Tuesday, January 31, 2012

60+ Degrees on the Last Day of January...We'll Take It!

Not very often does it get above 60 degrees on the last day of January here in Indiana.  Even less often does the Super Bowl and all of it's festivities come to Indianapolis (In fact, this is the first year).  So, of course on this beautiful day, we chose to go check out the atmosphere of all of the Super Bowl hype in downtown Indy.
We were so happy to meet up with one of our favorite NICU nurses, and walk around for the afternoon.  I'm sure that you could guess with so many people in the area, we heard many, MANY comments on the quads.  The usual, "Oh, you have your hands full!",  "Wow, she has FOUR babies.", "You are so blessed.", and the not so usual, "Wow, I've never seen a four banger!", "And, I'm never having kids (random guy).", "You want one more (offering their own kid)."
Most of the time, I tried to smile and keep walking...no eye contact is the key.  Check out the memories we made.

The Quads with the Colts Super Fan!  We still love the Colts!

Welcome to the circle!

Posing on the circle.

The stadium.

Jaylyn stayed awake the entire time, and took it all in.

Harrison liked taking in all of the people.

Lilya was so good the whole time we were downtown.

Benjamin was our only fussy one...think he might have been a little hungry. (looks like I starve him, huh?)

Such a happy boy.  Laughing at me during a feeding stop.

I am so glad that we were able to get out and enjoy the day.  I wish the little ones were old enough to really take it all in and enjoy the events, but at least they will have a few pictures to remember it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

I knew the time would come.  See, the plan had been to have ONE more child.  If I got pregnant in October, that would be perfect.  I would be due at the beginning of July, and could start back to teaching at the beginning of the year.  Instead, it was November that we were told we were having FOUR.  We were faced with the first of many decisions.  We could go to Chicago and reduce the pregnancy to one or two, or we could take the chances with a very risky pregnancy of quadruplets (it was a very easy decision in my eyes).  I would work through December, and had all intentions of working until Spring Break (March).  My body had another plan.  Another decision I had to make...continue to work, or go on modified bed rest at home.  I chose to listen to my body, and did not work the rest of the school year.  Once the babies were born in May, I made the very quick decision that I would not go back to work this year.  I am so glad that I get to be home with my little ones, watching them grow and change every day.  Now, I am faced with the next big decision of this journey.  Go back to work or stay home.  I have gone back and forth in my thinking over the last 8 months, but I have made up my mind.  In every decision I've made so far, I have thought of my family and what would be best for us.  I have done the same now, and have decided that I will go back to work in August of next year.  I will soon begin my search for child care, as I want someone that will come into our home.  I ask for prayers on this journey.  Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Where does the time go?!?

Yesterday, while we were getting ready to feed the four o'clock bottle, I mentioned to our help that the babies were going to be 8 months old today.  She said, "Well, I'm sure it hasn't seemed to go by quickly to you, but I can't believe they are already that old."  Funny thing is, I'm not sure where the time has gone.  I want to take a little time to tell you about each of the little ones and their adventures over the last 8 months.
 Oscar James was born first, and weighed just 2.15 pounds.  He was the smallest yet feistiest from the very beginning, and he didn't stay small for long.  He loved to eat, and even when the doctor thought that they were ready to take as much as they wanted, they had to put a cap on his feedings.  He just wouldn't stop...has his mama's appetite! As you can tell in the picture, he had a head full of dark hair and a darker complexion than the other three.  He had a temper from day one, and not much has changed.  He smiles the easiest, but when he isn't happy, look out!  One day, when I was visiting them in the NICU, we had quite the scare with Oscar.  His heart rate jumped to over 220 bpm (and he wasn't even throwing a fit).  Before I new it, there were doctors and nurses all around him.  They held a bag of ice on his head, and the heart rate began to drop.  The next day, he had another episode.  This time, it required medication to bring it down.  He was diagnosed with SVT's, and spent 2 weeks longer than the others in the NICU while the doctors made sure they had his medication and reflux under control.  We have come such a long way in the last 8 months.  At our last trip to the heart doctor, he let us know that he is going to let him outgrow his medicine dosage.  In March, we will begin weening him off all together.  While he is still our feistiest, he is definitely no longer the smallest.  Weighing over 15 pounds, he still LOVES to eat.  This last month, we started feeding baby food.  Oscar will eat anything I feed him.  I am yet to find a food that he doesn't like!  He can roll from his belly to his back and back to his belly, and he uses rolling as his way to travel around the living room.  He pushes himself up, and looks like he would love to start crawling all over.  He found his voice at about 5 months, and of course says mostly, "dadadada".  He still has a head full of dark hair, and is such a charmer.  He is quite the flirt for an 8 month old!  He has a very pitiful fake cry and a very adorable smile.  My heart just melts now that he has started to reach for me while he's sitting in the feeding table or the bouncy chair (which reminds me...we've now traded the swings that were so popular when they were younger for the bouncy/play seats.)
Next up, Benjamin Ryne.  He has been our biggest from Day 1.  Weighing in at just 3.8 pounds at birth, he now weighs over 18 pounds!  His hospital stay was so easy.  He was on a ventilator for the first couple days, and the rest of his 32 days in the NICU were spent feeding and growing.  Things were a little different when we came home.  I noticed that he sounded more wheezy than the others.  At one of our wellness checks, I asked the doctor, and she said that his tonsils were bigger than the other's.  It didn't seem to be a problem until the first time we all got colds.  After a night at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital, and another trip to the emergency room, we now have a Nebulizer that we use when we notice that his breathing is labored.  We have been very blessed that this is all it has taken.  No more trips to the hospital for Benjamin.  Benjamin is also progressing very well.  He can roll both ways, and pushes himself up while he scoots backwards...can't quite crawl forward yet.  He followed suit with his brother, and started saying "dada" shortly after Oscar.  He loves to eat too! He really likes veggies, and makes the funniest faces when I feed him fruit.  He really likes to be with his brothers and sister in the feeding table.  He will sometimes look at the others and just laugh.  He has a laugh that comes straight from his belly.  It really sounds like something you would hear for a ring tone.  His favorite seat is the jumparoo.  He bounces until he falls asleep, wakes up, and bounces some more.  I can't imagine what all of that energy is going to get me when he is able to run around!
Then, we have our precious little peanut, Jaylyn.  She was only 3 pounds at birth, and now weighs just a little over 12 pounds. She is a dainty little thing, and everything about her lets you know that she's a girl.  Her NICU stay was very uneventful as well.  She came home at the same time as Benjamin and Harrison, just 32 days in.  Our biggest issue since she's been home has been her reflux.  She has always been a pretty big spitter, and of course, I worry since she is so little.  Just like all of the boys, she takes Prilosec to help with the burning, and since they are eating more solid food now, she has been doing much better.  A few months ago, we had First Steps evaluate the babies to see where they were developmentally.  No one qualified for services, but she did qualify for a recheck for her muscle tone.  I am really hoping that they come back soon to check her.  She isn't quite keeping up with the boys.  She doesn't roll over, and she doesn't use her arms to push herself up and hold her head up.  When I put her in the bouncy seat, she picks her legs up instead of pushing to stand.  She seems to be liking baby food better now that we've been trying it for the last week or so.  At first, she would just spit it out, or gag until she puked it up.  Now, she seems to tolerate pretty much anything I feed her.  She makes me smile everyday with the noises she makes.  She has definitely found her voice, and says things like "dada".  She will click her tongue, mocking me when I do the same.  She also has started entertaining herself with a gurgling sound.  I love to hear Lilya talking to her.  She always says, "Hi, JayRae...Hi, my pretty girl."  I know they will have so much fun together some day.

Last but not least, Harrison Kerry.  He's the baby of the group, and in the beginning, it seemed as if he would be the one to lag behind.  He was the second biggest of the group, weighing 3.5 pounds, and now weighs 16 pounds. But, in the NICU, he was on oxygen longer than the others, and had his food put on a pump because of reflux.  Just when we thought that he would need a longer stay, the doctors decided he was ready to come home with Benjamin and Jaylyn.  He hasn't slowed down since.  He and Jaylyn are so much a like.  They look the most alike (other than size), and they make all of the same sounds.  They are the only two that suck their fingers (no one takes a pacifier).  Harrison shows a lot more strength though.  He can roll to get to wherever he wants to go, but he is also pushing himself up like he will be crawling soon.  He is also standing on his own now!  If I put him next to something that he can hold onto (couch, bouncy seat, etc.), he will stand for long periods of time without me holding on to him.  I really think that he will be our first walker.  He enjoys the feeding table like the others.  He is a good eater, and flaps his arms to let me know that he's ready for another bite.  He has also started reaching for me, but seems to be patient when it's someone elses turn.
This is it...It's all I've ever wanted.  I am so blessed in so many ways, and I give thanks to God.  If you are not a mother to high order multiples, I can imagine how difficult you must think my life is.  It is not.  Sure, we may have more dirty diapers and a little more crying than the average household, but I have more love, smiles, babbles, hugs, kisses, laughs, than a mother could ever dream of! I wouldn't trade this life for anything in the world!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What it's like

One of the most common questions a mother of multiples is asked (besides, "How do you do it?") is, "What is it like?"  I thought I'd post a few pictures to give you a peek into what it is like.

It's loading and unloading four carseats when you want to get out of the house.

It's saving space anyway you can.  Even if that means that you go with the stackable crips that when the gates are down, look like monkey cages.
Four of everything!
It's turning your dining room into a functional space for babies...filled with a changing table, feeding table, rocking chair, baby seats, baby toys.

It's knowing that there are so many people that will help out whenever, wherever they can.  Having so much love coming in from so many different people.

It's knowing that crying is normal, and there are going to be times that not everyone is happy.  It's ok for them to cry.

It's finding ways to still get out and let the older sister have fun.  Again, it involves being surrounded by so many people who love us!

It's finding stores with big enough aisles that our stroller can fit down.  Knowing that it is going to draw attention wherever we go.

It's having furniture that you would usually only see in a daycare, but it looks much cuter in your house because it is filled with the cutest faces you have ever seen.

It's being contacted by complete strangers who have seen you in the newspaper or on the local news, and have been inspired by your story.  It's feeling like you personally know other moms who are in the same or similar situations even if you have never met them personally.

It's taking turns...getting shots, taking baths, eating, changing diapers, snuggling with Mommy, and the list goes on and on.

Best of all, it's the love, smiles, and giggles that our house is filled with everyday!

Is it hard work?  Of course it is.  Raising one child is hard work.  Would I trade it for anything in the world?  Absolutely NOT!  I am in love with these beautiful children, and I wouldn't want it any other way!