Where to begin? These past 6 months have flown by but also feel like years, I'm not sure how that's possible! This is going to be a long blog so I apologize in advance!
I realize haven't written a blog post since the babies were born. It has seriously been a whirlwind since that day with no end in sight. There is constantly someone who needs me, whether it be a feeding, changing, medication, doctor appointment or just for cuddles....someone is always needing me. It is currently 10pm on a Monday night. All children are in bed and I've just finished tidying the house because we have an 8:30 am visit with early intervention. Life never stops!
Our lives have changed so much these past 6 months. From having babies in the NICU and our smallest being under 3 pounds to having four rolling infants with our largest weighing in at 14.4pounds! Time hasn't stopped no matter how much I want to freeze it. Things change so quickly when there are five children in the house that sometimes I'm unable to cherish the moments because they happen so fast and I'm always moving on to the next changing, feeding etc.
I always pictured myself with two kids and I would drive a cute little SUV. Today I have five kids and drive a big white Ford E-350 12 passenger van.....man I seriously never imagined that!
I thought that by now I'd be working for a big company or still teaching, putting my bachelors and masters degree to work. Instead I just earned a doctorate in stay at home mommy.
I've learned that life isn't always what you imagined it would be and sometimes there is another plan for you....one that you never imagined.
I get asked daily "how do you do it?" My answer every time is "I just do?" I don't have time to think, I just have to do. I didn't get lessons or a handbook on raising quads although I should invest my time in a raising quadruplets 101 book because it would have been amazingly helpful! Everyday is a new adventure and I assure you, if you were given quadruplets to raise you'd also find a way to "just do it". At the end of the day if everyone is alive I consider it a successful day. The first couple of months we were in survival mode and that's okay.
The babies are growing and thriving. They are rolling, babbling and trying to sit up. Although there is still some concern with our littlest ones (Hailey and Michael) with their weight gain they are still developing right on track.
If you follow our Facebook page you know that Michael was hospitalized shortly after he left the NICU with the flu. He still has some difficulty breathing so he has a nebulizer twice a day. Every doctor we have seen tells us that Michael will out grow this and that makes me feel a little better.
They are all developing their own personalities!
Hailey is by far the firecracker. She may be the smallest but she has a big personality. She has the biggest gummy smile and most expressive eyes. She is always happen and thinks everything is funny.
Michael is our tough and sensitive little man. He's a mommies boy for sure. He loves to stand and has the girls he meets wrapped around his little finger.
Benjamin is our biggest boy and also the most laid back. While all the others are crying he will just sit back and watch the show. He loves to "talk" and flirt with everyone.
Ellie is Miss serious. She needs to scope the situation out and warm up to you before she will show you her smile. She is also the most independent, she is trying to sit up, crawl and steal all the toys.
Over the past 6 months the babies have been on the news, on the cover of a magazine, they attended their first BBQ competition, their first fair and first trip to the mall. They also had their first visit to the beach! If this is any inkling on how the rest of their first year will be I'd say we're headed for a crazy beautiful ride!
Today marks three weeks that I've been living in the hospital. It seems that the days are getting longer but still keeping the end goal in sight.
This week started off rather eventful in labor and delivery but has since then died down. On Wednesday we had the biophysical profile scan for the quads. This measured lots of things such as their movements, fluid, cord flow and watched for them to practice breathing. All babies passed with an 8/8! I also had another bpp scan done on Friday for baby C our smallest baby. She passed with 8/8 again. Due to her size I will be getting scans on her twice a week now just to keep a closer eye on her. I still receive ultrasounds daily to check on all the babies heart rates as well.
Im still having contractions daily, sometimes consistently but then they tend to slow down after awhile. We are still taking it day by day and are 9 days away from reaching our 32 week goal for delivery. I will be amazed if I can make it that far!
I had some visitors this weekend. Keith stayed the night on Friday and Saturday my dad, sister, grandmother and Alex came! Alex and I cuddled and watched movies which was then followed by a tearful goodbye. The goodbyes never get easier and this time Alex didn't want to leave me which made it even harder. I know it will all be worth it in the end, but it's so hard when your in the moment. Today my cousins came to visit. We took a wheelchair and went down to the gift shop and cafe. It was great to have a change of scenery.
People used to stare at me before when I could walk, now that I need to use a wheelchair I feel like an even bigger spectacle to look at. I feel that I need a sign for my belly proclaiming that there are four babies inside. Many people have asked how big my baby is, and that I'm about to pop. When I tell them there are actually four babies they no longer know what to say!
9 more days seems so short, yet like eternity. This week I've struggled to stay positive and just want to go home. I want my body back, I'm tired of being in pain, tired of not sleeping and just missing family and friends. I know this will all be a distant memory soon but this week has been a real struggle for me.
Oh I almost forgot! I was given a new air bed mattress for my bed. Last night was my first night using it and it made a world of a difference, I was able to get a little more sleep, hopefully it continues to stay as comfy as last night!
Heres to another week!
This past Sunday around 4pm I started having contractions. I called my nurse as I wasn't sure if what I was feeling was the real deal or not. She hooked me up to the monitor to measure the contractions. Things were slow at first but then a switch flipped and I started having intense contractions that were coming every minute.
At this point my nurse paged the Dr on call to come up and check me out. She checked my cervix and I had not begun to dilate yet which was a good sign. The Dr ordered I get an IV and fluids in hopes that the fluids would calm the contractions. After a full bag of fluids my contractions were still happening and becoming more painful. At this point I received my first steroid shot for the babies lungs as well as a pill that is known to stop labor.
We monitored my contractions a while longer and there was no end in sight. The Dr checked my cervix again and I had still not started dilating...still a good sign. At this point the Dr decided to bring me down to labor and delivery to be monitored.
Once in labor and delivery (it was about midnight now) I texted Keith to let him know I was moved, but still wasn't sure what was happening. Keith headed to the hospital after this news. Once settled in labor and delivery I was started on magnesium. Holy Moly no one warned me that it would burn going in, nor did they warn me that I would then continue to burn up on the outside as well. The room was freezing and I was sweating. It was the most unpleasant thing I've been through so far this pregnancy.
Contractions still were coming strong even though I was on magnesium and was given a pill every four hours to also help stop labor. I was also unable to eat or drink during this time....the babies were moving like crazy, I was sweating and had an unquenchable thirst but could not have anything!
Monday is a blur as I hadn't slept, drank or eaten since Sunday afternoon. I was lightheaded, nauseated and burning hot. My nurse felt bad and thankfully snuck me some ginger with ice, that was the best thing ever. Monday night the Dr checked me again and stated that I was 50% effaced and a fingertip dilated. It didn't sound like much but since we didn't want dilation to happen at all this was not good news and meant that I may in fact be in active labor. The Dr gave me my second steroid shot and stated that right now our only goal was to keep me pregnant untill 6pm Tuesday so that the steroids had the full affect on the babies.
Hearing this stirred up many emotions. I wasn't ready, but i was at the same time. Will my babies be healthy? Will the steroid help? Will my body make it until tomorrow? The NICU Dr came down and talked to us about what to expect if the babies were born on Tuesday. This helped me feel a little better, but also scared about the unknown.
My nurse started preparing things for the babies delivery, their little bracelets, blankets, equipment etc. That is when it hit me that this may be the real deal, we might be meeting our four babies tomorrow, Woah.
I continued to receive the magnesium and fluids throughout the night and Tuesday morning like magic my contractions slowed down and eventually stopped.
My primary Dr came down to see me and joked that I just needed a little excitement. She stated that since things had calmed down I could stop the magnesium and start to have fluids to see how my body tolerated it and if contractions would start again. I was able to shower and eat. I had a few contractions here and there but nothing alarming to the Drs.
I was then told I would be going back up to the 8th floor. I joked and asked about what if this happened again, my nurse simply stated "then you'll come back here!" What a rollercoaster the past couple of days were. From coming to terms that I was meeting my babies, to then being told nope today is not the day! I am thankful that I am able to carry them a little longer but also long to have my body back and be back home with my family. Right now we are still shooting to make it to 32 weeks and are taking things day by day as I am still having contractions anything can happen.
Today I have been in the hospital for exactly 2 weeks. These 2 weeks have been boring,long and yet somehow fly by all at the same time. I have been finding new ways to keep myself busy. My daily highlights have been walking to the ice and water machine to refill my pitcher, showering, watching the price is right and of course my daily ultrasound when I get to see the craziness going on inside me, holy body parts everywhere!
This week I even got to leave my floor for my growth ultrasound to see how the babies are growing. For this event I even put on JEANS! This was the highlight of my week, getting to leave the floor and interact with the public for a short while haha!
The ultrasound started off a little different than it has in the past. I was sitting on the table and the ultrasound tech had just begun scoping out the babies when all of a sudden I broke out in a complete sweat and couldn't breathe! Yes I almost passed out during my ultrasound! The weight of my belly is now so heavy that laying on my back caused my circulation to get cut off. Needless to say we were able to complete the ultrasound but I had to lay on my sides.
All babies looked well and are growing. Baby C is still measuring small but the doctors have assured me that her fluid, flow and placenta look great. We will be getting a biophysical profile scan done in the near future to look a little closer and see if there is anything specific that is causing her to be on the smaller side. Based on how the scan goes will determine if delivery plans will be moved up or not.
Right now we are aiming for delivery to be at 32 weeks.... this means I would have a little over 2 more weeks untill they are here! Holy cow!
I also had many visitors this week which is always great and brightens my day! A quad mom from NH who has 7 year old quads also came by to visit. It was great to talk to a quad mom in person! She relieved some of my fears and proved to me that yes I will in fact survive life with quads! Yes it will be crazy, Yes it will be hard and yes I will survive!
Keith came on Friday so we ordered take out and watched a movie, this is becoming our Friday routine and I look forward to it all week! Alex came to see me Tuesday and Saturday and I love every minute I'm able to spend with him. It is still hard to say goodbye and I don't think it will ever get easier.
We we're also interviewed by the Union Leader this week and our story was published in this Sunday's Union Leader. I will attached a link for the online article as well.
All in all this week went smooth and I survived another week to tell about! The food still hasn't changed but thankfully I have amazing friends and family that have stocked me to the brim with food and snacks!
As always thank you for for the support and prayers and I hope you are enjoying our crazy journey!
Today marks one full week since I have been admitted to the hospital and what a long, overwhelming and crazy week is was!
When we arrived at the hospital last Sunday the floor of the hospital that i will be staying on did not have any empty rooms! I said that it was okay and that Id gladly go back home untill a room opened up. They assured me that they would have a room for me and that I did not need to go home....bummer! Low and behold a patient went into labor and was moved to the labor and delivery floor, her room was then cleaned and that room became my new home....or so I thought! At around midnight the nurses rushed into my room saying that the "suite" room had opened up and they wanted to move me into that room before anyone else was admitted. I thanked them for moving me to the best room on the floor and tried to fall asleep for the night,
A typical day in the hospital is busy but also quite lonely. Wake up calls start around 5:30-6:00 am and begin with my vitals being taken. Around 6:30-7am the Doctors that are working the floor that day come in and introduce themselves, talk about any concerns and ask how I am doing. 7:30-8am my nurse for the day comes in and introduces herself and gives me my morning meds which include a prenatal vitamin, and iron pill, a baby aspirin and a shot of heparin which is used to prevent blood clots,For the first 3 days I was also receiving an Iron infusion via IV. By 8am I am fully awake and order breakfast. The food is very blah and thankfully I have a Dad that can cook! He has stocked me up with breakfast sandwiches and meals to eat when I do not want to order room service. My go to safe food for room service has been a grilled cheese with soup!
Around 12pm the Doctors come in with the ultrasound machine and check the babies heartbeats. Then at 2pm I get my vitals checked again. I pass the time in between by reading, watching Netflix, writing thank you cards from the shower, trying to learn how to crochet, walking the halls and browsing the gift shop.(I am still currently able to walk around a few times a day, no complete bedrest just yet!) Filling my day has been the hardest part. I make sure to shower and put on actual clothes daily just so that I continue to feel human.
Around 3pm is the shift change so my new nurse will come in and introduce herself and usually will come around 5pm to check my Vitals. I then get my 2nd Heparin shot around 8pm and last Vital check around 10pm. The first few nights I was given Benadryl in hopes that it would help me sleep as sleeping is non existent due to being uncomfortable. I find it works half the time to get me to sleep.
The hardest part has been being away from my son and family. We try to Skype every night which helps but just isn't the same. I've had quite a few visitors this week which has really helped! Keith's Birthday was also this week so on Friday he came and spent the night. We ordered take out and watched a movie. It was nice to have a nice night with him since I hadn't seen him all week! We also had a tour of the NICU where the babies will be after they are born, that was a very eye opening experience.
We also had an exciting experience and we were on the local news! We never imagined that it would blow up the way it has and we have heard that even people in Arizona have seen our story! It is amazing and we are blown away by how fast our community has come together for us after seeing and hearing about our story. I will post the links to the news articles and videos below.
So far everything looks very well. Babies are healthy and growing and I am healthy and not showing any signs of going into labor anytime soon! They predict I will be here for a while so we will see!
If you follow our Facebook group you know that recently I was admitted to the hospital. For those that do not follow our group I will fill you in. On Thursday a received a call around noon from my Dr stating that I passed the 3 hour glucose test and I do not have gestational diabetes. I was very happy to hear this good news and went about my exciting day of home bedrest. At 445pm I received another call from my Dr, hoping that she wasn't calling to tell me she read my results wrong, I answered the call. This time she called to tell me that she was concerned about my blood pressure and that it was elevated. I mentioned to her that I've been having pain in the upper right side of my stomach because she asked me how I was feeling. This set off a red flag as apparently elevated blood pressure and pain where I had described are classic symptoms of preeclampsia. At this point my Dr asked me to come to the hospital to be assessed as I am very high risk carrying quads. This is when everything got very interesting.
At this point Keith was not home from work yet, and did I mention that there was a blizzard happening outside? Snow was falling rapidly about 1-3inches per hour and it was recommended that everyone stay off the roads. My Dr stated that I could also go early in the morning around 6am if the roads were too bad. Do you know what happens when you tell your husband and family that your Dr needs you to go to the hospital?!....you go right away! My dad thankfully has a truck that is well equipped for the snow and was ready and willing to bring us, he would be here right away he stated. I begged for him to give me time to shower and pack and then we were on our way.
The roads were horrendous! The highway was not plowed and there were cars off the road everywhere. Many times I stated that maybe we should turn around and wait until morning but we trudged on and after a 2 hour drive we arrived safely at the hospital. I swear if the ride were a minute longer I would have gone into labor!
I walk to the ob triage room, which is conviently right at the entrance. The woman gathering my information asked me if I was here to turn myself in, I stated "hopefully not yet I'm only 26 weeks!" We both had a good laugh about that and then I was wheeled into my triage room.
My blood pressure was taken and was still elevated. (Not surprising after the drive in I just had!) I was then asked to provide a urine sample and of course about 4 tubes of blood. I was then taken for an ultrasound to check on the babies.
The babies looked great so I was wheeled back to my triage room. I was told that my blood work looked fine except my iron was low which we all already knew. My urine also came back clean and free of protien, which can also be a sign of preeclampsia if protien were present.
Then we waited....for hours....in a room where the tv did not work!
I was still having pain and could not sit up straight. At this point they gave me Tylenol (which of course did nothing). Around 2am I was told that I was going to be admitted for further monitoring and testing just to completely rule out preeclampsia.
2am was also the time we started my 24hr urine sample....when I heard this I knew I was going to be in the hospital the next night as well and potentially until I delivered.
When my room was ready I was wheeled up to it and that is when the real fun began! I said my good byes to my dad, Heidi and Keith as they were going to head home for the night. My two nurses came in and introduced themselves and started the monitoring of the babies. This took four nurses, they had to locate each babies heart beat and strap a monitor on me once they found it. They would find one, strap the monitor on and then the baby would kick and move. Needless to say this was not very successful so they wheeled in an ultrasound machine and checked the heartbeats that way. At this time it's about 330 am. I am give a Benadryl to help me sleep and a jug of ice water that I am asked to finish. I'm also given a jug to collect my urine, this is just glorious!
I finally fall asleep when of course I need to pee. Once back in bed the nurse comes in to check my vitals, all normal. Try to fall back asleep and am woken up at 630 for heart rate checks and vital checks before the night nurses leave. Everything is good and I try to go back to sleep.
Ar 7 am my new nurses come in to introduce themselves. I am also woken up to my "morning meds" which I will find out also includes and daily shot so that I do not develop any blood clots. After this is all said and done I can no longer fall back asleep so I am given a menu to order breakfast. Egg whites, tofu scramble and turkey sausage are a majority of my options. Don't you know I'm carrying quads....I need calories....I need fats! I order whole wheat pancakes and a side of fruit.
During breakfast the high risk ob on the floor for the day comes in to introduce herself. She wheels in the ultrasound machine and checks the babies. This time she places a band aid on my stomach when she locates each babies heartbeat so that the nurses will have an easier time trying to find it with the monitors. Now I try to nap before Keith arrives for the night. I finally fall asleep when there is a knock on the door, it's the nutritionalist. She asks what a normal day of food for myself looks like. She then tells me she does not have a meal plan for someone expecting quads so she orders extra ensure shakes for me as I told her I find those the easiest to drink for the extra calories I need. She leaves, now time for vitals! Vitals done and look good. Refill my jug of water, I'm told I'm not drinking enough so now the nurses are monitoring every ounce of liquid I put in my mouth. Time to pee! Nurses measure how much I've peed so far.
now to attempt to nap again. Knock knock, this time it's housekeeping. She leaves and I again attempt to nap. Time for baby heart rate checks! This takes about 30 minutes. I order lunch, grilled cheese and tomato soup. Keith arrives!
Shortly after Keith arrives the night time OB comes in to say hi. Decides she wants to take a look at the babies so brings in the ultrasound machine. Everything looks great. Night nurses come in and introduce themselves. Time for vitals and baby heart rate checks. I order dinner and Keith and I attempt to watch a movie. Nurse comes in to give me Tylenol, measure my liquid intake and measure my urine outtake. Refills my water jug and stresses I drink drink drink.
Time me to try to sleep for the night when all of a sudden there is a loud noise outside. It's the helicopter bringing patients. The landing pad must be above me as I am on the 8th floor. Helicopter leaves and another one comes. This happens about 4 times. Finally it is quiet again but now I have to pee from everything I've drank. Back to bed. At 2am the nurse comes in to collect my urine for the 24 hour sample. Now to try to fall back asleep. 3am vital check! 530 vital check! 630 baby heart rate check! 7am morning meds, daily shot and new nurses say hi. 730 new ob comes in and says I'll be going home! Everything looks fine. All my labs are great, blood pressure is great,babies are great! They chalk down my pain to my muscles stretching. They also tell me they have seen patients ribs crack and break due to the stretching so if things get more intense I need to let them know. And of course one more ultrasound before we leave!
This makes me really want to be able to stay home as long as I can! But I will of course do what is best for the babies and I. I am thankful to have such caring and thorough Drs caring for the 5 of us.
Sorry this blog was so long!
On December 3,2016 we were joined by family and friends to celebrate the Cook quads. Keith and I were blown away by all the love and support we were shown. It's an amazing feeling to know that their are so many people who love and care about you and are behind you 100% during this incredible journey. It was great to see everyone in one place, some friends that attended I hadn't seen in about five years! Our 3 year old son Alex was also present at the babyshower and enjoyed opening the many presents for us. He also practiced some big brother skills by bringing binkies and toys to soothe other babies at the shower, that gave us a glimpse of the great big brother he will be! It was an amazing day and also very busy! After the shower we realized we did not get a family picture of the 3 of us but many other great parts of the day were captured. The shower cakes were the cutest I've ever seen! It was a perfect day shared with the people that mean the most to us.
We are the Cook Family.!We had our son in 2013 and decided to try for one more....then we found out we were having 4! Follow our amazing journey as we grow from a family of three to a family of seven.