About six years ago, shorty after graduating from college, I moved from my home state of New Jersey to Las Vegas, Nevada to pursue my career in education. I was offered a position as a second grade teacher at an underprivileged school in one of the largest school districts in the country. My boyfriend at the time, Ryan, now my husband, moved out to live with me six months after I started teaching. We lived in our first apartment together. Eventually, he proposed to me during one of our Saturday morning walks. We got married, and bought our first house.
Shortly after moving into our house we wanted to start a family. We started off by adopting our first dog together, our Bassett hound Lily. We struggled with infertility for about two years and went to see a phenomenal fertility doctor, Dr. Cindy Duke. After some testing we decided to complete an IUI cycle. We knew that there was a good chance that the IUI wouldn’t work the first time. Surprisingly, we were extremely lucky to get pregnant that first cycle! We were in complete shock at our first ultrasound. We saw all four babies at that first appointment. I remember when the ultrasound technician said that she saw four babies we both sat in complete silence. All the excitement of being pregnant disappeared. We knew there was a chance for multiples but we never thought that there was a possibility of quadruplets. If anything, we thought we’d have twins. We learned that carrying four babies was extremely risky. I had many appointments in the beginning to closely watch the development of the babies. I went into every appointment with an open mind set. I knew that bad news was in the cards and that there was a possibility of losing one or even all of them. From the very beginning, we were proposed with the option of “reducing” to two babies. This was the hardest decision we ever had to make in our marriage. Normally, we pretty much agree on everything. This was different. My husband and I struggled with deciding what to do. I was attached to all four at the first ultrasound and especially when I heard all four heartbeats. However, my husband on the other hand was a bit hesitant. He thought more logically and financially and I thought with my emotions.
We didn’t have to decide right away. We only shared our pregnancy news with close friends and family. Everyone had an opinion and advice on what they’d do. Most people we talked to said to reduce. I think it’s hard to say what you’d do until you’re actually in the situation yourself. My biggest fear was jeopardizing the health of our babies. Ryan and I didn’t go a day without talking about what we’d do. My pregnancy was an emotional rollercoaster with having this decision.
After confirming that all babies were healthy and growing appropriately at our anatomy scan, we decided to go forward in keeping all of our babies. We knew that raising all four babies in Vegas would be extremely difficult without any help. At 20 weeks pregnant and the start of the Covid outbreak, we made the move back to New Jersey to be close to family. Being pregnant with quadruplets was stressful enough but being pregnant during a pandemic made things so much more scary! Once I moved to New Jersey, I had to go to my doctor’s appointments alone. I was going to a high risk MFM doctor and a gynecologist. My appointments were long and drawn out. Some ultrasound technicians struggled with doing a scan with four babies. I had appointments as long as four hours long. I hated being alone, especially when getting bad news.
I delivered the quadruplets at 30 weeks and 6 days. During my 27 week appointment with my MFM doctor is when the bad news started. My baby “A” at the time (Luke), was showing signs of reverse blood flood. This was concerning and needed to be closely monitored. I started having appointments every other day. When carrying quadruplets, you already know that you’ll never deliver at full term. We expected an early delivery. We knew that the babies would have to spend time in the NICU. However, the goal was to make it to 34 weeks. The longer they’re in, the better the outcome. With Covid on the rise, my doctor wanted to keep me out of the hospital. From the beginning I was expecting at some point that I’d have to be on bed rest. However, this wasn’t the case. I was always mobile even though some days I struggled with walking and moving around. I kept going in for scans and Luke’s blood flow wasn’t improving. At 29 weeks, my doctor had me get a steroid shot to help develop the lungs. On June 5th, at 30 weeks and 6 days, baby A’s blood flow started to look worse. My MFM doctor called for an emergency C section.
We had an amazing team of doctors and nurses that were eager to deliver the quads. They were all sweet and took amazing care of our babies. I was in more pain than I expected during the c section. My husband was able to see the babies shortly after the delivery once they were all situated in the NICU. Our babies were tiny, all two pounds and then some. We anxiously waited to hear how they were doing and if they had any major health concerns. After a few hours, I was able to go with Ryan to quickly see the babies. The nurses rolled me on a stretcher around the NICU to see each baby (they were all in different rooms).They were all hooked up on different wires but were stable.
Since COVID was at a high, we had to follow the extreme restrictions at the hospital. Visitors weren’t allowed. Deliveries weren’t allowed. Those short few minutes after my delivery were the only time Ryan and I were able to see the babies together. The NICU had set visiting hours for parents to see their babies. Parents were only allowed to see their babies for two hours and only one parent could visit a day. Cellphones and picture taking were prohibited. This was upsetting and seemed unfair. We had four babies, all in different rooms at the NICU. We had to spilt up those two hours amongst all four babies. Those days were so difficult and seem like such a blur now.
Our babies bounced around the NICU and to different floors of the hospital due to overcrowding. After a few weeks, things began to lighten up. Pictures were allowed. It wasn’t until the last few weeks before discharge that both parents were allowed to visit together. Those weeks were my favorite memories of the NICU. It was nice to be a family together.
Our parents and siblings met the babies as they came home one by one. Logan came home on July 11th. Luke was scheduled to come home on July 15th. He was footsteps from the door of the hospital and had an apnea episode and was readmitted. Ruby came home on July 16th. Luke and Rylee were discharged on July 27th. It was really difficult in the beginning having all four babies home. Can you say sleep deprived! But with time and a strict routine, it got easier. The babies are thriving and are finally sleeping in the night. We are thankful to have the help and support of our families. It really does take a village! This has made us so much stronger and closer as a couple. The babies are doing better then expected and we couldn’t be more happier with our instant family! We look forward to a bright future raising our sweet miracle babies!
I wear my Tiny Tags with pride! It represents my journey into motherhood. It reminds me of my struggle with infertility and my emotional high risk pregnancy carrying quadruplets. I’m so grateful to have four healthy babies and my Tiny Tags necklace is a perfect reminder of my story.