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.