Thursday, January 31, 2013

Everyone is Home!

Well, it's 1:30am and I am finding things to do to keep me awake until the next feed.  The babies are eating every 3 hours and by the time all four are fed, burped and diapers changed, I've only got about 2 hours until the next one.  We learned early that sleeping between feeds was NOT good idea.  To be woken up by four crying babies when it seems like you just closed your eyes does not make for a pleasant situation.

So, here is what happened as we brought Team Sandness home.  They went their entire hospital stay (only 3 1/2 weeks!!) without needing any medication or assistance.  December 14th Andrew was ready to come home.  We were pre-warned that the babies would advance at different times, thus sending them home at different times.  That was fine with us!  Gives us a chance to ease into this!  So, we get him home and life is good.  He is such an angel!  Never cries, eats, pees and poops on schedule.  This isn't going to be difficult!  We make it through the weekend and Monday morning Charlie sends me a text from the NICU, "Everyone's feeding tubes are out!  They're coming home tomorrow!"  YES!!  One week before Christmas and they were expected to stay there until their due date of January 11th!  We have little champions here!  Tuesday, December 18th.  My sister agrees to watch Andrew while we go scoop up everyone else.  As I'm leaving the house, she looks at me..."I'm scared!  This is going to be nuts!"  "What are you talking about?" I said.  "This isn't going to be as rough as everyone thinks it will be, we got this!"  Well, at first, everything was fine.  We took some pictures, fed them, got into jammies, took more pictures, and decided to go to bed.  
Charlie had to work the next day so my mom agreed to stay with me through the night.  I quickly learned how NOT easy this was going to be and how much we DIDN'T get this!  There was a baby awake THE ENTIRE NIGHT.  Just as we'd get done feeding one, another would wake up wanting to eat.  Just as we changed one poopy diaper, another would make us a special surprise.  Pre-make bottles?  Why would I have done that!?  It was a disaster.  By morning we were EXHAUSTED and I was in tears.  What were Charlie and I thinking?!  How on earth were we going to get through this?!  HELP.  I needed help.  Michelle.  She knows what to do.  Michelle is the mom of the 10 year old quads I mentioned a while back that we had become friends with.  I call her and she comes to our rescue.  "You're just having an anxiety attack, it'll be okay.  You will get through this, I promise."  She listened and offered some of the best advise I've gotten.  "When all else fails, remember this.  The babies WILL cry themselves to sleep, but they WILL NOT cry themselves to death."  She then tells us she will be coming over twice a week from 9:30pm-4am, giving us two secured nights of uninterrupted sleep.

So, Charlie got home and we quickly setup a plan to get organized.  We moved cribs out of our bedroom and officially setup the family room as baby command headquarters.  Bottles took over the fridge, as we learned from the night before, making them impromptu was too chaotic.  Speaking of bottles, I think the babies felt bad for us.  Believe it or not, getting them all onto the same feeding schedule was easy!  When baby number one woke and was ready to eat, we did what we could to sooth them until baby number two woke and was ready.  At that point, whether the others were ready or not, baby three and four were going to eat too.  And so went the next 24 hours and by the next day, it was a domino effect.  One would wake and shortly thereafter they were all wailing, ready to eat.  Now, when we were both around, we'd each take two babies, straddle them on each side of our legs, and feed.  But, when the other was sleeping, working, taking a break, etc. boppy pillows and receiving blankets were/are where it's at.  

Through the course of the next few weeks, the support from family and friends was, and remains to be overwhelming.  My mom and sisters offered to cover the 10pm-4am "shift" on Tuesdays and Fridays, so with Michelle covering Thursdays and Sundays, that left Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays to us.  So, on the nights I cover, we have some lovely ladies from our church that show up from 7am-1pm so I can sleep.  On the nights we have help, Charlie relieves them and as he leaves for work at 6am, I take over for the remainder of the day, sometimes having help from 1-4pm, allowing me some free time. 

Everyone is still eating every 3 hours and now that we have our routine down, thanks to the help we receive, we can enjoy and look forward to taking care of our munchkins!  And such is our new life with the quads.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Life in the NICU

As you know from the THEY'RE HERE!!!! post, the delivery went great.  After delivery however, my body went into shock.  I started to shake and could not stop. They had given me medicine (don't ask what it was!) to help regulate my body, but I swear I felt like I was going to die.  It took about 3 1/2 hours for me to settle down (in the mean time,  Charlie had been seeing to the babies and taking our family that had come to the hospital in and out of the NICU) and once I was stable, they wheeled me over to see the babies.  What an incredible experience!   
The next 3 1/2 weeks seemed to fly by.  I was released from the hospital on 11/26, 5 days after the arrival.  Since Charlie's base is only a few blocks from the hospital, he would go up before work, during lunch, and after work.  I took a few days to gather strength and recuperate, and before we knew it, every day was spent in the NICU.  We didn't do a great job at keeping track of their daily accomplishments, but they were sure making them!  The nurses and doctors were amazed at how well they did and at how quickly they were advancing.  

In order to come home, there were certain milestones they had to reach, and they were able to reach them all within 3 1/2 weeks.  First was to maintain their body temperature outside of the isolette.  Slowly the nurses would increase their feeds and lower the temperature inside.  Pretty soon all the "tops were popped" on the isolettes and everyone was in open cribs.  They also had to remember to breathe.  Often times preemies are born with what's called apnea of prematurity, which basically means their nervous and muscular systems aren't quite developed and so they forget to breathe, causing the blood oxygen level to fall which then slows the heart.  Whew!  That was a mouthful!  Anyway, this wasn't an issue with anyone, so that was already checked off the list.  The other milestone they had to reach was to eat all of their feeds by mouth while still gaining weight.  By December 6th, everyone was ready to start bottle/breast feeds.  At this point they had reached 35 weeks gestation and were developing the coordination of suck, swallow, breathe.  We were excited and started counting days until they could come home!  


That pretty much sums up the stay in the NICU.  We were/are sooo thankful for all of our favorite nurses that took such great care of our miracles and that we had such a smooth journey in the hospital.  Here are some of our favorite pics!

And finally, on the way out on our last day, we wiped their names off the board...FOREVER!!!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

32 weeks and 5 days later...THEY'RE HERE!!!!

Delivery Day!
It's a go time!
THEY'RE HERE!!!!  So, here's how it all went down.  I was miserable (don't let the smile fool you!).  Let me repeat...I WAS MISERABLE.  To be clear, not only was I miserable, everyone around me was too.  I'll be honest, I was a bear.  (But, to my defense, I had FOUR babies in my belly and I was HUGE.  The day before delivery, I stepped on the scale and weighed 198 pounds.  ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY EIGHT POUNDS.  That totaled a 75 pound weight gain and let me tell you, it wasn't all in the belly, I really plumped up.)  For the past two weeks, I had been having contractions but since they weren't associated with any pain and I wasn't dilating, on we went.  Since the babies were thriving and the preeclampsia was under control, our doctor didn't set a delivery date and wanted me to keep going until we had a reason to deliver (a REAL reason, apparently misery didn't count!).  Really though, I think if I pushed, I could have convinced him to let me deliver; but, knowing that every day I kept them in was three days they weren't in the NICU was enough motivation to keep going.

On the afternoon of November 20th, in walks Dr. Silver and tells me he had a proposition.  He was leaving town for two weeks and said that if I could wait until he returned, I could pick a day, any day, and he would deliver.  Finally.  Light at the end of the tunnel.  12/12/12 was going to be the day.  It was 3 weeks away and by then I would be 35 weeks and 5 days along.  So that was our new goal.  I could do this!  However, later that evening, I wasn't so sure.  I lost it.  I called my mom bawling, telling her I couldn't do this.  I was breaking down physically AND mentally.  She listened, and as usual found some comforting words to settle me down.  Told me that we would take one day at a time and that she would go to the store in the morning and bring me some new clothes, (throughout the pregnancy, I out-grew Charlie's, both brother-in-laws, and my dad's clothing; I was so cheap, I wouldn't spend money on prego clothes because the plan was to NEVER be pregnant again!) a Jamba Juice and some lunch from wherever I wanted.  In the meantime, and although he won't admit it, I'm positive poor Charlie was just as miserable as I was.  One second I was bawling and snapping at him, the next I was motivated to keep these babies growing.

November 21, 2012.  Morning comes and Charlie decides to go home to do some laundry and take Lucy on a run.  I get up, hobble to the shower, and by noon I'm back in bed, feeling refreshed.  Something was different though.  The contractions had gone from a few times an hour to a few times every 5 minutes.  Still no pain though, or anything else they told me to watch for.  When the contractions first started a few weeks back, they took me over to labor and delivery.  AGONY TIMES FOUR!!!!  I had to lay there for what seemed like forever with five monitors strapped to my tummy (one for each baby and one for contractions).  In the end, it was all for nothing (I was dilated to a three but wasn't progressing) but given the circumstances, just had to be sure.  So, when these contractions increased, the last thing I wanted to do was tell my nurse because then they'd make me go back over to L/D.  Well just then my new good friend Michelle sopped by (her quads are now 10!).  She walked in and her jaw dropped.  "You look like you're going to burst!"  I told her about the change and just as we were discussing the next step, in walks Dr. Clark (the OB on call for the day and let me just say, LOVED HER!).  I cave in and describe to her what was going on.  She proceeds to check how far I've dilated (ouch!!!) and the first thing out of her mouth when she was done was, "where's dad???"  She continued to explain that I was still somewhere around three to four centimeters but the difference now was that she felt a head!  So, over to labor and delivery I went (my mom had just arrived and Charlie was high-tailing it back to the hospital).  On the monitors went, and sure enough the contractions had dramatically increased (THANKFULLY still no pain though).  Two hours later I had moved up another centimeter and it was confirmed.  Today was the day we were going to meet our four precious angels!!!!

By then it was around 3pm and they advised it would take some time to get the 'teams' ready.  Here's how it works.  In the delivery room, there is a small window that goes into the NICU (lol when delivery time came, Charlie looked through the window and there were 40+ eyeballs, all looking in, waiting).  When a premature baby is born, they have a team of doctors ready to take all of the necessary steps to give that baby the best possible welcome into the world.  In our case, they needed four of these teams.  We later learned that since my admission to the hospital, 'the arrival of the quads' was an event they were all waiting for and couldn't believe we had made it to almost 33 weeks.  Anyway, by about 6pm I was prepped and in the delivery room.  The anesthesiologist gave me the spinal block and in comes Charlie.  My mom and sister had told me that the block would make it so I couldn't feel anything from the waist down.  The best way I can describe how I felt was like when your arm or leg falls asleep.  That tingling feeling went all the way to my toes and I didn't dare try to move them because if I tried and failed, I'm pretty sure I'd have an anxiety attack. Everything was happening so quickly and all I was focused on was that I still felt tingly and I wasn't supposed to feel anything.  "Wait!" I said.  "Don't cut me open yet, I'm not numb!"  Charlie looked at me, then looked at my doctor.  "Okay," she said.  "Do you feel that?"  "No."  "Okay, you're numb."  Whew I thought, (HAHAHA I later learned that when this convo happened, I was already sliced open!) let's have these babies!  I had been forewarned that I shouldn't be alarmed when a baby was born and I didn't hear them cry.  Preemies often need to be resuscitated because their lungs aren't fully developed.  Not our babies; everyone arrived screaming!!!! 

Out comes baby number one.  It's a boy!  Andrew Kelley (Andrew is my grandpa's name and Kelley is my mom's maiden name...gotta keep the tradition going!) was 3 lb 13 oz.

Then comes baby number two.  It's a boy!  Mason Bryan (Mason was the boy name Charlie picked and Bryan is after his dad) was 3 lb 10 oz.  

One minute later, it's a girl!  Addison Charlie (Addison is a name I had picked and I surprised Charlie at the last minute and told him I was giving her his name) was 3 lb 9 oz.

Then comes baby number four, it's a girl!  Mikayla Maria (Mikayla was Charlie's girl name and Maria after his mom) was 3 lb 5 oz. 

And so, the delivery went perfectly .  While sewing me up, Dr. Clark made the comment that my body must have been made for these quads because it was the smoothest multiple birth she had ever delivered!  As we expected, everyone was born healthy with no issues.  The girls were on oxygen for a few days but quickly followed their brothers and were breathing room air within week one. The NICU has several different 'rooms' their babies are in, room one being for the tiniest little people, on up. They quickly moved from that to the room they would eventually be sent home in. 

We are so blessed and feel so fortunate that they were all born so healthy.  Thank you for everyone's thoughts, comments and mostly for your prayers.  God is so good and we know that without Him this little miracles would not have been possible!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

in and out and back in the hospital...TILL BABIES ARRIVE!!!!

The odds were there and sure enough, I have developed it.  What is preeclampsia?  I think WebMD can explain it better than I can, "preeclampsia is a condition that pregnant women develop. It is marked by high blood pressure and a high level of protein in the urine...If undiagnosed, preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia, a serious condition that can put you and your baby at risk, and in rare cases, cause death. Women with preeclampsia who have seizures are considered to have eclampsia."  Nobody really knows the cause of it but with multiples, the odds are just increased and the only way to 'cure' it is to deliver the babies. 

So, back on October 16th, we were at our regular appointment and the nurse practitioner came in and said the protein in my urine had dramatically increased since last week and they wanted to admit me for testing.  While monitoring the preeclampsia, it was also discovered that my hematocrit (number of red blood cells) was only at 23%.  An average woman (let alone someone NOT prego with quads) should be in the 35-40% range!  So two units of blood later, the transfusion only took it to 24 1/2% when it should have brought it at least to 26 or 27.  Now the hemotologist got called in.  Lots of blood and lots of tests later, they ruled my iron was just so low it was preventing my body from making these red blood cells and that our babies were eating up everything I had!  The next day they gave me an iron infusion, which is simply an iv bag full of karo-syrup like liquid pumped right into my veins.  This was hopefully going to get my body going so I could start making my own again.

By now we were at Friday I was officially diagnosed with mild-preeclampsia.  Dr. Silver felt as long as I took my blood pressure a few times a day and again stayed off my feet, I could go home.

That next Tuesday morning I was scheduled for another iron infusion and check up and both went great.  My hematocrit was at 27% so we were headed in the right direction.  Friday's appointment came along and decided to shake things up on us.  First we went in and got measurements for the babies (see 'babies are growing' entry!) then went to clinic.  Dr. Silver walked in and said that mild-preeclampsia wasn't behaving very mildly.  Protein levels are up, blood pressure is up and the fact we are now at 29 weeks, babies could come any day.  Charlie and I look at eachother...BREATH, HE'S NOT SAYING THEY'RE COMING RIGHT NOW (but if they did, it really would be okay.  We've passed some major developmental milestones plus I forgot to mention I gotten the steroid shots that stimulate lung and brain development during our last visit).  He asked how I felt about being admitted until the babies do arrive and honestly I didn't feel too horrible about it.  I feel fine but I've never done this before.  What if babies decided to come while Charlie is at work and my sister is at the store?  Better safe than sorry!  So, we committed to being admitted. 

Charlie really has been a champ!  I definitely have my on and off days and I know it's not easy for him to be cooped up here but to say the least, I have been humbled and reminded reminded of the reasons I married this man!

Plus he keeps me entertained playing with hospital equipment


AND he brings me flowers


Looks like the beginning of the end (which is really the TRUE BEGINNING) is fast approaching!!!

babies are growing...that means I am too!

As the weeks have flown by, babies have been growing like crazy!  October 2nd we took measurements and our baby boys were 1 lb 14 and 13 oz and our girls were 1 lb 11oz which is right where they should be for as far along as I was (25 1/2 weeks).  October 26th has been our latest growth scan and boy have they grown!  Boys at 2 pounds 11 and 13 ounces and girls both at 2 pounds 6 ounces...yes!!!!  At this rate we'll be at 3 pounds in no time!

Every week we go in, pictures are getting harder and harder to take but here are some of our favorites!

HOW CUTE IS THIS ONE!  IT LOOKS LIKE HE IS SALUTING!!!! ("He better not be with his left hand!" says Charlie)

She loves her hands by her head!
Attempt at one of those 3d pics. She has her dad's nose for sure!!!!

I think her eyes are open!!

At the very beginning of my pregnancy, my mom told me about how she loved gaining weight while she was pregnant because when else in life can you eat what you want (to a point of course!) and gain weight and get away with it!  As uncomfortable as I was with the idea, it grew on me...LITERALLY...and she's right, I stopped caring and it got kinda fun!  




October 1

 OCTOBER 26TH...29 WEEKS!!!!

we're back in Utah!

Here we go!  For the past two years, Charlie and I have been living in San Diego as he's been a Drill Instructor for the Marine Corps.  After we found out about the TEAM, we started flirting with the idea of trying to get his orders sent back to Salt Lake where both of our families live.  Charlie started asking around and found out it was a definite possibility!  Next my older sister and brother-in-law GRACIOUSLY offered for us to live with them, so the quest to move home began.  It took LOTS AND LOTS of papers, interviews and strings being pulled, by Charlie and lots and lots of late night basement construction for my brother-in-law, but August 27th the movers arrived and by the 29th my mom and I were driving home.  It took a few weeks for Charlie to wrap things up but by the end of September he was home and we were settled.

Before leaving San Diego, it was important to us to have our doctors lined up and we wanted to be treated at the University of Utah.  It was right next to Primary Children's, and growing up in Salt Lake, I knew it was the best hospital around (not to mention the personal experience my family had there not too long ago with my sister!).  When I shared the moving news with Dr. Cousins, his response without hesitation was, "well I'm not sure where in Utah you'll be, but if you can get to the University of Utah, Dr. Robert Silver is one of the only other doctors I'd trust seeing you."  As with everything else so far in this pregnancy, it was meant to be.  Dr. Silver was within our insurance network and was accepting new patients.  I had an appointment set up with him before we even left town.

September 11th arrived and we went in to meet our new doctor.  The appointment went great!  He had looked at my ultrasounds and records ahead of time and was very optimistic.  He feels like we'll be able to take Team Sandness to 32-34 weeks.  That's exciting!  We hadn't discussed delivery with Dr. Cousins yet!  I like that h
is philosophy was to let things happen and not fix it if it's not broken.  So far I haven't had any problems or symptoms of an upcoming problem, so we agreed that I would come in weekly and as long as babies kept growing and I kept off my feet, we could stay out of the hospital.  YES!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Okay, it's about time I update this; SOOO much has happened! Where to start....the SEXES!!! So way back, I think at the July 5th appointment, we were told that it looked like 1 girl and 1 boy and the other two were unknown.  Not any more!!!!  July 26th we found out we are having 2 BOYS AND 2 GIRLS!!!! (every time I write more than one exclamation point I feel like I need four!) How perfect is that! Now, here are the pics and unless you are a sonographer, you might have a hard time seeing their special little parts :)


This has definitely been the funnest appointment yet! Other than seeing the BOYS AND GIRLS, I love it when Charlie tries to make out what we are looking at! "Is that a wiener, it's huge!?!?" "HA HA sorry, no, it's the umbilical cord." "I think I see a wiener!" "Nope, we're still on baby's head." (sonographer) "I think this one's a boy, but I'm having a hard time seeing." "Is it because his wiener is so small?" To say the least, he was rooting for his boys! We are both THRILLED and so excited to start picking names and clothes and all the STUFF that comes with these little angels!

Lastly, I thought I might as well post the first baby bump pic of me.  I'm finally looking prego!!!!

Even though this post is dated July 26th, It's really Sept 12 and I have so much more to share....more to come! :)