Friday, December 23, 2011

Easy Button?

Whenever it comes to poo...lack there of, dark, etc. I get concerned...with good reason having been through all we did with Brock. Camden has always been a true poo champion as he is on the Nutramigen (partially digested not milk formula). Grayson and Keaton on Neosure which is milk based and neither poo regularly....they are once a weekers at most. We have been assured that this is just their norm and since they have self induced poos to begin with; they were fine.

So Grayson began getting really dark stools about a month and a half ago. I took him in and they tested for blood; all came back well. His pooing or lack their of became increasingly worse. He became much more fussy as he was trying to get "it" out. A couple of weeks ago while I was feeding them lunch he began to scream unconsoleably. I checked to see if he had a dirty diaper and saw that his rectum appeared to be inside out. I freaked out. After finally finding someone to watch the other two; I rushed him to the ER. He was diagnosed with having a rectal prolapse which they pushed in what had not gone in on its own and also did a physical exam... paranoid me wanted to make sure all else was well. They told us to keep his stool soft by giving him prune juice or karo syrup in his bottles which I did at the next feed.

It wasnt but days later that Grayson continued having little hard stools and would scream as if he were in pain. I decided to take him into the after hours clinic where the on call Dr gave him two enimas along with an hour of rectal stimulation. In my opinion what came out was no where compared what was put in. He did however seem a little bit relieved. We followed up with our pediatrician four days later. She recommended we get a sweat test to see if he had cystic fibrosis as rectal prolapse is a warning sing of the disease in babies. The day befroe the Dr we saw in urgent care called to see if we anted a referral to a GI dr. I told the Dr that night all about Brock and wanted him to know my concerns. He felt that a trip to GI was necesary.

I took him to see GI where we began the apt with the story of Brock. He was already familiar as he reviewed the mistreatment of Brock's case. He also gave me answers I have wanted this entire time; but wouldnt seek the answers. He did not believe Brock had Hirschprungs Disease. he thought that Brock developed NEC while in the NICU (which he had a couple of work ups for; but always came back as to being fine so feeds began again and meds were ended). So a piece of intestine esentially died off causing an obstruction. He never pooed which ended up with him having colitis...and that and sepsis is all she wrote.

So...he was well aware my concern. After hearing Grayson's story and examining his rectum....he concluded he was full of poo and could still feel the prolapse. He as well...had no concern of a blockage or Hirschprungs Disease as he was able to feel and get out some poo. He insisted we stop the mirilax as he did not like children under 1 to use it and said to use 100% juice such as apple and prune. Since we were already at the hospital he sent us for an Xray and also felt that Grayson needed the sweat test for cystic fibrosis which he was able to schedule. I asked if it was needed that Grayson have the barium dye enima (the same as Brock had which showed some sort of block or possible Hirschprungs Disease). He felt that it truly was not needed but if it would make me sleep better and give him complete reassurance...than why not.

I took him to get the xray (which showed a ton of backed up poo) and called to get the barium dye study scheduled. We switched Grayson's formula whcih the GI Dr recommended and he instantly began to poo. This almost made me not want to put him throught the enima study. We took him anyway. I could not bare to take another son to a place that I took Brock just 2 days before he was overwhelming. So while Jeff toook Grayson to what we believed to be a now pointless apt. I took the other two for a walk. While walking back home, I called Jeff to what I thought he would say was all ok. Not so much. Grayson's test looked as Brock's did, there was a narrowing and then a build up of poo. i frantically called my pediatrician to see what we should do. She had already contacted GI and the surgeon. An urgent surgeon consult was put in and they now have three days to call and schedule a biopsy. It is either Hirschprungs disease or the milk allergy which caused the severe block. All I can think of is how I can not lose another baby. She assured me we are not close to how bad Brock got. Brock developed colitis from never going poo. I was told to make sure he has at least a stool a day, not run a fever, and continues to eat. If any of this changes; we go straight to the hospital.

It is hard not to think about the worst or relate the situation to that of Brock's. However; I know I am not in control and HE is. God please be with my baby and keep him safe from harms way. How blessed I am for faith and for a precious little fighter. This is the boy who lived his first month on a respirator, who we were told would come back from hernia surgery on a vent, and who was suspected to not come home until way after the other boys. All he defied....

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Day In the Life

5:30am- Momma wake up time. This is my time to brush my teeth and go to the gym; my one time a day just for me (no time to do hair or get dressed so I sleep in my gym clothes;)

6:45- Home and Chores. Before babies wake up I like to have things "armed and ready". Formula jugs are mixed and 8 am bottles are prepared with meds and formula. I vacuum the carpets, sweep the floors, and spruce up the downstairs. I also put on a load of laundry.

7am- Jeff comes downstairs to eat breakfast and unload the dishwasher (thankful for this as I despise this chore!!).

7:30- Jeff is off to work. Babies wake up. I go and get each baby, change them, and give him a bottle. Once all three are feeding in their boppy's...Isit to eat a piece of fruit, chug coffee and troubleshoot (fix bottles, burp babies, etc)

8- Take babies upstairs to swing or bounce while I get a quick shower.

8:30- Baby bath time. Each boy is scrubbed up, dressed and enjoys tummy time while his brothers get clean.

9:15- Momma loving. This is when I give each baby their own time while the others are tummy timin. Basically, I act like a complete dork to make them smile and I give and get lots of hugs and kisses.

10:15- Prepare bottles with meds and formula. Bring each baby downstairs, change diaper, put in boppy to feed. I once again sit with the boys and troubleshoot.

10:45- Momma's favorite time of day...NAP TIME!!! Babies sleep together in a pack n play in the living room (The kids have a section of the living room where we live during the day equipped with toys, play pin, changing table,, etc).

11- I make lunch for Jeff and myself. Jeff comes home for 20 or so minutes to eat and I enjoy the adult conversation!

11:30-2- Laundry, bottle washing, house cleaning, measure formula in the next day's jug and make "night time" bottles.

2:30- Prepare bottles with meds and formula. Babies wake up for a diaper change and get fed...I once again trouble shoot.

3- Playtime & Story time! I read them a story as they sit in their bumbos (as long as they will until getting fussy then they go in the boppy) as I read them a story (I try to keep it season related so lately it has been the Gingerbread Boy, etc!!)  Boys rotate through jumpers, exersaucers, floor gym...whatever makes them content and happy! I usually rotate through with the boys so everyone gets some more mommy time!

4- Bring babies in the dining room in front of the window to bounce or swing while I do laundry and cook dinner.

4:45- Prepare bottles with formula and meds. Change babies and feed them. Yet again; I trouble shoot. Jeff usually comes home during this feeding.

5- Babies have tummy time or play under the floor gym while we attempt to eat dinner.

5:30-6:45- Entertain!! Jeff and I lay on the floor with the boys while Nick Jr plays in the background. We sing, dance, and act like fools to get some giggles, smiles, and loving from the boys... and to keep them awake!
6:45- Prepare bottles with formula and meds and mix up some oatmeal (learning to spoon feed). Change babies and put in their pajamas and feed them. AHHHH....almost there.

7:30- Swaddle babies, sing them our goodnight song, put to bed!! They sleep horizontally in one crib while listening to 101.9 the Q:) As I walk the swaddled baby boy up the stairs...I say a little prayer that each goes down fights!

7:30- Wash bottles, clean up the kitchen, put a load of laundry on while putting up all of the folded laundry, straiten up the living room.

8:30- Sit!!! I say sit...this is also laundry time, make sure I have everything in line for the next day...a mom's day with multiples is never done!!!! As chaotic, frustrating, never ending a day can be...I look forward to waking up each new morning as I am blessed times 4!

Camden tuckered out

Happy Keaton

Keaton's first bite of pears!

Camden's first bite of pears!

Grayson's first bite of pears!


Grayson and Camden

Camden and Keaton

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Six Months

How my babies are 6 months I just do not know. It is hard to believe that six months ago my fighting 2 pound baby boys came into the world. What once was a frail and tiny little baby, is now a smiling, cooing and rolling over growing baby boy! I get the privilege every morning to go and get three precious little smiling babies to start the day with. It is the hardest job I have ever had...there are no breaks being a mom to multiples. Lunch is taken during nap while folding laundry, preparing the next days bottles, changing out crib just doesn't end. But I love it that way. All of the zombie days full of repetition are worth every moment I get to spend with my boys. They are growing to be so much fun! They coo, they smile, they giggle, they roll over...the only way things could be better would be if Brock was here to embark on these memories with us. When I find myself sulking on my loss; I have to remind myself of the angel God has given to my family to watch over us and protect.

The first year of a baby's life is full of firsts. We have continued our firsts as the boys celebrated their first Thanksgiving. They were decked out in the onesie and my first thanksgiving bib. As momma made the turkey, they enjoyed football watching and bouncing chair fun! We spent the day and eating dinner with our wonderful neighbors! The boys got to taste a bit of the Thanksgiving festivities by licking some of Mrs. Jill's delicious banana pudding! I couldn't be more thankful than for the neighbors we are grateful for and have come to love!

Not having Brock here for the Holidays is hard. I was not certain when I went stocking shopping for the boys if I should get him one or not. As I settled on three stockings that I didn't even love, ( just bought because they coordinated with Jeff and my stockings) Kelsie made things right. She got each of my baby boys (of course Brock included) a stocking with their initial on it. Now my home is complete for Christmas....each of my sweet boys has a stocking going up the stair case in birth order. This is just the way it should be. A first Christmas would not be complete without a visit to Santa. We dressed the boys in festive gear (yes it was matching; and a time it was to keep all clean until the picture was taken) and headed to Bass Pro to get a picture with Santa. Santa looked a little weary as the parents of three little boys were walking up to him. He was a trooper though as he took all three. We got the Santa picture....even though it wasn't picture perfect! Camden was just not happy with Santa (although; I do not think Santa was too pleased with him either!!)!

It has become tradition for Jeff and I to take and send out Christmas picture cards. If ever there were a more memorable card year; it was this one, 2011. I found the cutest little reindeer hats for the boys and of course I had to go in search for antlers for Jeff and I to match. Needless to say Jeff was less than happy to have our Christmas card full of antlers....but it was just too cute!Being that Jeff and I do not do surprises well to begin with; we found all excuses as to giving the boys their Christmas gifts as they were purchased! We wanted them each to have some sort of jumper, saucer, etc. Although they are ready for the new and fun the activity centers we bought for them....they are just too small. We pile on the blankets to keep them supported; but are quickly brought to the realization that they are "really" only three months old...not the six that we sing for.

This Wednesday also is the first birthday Jeff will spend as a daddy. Once upon a time I would plan a party that would go into the early morning hours. Now, we will celebrate it with our neighborhood circle with cake and ice cream, followed by our nightly routine with the boys. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Tis the season to be merry and bright. Although I find myself yearning for my sweet Brock to be here on earth...I know he is in a far better place that is always merry and bright. I look forward to all of the firsts that have happened and are to come....even if it is just with three. I know that I am momma to 4 and that my Brock is an angel to our family. I continue to be blessed times four!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

5 Months

It is hard to think that my babies are five months old. Some days when I find the time (very few and far between) I will read previous posts. To think that around this time last year we were beginning another IUI cycle that would ultimately end up with the boys is just crazy! To think that my little guys are now 5 months old is even more crazy!

It took a few weeks of us being back from burying Brock to get the boys onto a new normal schedule. They knew something was not right and it showed. They didn't eat well, didn't sleep well, and were just not the same. Although I am now also completely down with the new routine...I am just not completely accepting of the fact that I have a new schedule which revolves around three and not four. I do not suppose I ever will be. We were not ready to get rid of Brock's and Keaton's room nor Brock's crib and things so we just did a little rearranging. I could not let Keaton sleep by himself as he no longer had his bed buddy; so I moved all three of the boys into the same crib. They instantly began sleeping better. Even though for now they share one crib, I went ahead and moved keaton's crib into his brothers' room along with his dresser and things. We made Keaton and Brock's room the new playroom still leaving Brock's crib with an outfit of his and a story book inside. I figure once the kiddos are old enough to utilize the playroom; the crib will come in handy for the sleepy, ill, or fussy baby who needs to be put down. The old playroom was made into another guest bedroom as we seemed to keep company lately.

I am constantly reminded of my sweet boy every time I look at his brothers, hear the band perry's song that played at his service on the radio, or every time we bring the boys out and people address the kids as heart just breaks. I don't expect people to know the situation and to read our minds as to what happened and to just know that the boys are quads and not triplets...but it is one of the hardest things to hear. Some days I correct and say no they were actually quads, some days I just say yes here are three babies, some days I even find myself ignoring the attention with a smile and a quick walk away. I can not accept the term triplets; but hope and pray that at some point the hurt related to that statement will subside.

When we were pregnant with the quads we applied for but was denied the Humanitarian...this would allow us to move to a base near home so we had support and help with the boys. When we came back from Florida, Jeff's command recommended us apply again as now we qualify. It is upsetting to know the same order we were once denied,, we are now eligible for and with one boy less. It is ironic to me how that works, however; I also know what is in God's plan as to where we should be...we will be. We should know within the month whether we will be moving back home or close to it at a nearby base. I would honestly be content either way as I have thoroughly accepted that I have no control...He has it all and is far better at managing it.

The boys' celebrated their first Halloween this year as super heroes! Grayson was Batman, Camden was his sidekick Robin and Keaton was Captain America...if he were here Brock would have been Superman; instead his cape and hat is a keepsake in my hope chest. I have to admit...they were the cutest super heroes I have ever seen!!!!

On another note...I ordered a choo choo wagon so it would make me taking the boys out on my own more doable. I just LOVE IT!!! They each have their own "train car" in which for now I place a bobby inside so they are able to sit up. It is just too stinkin cute!!! It allows us to go on walks or chug on down to the commissary or bx for an escape out of the house.

It is fun to see the boys grow and develop. What use to be babies who eat and sleep all day are now evolving into little boys who love to smile and interact. They are just fun!!! It makes for a longer and harder day on me as they actually require attention as they don't sleep all day...but I love every exhausting minute of my day!  What a month this has been; I thank God on a daily (sometimes multi-daily) basis for my sweet family, faith, and supportive blessed times four I remain!

The boys with a few of their favorite  Nicu nurses at the pumkin patch (Kayce is behind the camera!!!:)

Introducing...Batman, Robin, and Capt America!

Daddy and the boys after an afternoon of shopping

Choo Choo time!

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saying Goodbye

I usually have tons of words and much to say...I just do not. Having to plan a funeral for your son just leaves a momma speechless. All I knew was I wanted Brock at home in Panama City and was going to find a way to make it happen; he deserved it. That is just what we did in two days: settled all the important things, booked a flight, found help for the other boys, and flew Brock home to lay to rest. I just can not begin to describe the feelings that overcome when having to plan out a funeral service for a baby...and not just a baby..but my sweet Brock. Nevertheless he deserved the remembrance and the services so we with the support of family and friends gave him a service I will never forget and hope that made him proud. My sister and I put together a slide show of his life that played to the island version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. he service was given my my Uncle, my Daddy read the Psalm we read from the start of the pregnancy, and I read one last letter I wrote and placed with my son. We ended the service and rainy afternoon with the song "If I Die Young" by the Band Perry playing in the background while everyone released what was close to 300 blue and white balloons in the sky. No words are left but the heartfelt letter I read to my baby.....:

"Brock, you have been so loved ever since the day I found out I was having you and your brothers. God must have known how much I needed a baby as he blessed me with four!!! We have all come so far. From the uncertainties of the pregnancy to you and your brothers deciding you were through baking at 27 weeks, to our roller coaster NICU stay and to the ultimate goal of bringing you and your brothers home. I loved everyday of being a quad mom; even though at times it was crazy, I wouldst change it for the world and would give anything to have it back again. You must know just how loved you are son. Ever since that Christmas Eve almost a year ago when your Dad and I found our that we were having a baby let alone four...we were in love! i don not understand why God needed you in heaven but I do know that God does not make mistakes. And even though you are not at home; I am still and always will me your Momma Brock. I have three constant reminders of you in your brothers.

Like I told you all along, I am going to tell you one more time because I am the Momma Brock. Brock...remember what your Momma says...wash behind your ears because no one like the stinky kid and just be happy because no one likes the whine bag. Mommy loves her little B-Rock. And I have one new one to add my baby....always look after your little brothers as you are now their angel to them all and they and we need you!!!! We all miss and love you! And although you are now in heaven, I am and will always be blessed times four."...Love your Mommy.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

At a Loss

It is hard to keep positive thoughts and outlooks when life is just not the same. This past Wednesday morning, my sweet Brock passed away. When we brought him home from the NICU a few weeks ago, we brought him home not eating well and not being able to stool on his own. The problem did not improve so each week when I took him to the pediatrician; I expressed my concerns. After trying all at home remedies to produce poo: prune juice, karo syrup, etc. our Dr began to explore the idea that is could be an anatomy problem or a bowel issue such as Hirschprungs Disease. She scheduled for us to do a barium dye test to track his bowel movement for the next Monday. This elated me as to he would be getting relief as well as us getting answers as to why he is not able to go to the bathroom; something that has been needed to be done for quite sometime.

It wasn't but a day or so after the pediatrician appointment that we noticed Brock becoming even more fussy. We got up and going early on Sunday in hopes of taking the entire family to church. I picked out the boys' matching Sunday outfits and got them dressed and wrapped in burp cloths as to not soil their Sunday best!!! I propped each boys bottle and began to feed. Brock barely took ten milliliters before vomiting a dark vomit with red in it. Because I had been using karo syrup in his bottle; I questioned if it was the syrup...but the red could not be explained. I rushed my little boy to the ER where he continued to throw up dark and red. I panicked on the inside while trying to be a comfort to him. After testing was done and his previous records were reviewed; the ER doctor highly suspected of him having Hirschprungs Disease. What he was vomiting was his own stool. He admitted us to the Peds floor; something I was not ready to do over again. Once on the floor the Dr on call told us that they would not be doing anything for more testing because we had the only test they would have done scheduled for the next day and he was not showing signs of sickness as he was still feeding. Having three other little boys at home I asked if we could just go home and do the test outpatient as originally planned. After seeking the advice of his attending doctor, he cam back and told us there was no reason for us to be admitted but they can not deny a ER doctor from wanting someone admitted so they discharged us. Home we went. Grateful I was. He had no new issues over the night. We got up and going and went to have the test done. As he was getting instant relief from the test; I was anxiously awaiting the results. The radiologist showed me that there was a block in his bowel; not completely blocked off as some of the dye was able to flow through, but bad enough that he can not push stool around and it was completely backed up to one side of his intestines. She highly thought that he had a high transition point of Hirschprungs Disease; which would ultimately require surgery. When was the question. First a biopsy would have to be done to see for sure if the cells were dead and that the disease it was and then the surgery to follow.

The attending doctor we saw while admitted on the Peds floor, called minutes after we left the appointment to discuss the results. He also agreed that Brock's test showed some sort of obstruction and put a consult in to surgery to begin a game plan. He told me he would notify our pediatrician and that she would tell us more of the plan during our Wednesday appointment. We never made it to that appointment.

After the test, Brock continued to have stools during every diaper as we were told to expect since he had the barium enema for the test. He began decreasing what he took in and became very lethargic and screamed when he was touched or moved. It was a rough night for us all. We woke up on Tuesday to a phone call from our pediatrician checking in on him. I told her how he was acting and she said to bring him back to the hospital where they would admit him to follow him more closely. She told us that surgery would see us that day and it would probably take place in a few days. That is not how it happened at all. Surgery never came and the doctors told us it was probably a virus or infection causing the watery diapers, fever and fussiness. Jeff stayed with Brock as someone must accompany him at all times and I went home to be with the boys who were being taken care of by neighbors. I continued on the schedule with the other three boys. Jeff's mom was flying in anticipation that Brock would be in the hospital for a little while as we thought he was having surgery. I was overwhelmed with three other fussy boys and the thought of being away from my little boy. After feeding Brock a bottle he went to get his mom, brought her home and returned to Brock. I got a call two hours later from Jeff. He was frantically telling me that something was wrong and that Brock was now in the PICU and being put on a breathing machine and he didn't think he was going to make it. I lost it. I woke up Jeff's mom and gave her the quick run down on how to feed the babies and sped out the door to get to my baby. I ran as fast as I could up to the PICU where I saw Jeff talking to the chaplain. This was the indicator to me that things were not ok. I went in to see them working on Brock and just held his little hand. The doctor was trying to make an explanation for what was going on with my sweet boy. He thought he had an overwhelming infection as well as his bowels being a cause for his stomach to being so distended that it was causing him not to breathe. The surgeon came to examine the xrays, dye study we had done the day before and to see if an emergency surgery was needed. She came out and told us she did not deem it necessary to do the surgery and told us she would wait until he was more stable at an unknown day or time...days, weeks, months, ? I asked her if she thought he was going to die. She looked at me and said first off what we have heard a hundred times. "I have no crystal ball; however, I do not think so since his counts and numbers were rising." This was reassuring to me. I walked back in to be with Brock and things just get fuzzy from here. His stomach was huge and his umbilical hernia which he has had for a couple of months now that was already huge; was even bigger. His hands and feet had a red rash that was growing. His color pale. His body still. His lungs began not responding to the ventilator so they decided to hook him to the high pressure vent. Before he got to that point; he went into cardiac arrest and they spent the next hour pumping him full of meds and giving him CPR. He was still not responding so they shocked his heart and continued CPR. Two familiar faces from the NICU were with us and I looked at the nurse Brock called his "girlfriend" and asked her if my little boy was going to make it. When her eyes got red; I knew. But I just could not accept it. I prayed like I have never prayed before; begging God to not take my baby. I stayed positive and faithful knowing that he would be spared and an unexplained miracle was going to happen and my baby would pull through. I still wish this was the outcome. However it was not. I had to say goodbye to my little Brock while leaving the hospital with an empty car seat and an empty feeling. I was not a triplet mom, I am a quad mom...I don't know how to just do three babies; I do four. Who was my little Keaton going to sleep with now. What were we going to do.

As much as I wanted to crawl into bed and not get out...I had three other boys ready to start their day who needed a strong mommy. So that is what I did and is what I have done. I had no idea what the next steps were; a momma is not suppose to bury their child is all I knew. I also knew that I had to bring Brock back home to Florida where he belonged and was going to do everything in my power to make it happen. In a matter of two days; Jeff and I met with the necessary people and have arranged his funeral in Panama City. I am writing this from the airport waiting for our flight. I hated to leave my other boys behind. I am fearful that something like what happened to Brock will happen to one of my others; and that scared me. I do not want them out of my sight. This is when I turn to God and pray for that strength. As much as I want to be angry at the doctors for allowing him to go home when he was having feeding and stooling issues and as angry I am for them sending us home after the ER and for the surgeons never coming that day to review him...I can not. As much as I do not understand why my little boy was taken away when he worked so hard to stay here; I know that one day I will find my answer. God does not make mistakes. He knew what he was doing when he gave me my four blessings; and he knew what he was doing when he brought Brock back to heaven. All I know is that now his brothers will always have an angel with them. I yearn for my little boy. I do not want to say that final goodbye on Monday; but I just have to seek the strength from Him to get me through. And even though I have only three boys at home...I will always be blessed times four.

And then there were 4...

Just when we were getting all of the boys on the same schedule and adjusting to life with three kids; Jeff had to go back to work. This was a surprise to me as he intended on taking 30 days of leave. But; his job is our livelihood and besides he is in the military; so a choice he does not have in the matter. I learned real fast how to do three kids with just one of me. It has been my primary goal to get the babies on the same schedule and even with Jeff going back to work; I was set on keeping the schedule going. After watching an episode of "Make room for Multiples" on TLC; I learned how to feed lots of babies at one time...I set each baby in a blanket and burp cloth covered boppy and take two receiving blankets that I use to prop each baby's bottle. While they eat, I burp, change diapers as they finish and "trouble shoot" for when they drop a bottle. I must works fairly well and it is the only thing I have found to work when I am at the house with all of the kiddos. One day with all three went by and I felt fairly confident!!!

The next day, I got a phone call to come and pick up Brock!!! This was beyond exciting as the day before we were being notified on how he was puking with his feeds; what changed overnight I am not for sure...but I will definitely take my baby and bring him home!!!! Guilt was beginning to set in prior to knowing we were able to pick him up; but what is a momma of quads to do. I had three boys at home who needed to be on a set schedule and then I had one across town in the hospital. it is impossible for me to do both so unfortunately it was my time with Brock that suffered. i was elated that I would now have him at home and get to reconnect and bond with him as it has been a bit of time since I was able to spend significant time with him.

Two kids were doable...three kids were a trial as they now outnumbered us...but what is a fourth?! Well, Brock was not able to come this entire time because of his lack of bottling. This was the difference. Feeding four kids at the same time is a trial in itself; having to feed four with Camden who is fickle and honory during feeds plus Brock who just simply fusses and doesn't want to frustrating to say the least. I forget the struggle we had with Camden from the start, and even Grayson gave us trouble when he first came home as well. I constantly have to remind myself that he can not help it and he will improve; just like the other boys. The difference is that it is easier to deal with this issue with two babies and two parents...even three babies and two adults as one parent can feed the more needy baby as the other parent feeds the better eaters. But, when you have pray and make do.

We intended on having every baby in their own bed and having two nurseries. That was shot when Camden became colicky. After we began co sleeping him with Grayson; it made no since to leave Keaton by his self. We put Keaton in the same room and then when Brock came home we figured we might as well co sleep him with Keaton...this way if one of us needed to sleep through a feeding; it was manageable by one parent, as they were all in one room. Almost all of my initial intentions and plans prior to them being at home has changed. Reality of having quads sets in quite quickly...thus prior plans change quickly as well!! Being a stickler about a schedule is my saving grace and the only way I can manage the boys by myself. They know what to expect and at what time and my day is planned accordingly. They have learned that there is only one mommy and four kiddos. I love my boys and would love to sit and rock each to sleep...but I HAVE FOUR!!! They have learned to put themselves to sleep and to self soothe when they are fussy. I take the time after feeding and before naps to love on each of the boys; being sure to give each little monkey special attention. I have learned to love my new job and absolutely love being a quad momma!!!! Not to say that times do not get stressful when each boy decides to orchestrate a crying symphony...but that is when I have to take the time to thank God for being able to have all of the boys home while also praying for the strength and patience to get through the day. I am blessed times four and now have the constant reminders to wake up to each and every morning which make everyday a great day!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Week 40

It is hard to believe that until now; I should technically still be pregnant...anxiously awaiting the arrival of four precious boys. Why be normal though!!!! I have had three additional months to bond with my little men and although it has been a rough journey: pregnancy, NICU...having my boys (minus one) is every bit worth it!!

Just as I was getting into the swing of not only being a momma but a momma to multiples; another one was added! While a routine visit to see the other two boys, I was greeted by one of the NICU doctors on the elevator and was asked, "Do you want Grayson?" WHAT!!! Well, of course I wanted my baby and is just what I told him!!! Two days later and after home health care came out to school us on the little fighter got to come home!!! Who would have thought that the kid who was on a ventilator the first three weeks of life, had heart surgery, a hernia surgery...the list goes on...beat home a brother!!! I was elated to bring home another baby but grieved that Brock would now be by himself.

With NICU babies comes a slew of appointments! It is a good thing I find being organized as fun! NICU follow up apts, eye exams, audiology apts and the routine pediatrician appointment filled our week! If we were ever weary about how to get the kids loaded and is gone! What started out being a chore to load and unload the crew; grew to be doable and much more timely! The lightest kid (Camden) gets put in the very back seat and the other two in the second row as they are heavier and Grayson is on oxygen so it is less to have to haul. Good news is they are all growing and gaining weight, the ones who have had audiology appointments came back as passing and all eyes are improving ( Keaton does not have another exam for 6 months!!! Grayson and Keaton still have some areas of concern so will get a two week break before the next one)!

We had the whole "twin" thing down pretty darn good. Add the third baby and things get a bit more complicated....our one adult to one kid ratio was gone and never to be seen again!!! Grayson was on a different schedule so we had to quickly get him established on the same routine as the other two boys. This meant we now had three hungry mouths to feed at one time. This took some practice and lots of trials and errors! Jeff and I rotate who feeds the two and who feeds the one alone; this way we both get the practice and the break from dual feeding every now and then. We each have our own way of conquering the duo feed. Jeff prefers the better of the two feeders to sit in the bouncer while he holds the other one. I prefer to prop them both on my crossed legs...I say if it works; then it is a go!!! However the method...the job gets done and all at the same time.

Having all three on the same schedule makes life just dandy; I really can not even complain! I do wish Camden was not colicky...but it could be worse and that is not in his or my control. If I were to find something to complain about however; it would be with bringing the boys in public. It is not a hassle to load them all up and take them out and about; they handle it great! It is everyone else that makes it a hassle. I forget that having so many babies is rare as it is my life and my normal; but a quick shopping trip turns in to an ordeal with all of the questions, comments, attempts to touch...etc!!! I suppose I better get use to dealing with it as it is only going to get worse when we add the fourth and final baby to the mix! Oh well!!! I am beyond proud and thankful for my stinky 4 boys; and will take every comment and question...just not the touching!!!

I look forward to the day that Brock is eating all of his feeds by a bottle so he too can come and join our crazy family! I constantly live with the guilt of not being able to go and see him nearly as much as I yearn to do. With him being across town and the three other boys at is hard. I tell myself and him too...this is not forever and he is sooo close to coming home to his brothers!

Three home and one to go; where ever they all are...I am blessed times four!

And then there were 3!

Proud Papa

Camden loves his Grayson

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Week 39

Being in the military and away from family has been hard. If not for the many wonderful women I have met through a military group on base; the situation would be ten times harder. They have become family and have really stepped up to the plate to help and support our family in every way they possibly can; and they do so genuinely! The shower i was given by my mom and sister back in March was great; but skyping into my shower was just not the same. Even though I am not pregnant and my sweet boys have graced us with their presence for several months now, I was given the most lovely shower! It was perfect! The games, the decorations, food, homemade cake and a slide show were just a few of the things that made the shower memorable.

The day I had been yearning now for 11 weeks...HAS COME! Today I was really going to be a mommy! I stayed up late making sure every little baby thing was in place. About the time I lay down to go to sleep; I awoke with anxiousness! I thought a walk would eat up some energy; by the time I decided to turn around to go back home, I realized I had walked over the bridge to the other side of base...and was my energy even a bit gone? NOPE!!! My excitement to bring home some babies was delayed as we had a scheduled tour of the new hospital the other 2 boys would be transported to the next Tuesday since the hospital we are at now was closing all of the inpatient floors. I was pleased with the newness and state of the art equipment that was there; not so thrilled about having to send over my other two babies knowing that I would no longer be able to spend the hours upon hours up there like I have prior to this day.

Too excited to eat; we drove back across town to get the boys! Surprisingly, in a matter of a couple of hours we had got all of their meds from the pharmacy, were lectured on what to do, expect, what to consider emergencies, etc and with a quick picture to document the monumental occasion...we were off on our way to home! I didn't know what to do with myself as I left in the company of not 1 but 2 little boys! This is the feeling I have waited to have for 12 long weeks...and it is here! I could barely wait to get them home and get them on a schedule and settled in to their new lives outside of the NICU for the very first time.

Being a momma to multiples is different than being a momma to one. What I would do if I were just mothering one baby, is far different than how I plan on mothering quadruplets. I have read book after book and have spent quite some time considering how I would manage four babies in the most optimum way possible. I knew the importance a schedule would bring to us all and have been set on sticking to it. So that is what I do. I ensure I keep organization at all times. Between the multiple meds, different formulas, etc. each child requires; it is in my best interest to be on top of things and on schedule at all times. That is what I have done and that is what has worked. As much as I love being a momma; I hate that I have two babies away from me. Tuesday they were transported from Wilford Hall (the hospital that is minutes down the road from our home) to BAMC (the new military hospital across town) to BAMC. Although the unit is new and is not convenient as I have two babies who are not able to go back into the NICU which makes visiting the other boys; hard. I just remind myself; this too shall pass and it will not be for very long that my boys are separated.

I have decided that two babies are completely doable. Two hands, two works!!! Although Jeff is not working so is able to feed a baby; I have been trying to feed two at a time to get use to the idea of adding another baby to the mix and eventually another after that! Trial and error. From bouncers, to straddling, boppies...I have tried so many ways to feed two babies in ways I never thought would work!!! A week later and I think I found what works for my kids and I. I put the better eater in the bouncer. I take the not so good eater and prop on either a boppy or couch pillow so I am able to control his head and sucking better. Then I hold a bottle to each and feeding time commences!!!! I am certain I look ridiculous; and once I get started...I am not getting up!!!

Having brought home the two boys at once and getting them on a schedule and keeping ourselves organized left little time to think of ourselves; even when it came to eating!!! Thanks to the wives again; they came to our rescue! We have received a home cooked meal since the first two boys homecoming. Not having to worry about cooking (as if I had time) or what we would eat (left to us we would be grazing on packaged foods!!!!) has "lightened our load!"! I look forward to the meal as well as the company that delivers it; if only they knew just how much this has meant to Jeff and I! Once we are on a schedule with all of the boys at home and settled into our quad life; I look forward to doing and serving others in need in the group; just as they have to me.

My perfect cake at the shower; thanks to Kelsie!

My sweet shower!!! Thanks to Cynthia, Michelle, Katie, Danielle, Jill, Kelsie, Lisa...and that is just to name a few; they really went above and beyond to make my day more than special!

Keaton ready to go!

Camden ready!

Jeff and I have been ready!!!

Two out of four successfuly home!
How thankful I am to have boys beginning to come home, neighbors who have become friends, and friends who have made the homecoming process easier by helping out in every way they can!!! Lack of sleep, loads upon loads of laundry, tons of bottles, keeping track of meds....I wouldn't trade in any of; all i can say is that I am blessed times four!!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Week 38

We have had every nurse in the NICU. Most of them are quite friendly and do their jobs in caring for the boys; I have very few complaints about any of them. Sometimes one of the boys will get a nurse who goes far beyond feeding, changing, and taking vital sounds. They connect with my kids and me as well. Through the countless hours I have spent in the hospital; I have nurses have become my friends. As happy as I am for the day to come when I bring home every last boy; I will miss the nurses who have been there with us all from day one on June 6th. Keeping continuity; the boys tend to get the same nurses when they are scheduled. Those nurses tend to form an attachment. No one has gotten more attached to a boy more than one nurse named Sheila. There has been very few and far between days that Sheila has worked when she was not assigned an Evans quad. She has taken care of Camden from the first week of his life and to see how she interacts and loves him as well as her making him happy; is a wonderful sight! Sheila had the great idea of setting up a photoshoot to take pictures of the boys altogether. She made it happen. On a lazy Sunday the NICU became a "set". We picked coordinating outfits, laid out cute blankets and let the fun begin. Sheila brought her camera and took the most precious pictures of my little ones. She captured their personalities which have grown to be so distinct. If she only knew how much I appreciate her doing this for my family and the special place I will always hold for her in my heart (and I am sure Camden will too!!!)!

Done!!!! What I have been yearning to do for months is now nest has been made for my four little blessings!!! What a relief and with just days to spare!!! Even though we have been in the NICU for 11 long weeks of emotions, setbacks, milestones, still seems surreal that the day my boys will come home is getting sooo close. I was told at the beginning of the week that Keaton would be tentatively coming home on Friday. This is just what I needed to hear; I flew out of the NICU to home to bring Keaton his car seat for him to do the car seat challenge test! This week it has all caught up with me. From the exhaustion from the move, the roller coaster of emotions, just everything has really started to wear me out. As much as I love spending time with my boys; I am over spending my time with them in the NICU...over hearing negative setbacks, over having to ask for permission to hold, feed, bathe my boys. So hearing the news that I was going to be a real mommy on Friday; elated me.

I was overwhelmed with the exciting thought of getting to bring home a baby!!! So much so that I had to go shopping for all of the odds and ends and for a coming home outfit for my big boy. From the setting up of the changing tables to the packing of the diaper bag; I was ready as I would ever be!!! I walked in on Thursday morning right over to Keaton to talk all about what home would be like. His nurse walked over and hearing my excitement of his homecoming; teared up herself to tell me Keaton was not coming home. Crushed. I was devastated. I should know by now how fast things can change and even told myself not to get overly excited as setbacks happen just as fast as a milestone is reached. How can a mommy of 11 weeks not get excited over finally bringing home one of her stinkers?? After a late night feeding, Keaton had a brady and d stat and had to require oxygen. This required him to be in the NICU for another 3-5 days at a minimum without any other events occurring. Even though it was just days, after 11 weeks, I just couldn't see the end in sight.

Bad news began to get better on Friday. i was there while the doctors were rounding and was told that Keaton would now come home on Sunday as long as he continued without events. Not only would we get Keaton; we would also be bringing home Camden!!! The only thing Camden had to do to come home was to take all of his feeds. It took him having another nurse I have come close to to work with him instead of tubing his feeds. At the end of her shift she had gotten him to take all feeds from a bottle so the feeding tube was removed; this forced the following nurses to not be lazy with his bottling. Kristie knew what she was doing and knew that Camden would be successful if given the opportunity to. TWO BOYS coming home!!!! One is great but two is just DANDY!!! After the set back with Keaton; I should know not to get too excited; but really???!!!! This wasn't the only good news we received. Each boy also had an eye exam and Grayson's right eye which showed stage 3 of ROP had resolved and was stage 2. This was great!!! He as well as the other boys will be followed closely still but the high threat of getting ROP at an aggressive and dangerous stage has now subsided. 

All I had left to do, was pick up the "here and there" items for the boys coming home and pray that they WOULD come home. In doing & preparing I had to stop to give thanks for my blessings times 4!

Peek a Boo! Grayson found you!!!


Brock & Keaton

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Week 37

WOW!!!! Moving while having four babies still in the NICU is a daunting task!!! the same breath; let me say that I am oh so thankful for having the incredible NICU staff to allow me to move into the 5 bedroom (yes 5!!! and so much more space to set up and make having four babies a little easier!)! home on main base while knowing that my bundles are safe and sound and well taken care of.

The drama this week is not so much with my boys as it is with us and the move. Talk about cutting it close to the wire!!!! I have yearned to "nest" for months now! All I was able to prepare was done on bed rest and on online; needless to say, not much of anything! I suppose I bring the stress of moving upon myself. Most people take their time to move and are satisfied with doing so...NOT ME!!! and definitely not me with four little stinkies on their way home! Anal me has to have every picture hung, every kid piece of furniture put together, and all things in their place within the first 2 days of moving. As tiring as it is done! I think the harder part of the move was being away from my babies. I usually spend 8 hours give or take a day with them; and with moving, I barely spent an hour there. Talk about feeling guilty! However, I would rather buckle down and get it all done in a few days rather than letting it linger on. I also had to just face the fact that the more organized I am before the kids coming home; the better it will be for us all!

The boys have had an overall good week. Big news this week is Grayson went from being on 4 liters of oxygen down to 3 liters...this is HUGE as he was able to have his first bottle!!! He showed all of his brothers up as he sucked it dry and barely dribbled! Keaton and Camden came back off of the oxygen as they were getting over their surgery. Camden has done better with his feeds now that his formula was changed. The thickener added to Keaton's formula did the trick for him and he is no longer having the harsh reflux like he was and he is eating all of his feeds from a bottle which meant the feeding tube could be removed! This was the first time I was able to see one of my boys with nothing but their sweet faces. The dreaded eye exams were this week as well; you would think as many as the boys have had and I have been there for; it would get better...NOPE!! Brock and Keaton's vessels were growing out as they should be. Camden had a couple of gray areas which would be looked at again in a week. Grayson has stage 2 of ROP and one area that is stage 3. This is concerning but for now will be closely monitored on a weekly to twice weekly follow up.

Another week mark off of the calendar which means the boys being ready to come home is getting closer and closer. A bigger house, a wonderful and supportive husband, 4 beautiful little boys on their way to being healthy....I am blessed times four!

Brock came to visit Keaton and I

Brock and Momma




Grayson thanking Jesus for getting to feed from a bottle!
Nothing on his little face...but his face!