1. I noticed that you're not doing the "lock down" on the babies, like many other preemie families. re: going to the pumpkin patch & church, lots of germs in those big crowds. And the older girls being in pre-school, would worry me, bringing home an illness. How are you preventing the babies from contracting RSV? As a nurse your honest opinion is it really necessary?
Yes, many families with preemies do a "lock down" which means the babies stay home except for doctor appointments from October-April which is typically known as RSV season. We have discussed "lock down" with our pediatrician twice (I wanted to make sure he said the same thing two different times!) and he feels that "lock down" is not necessary if you follow certain steps. The main one being hand washing. He says that the nicu's put such fear in parents regarding RSV instead of educating on things to do to decrease your chances of contacting it which gives you parents that haven't lost their mind from staying home all winter. Besides hand washing he said we also needed to be "rude" and when people want to touch the babies we need to say no. This I have had no problem with. We keep the babies covered whenever we are out. Many people ask if they can see the babies and my response is "no thank you". I understand that quads are a rarity and that people want to see them but I need to keep my preemie babies healthy. It will not change a persons life if they get a peak into my kids car seats. Now if someone was going to write out a check for their college fund then I would maybe let them in on a quick look but so far that hasn't happened so we keep the babies covered! This may become more difficult as the babies get older and want to look around but we will handle that when the time comes. If we are out and the babies need to eat we either feed them in the van or if we are outside we will find a picnic table, wipe it down and then cover it with a baby blanket that doesn't get used again until it is washed. Since we live in California we are still in the 70's so being outside is still possible. The babies also will be getting the synagis vaccine when it becomes available in our area. This is a monthly vaccine to help prevent RSV.
We do have three older kids and I often feel our home is the worst place for our babies to get sick. Our kids have become pros at washing their hands. Drew has been known to spend a good twenty minutes washing his hands and flooding the bathroom counter but at least he has gotten every single germ off his hands! We even installed automatic hand sanitizers in our home which have come in so handy. The problem is little kids still stick their hands in their mouth. All it takes is them playing at the park and the next thing you know we have the cold germs floating around our home. Our girls go to preschool and taking them out was not an option for us. They do go to a smaller preschool, only 10 kids in their class, and the teachers do a lot of cleaning. The girls know that they must come home and wash their hands first thing. We did take the girls out of gymnastics and we have held our gym memberships until the spring. Hopefully keeping up with seven kids will replace the workouts we got at the gym but I have a feeling come spring we will need the gym for sanity breaks!
So as far as "lock down" Paul and I have made the choice to still get out and do things with our family but to keep the babies away from people as much as possible. The big kids and I just got over our first fall cold and can I tell you how not fun and exhausting it was to not have the babies come down with it. Lysol and hand sanitizer were our best friend and the good news is that the babies are still snot free!
|Our newest family member...Purell. Yes we actually have these on our walls. Can't wait to remove them someday but if they help prevent a mass breakout of sickness I can handle them as wall art.|
2. Have we finished the nursery?
I did not forget that I still have not posted pictures of the nursery it's just that I am waiting on a rug that has been back ordered since I ordered it in June! I know I should look for a new one but the one I found is perfect and only $75. How often do you find a large rug for that price? Now if only it would come. It was suppose to come in mid-October but when I called this week it is now delayed until November. If December 1 rolls around without a FedEx delivery I will be shopping again. And since I am waiting on the rug I am going to finish decorating one of their walls before posting. I promise you will see their nursery but you have to keep following us to see it!
(Just got an email saying the rug shipped!! Yay...pictures of the nursery coming soon)
3. How did we come up with the names for the older kids
We had the girls names picked out even before we were pregnant. Natalie Ann is our oldest and I have wanted to name a little girl Natalie since I was in high school. For some reason I have always loved that name. We really wanted to name our kids the name that we were going to call them. Neither Paul or I have names that are shortened and we really liked that. We kind of feel that you should name your child what you plan to call them. But wouldn't you know our first born is often shortened to Nattie. She always states her name is Natalie though and if she decides to go by Nattie later that is fine with us. I also call her Tallie and that is a name that is just between her and I. Her middle name is after my mom whose middle name is Ann.
Aubrey is kind of an interesting story. When I came out of nursing school I started working in a trauma intensive care unit. One particular summer we had an awful three months when we had 5 teenagers in our unit that were all very sick. One of the patients was a young teenager named Aubrey. I spent many hours taking care of this young women and getting to know her family. One night I went home and asked Paul what he thought of the name Aubrey. He did not like it at all. Over the next couple of months I would bring it up and the answer was always the same but I loved the name. One evening I asked him yet again and he acted like I had never brought the name up before because he loved it! Her middle name is Nicole after my amazing sister.
Drew was easy when we were pregnant the second time but it actually was a name we had picked out with the twins if they would have been boys. We had the name Braden picked out right away but could not come up with another boys name. Months went on in the pregnancy and we still did not have a name. I can not stand looking through baby books because there are just way too many names that I can not pronounce so instead I took to watching ESPN. Paul had no problem with this since it is his channel of choice. One day the name Drew, pretty sure it was Drew Brees, came up on the screen and I knew that was our second boys name. When we got pregnant again I did not care for the name Braden because it had become really popular since we had the girls but I still loved the name Drew. His middle name is David. It was suppose to be Drew Ryan or Drew Aaron after our brothers and Paul was going to decide at birth but when Drew came out he looked just like my dad and I told Paul I think his middle name needs to be David. Many hours later and Paul still got to decide on the middle name and he choose David.
For those that are wondering how we got the quads name you can find it all right here.
4. When are you going back to work? and how are you going to handle it? nights? days? hire a nanny?
Yes I really do have to go back to work. I am off until December 4th per my doctor and then am hoping to take a personal leave for a month. My dream job is being a stay at home mom. I do have visions of home schooling the kids but do not want to start until after the 1st grade. I can not do 123's, abc's! One of the biggest reasons I am going back is due to the awesome health insurance I get through my employer. We basically pay nothing for premiums and are copays are minimal. It is so hard to give that up with a family of nine. Now if Paul could get his salary tripled I would have no problem switching insurance so I could stay home (umm Tony, maybe we could work on this!!!).
I will be going back to a 12 hour day shift but I only work 2 days one week and then 3 days the next. My goal is to someday work 2 shifts a week but it is not available in the unit I work in right now. We are not hiring a nanny. I would have to hire two to take care of 7 kids with 4 of them being newborns. Instead they will have bonding time with their daddy which I think is just awesome. Because of my weekend commitment I only work 3 weekdays every two weeks. Paul works from home so on these days we will have our friend from church, who has been helping us 1-2 days a week since the babies came home, come over for a couple of hours so Paul can do the work that he needs to do for the day. Also the big girls go to preschool 3 days a week and it is right in the middle of the afternoon when the babies and Drew nap so he will be able to work then. This has always been our situation since having the kids and it works for us. I am just so glad that I don't have to go back to nights like I did after having Drew. That was just plain awful.
5. Were any of your other children preemies?
No. The girls were induced at 39weeks 1 day and Drew was induced at 41weeks 2days. Having preemies is a whole new ball game and one I haven't really enjoyed. You never know if they are hitting milestones when they should be.
6. Are the babies all in one bedroom?
Yes. We do have four cribs and as of right now they all sleep in their own because they sleep in their rock n' plays. They do love snuggling up to each other though during play time in their pack n' plays.
7. What is your particular family dynamic? I was surprised that you has such a younger brother and sister in one of your posts and I am really curious.
I have a brother who is 18 months younger than me who lives about 30 minutes form me. I then have a sister who is 5 years younger than me and is often seen in pictures on the blog. Her and I are very close and she also lives about 30 minutes from me. My mom also lives very close and she is married to my step-dad. My mom, brother and sister moved out to California from Minnesota when I went to college in North Dakota. A year later my dad and step-mom moved to Oregon. My half brother(age 9) and sister(age 7) live in Oregon and are about seven hours from us. Paul's parents, brother and sister all live in Minnesota and if I told Paul we could move back he would have us packed in less than 24 hours!
|We took the older three kids to Disney on Ice as a surprise and...|
|they loved it!!|
8. Why did you and Paul choose not to find out the genders of the quadruplets? Did you find out with Drew and the twins?
We have never found out the gender of any of our children. I am such a planner but I have never wanted to find out the sex beforehand. I love the anticipation of the birth day because it is the moment we find out if we have a son or daughter. We have never even been tempted to find out.
|Hanging out in the garage while mom and dad got things done outside.|
9. How are you going to ensure each of 'the quads' develops a sense of individuality?
The biggest way we allow individuality of our children is to let them have choices. Of course when they are babies there are not that many options. We choose their clothes, the toys they play with, were they sit in the car but as they get older we let them choose. Natalie and Aubrey are very different in personality. We let them make their choices in many of their day to day things. We do try and take just one child on errands when we can but if given a choice they would rather have their sister with them. This coming summer we plan on putting Aubrey into swim team because she loves to be in the water whereas Natalie has no desire to swim unless its on her terms. She would rather be in dance so that is what we will put her in. As the kids get older we do plan on having Family Friday Nights. These nights will consist of one child picking what we have for dinner, another picking a movie, and another picking the evening snack. The following week it will rotate.You will also seldom see the older girls dressed the same unless its for things like pictures or holidays. They may coordinate but they don't have many clothing items that are the same. It is funny to hear them get ready in the morning and you will occasionally hear one of them say, "Let's be twins today."
10. I know you didn't want to use the Dr. Brown bottles, so what made you make the switch?
I did not want to use Dr. Brown's for two reasons; 1)they have many parts 2)I had a ton of Avent bottles and didn't want to have to buy more. But we had two babies still in the nicu that weren't feeding great and I wanted them home. A lot of other quad mom's swore by the Dr. Brown bottles with their preemies. I was willing to try anything to get them home. Isabella took to them right away so we started her off on them first. Rylan came home on the hospital bottles using a slow flow nipple. It wasn't long after he came home that I noticed he would get exhausted eating. I felt he was working so hard on the slow flow nipple that he was wearing himself out. The Avent nipple was way to fast for him so I tried the Dr. Brown's with him and we haven't turned back. Kenzie used the Avent bottles for a while but she was a very messy eater. I felt she was coordinated with the flow of the Avent but just couldn't swallow everything that she got with each suck so half of it ended up on her burp cloth. Once switching to the Dr. Brown's she did much better. So the Dr. Brown's bottles have stayed and washing them isn't really that bad.
|Baby bums are just so darn cute, if only mine was as cute.|
11. What type of work do your and your husband do for a living? I don't know how I would ever afford so many diapers!!!!!!!!!
I am a nicu RN. Paul is a account manager for a company and is extremely fortunate to be able to work from home. We also have a home base business that we have had for the past four years and Paul also does consulting for another company.
12. I've read lately about the dangers of bottle propping...choking and ear infections.
We do not bottle prop often. Actually the one picture I put on my blog is the only day we have really done it. It is more work grabbing everything to prop than feeding two babies at a time. If we do prop one parent is right there with them. We do not leave them unattended it would just be a way to get four screaming babies feed at the same time. I am often alone with all seven kids during the day and I just plan the day so that I am able to make sure the older kids are busy during the thirty minutes it take to feed the babies. I feed the two that are making the most noise first and then after they are done I feed the other two. We are so lucky that the babies eat quickly. They pretty much eat their full feeds in ten minutes and then we burp for maybe five. When I go back to work Paul may prop more than I but the babies will be bigger and propping may work better for him.
|These bottles are not white in color. This is all pumped milk and it is such good therapy for this mom. I now get 8-12 ounces per pumping and I still get in 7 sessions a day.|
Wonderful question. I am working on a post about the comments we get from people. I am very open with our situation in this blog and with people in general but I get very frustrated with the comments people make in public. I don't know why it bothers me so much but it does. It bothered me with the twins and continues to bother me with the quads. Usually I just want to enjoy time out and not feel like a freak show. To keep with the question regarding fertility treatments this is the thing that hurts me the most when we are asked if the babies were natural or fertility. My question back is, "Does it matter?". I know this is a personal issue I deal with because I feel the person is automatically passing judgement on me. They don't know that my husband had cancer at age 22, that we tried for three years to get pregnant originally, that we spent over $27,000 to get pregnant (at least we got six kids for the price most ivfer's pay for one!), or that we had three miscarriages. I truly feel that octomom really put a negative aspect on fertility treatments. I don't go up to someone with one baby and ask if their baby was natural. To me its like asking someone what position they conceived their baby in.
So when we are asked that question now I do respond with, "Does it matter?". This usually makes the person stop for just a second and maybe they will realize that this question is not appropriate and will think before they ask it to someone else. I really think it is your choice of the information you give out. Somedays I share more than other days. And if when we are asked if twins run in the family we get to say yes because they really do run on both sides but that is not why we have twins and quads but they do not need to know that. I pray that fertility treatments work for you and you will be blessed with the most amazing gift in life.
|It so should not matter if these kiddos were conceived naturally or with fertility help...they are truly miracles either way.|
Thank you for bringing this back up. I never did get into specifics at the beginning when we were concerned with Rylan's scan because the results weren't conclusive and we were worried enough without having to worry others. On Rylan's first two scans he had questionable PVL. PVL is periventricular leukomalacia and is a form of white-matter brain injury. Affected individuals generally exhibit motor control problems or other developmental delays, and they often develop cerebral palsy or epilepsy later in life. We knew Rylan could have taken a hit to his brain in-utero or during the night he could not be ventilated. We also knew carrying quads increased our risk of having children with developmental delays but it is hard to hear that your child may really have one. We did a follow up scan at one month of age which did not show any PVL and we were so happy. Isabella did show some questionable PVL on a later scan but the doctors feel it was artifact because at the age she was she most likely would have had cysts on her brain from the PVL. These were not seen. We have chosen not to do a follow up MRI because of the risk involved and there is nothing differently we would do if it did show damage. All the babies will be assessed for developmental delays due to their prematurity and will receive any needed therapies.
|A family day at Fairytale Land after discovering that the zoo closed at 1:00 on a Saturday. What who has ever heard of such a thing???|
If you have any other questions that were not answered feel free to ask in the comment section. I truly enjoy keeping our blog. To some it may seem I am sharing way too much but I am okay with what I have shared (trust me there are things that I do not share!!). We have so many people each week say that they love reading about our family. It still surprises me because I do not feel we are that exciting! I thank you all for the wonderful comments and the prayers that are said for our children and family.
|A very snug evening walk when mom and dad were too lazy to get out the strollers and carseats.|
|Our new van that fits us all and all our stuff. We love it.|