The featured blogger this week is Rebecca of A Beautiful Ruckus! Rebecca is the proud MoM of 17 month old quads, Caleb, Abigail, Elijah, and Elizabeth.
How did you get into blogging?
The announcement that we had quadruplets on the way definitely caused some interest among our friends and family! Immediately, the text messages, phone calls, emails, and FaceBook messages started pouring in. Unfortunately, I was so sick that I was having trouble even going to work, and my husband immediately found himself with all of the household responsibilities as I struggled through the pregnancy. We just couldn’t keep up with responding to everyone! Several people suggested that we start a blog to keep people in the loop without becoming (more) overwhelmed ourselves. It was such a fantastic idea!
It quickly became a way for me to document our very unusual pregnancy and family situation. At some point, it subtly changed from just a way to communicate with friends and family, to being a “babies’ book” of sorts. Now that they are a little older, I’ve started to include tips for other multiples parents, posts about mothering multiples, and information about how we keep our marriage going in spite of the stress of multiples.
I’m excited to one day share our story with our kids through the posts and pictures that I’ve been putting together since we found out that we were pregnant two years ago!
How did you and your husband, Sean, react to the news that you were expecting quads?
There isn’t a thing in the world that can prepare you for lying on a sonogram table and hearing the words, “I see three babies…no, wait. There’s a fourth sack. It looks like you are having quadruplets.” WHAT??? I immediately started shaking(that happens when my adrenaline kicks in) and quickly dissolved into tears. I looked over at Sean and he had one of the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen on his face. He was thrilled! It took him a couple of weeks before he fully comprehended how dangerous this was going to be for me and the kids. I knew immediately that we were starting down a very, very difficult road and nothing would be easy from that point on.
At the same time though, we knew immediately that God had a special plan for our family and He wasn’t going to send us through it without His help. Talk about a faith growing experience! Whew!
How was your pregnancy and delivery?
Honestly, as quad pregnancies go, I don’t have much to complain about. We were blessed to have a relatively uneventful higher-order multiple pregnancy. However, as pregnancies in general go, it was tough! Whoever came up with the term “morning sickness” obviously had a better time than I did! I was so ill that I could only keep cereal down for the first trimester. The doctor had to send in a special request to our insurance company for some intense anti-nausea drugs that are normally reserved for chemotherapy patients. My coworkers and boss got used to seeing me lying on the floor of my office trying not to throw up. I think I only had 3 or 4 days during the entire pregnancy when I felt normal and relatively well.
Initially, we were told to expect bed rest by Thanksgiving (at about 16 weeks), but I made it to the end of the year working full-time. At that point, I was on modified bed rest for a month at home. At 23 weeks, 6 days of pregnancy, contractions started up and we found ourselves in Labor and Delivery. The fantastic staff at the hospital were able to stop my contractions, which were about four minutes apart at that point, and I was hospitalized for the following four weeks.
At 27 weeks, 6 days (exactly four weeks later), my contractions started up again. Medications didn’t slow them, and the monitors that I was hooked up to showed that they were ten minutes apart. By the time the doctor checked me, I had dilated to a 7 and was immediately rushed in for an emergency c-section.
The biggest blessing of the day was that my husband’s boss had sent Sean to the hospital when the contractions started up. Sean was there when they took me to surgery and held my hand throughout it. He even got to see the kids’ being born!
What tips or advice would you offer to a quad mom-to-be?
It’s overwhelming. There just isn’t a way around it. But don’t get so caught up in the “what-if’s” and the “I need to do’s” that you stress your way clear through the pregnancy. The calmer and less stressed you are, the better off you and your kids will be. The “what-if’s” may or may not happen and the “I need to do’s” will get done eventually. The main goal at first is just to carry those little ones as long as you possibly can!
I think it’s also important to keep some semblance of your pre-kid self after the babies arrive. When they first came home, it was all I could do to update our blog once a month. After the first year, I realized that it was really healthy for me to do things that I love too! I now try to blog twice a week and I’ve picked up my baking again. Writing and baking were things that I loved to do before kids, and I find that I’m saner if I make time to do them now too!
In our lives, the most important thing that we have learned is to trust God with the details. There have been several points where we just didn’t know how we were going to make it whether it was physically, emotionally, or financially. But we have found that God is really good with keeping track of those things and meeting us in our needs. It’s humbling and amazingly awesine to see how God has taken care of us! I can’t imagine trying to wade my way through this without Him.
Your quads are just over a year old, what has been your proudest moment from the past?
Watching them reach their first birthday was one of the biggest highlights! That first year is so critical that you almost find yourself holding your breath half of the time. Their first birthday meant that everyone was (finally) off of their portable oxygen, apnea and bradycaria monitors were history, and we had successfully made it through the first RSV and flu season. On top of that, Sean and I survived…and we were still smiling!
Of course I’m proud of each of them individually, but one of my favorite moments was when Ellie, my youngest and littlest baby, took her first steps. When she was born, the doctors found cysts on her brain during routine head scans. We were told that she could potentially have cerebral palsy which could prevent her from walking. There was also a situation in the hospital where the breast milk feeding that Ellie received was incorrect. A nurse accidentally gave her some breast milk that belonged to another mother. The other mother had some serious health concerns that required additional testing to see if Ellie had contracted anything through the mix-up. There were some very sad things that Ellie could be going through, but she isn’t. Her first steps really were a huge triumph for her!
What can I say other than that God has been incredibly kind and gracious to our family. So much more than we ever deserved. It’s humbling to be on the receiving end of a blessing like this and to watch Him take care of every need…sometimes before we are even aware of it!
What question, or questions, do you have for the other families in the community?
We have reached those insane toddler years, and sometimes I just want to pull my hair out! I need some good toddler-friendly activities that we can do inside as the weather gets colder. I’ve tried crayons, but they eat them. I’m pretty sure the same would happen with play-dough. If I only had one kid, the crayons and play-dough might work because I could hover over them, but with four, they eat faster than I can move! What are some things that we can do altogether that preferably don’t involve ingesting non-edible items?
Also, does anyone have tips on how to make mealtime clean up easier? I find myself cleaning our entire dining area (high chairs, table, floor) three times a day as the kids are so messy! I know getting messy is part of learning, but it would sure be nice if I could speed up the clean-up time afterward!
Be sure to leave your answer to Rebecca’s question in the comment section and then head over to A Beautiful Ruckus to leave some bloggy love!