Thursday, December 31, 2009
I know that our children and our lives and we are going to change each and every year, but we have a foundation now. We are a family of seven. We work. We love each other and we function as a team. We will have struggles, but we will face them together. My parents have a sign in their family room that reads, "Family is Forever." I have always joked that that is a for better of worse statement. Now, as I lead my family into a new year, I appreciate that. We have become a true family and we will be forever.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
We got our first decent snow fall, but I have to admit, We just weren't up to the task of bundling up all four babies and Will into their big bulky snow gear. Especially since we are guaranteed that at least one baby wouldn't like it and would cry to come in within five minutes of getting outside-- after thirty minutes of preparing!
Monday, December 28, 2009
I have a lot of catching up to do. We have had a lovely and blessed holiday season, but Mom was a slacker in the blogging category. So here is a past due post about our big boy Will's first Christmas concert with his preschool class. He was so excited about this. They sang "Jingle Bells" and he got to ring a jingle bell. He was so adorable. He took it very seriously. He came home disappointed the few days they didn't practice at school and we would practice at home. He knew every word and would sing them loudly. We sang the song often enough at home that the girls started doing the "Ha!ha!ha!" part. It was really adorable. Unfortunately, I don't have that on video. I do have Will's debut. He is in the front row wearing a green shirt with the red jingle bell he so loved. Even after all of our dedicated rehearsing, none of the kids sang. All you can hear is the bells and the poor teachers trying to sing loud enough to be heard.
Then the kids did a short second number. It was cute and Will was so proud. If you ask him, he will tell you he sang the whole thing. Just Mom and Daddy came, so the babies didn't steal any of his thunder. Afterward, we went out to eat and did some Christmas shopping. Will picked out a present to give the babies. It was such a nice day and so good for Rod and I to get to spend some time focusing only on Will. A great start to the holiday season!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Anyway, what this means is Izzie and Julia went on Tuesday. They both passed with flying colors! They have reached or passed every developmental milestone. They are my two biggest talkers, so there was no concern there. My only concern about Izzie was that she has a flat spot on the back of her head. People keep telling me I'm crazy, but her head is not shaped right. When I mentioned this to Dr Fiedler, he did agree that she has a flat spot, but he said it is not severe and not harmful. She doesn't need a helmet or anything. Yeah! I was a little worried about Julia's funny walk. She is a little bow legged and walks very gingerly. Dr Fiedler had her walk around the room several times and she did her funny strut like a tiny super model. Then he sat her on her bottom in the middle of the room and she scooted herself into a squat and pushed straight up from there to standing. He declared her fine. He said she is just more timid than the others and has a wide stance to ensure her balance and walks like she does everything-- carefully. The girls each got their MMR and their seasonal flu booster. Visit #1 was a success and finished!
On Thursday, I took Drew and Paige to see Dr Harmeling. Dr Fiedler is our regular Dr, but he was off on Thurs. Fortunately, we like Dr Harmeling a lot also. I didn't actually have any concerns about little Miss Paige, but I was concerned about Drew. He can walk. He walks fine. But he still chooses to crawl sometimes. I would say he is about 70/30 walking/crawling. The girls only walk. Dr Harmeling said the "normal" range for walking is any steps by 15 mos. Since he is obviously in that range, she is not concerned. She said he may just be more confident crawling still and it may take a while before he is exclusively walking. My other concern was his speech. Now I know that girls tend to develop faster than girls, but he doesn't babble nearly as much as the girls. By 15 mos, they are supposed to have five words. Drew has one. Mama. And he doesn't even say it that often. Dr Harmeling said that he may be "speech delayed", but she just wanted to wait and see how he is doing at 18 mos. If we are still concerned, she will send First Steps out to the house to evaluate him. The babies got the same shots, and we were on our way. All four babies' visits finished!!!!
Overall, our 15 month appointments went very well. I'll keep an eye and Drew's speech, but I'm not letting myself get too stressed. He is a boy and a quad, he may just need a little more time. Even if he needs speech therapy, this isn't that big of a deal. I'm so blessed. My children are growing bigger and stronger everyday and they are so healthy!
Here are their weight and height updates:
(I can't remember their actual heights, only the percentages)
Izzie 22lbs 1oz 75-90% height
Julia 20lbs 0oz 95% height
Drew 25lbs 8oz 90% height
Paige 20lbs 3oz 75% height
So, everyone is tall. The girls are still a little thin, but they are all comfortably on the charts, so we are happy with that. It is hard to believe these kids started life at 3 and 4 lbs. They sure made up for lost time!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
We attended my multiples groups' Santa Luncheon this weekend. The kids were good and did a great job meeting Santa and Mrs. Claus for the first time.
Julia meets Mrs. Claus. Yes, her bow stayed in her hand the whole time, but just look at those big blue eyes!
Will knows the drill. He came out and met Santa like a little gentleman.
But the babies decided that wasn't going to happen. Good thing Santa and Mrs. Claus are so experienced with kids. Not everyone can hold on when they all decide to get down at once!
This was the closest we got to everyone looking at the camera at the same time.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
My next quad hurdle was the stockings. Our house is unusual in that there is a fireplace in the family room, but not the living room. I can not hang the stockings from the mantle or the babies will pull them down. That wouldn't be the end of the world, but this would also bring down the heavy stocking hangers we have. I don't want a baby brained by a brass stocking holder! I still do not have a solution for this. I even ordered these beautiful personalized stockings for everyone before I realized they have nowhere to go. Need to work on this and quickly. Saint Nicholas Day is this weekend, and he needs stocking to stuff! All suggestions are being accepted.
Will loved helping to decorate!! Here he is wearing a Santa hat, two stockings and the tree skirt as a cape. He looks like some sort of Christmas Superhero!!
Monday, November 30, 2009
Fortunately, my husband's family celebrates Thanksgiving the weekend before (see earlier post), so we are free to spend all day Thanksgiving Day with my family. For the last two years (since having the quads), we have hosted my family for Thanksgiving. This is no small undertaking. I am the fifth of eight children. At this point we are up to 16 adults and 11 children. This is only my parents, my siblings, their spouses and children. While it is some work cleaning and getting ready to have everyone over, it is actually easier than dragging the kids over to someone else's house and bringing high chairs, and all the other accessories that come with four 1 yr olds. While I technically host, I am not much of a cook. My Mother still handles most of the food, then my siblings and I fill in all of the side dishes. In preparation for the big day, I made sure that the camera battery was charged (a step I almost always forget, so I was particularly proud of myself) and left the camera on the kitchen counter figuring that was where most of the action would be. That afternoon, I went to take a picture of my sister Cathy and couldn't find the camera. I looked everywhere. I knew that I had left it out, but it was gone. For some reason, I never thought to ask Rod (you know, the only other adult that lives in my house) if he knew where it was and I just gave up. Well, that morning Rod had seen the camera sitting on the counter and thought it might get hurt in the crazy rush of cooking, so he put it up in the office. He was trying to be helpful. So I have no pictures of the day. Oh well.
The big moment of the day was when my youngest sister Tessa, 23 in grad school, and her boyfriend of 3 yrs, Ray, showed up. They announced they were engaged! He had proposed the weekend before. My Father knew it was coming because as a proper gentleman, Ray had asked his blessing, but Daddy didn't know when. Everyone has gotten to know and really likes Ray. We are all so excited for him to officially become a part of our family. I was amazed at how emotional I became over this. Tessa is our baby. I remember her being born. I just can't believe that she is all grown up and getting married. I did mention possible flower girls and ring bearers. She is Paige's Godmother... May God bless Tessa an Ray and give them a lifetime of happiness together.
Another year and so very very much to be thankful for. Thank you God for our many blessings.
Monday, November 23, 2009
The babies have discovered Will's old tool bench and love playing with all of the tools, but their favorite part is the safety goggles. Mommy had to adjust them so they will stay on their little peanut heads, but they are the best toy around!
Paige hanging out in the kitchen with Grandma and Aunt Laura.
As usual, Drew is just chilling.
Paige stopped by to visit Meemaw.
Julia with Aunt Connie and my nephew Dan.
Izzie spent most of the time with Mommy. She was feeling a little clingy. This is her running back to me.
Drew gets a cuddle from Aunt Myra.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
All of the babies were born healthy on a Monday morning. That Friday, Izzie had another ultrasound done. She had an extra right kidney. Well, more specifically, a partial kidney. I joke that I was so busy making body parts, I just didn't know when to stop! One week after being discharged, I had to take Izzie to Cincinnati Children's Hospital for more testing to see exactly what we were dealing with. I still remember that first appointment. My tiny 3 wk old preemie who had finally reached 4 lbs had to have an ultrasound (non-invasive-- no big deal), a VCUG and a dye test to see the function in each of her kidneys. These last two tests are much more invasive and my poor little sweetie hated them. Her Mommy hated them just as much. They had to run catheters, but her itty bitty urethra was so small, none of the catheters were small enough. They had to use the smallest feeding tube available. Anyway, with all of this testing, they discovered that the additional kidney had function, but the ureter did not connect to the bladder like a normal kidney. Instead, it connected directly below the bladder to her urethra. Long story short (too late), she would have normal function, but we would never be able to potty train her. She would be able to feel a full bladder and empty it, but always have a trickle.
The game plan was to monitor it with regular ultrasound, then remove it between 9-12 mos of age. The surgeon, (Dr. Defoor who we love) thought this was the best age. We ended up having the surgery at exactly 9 mos old, on June 8th. Dr. Defoor removed the kidney and cleaned up her good right kidney (they were attached.) The surgery took about 3 hours and it was the longest 3 hours of my life. Thank God, he came out and gave a great report. He was able to get in and out with no complications and everything looked perfect!
Izzie was an absolute champ! She spent most of that evening sleeping or awake and groggy. At one point she woke and acted hungry. The nurse brought me a bottle, but said she probably wouldn't each much. I had to send the nurse out for more formula. Twice!!!! She said that was definitely a good sign. We spent 2 days in the hospital and she was released on June 10th- my Dad's birthday. We came home and had a big dinner with my whole family to celebrate Izzie's homecoming and Gpa's birthday. It was a wonderful night!! I got to see my parents and siblings and nieces and nephews, be with all of my children and sleep in my bed instead of a hospital pull-out sofa.
We had follow-up 6 wks later, then this past week we had to repeat all of the tests. Izzie passed with flying colors!!!! Dr. Defoor wants her to have an ultrasound each year until she is 5. As long as her right kidney continues to grow proportionately to her left and we don't see anything unusual, she is golden!
This is such a weight off of my mind. We have been fortunate that at no point along the way did Izzie act 'sick', but still knowing that something wasn't right with my little girl was horrible. I was always assured that worst case scenario, you can lead a very normal life with 1 kidney, but I'm grateful that it didn't come to that. Once again, God has held my children in his hand. We are so blessed.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Any quadruplet pregnancy is high risk. At my first appointment with my high risk OB/Gyn I was told that we would try to keep them in as long as possible, but that my babies would be born premature. We were blessed with a very uneventful pregnancy and were able to make it to my goal of 34 weeks. My babies were delivered on Monday, September 8, 2008 at 34 weeks 2 days gestation.
All four babies looked great at delivery. They scored well on their Apgars, but since they were preemies, they were examined, swaddled, held by Dad, kissed by Mom and whisked away to the NICU. We were incredibly fortunate. Paige was our baby D and she was the only one who required special care. She was put on C-Pap overnight. None of the other babies needed any oxygen or anything. The next morning, my Mom and I went down to visit the babies. Everyone got a good report except Paige. She had a rough night. They asked us not to touch her and let her try to rest and relax. I sat with her and whispered to her for a little bit, then went and visited the others. After I went back to my room to rest, I got a phone call. Paige had taken a turn for the worse and they had to intubate her. This was the worst moment of their NICU stay. I rushed down to be with her, but I really couldn't touch her now. She had a tube coming out of her throat connecting her to this horrible, loud machine. Through the grace of God, Paige fought hard. She was able to be extubated on Friday. This was also the day I left the hospital and I was so glad that I was able to see her beautiful face without tubes and things stuck to it before leaving.
The next day Paige showed a slight jaundice, so they had to put her under lights for 1 day. When they do this, the baby wears these silly looking glasses to protect their eyes. When I came in the next day to visit, they gave me her "sunglasses." This was my breaking point. The NICU nurses are wonderful and do a tremendous job of keeping mementos for the parents, but as I sat there holding those tiny sunglasses, I just sobbed. By this point, thankfully, all of my babies were doing quite well and simply had to master eating before they could come home. But I realized that not all of the babies in the nursery would be going home to their parents. Ever. Years from now, we'll go through the kids' baby boxes and laugh about Paige's funny first sunglasses, but somewhere, there is a Mother sleeping with those because they are all that she has from her baby. I was so tremendously humbled to be blessed to bring home 4 healthy babies when there are parents praying over the isolette of their one baby they will never get to bring home.
We were fortunate to be near a wonderful NICU, but that is not enough. We need to prevent these children from being born premature in the first place! March of Dimes does wonderful work to prevent prematurity and treat it when it happens. These tiny little miracles need us to fight for them.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Well, I did call the utility company when we got there, and was told a technician would come to the house to check everything out. I was to meet him there in an hour. We got started making a big breakfast. My husband's sister lives right behind my in-laws, so we called over there to invite them to breakfast. Laura, her husband Ed, and their four kids all came by. It was loud and crowded, but nice. Everyone ate eggs, pancakes, sausage, bacon and cereal. After a bit I went back and sat in the van outside of the house waiting for the technician to arrive. He showed up and was a very friendly man. He asked where all of the gas appliances are, then went in by himself to check things out. After only 5 or 10 minutes, he called me in. Everything was fine. He said that the highest reading he ever got was 0.1. He said that is nothing, dangerous levels are in the 100s.He explained that most likely it was a "gas belch" (his words.) That the furnace kicked on, but the igniter took a second to kick in and a small cloud of gas went through the vents and set off the detector, but never put us in any danger. He did say that we did the right thing by getting everyone out, but fortunately, nothing was wrong and we could come home whenever.
I went back and told everyone that the house was not going to explode. We finished up breakfast and cleaned up. Everyone else was getting ready for mass, but we decided that since none of us had showered, or even brushed our teeth yet, we were just going to skip mass this week. We hung out for a little longer, then went home. When we got home, everyone went to bed and the whole family took a nice, much needed nap. When we woke up, it was time for the Bengals game, so we all hung out in the family room cheering on the orange and black! The Bengals won, so this kept the Who Dey Crew happy!
Izzie roots for the Bengals!
Julia says. "Who Dey!"
Paige is the Bengals #1 fan!
After the game, I went to the grocery store, came home and made dinner. Then it was baths and bed for all 5 of the kiddos. Once they were in bed, I went out for some drinks and girl talk with a few neighbors.
An unplanned, but lovely family breakfast, our house didn't explode, a Bengals win and a night out with the girls. What more could I ask for? Especially considering how badly the day began. In the time that we have known about and had the babies, we have learned many lessons, but I think that the main thing they have taught me is to roll with it. I have always been pretty type 'A' and wanted to control everything. Well, guess what? I can't. These kids have shown me that I don't need to control everything, just how I react to it. If I get tense and upset, things almost always end badly, but today was a perfect example of just taking things as they come and even an awful morning can turn into a really good day.
"Be still and know that I am God."
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Izzie was very distracted.
Julia loved seeing everyone in their costumes!
Drew just wanted to get going!!!
Paige gives Halloween a thumbs up!
Mommy's little devils are dressed, loaded and ready to go with their cousin Ana.
Will and Ana are ready to get going
Daniel was a ninja
Evan was a pirate
Taylor was Sandy from Grease
So naturally her boyfriend Sam was Danny.
We had so much fun. Obviously the babies aren't big enough to have a clue what's going on, but they loved seeing everyone walking around dressed in funny costumes. I found myself wondering if they would be willing to stay in the stroller next year. I can't look that far ahead. We have wonderful neighbors who were all so excited to see all of the kids. Halloween is a great holiday because it is just about fun. It is low stress, just dress up, walk around, get candy and have fun!
Monday, October 26, 2009
I have very mixed emotions about Dr. Awadalla, my RE. It is hard to feel anything but gratitude for the man who helped you conceive 5 children when you feared your lifetime total would be 0, however, I can never forget how hard he pushed us to reduce when we discovered I was carrying quadruplets. I believe him when he says that he just wanted the best odds for me to take home at least 1 healthy baby, but being encouraged to terminate some of your babies leaves a scar. Particularly how very hard he pushed. He quoted terrible statistics (which I'm pretty sure were outdated or inaccurate.) I left his office in tears convinced that I was going to lose some or all of these babies and those that survived would be severely handicapped. Because of this, I was not going to miss this reunion. Not in a bratty way, I just wanted him to see my gorgeous, happy, healthy babies and I hope he thinks about my family the next time some woman conceives quads under his care. Maybe he will not be so hard on her.
Even though I went in with these mixed emotions, it was nice to see Dr. Awadalla again. He was very happy to see the babies and Will. He was very sweet with them. I looked around and thought what a great day this was for his office. Surrounded by little blessings you had a role in creating. How very gratifying that must feel.
Will loves the zoo. We made sure to hit all of his favorites.
His favorite animals in the whole zoo, though, are the giraffes. One is even named Tessa. like one of his Aunts.
He loves the animals, but we spent a lot of time in the Children's Zoo. There were interactive exhibits and plenty of things to climb and play on. He loved the spider web!