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Four-tunate: The birth of Henry, Brooks, Clark and Isaac Unmedicated

Four-tunate: The birth of Henry, Brooks, Clark and Isaac

"I had two arms and my husband had two arms. That was one arm for each baby."

After our battle with infertility, we knew our chances for twins were elevated due to hormone treatments for my Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and a family history of twins. But we had no way to prepare for the shock of quadruplets.

In fact, we could hardly wrap our minds around the idea of triplets, when we learned in the 8th week of pregnancy that our three were in fact FOUR! Each doctor’s appointment seemed to up the ante, so much that I feared each appointment would reveal yet another heartbeat and another multiple pregnancy term ending in “-let” (quintuplet, sextuplet … ).

I was terrified, purely terrified by the thought of quintuplets! You might think, “Well after four, what’s one or two more?” but in my mind it was drastically different. I had two arms and my husband had two arms. That was one arm for each baby. We could somehow “handle” that. Four car seats would fit in our minivan, four cribs could cram into one nursery, four boy colors (blue, green, yellow, and red) could be used to color code their feeding charts; but throwing another baby in the mix would break down my entire game plan.

Each doctor’s appointment that passed with no more surprises calmed my heart into believing that there truly were only four. It wasn’t until I was hospitalized at 28 weeks into the pregnancy that the numbers fear became once again unnerving. Our hospital had had a surprise multiple birth of its own, several years prior to our delivery. Many of the nurses who were present at that particular delivery, in which an expected quintuplet birth became a sextuplet birth, were assigned to my care. I repeatedly heard about this mother’s Caesarean delivery and the doctors’ shock at finding another sac just as they were starting to sew up her incision. Usually the story would end with a, “Can you imagine?” “What if you really have 5 instead of 4?” or “Wouldn’t that be something?”

My daily ultrasounds were less than reassuring as body parts were crammed and tangled inside my stretched-to-the-max belly. It was nearly impossible for our ultrasound tech to distinguish one baby from the next. Even though I trusted her with my life, I couldn’t help but question if somehow one could be hiding somewhere.

After 32 LONG weeks my body was rejecting the pregnancy. High protein levels, hyper-reflex problems, and severe swelling signaled a dangerous condition known as preeclampsia. The highly anticipated birth day had finally arrived! As they prepped me for surgery, I felt a peace and calmness that I know HAD to be from God. Although I knew there was much uncertainty in the hours and days ahead, I was eager to leave the extreme high-risk pregnancy days behind and meet these little ones whose lives I had been fighting for so long.

Immediately following an intense pulling, ripping, and yanking of my body, I heard the words, “The first one is out!” With each little life taken out of me, I could breathe easier than I had for months. Minutes later (which flew like seconds), four tiny, yet perfect little bodies entered the world. It was over … or was it? I had just taken a huge breath of relief when my doctor yelled, “Here’s another one!” “Here’s another one!” My heart stopped right there on the operating table. I’m sure alarms must have sounded to alert the anesthesiologist that he had indeed lost me—but they wouldn’t have been heard over the roar of laughter that filled the room. The doctor was only joking! I was officially the mother of quadruplets.

I am sure God would have shown Himself faithful if He would have given us another blessing in the bunch, but we were overwhelmingly satisfied with just four. Our hands are full with multiple miracles!

 

 

You can find out more about Jen’s adventures with quadruplets at her blog 4tunate.net.

Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to birthstory@pnmag.com. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!