anesthesiologist come and put the iv in. I did feel much better, contraction wise, about thirty minutes later, but then all of the other side effects started to kick in. Besides the fact that I could not eat on the meds (ice chips only last night, and clear liquid diet today), my face felt like it was on fire. I really think it was the food that bothered me the most. After all of the complaining about trying to get 4000 calories in a day, and now I was stripped of everything...I was starving!

Anyway, I made it through the night, and today was a little rough.

Time out...room service just brought my dinner: baked chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, and a chocolate chip cookie...see, you don't have to feel too sorry for me. I'm going to feed these starving babies, and then I'll update from today's events.

Thursday, April 28, 2011 9:01 AM
Sorry to keep you waiting...it's not as easy to type these with my phone, and I hate to cut things out just because of that.

Yesterday, I was on the magnesium for most of the day. Poor Janelle stopped by to visit me, and because of the meds, I could hardly hold my eyes open. It was the same a little later while Tony was here, but by the time that Dave and Suzie visited, I had been off just long enough to start gaining control of my muscles again. I was thankful to have so many visitors no matter what time of day...I love to talk, so it gets pretty lonely.

I had some other visitors yesterday too. I met one of the neonatal doctors. He came in to talk me about what we can expect once the babies are born. While it was a very scary conversation to have, it is so comforting to know that they will be so well taken care of.

It was nice to get another ultrasound yesterday to put my mind at ease that the meds I was getting were not harming the babies. I've also had the second dose of steroids for their lungs, so that's a relief.

Now, it could just be wait time. I'm not contracting as often, but when I do, they are strong and last about 90 sec. I know I'm in the right place right now, and soon it will seem like it went by so quickly, but for now, I'd just like to find a way to move Lilya in with me.

From the Beginning (March 2011)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 9:18 AM
As Lilya runs around this morning in her snow boots, Dora nightgown, and a furry, peach colored jacket, I am reminded of just how blessed we have already been. This past week has been a challenging one, with hospital stays, medicine changes, lots of time on the monitor, and another regular trip to the doctor. We are now at 21 weeks and 1 day, and I remind myself often that this will be what God wants it to be. The past couple of days, I've cramped worse than what I usually do, and all I could picture was standing up out of the car the night my water broke with the twins. I think those memories are making me even more nervous during this pregnancy. On a good note, the dr. and the nurses at Alere worked together last night to change my medicine a little, and I feel much better this morning. I now take the Procardia every 4 hours instead of every 6.

Things looked great at my dr. appt. yesterday. Even though I was feeling so bad, my cervix still looked great, with no funneling. The babies were so active that it was hard to even get heartbeats. I just love watching them wiggle around in there. My blood pressure has been running perfect, but I'm not sure that the dr. expects that to last. He mentioned that since I have high blood pressure when I'm not pregnant, and I got pre-eclamptic with Lilya, I am probably going to eventually run into some problems...we'll just have to deal with that if the time comes. The biggest concern yesterday was that I am not gaining any weight. The doctor has said that I need to be eating something with protein every hour. I should get at least 4000 calories in a day. If those were orders before I was carrying four babies, I would have said, "No problem." I can barely eat enough calories for a normal diet right now, so this is going to be pretty challenging. Again, I will do my best to follow all the doctor's orders so that I can stay home with Lilya and Tony as much as possible. I really worry about what we will do with Lilya when that time comes. I know that we have family that is willing to help, but my mom has been really sick, and can't keep her as much as she would like to. Dave and Suzie (Tony's parents) have been so wonderful to keep her whenever I have an appt., but they will soon be leaving for Florida for a while. She really is good when it is just the two of us, but if it comes to me being put in the hospital, I'm just not sure what we'll do. I guess that is just another one of those things that we will have to deal with when the time comes. I'm just glad that I'm feeling better for now, and am able to enjoy more time at home with my family. I love reading all of the guestbook entries...thanks for leaving personal messages to let me know you're thinking of us!
Wednesday, March 2, 2011 1:57 PM
So, Lilya came down stairs this morning and she was completely naked. When I asked her where her pull up was she said, "Upstairs...I pee on my floor." I don't even know why I bothered to ask her why. She answered just how I expected her to, "Because, I pee on my floor." Wow, it seems like the less I am able to do, the more she does to prove that she is into the "terrible two's" stage. I have felt so bad for Tony lately. He works all day, and then comes home and has to clean all of the messes that she has made all day. He's so great...never complains, just makes sure that we are taken care of during the evening. This weekend, he will get a little break. Lilya is going to spend Friday and Saturday night with my dad and his family. This will be the first time that she has stayed with them, and the longest that she has been away through the two of us at one time. I am so thankful that my dad and Margaret are willing to take on another little one to help us out.

Switching gears a little to me and the babies. Last night I had 10 contractions the first time that I monitored. I tried to blame it on the fact that I was watching the Purdue/Illinois game, and they were stressing me out, but I really hadn't been feeling great towards evening time. The second time I monitored was much better, probably due to taking my medicine and drinking lots of water. This morning's strip still looked good...only showed 2 contractions. I'm still feeling a little crampy, but nothing like I had been a couple of days ago. This morning when I took a bath, I noticed that when I could feel the babies kicking, I could also see my stomach moving. This is the first time that I could actually see them move instead of just feeling it...so amazing.
Saturday, March 5, 2011 1:16 PM
It's a quiet day at the Stewart house. Dad, Margaret, and the kids picked Lilya up at 5 yesterday, and she won't be home until Sunday evening. Yes, I did cry as she left. She had just woken up from a nap, and she kept crying, "'bout you, Mommy?" When I would tell her that I was staying at home she would cry harder and say, "but I want you." It broke my heart, but I knew that the minute she was away, she would be fine. Dad sent pictures of her playing peek-a-boo at the dinner table and laying on the couch with John, watching Bambi. I was right, she was fine.

I have been wearing a pregnancy belt for the last couple of days to help hold my belly up a little. It has done wonders for the back pain that I was having, and I'm not sure that it's related, but I haven't monitored more than 3 contractions in an hour since I started wearing it. As we are approaching the 22 week mark, that is a very good sign. Although this pregnancy is very different from a "normal" pregnancy, I am starting to feel a little more relaxed, and am able to enjoy the baby bump (or mountain) and all of the little movements I'm feeling inside. This is the last time I will experience all of this (we have decided that no matter the outcome of this pregnancy, our family will be complete) , so I am trying to just enjoy every moment of it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 9:56 AM
Another Dr. Appt. is in the books. Everything looked great yesterday, and I had even gained 4 lbs. Probably the only time in my life that I will be thrilled with gaining 4 lbs in a week. I was so glad that my cousin, Brianne, got to go along and see the babies. I think I've said before how much I love sharing the experience with others. It was quite the experience too...we had to take Lilya along. She did fine, but has developed quite the attitude lately. It's a good thing she's so stinkin, rotten, cute, and can get away with it. Everything looked perfect with the babies, and they said that I looked really good as well. I'm still feeling pretty good, and am feeling a lot of fetal movement...I love it! I have been having trouble sleeping the last few nights. It seems like no matter what I do, I can't get comfortable. On top of that, my hands are now starting to swell and fall asleep while I'm sleeping. It happened very late in my pregnancy with Lilya, but I'm about the same size now as I was then. I guess it's a minor complaint considering there are 4 little ones in there.

We also became the proud owners of our quad crib set yesterday. Thanks again to the Kelly Crossing Church in Frankfort for donating the set to us. My momand George helped Tony get them to our house, and then they took Lilya home with them for the night. She was so excited to go and stay with Mammaw and Pappaw. We are so lucky to have so much help!

It seems amazing that we are only 5 1/2 weeks from reaching the first goal of 28 weeks. I'm feeling very confident and think that we'll have no trouble making it even farther. It is like I can feel all of the love and prayers surrounding us and carrying us through. If you're reading this, and keeping up with our progress, I am guessing you are one of those people, so thank you.
Thursday, March 10, 2011 11:05 AM
Welcome back heart burn...I have not missed you at all over the last 2 1/2 years, and I hope you do not choose to stick around for the rest of this pregnancy. It has been hard to sleep at night because...well, because my belly is so big, I have 4 little ones (make that 5 including Lilya) kicking me all night long, I have to wake up every 4 hours to take medicine, and I have to use the bathroom about every 2 hours. Add to that heart burn and a 2 1/2 year old with a stuffy nose, and you might as well forget sleep at all. Let's just say that last night was a rough one. Not becuase I didn't feel well (other than the heart burn), but because Lilya is not feeling well. I felt so bad for her, she'd say, "I can't breathe, Mommy." about every hour. Colds are so tough when they are this young...you can't give them anything. I have to admit, I also had a brief moment of panic in the middle of the night. What am I going to do when I have 5 with stuffy noses that can't sleep????? Last night, I could hold Lilya and rock her a little to make her feel comforted. I don't plan on my lap ever being big enough to rock 5 at one time. I have a lot of love to give, but will I be able to make all of these babies feel the love that they need? I imagine that is a thought that all mothers feel at some time or another if they are having their second baby. I guess you get rid of one worry...I was just feeling comfortable in this pregnancy, and then you find something else to worry about...how will I ever show an equal amount of deserved love to all of my children? I'm sure that just like the rest of my concerns, God will show me the answer. Until then, bring on the Tums and keep the tissue close...I have a feeling it's going to be a long couple of nights.

Sunday, March 13, 2011 11:47 AM
We are quickly approaching the viability mark! I will be 23 weeks tomorrow, and the babies are viable, they can survive, at 24 weeks. I am still feeling really good, and haven't been having too many contractions. In fact, Friday night was the only night that I had to remonitor (I had 8), and even though I blamed it on the fact that Purdue played terrible during their first game in the Big 10 tournament, I'm thinking that it might have really been the stress from Lilya falling down our stairs when she woke up from her nap. She was fine, but it scared me, and I did run and pick her up and cuddle her of course. By yesterday I was feeling well enough that I took Lilya to my mom's and headed to Wal-Mart. It was the first time I had left the house by myself in a long time. The weather was so nice, and it felt so good to get out. I made sure to make it a quick trip, and still felt good by the time I got home. Today, we are just going to spend the day resting up.

I've been thinking about how the dr. has his goal of getting me to 28 weeks, so I figured I should start setting my own goals. I really think that I can carry these babies to 33 weeks, so I'm setting that as my FIRST goal. Once we get there, I will decide on what comes next. I'm so excited to be blessed with such a wonderful experience. I thank God every day for the progress that we're making with this pregnancy. I can't wait to update after my appointment on Wed. this week!
Thursday, March 17, 2011 10:02 AM
More good news from the doctor yesterday! The ultra sound tech said that I have a "champion cervix". It is such a relief to know that the cerclauge is doing its job, and that is one less thing I have to worry about. All babies had good heart beats, and looked nice and comfy tucked in there.

There seems to be so much to do around here to get ready for these little ones. Tony is working so hard, and it is driving me crazy that I can't do much to help out. I feel so guilty that he works all day, and then comes home to do nothing more than work until it's almost time to go to bed. I want to be able to help out more (or at least be able to hire someone to come in and do the work for us), so that he can relax and just spend time with us when he comes home. I know that he is starting to feel stressed too, like there is too much to be done and not enough time to do it. I guess we are going to have to make a list of the most important things, and go from there. This experience is definitely changing the way we do things around here.
Saturday, March 19, 2011 9:40 AM
Hello weekend! After the day I had with Lilya yesterday, I am so glad that Tony is home to help with her today. I thought she was getting over the cold, but she has now developed a deep cough, and is very grouchy. We had to go to CVS to get more medicine yesterday, and she cried the entire time we were in there. The pharmacist said she didn't know who looked more exhausted, me or Lilya and asked how much longer I had to go...I'm sure she was expecting me to say that I was due any day now. I always wish I had a camera when I tell people that I'm carrying four. Anyway, I got my prescription filled a lot faster than I have in the past, so the grouch butt and I were headed home for her to continue her fit for, oh, about the next 2 1/2 hours. At least my evening ended with a Purdue win in the first round of the tournament, and I only ended up having 1 contraction when I monitored...proof that things are going well right now!

Monday, March 21, 2011 9:12 AM
What a great weekend! We spent a lot of time outside soaking up the beautiful sun, and Tony and I even had an evening to ourselves again (thanks to my sister, Amanda). I have been feeling so good lately that we were able to get out of the house and go to Olive Garden for dinner. It was delicious, and amazingly, I still felt good when we left, and we spent the rest of the evening enjoying the NCAA tournament games (Way to go Butler!)

Today we are celebrating the 24 week mark in the pregnancy! Unfortunately, it might have to be celebrated with a trip to he doctor for Lilya. She just can't shake this cold, and this morning started crying that her ear hurts. It really breaks my heart when she is sick...she just hasn't been her same, cheery self for almost 2 weeks now.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 9:48 AM
We are already missing the sunshine and the warm weather from the past couple of days. With the nice weather came another good report from the doctor. The cervix is still measuring over 6.5, which means we are getting our money's worth out of the cerclauge. The babies weighed in at 1 lb. 8 oz. (A), 1 lb. 7 oz. (B), 1 lb. 6 oz. (C), and 1 lb. 4 oz. (D). It is getting pretty cramped in there, so pictures aren't very clear anymore, but the live view is amazing. I'm still posting the newest pictures, but like I said, it's hard to tell what they're of.

We have come up with names for of the four babies. Our baby girl's name is going to be Jaylyn Rae (after nannie and poppie), the two boy names we have are Oscar James (after my grandpa and Tony's grandpa) and Harrison Kerry (if you know us well, you should be able to guess how we came up with this name). We are still trying to come up with another boy name. Hopefully they hang out in there for a while longer, and give us a chance to think about it.
We are still very excited to hit this viability mark, and still have things going so well. I definitely believe in the power of prayer, and I know that we have multiple people praying for us right now...it is the best gift that we could ask for right now.

I head back to the doctor tomorrow, and they are going to measure babies. I'll be sure to update soon with measurments and new pictures! Thanks again for all of the thoughts and prayers.
Thursday, March 24, 2011 3:44 PM
Have I mentioned how much I love Spring Break, even though I haven't been working for the last 3 months? I have been able to visit with some of my favorite teacher friends, that I miss so much while I'm not working. It's been great to catch up!

The weather has been so beautiful this week (until today), but I'm exhausted. This has been the first week in a long time that I had to get out of the house for more than just my doctor's appt. I took Lilya to the doctor on Monday, and they determined that she does have a sinus infection, so she's on Amoxicillin. I had my doctor appt. on Tuesday, and Lilya and I had another appt. again today. A girl asked me today if I knew what I was having...another candid camera moment when I said, "Three boys and a girl." She didn't even reply with anything...must have been soaking in. Anyway, now, I can finally relax until my next appt. on Tuesday.

I know there a quite a few people who are keeping up to date on my progress through this journal. I plan to print the entire journal and guest book, so the babies know how many supporters we had through this. If you haven't had a chance to sign the guest book, please do so at least once, so I will be able to show them your support. Thanks again for all of the thoughts and prayers!
Sunday, March 27, 2011 11:53 AM
Have to admit that I didn't get the rest this weekend that I should have. Lilya and I made a trip to Wal-Mart that was a lot easier since my best friend, Amy, picked us up and took us on Friday afternoon. Yesterday, it was great to see our friend, DeAnn, and her daughter, Erica. They brought us lots of yummy treats. Yesterday, I took Lilya over to play with Layne for a little bit, and last night, Amanda picked us up and took us to the bowling alley. My uncle and cousin have been home this week from Oregon, so the family decided to get together for a night of bowling. Even though I couldn't bowl, it was still fun to sit back and watch everyone and spend some time with the family. While there, a man tried to cut in front in line at the concession stand...not a good idea. In the past, I probably wouldn't have said anything, but I did speak up and tell him that I had been waiting there first. No, it wasn't the fact that I was starving either, but I really cannot be on my feet for that long without feeling like my belly weighs a ton. He was very understanding, and let me go ahead and order...smart move on his part. Like I said, I probably should have been home resting this whole weekend, but still this morning, I had zero contractions. I kind of feel like I should enjoy doing things while I can at this point, as long as it isn't causing me to go into labor.

Like I said, no contractions this morning, but the cold that Lilya and Tony have been fighting has now found me. My nose is clogged, and I have been coughing terrible...yuck. I am not running a fever over 99.0, so I don't think the doctor will even do anything for it. Unless I am feeling worse by tomorrow, I will probably just wait until my regular appt. on Tuesday to see if there is something that he will give me.

I am so excited that we have made it another week. 25 weeks tomorrow! That means just 3 weeks until I'm at the doctor's first goal for me. The time really does seem to be flying by. I am so excited for friends and family that are about to welcome babies of their own too. I think their countdowns have helped mine to go by quicker.

Stay tuned for updates of this weeks doctor visit! Thanks to all who have signed the guest book and left us encouraging messages. I know that this is going to be such a keepsake someday!
Monday, March 28, 2011 11:30 AM
Yesterday, the boys went to see a movie, so Lilya and I were home alone. I was working on writing a few thank you cards, and she was on the floor playing with a fake rose that lights up (one of my students gave it to me when I told them I was expecting). Out of nowhere, she asked, "Where's my grandma?" I thought she might have meant Tony's mom since she has been in Florida for the last month, but we call her mammaw, so I asked, "Mammaw Suzie?" She said, "No, my GRANDMA." The only person we have ever refered to as Grandma is my Grandma MaryLou, so I asked, "Grandma MaryLou?" She said, "Yah, where's my Grandma MaryLou?" I felt bad because I immediately started to cry. It has been the first time since I lost my grandma in November, that I have been forced to think about it. I told her that she went to heaven to be an angel, and her answer was, "No, I need to see her, I miss her." How exactly was I supposed to answer that, when I thought about it, I felt the same way.

Grandma got sick about the time that we were trying to get pregnant this time. My mom went out to be with her, and they were so excited to find out that we were successful. I had talked with Grandma and told her that she needed to get better because we might need her to come and help take care of babies (at the time, we knew my blood count was high, but weren't sure how many we were expecting.) As the next few days went by, she got progressivly worse, but she was still hanging on. See, my cousin was only about 20 weeks pregnant too, and we have both been very close to my grandma. Grandma had gone from talking about helping us with babies to talking about how she was not going to take any babies to heaven with her. I realized that she was only hanging on because she was worried that it would upset us enough that it would cause something to go wrong with our pregnancies. I could not stand the thought of her suffering for my sake. I didn't want to lose her, but I told my mom to let her know that I would be strong, and if it was her time to go, I understood and knew I would have one more special angel to see me through this pregnancy. Grandma passed away a few hours later. My cousin and I both held strong, and Danielle is expecting her baby girl, Mary (after Grandma), next week. I know that on top of all of the prayers that I have coming here on earth, I have an extra special angel watching over and has made sure that I made it this far...25 weeks today!