Our life is a crazy roller coaster ride that we never would have guessed we would end up on. We both always wanted to have children; we decided to wait a few years after we got married to just enjoy our time together. It’s funny, you spend so many years trying not to get pregnant before you are ready, that it never crosses your mind that you might not be able to get pregnant when you are ready. Infertility was something I never thought about, until it became what I thought about all the time. We were very fortunate, we did not have to go further than me giving myself injections before we got pregnant. However, the monetary cost and emotional toll was still plenty high. After many tests, medications, and months, I finally saw the positive pregnancy test we had been waiting for. Of course, our surprises were not to end there. We had our first ultrasound, and found out that there were three (!) babies. Two, weeks later we had a second ultrasound that showed four (!?) babies. Turns out Baby C was actually Baby C and Baby D – identical twins! Obviously, this was considered a high risk pregnancy, and I was monitored very closely. A quadruplet pregnancy is very high risk, but adding in those identical twins made it even more so. Identical twins, because they share an amniotic sac, are at risk for twin-to-twin transfusion, in which one baby gets more fluid and the other does not get enough. Other than being nauseous and throwing up at all hours of the day, I had a fairly smooth pregnancy. I only ended up in the ER to get fluids once. Things were going very well up through week 22. At that point, I had ultrasounds every 2 weeks, and an appointment with my maternal-fetal medicine doctors every week. The week I didn’t have an actual ultrasound, the doctor would check the babies’ heart rates in the office with their ultrasound. At 22 weeks, I had a full ultrasound – the did all the measurements on all the babies and the amniotic fluid. A couple of weeks before, there had been some concern about the twins’ fluid levels. One was questionably more than the other. At that point, it was hard to get an accurate measurement, and the babies were doing fine, so they weren’t terribly concerned. We were happy to hear at our 22 week ultrasound and appointment that everyone was doing great! Growth was good, fluid looked good; everything was fabulous.
There are moments in your life that you never forget. Minutes and days that are seared into your brain in full detail. The day of my 23 week appointment is one of those days. I will never forget anything about that day; it was the worst day of my life. I remember what I was wearing, and everything I did that day. I can replay it in my mind in detail. I knew something was wrong when the doctor asked the nurse to have one of the other doctors come look at the ultrasound with him. They told me that they could not find a heartbeat for Baby C. I was devastated. We had been doing so well and I could not understand how everything was great the week before, and now one of our babies was gone. We were relieved to learn that our other 3 little girls were still doing well. I suffered from pretty severe anxiety at every visit from that point on. I could not relax until they found all 3 heartbeats. I would worry if I didn’t feel them move for a while. It was a rough time, to say the least.
My goal had been to make it to 30 weeks. Most quadruplet pregnancies do not last past 27 weeks. I was one day away from 27 weeks when the girls were born. Luckily, I had received 2 doses of steroids by the time they were born. My water broke on August 19th, we were hoping to stop my labor and give the girls some more time, but they were having none of it. We were rushed off to a c-section in the middle of the night because I had bulging membranes – one way or another those babies were coming out! I won’t go into detail about their NICU stays, that will be a post for another day. Oriana came home in October, after 69 days. She did not have any special needs, no oxygen, no monitor, the girl was a champ. Violet finally got the hang of eating and breathing and came home in November, after 94 days. She got to bring oxygen and an apnea monitor home with her. She was on oxygen, the monitor and medication for her lungs for about 2 months. She got rid of it all, and she hasn’t looked back. Addison came home in December, after 120 days in the hospital. She did not come home with any special equipment either. Right before Addison was discharged from the NICU, they did a head ultrasound because she had microcephaly. They found she had had intraventricular hemmorhages and what they call PVL, which is injury to the white matter of the brain. They explained that this put her at risk for developmental delays and possibly cerebral palsy, but only time would tell how it would affect her. Addison was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in May 2014. She does have delayed development. She has also been diagnosed with infantile spasms and seizures. She had problems with aspiration and taking in enough formula to meet her fluid and calorie needs. She now has a g-tube and gets all of her food and medication through the tube. She is finally back to her normal, content self and is making some progress developmentally. Violet and Oriana are happy, healthy, active and at an appropriate development for their corrected age.