When you can't count on your family, where do you turn? The answer? To God, and in turn to amazing community and friends who share Christlike love.
When we found out that we were expecting quadruplets, as you can imagine, our lives were turned upside down. On the day we left the clinic after hearing the news, Adam and I sat in the car in the parking lot of the doctor's office, held hands, and just stared straight ahead. I'll never forget Adam asking me "What do we do now"? My answer "we better both get to work because we're going to need our jobs more than ever now"! We did just that! Although, I'll admit, I didn't get a lot of work done that day.
Soon after, we began sharing the news with our families. We knew we were going to need a lot of help during this sudden change in our lives and felt like the people we could count on the most were our families. We began making plans. Let me just say that we both have the most amazing, supportive parents in the world and both sets of them would go to the ends of Earth for us and our babies. We both came from pretty close-knit families so we just assumed they'd be there to support us through this.
We knew some changes had to be made in regard to our living arrangements. With four babies, it was obvious to us, we were going to need some help! Unfortunately, on our budget, it was going to be very difficult to hire someone and still pay the expensive rent we were paying in Houston. The plan was that I was going to keep my job so we anticipated having some pretty high child care costs. Then my Mom suggested that we move closer to her and she'd help with the babies. So we did just that! Our plan was to move into my Aunt and Uncle's Farm House on the family land for a couple of months while we either moved in a modular home or built a "barndominium" on the property. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, those plans didn't materialize. We've remained in the farm house since, as trying to find alternate living arrangement while super pregnant, with babies in NICU, or with newborn quads at home has proven to be challenging. And the thought of moving with quads...yikes!
When we first came home with the babies after 52 days in the NICU, there were many late nights where I'd just stand in the nursery and wonder what in the world we had done. I remember a time or two, standing over the changing table, feeling so overwhelmed that I was in tears. How was I going to care for all of these babies all by myself? How would Adam and I get by? How on Earth could I be the parent and provide for all of the needs of not one, but four babies all on our own? Of all the women in the world, why did God decide that I was fit to be the mother of quadruplets?
I've come to learn, I can't. We can't.
In the beginning, Adam and I nearly killed one another. I'm serious. It. Got. Ugly. The babies needed care around the clock. We did nothing but feed, change, burp, bathe, love babies. When we weren't doing that, we were washing endless loads of laundry and bottles and then filling them. I once went three days on three hours of sleep. We were both tired, exhausted, and frustrated with our situation and were snappy with one another. My Mom unfortunately had fallen ill with a bad hip and was unable to help us as she'd planned in the beginning.We turned to God for help and asked Him to get us by.
The saving grace was Adam's Mom, who blessed us with three months of live-in services. I'm not kidding. That woman saved my life and probably our marriage. She realized that it's hard for me to ask for help when I really need it. She realized that I was struggling and she just took charge and lovingly did what needed to be done without me asking. She helped with late night feedings, made bottles, did laundry, cleaned house, cooked for us and all in all, filled in with the extra set of hands we so desperately needed. As the time fly by and it came closer for her to leave, I was sent into a complete state of panic. What was I going to do? How would I survive without her? Were we going to go back to fighting with each other in front of our babies? Would our babies be cared for in the way we planned? Would the babies' needs be met? All of these questions danced in my mind.
Fortunately, we were able to create a plan. We decided the best option was for me to stop working to focus solely on caring for the babies and Adam would take a position that paid more, but meant he would not be around to help with the babies. I planned to give two week's notice at work and during that time, Adam's sister would come from East coast to help me. Unfortunately, when I talked to my boss, she asked me to stay on until August 15 (almost three months vs two weeks) to help find and train someone to take my place. Back to the ol' drawing board we went. We had to hire help.
Meanwhile, my Mom suffered setback after setback with her hip replacement and complications turned into some pretty scary moments for us. I honestly did not know what I was going to do. My Mom was in the hospital. My Dad was caring for her. Adam's family is over 1,000 miles away. Frantic calls to my siblings for help didn't pan out as they all had their own families, children, and work to care for. I felt pretty alone. I turned to God and begged Him to get me through this. Throughout everything, during my fertility treatments, my pregnancy, and now parenthood, God has been right beside me carrying me through and He continues to do so. The blessings we have received make it so plain that God is on our side. I've learned not to count on Earthly people or things to get by but to rely on my faith in Him alone.
Help has not come from the places where I would typically expect help to come from. One would expect that during such a trying time, all help would come from close family and friends. Instead, God has chosen to show us His love in a much bigger way. He's taken those people out of the equation in one way or another and instead, He's sent help from so many places and none of which I would have expected.
My work was flexible and has allowed me to work from home during my pregnancy and after the babies came home. My Aunt and Uncle have been a huge blessing allowing us to live here while we decide what our next step is going to be. We've been blessed with gifts of diapers, wipes, swings, money to buy the 4 seater stroller that I desperately needed to do grocery shopping or doctor's visits on my own as well as other items from members of our communities, my work and from both churches we attend. We were blown away by the generosity of people we would have never expected to help us and usually the exact help we need always came right when we felt hope is lost and we are at our darkest. When we came home, and didn't have time to go to the store and had no idea how we were going to eat, ladies from our Life Group brought us meals that helped us get through. When we were panicked about how we would survive with Adam working long hours, me continuing to work from home, and were unable to find someone on short notice to watch the babies, God sent someone to tell me exactly where to look and we found the perfect Nanny for us three days before she started. When we were at our wit's end, my Mom wasn't doing well and I desperately needed some time to speak to God, He had four women specifically picked out to hold each of our babies in the nursery at church while Adam and I were given much-needed time to worship. When our families were unable to stop by to help hold and feed babies, people who were practically strangers stepped in, eager to hold babies. Some of my closest friends right now are ladies I didn't know existed until my babies were conceived. Women from all over the US have been brought into my life in a quad mom group I'm blessed to be a part of. Women from our community have stepped in to help with the baby's laundry and to help me hold them. One even came by on a day that wasn't hers, just to sit with me, give me a hug (she knew I needed it), and to give each baby some one on one time with being held. It was such a special treat that we don't often get and I know God was directly behind it because who else would have known how bad I desperately just needed a hug! It continually amazes me how perfect God's timing is. I could go on and on about the miracles of God's love that I've witnessed during this journey I'm on but the point of the message is, God's love is REAL. It far surpasses any kind of love on Earth. He's so capable of loving us and He does just that if we will only ask Him. God has used this pregnancy and this adventure in new motherhood, to plainly show me just how far He can and will go for me.
Sometimes, I am tired and I am weak. I get frustrated when I can't have MY life and I can't go out in public with my family like any normal person because of all of the attention we receive. But as a wise mentor told me once, like Moses, when I say I can't, God says I can. He gave me these babies so that I can be a testimony to His love. When the doctors told me there was a 0.5% chance of ever conceiving, God said "here, have four healthy babies". When I've needed help, God could have allowed people that I've always counted on to be there and to come through for me, but He didn't. He knew that by sending other people to show His love, He'd make His point that much louder and that much clearer. Nice work, God! I get it. And in turn, I intend to take every opportunity presented to share Your love with others in the way it's been shown to me. Like Moses, you've chosen me to endure struggles so that I can praise Your name and tell everyone all you've gotten me through and how You've never left me alone. What I once viewed as unfair, is no longer such. It's all about God and seeing that He gets the Glory. It is afterall, His to begin with!
Love and Prayers,