Thursday, August 12, 2010

Of course!

As usual, I got too busy to post yesterday but said I would tell you a bit about myself.  So many people have asked over the years how this came about, and as usual the same questions pop up over and over again.  Hopefully I can answer any questions that arise by telling you how this all started up until the (insert sarcastic tone here) wonderful pre-teen years, which are going on now.

I'm a 43 year old mom, who just happens to have quadruplets.  Three girls and one boy.  My ex (yes, I'm on my own now!) husband and I were having difficulty getting pregnant, so we enlisted the help of a wonderful fertility clinic in London, Ontario; University Hospital.  To make a long story short, after many vials of blood drawn, and self-administering needles of egg-boosting juice, I got pregnant.

I took a home fertility test because I couldn't wait for the visit to the doctor to confirm.  I woke my husband up at 6 am to tell him it was positive.  You know the response I got for what was one of the most exciting things in my life?  That's good.  And then he went back to sleep.  Of course.

So, after confirmation from the doctor, I went to have an ultrasound to confirm the "number" of fetuses.  There they counted 3 when scanning.  As the nurse was marking on the printouts "Triplet A, Triplet B, Triplet C", the doctor was scanning some more, and said "oh wait, I think there is one more".  He confirmed it so the nurse had to correct the printouts to read "Quadruplet A, etc".  My sister and girlfriend were with me, and as they joked about it, my mouth hung open for the next hour.  I ended up having to have an additional ultrasound a little later that day to confirm that there wasn't five, as they might have thought.  Good God.

Called my parents to tell them after I called my husband at work.  My dad had said that mom was quilting with a bunch of ladies at a friends house.  Later he told me he said to her "Are you sitting down?".  Ha...found that pretty funny.  My mom is very social and often spends time with friends.  I'm sure her bitch-and-stitch group had a lot to talk about that day!  Of course.

Over the next few months, I had many ultrasounds and doctor's visits to make sure that everything was ok.  I ate quite a bit, and drank a TON of milk.  I love milk to begin with but for some reason, I craved it even more.  In the end, when my tummy started getting very heavy, I had a tougher time walking for any length of time.  I was hospitalized from 27 weeks on just as a precaution, because our home was an hour away from the hospital.  Should I have gone into labour early, I was there for the babies to have full access to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU for short.  Six and a half weeks in the hospital and you get to know the nursing staff quite well.  They were all so wonderful to me.  One of the staff even regularly brought my favourite Tim Horton's treat; a chocolate croissant.  They don't make those anymore.  Of course.

D-day came, and it was quite the spectacle.  Fourteen doctors and nursing staff in the delivery room, just for little ol' me, although I wasn't so little at that point!  The night before, one of the interns measured my "fundus" or the measurment from your pubic area to just under your breasts, and it read 55 cm.  I guess a full term singleton pregnancy measures 40 cm.  I was 6 weeks early!  Can you imagine if I had to wait another 6 weeks.  I might have looked like Kate Gosslin did, yikes. 

That day my children were born at 12:27 pm, 12:28 pm, 12:29 pm and 12:31 pm.  Shannon came first weighing in at 3 lbs 7 1/2 oz (have to get the 1/2 in there when they are so small!), then Nicholas at 3 lbs 14 oz, then Erin at 2 lbs 15 oz and finally Kirsten at 3 lbs 12 1/2 oz.  My sister videotaped the entire procedure and when I watched it at a later date, I realized that when they cut into the amniotic sac that Kirsten was in, it burst out like a geyser...HOLY funny!  Then when they pulled her out, the cord had been wrapped around her neck two how it would have affected her if they had stayed in longer?  Erin was the tiniest but had the loudest cry, Shannon the chubbiest cheeks, and Nicholas was the largest.  People still assume to this day that because he was the largest, and still is, that he was born first.  Of course.

The following week was spent in that hospital (McMaster Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario).  The babies were thriving, and doing really well.  I went to the NICU several times a day to see them.  I cradled them, I fed them, I changed was all very new to me.  I was not used to babies and suddenly, here I was faced with four babies.  Mine.  To say I was feeling scared to take them home was an understatement.  The NICU staff were very helpful.  I tried to breast feed but just found with the fatigue, the media coverage and everything surrounding having quadruplets, was too much.  The staff did not make me feel guilty at all for ending up choosing to bottle feed.  They sent me home with preemie bottles, which are only 2 oz bottles.  I put one in each of their keepsake boxes so they can see some day how small an amount of formula they drank in the beginning.

Speaking of formula, we got very lucky!  One of the nurses from the research centre of McMaster, which is affiliated with the University there, approached me one day while I was in the hospital.  She said that two of my children qualified for a study in which I would receive ready-to-pour formula free from the company for a full year corrected age of the babies.  I asked if I could get all four of them on this program.  She said she would talk to the company, which she did, and they agreed.  I guess she poured my "sob story" to them about having quads.  The only thing with this was, I was never to know what the formula was or what company it was from.  I was ok with that.  Of course!

After a week in McMaster Hospital, I was discharged and my babies were transferred to Grand River Hospital in Kitchener, Ontario, which is right next to Waterloo, Ontario.  Nicholas and Kirsten, being the two larger ones, gained the most weight, and were sent home first at around 3 weeks of age.  I remember being so exhausted even with just the two of them there.  Remember that at this point I was still healing from the c-section, and my milk was coming in, so I was trying to dry that up with some suggestions from friends.  My boobs were sore!  I was almost asleep one night, when suddenly one of the two that were home started to cry.  I can't remember which one, but it didn't matter.  Whoever it was wanted to be fed, and be fed now.  I stood in front of the crib and just started to cry.  My thought was, "If it's this difficult with two, how the hell am I going to handle four".  My mother-in-law came in as she was staying with us, and told me to go to bed and that she would handle it.  At that point, was I ever thankful she came to stay with us the first couple of weeks.  As for the rest of the time, well, that's another story!

I think I'll save those first days at home for my next post.  Those days seem like a blurry memory now.

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