Thursday, October 22, 2015

20 Month Update And Our First (TWO) Real Illnesses

I'm not as behind as I have been before, but it's time! I'm late, as usual. I spent the last week and a half battling our first real illness - five cases of strep (counting me) and four upper respiratory infections. Still, I wanted to give an update in regard to where we are at now that we're 20 months old (it's so hard to believe they'll be two years old in a few short months)! And then, I spent another week battling six cases of a stomach virus. Blogging, while I've missed it, just wasn't on the priority list. Instead, I decided it was best to focus on keeping my family alive. Now, I'll go back through a blog post that I began drafting almost a month ago to try to make it relevant! 

The past month has been a vocabulary explosion! So many new words are being learned and used properly that my heart is just aflutter. We've also learned how to climb up and sit on the couches like big boys and girls. Boy is it a weird feeling to walk into the living room from changing morning diapers to find four little people lined up on the couch, remote in hand, watching cartoons they turned on by themselves. Getting used to sharing a home with four little people and not four little babies is definitely an adjustment but it's so much fun seeing them know they're home and feel comfortable lounging on the couch or closing cabinet doors and pantry doors that are left open. 




Baby A: Baby A has always been the most independent of the four. I often wonder if it is because he spent the first few days of his life in his own room until the hospital was able to get a room large enough to accommodate all of us. He loves to play independently and his favorite toys are Hot Wheels, big trucks, and anything with wheels. Anywhere he goes, you'll see him with at least one car in his hand. He also likes ride on toys and our dogs. His favorite phrase is "what's that" and has recently started getting very attached to his mommy. He's learned to give kisses and loves to give hugs. He's also a big fan of tickle time and has the most adorable laugh. His favorite foods are, well, he loves anything that doesn't eat him first. 


Baby B: Baby B is probably the most loving little girl ever. She is still very smart and seems to pick up on things quickly and on her own. She is compassionate towards all of her siblings and towards me and Adam. She does whatever she can to try to be helpful, always helping to pick up toys when it is time, picking up things that should not be on the floor and handing them to me, bringing toys to her siblings when they are upset, sharing her food, and the list could go on. The girl is sweet and I couldn't be more proud of her. She learns new words almost daily including "grapes", "nose", "eye", "belly button", "bird" and her all time favorite is still "BB" - what she calls every animal she sees. She loves to give kisses and will say "mmm" expecting you to kiss whatever toy she's holding or her. She loves fruits and vegetables and string cheese but is NOT a huge fan of meats. 



Baby C: Baby C is still our active boy. He has learned to climb things, especially chairs and furniture. He knows how to push the kitchen chairs over to the light switches so he can turn them on and off. And on and off. Over and over and over again. He's absolutely fascinated by the washing machine and dryer. He's also learned to give out kisses which is really sweet except he uses them when he's in trouble to distract you from punishing him! He's also turned into somewhat of a parrot. He seems to repeat everything I say lately. Just the other day I caught him giving out instructions to his brother and sisters as if I were talking to them. Baby C is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. He will eat vegetables if you bribe him and he sometimes loves to munch on apples, strawberries and bananas depending on the mood you catch him in.


Baby D: Baby D is quite possibly our "free spirit". She's very comfortable being herself and I love seeing her happy in her own skin. She will tell the others exactly how things are. I've caught her following each of the others around "talking" to them in what I can only describe as "twin talk" or their own language. It looks like she knows exactly what she's saying and often, it seems like the others understand her and respond accordingly. I just wish I knew what she was saying. She has grown attached to a little yellow blanket and it goes pretty much everywhere with her. It's already stained and after it's last bath, I noticed there are two holes forming from some wear and tear. When you ask her where her blanket is, she usually immediately runs to wherever she last had it and brings it back. On the off chance she doesn't know where it is, you should hope you do because the world must stop until it is found. Baby D is also a huge fan of baby dolls. She sleeps with five of them currently and will bring them to you if asked about a baby. They were all four Facetiming with their Grammy and Granddad recently when Grammy asked Baby A if she had a doll. Immediately, Baby D ran to her crib and brought back a doll (that I still don't know how she got out of the crib) to show Grammy. Baby D is a carb addict. She loves crackers and cookies but she also likes to eat fruits and vegetables.


Twin Talk - There's a lot of fighting and chaos in our home, but there's also moments of love in one of its' purest forms!



Some might say our first illness warrants it's own post. I however, like the idea of it being grouped with our 20 month update because it did last for 2.5 weeks in the midst of their 20th month on Earth. 

DISCLAIMER: THE FOLLOWING IS A FIRST HAND ACCOUNT OF OUR FIRST (AND SECOND) ILLNESS. I AM SLEEP DEPRIVED AND BORDERLINE INSANE. IT MAY BE GRAPHIC IN NATURE. READ ON WITH CAUTION. (IN OTHER WORDS: IF YOU'RE EATING, JUST ATE OR PLAN TO SOON, DON'T READ THIS PART.)

When we developed a case of the sniffles, I started to worry about what "could" happen. Long ago, when I was still pregnant, I learned of this thing called RSV which is basically what nightmares for parents of premature children are made up of. They warned us about it while I was pregnant, while we were in the NICU, we received special injections to guard against it both in the NICU and after we were discharged, and it's scary. So every cough and sniffle sends me into panic mode thinking we have RSV. I immediately envision all four of my children back in the hospital with tubes and machines attached to help them breathe. (PTSD much?) Still, I don't like to let it show on the outside that a common cold basically turns me into a basket case so I tried to remain a normal appearance, loving my children, giving them Tylenol and making sure they drank fluids when every bone in my body wants to load them up and rush them to the nearest emergency room. Then, it happened. We woke up one morning and I saw Baby B retracting (for those of you unfamiliar, retracting is when the area between a child's ribs and the neck sinks in when they attempt to inhale or in other words they're having trouble breathing). Immediately, I knew this was the moment I'd been dreading. I quickly called Adam who rushed home from work and took her to the emergency room where she tested positive for strep and received breathing treatments to help with the retractions. An x-ray of her lungs proved that they were at least still clear. She tested negative for RSV. The breathing treatment seemed to immediately help her and she was breathing normally before she went to sleep in the ER. It seemed like things were going well. She'd go on antibiotics for the strep and get an inhaler to help with breathing and steroids to knock out whatever was in her chest. Whew! What a relief! While Adam wrapped up things at the ER, I took advantage of the time and called the pediatrician to see about getting medicine for the other three. No sooner did I hang up with an appointment time for first thing the following morning, Adam was calling me back. "I'm sad" he said. It turns out, when Baby B was asleep, her oxygen levels were dropping into the 80s which is dangerous. They would not let her go home with us from the ER and thus, Baby B had her first ambulance ride to the children's hospital. Fortunately, our stay was brief, lasting only the afternoon and Baby B got to come home that night. She began her antibiotic, steroid and breathing treatments immediately while the other three had to tough it out until their 8 AM doctor's appointment. Of course, that appointment revealed what I already knew: three more cases of strep and three more upper respiratory infections. The doctor we saw (our regular pediatrician wasn't available) sent me on my way with a book of prescriptions and I began about a week's worth of what can only be described as "nursing school by fire". Should you ever find yourself with sick quadruplets, here's a tip to remember: REQUEST THAT YOUR DOCTOR PUT EVERYONE ON THE SAME MEDICATION WHEN THEY HAVE THE SAME ILLNESS. I kid you not, four kids all sick with the same thing, yet each had their own regiment (and I'm not talking dosages, I'm talking entire medicines). Just trust me here. 

After about a week, we were finally on the mend! The kids were doing well and weren't needing breathing treatments anymore. We decided to celebrate (ok, really, I was just too tired to cook) with dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants to take the quads to. It was a Friday night, we let them know ahead of time we were coming and they had a table for us up front in a corner where we had privacy waiting. It was the perfect dinner. We all left feeling full of yummy delicious food, there was no kitchen mess to clean up, and we got to go home, bath the kids, put them to bed and then drag ourselves to bed.  Fast forward to Sunday night: after a full day with church and an afternoon at the beach. At 1:00 AM, I was awakened by the terrible sound of my poor Baby D screaming in her crib. When I made my way to check on her, I was surprised to see she and her bed were covered in vomit. It was definitely a first for me but we got through it. I held my beautiful baby girl close to me and allowed her to use me as her bedside pail more than once as I stroked her back and hair and tried my best to make her comfortable. I didn't sleep and neither did she until the next morning when the vomiting passed. After sleeping for most of the day, Baby D went to bed that night without any problems and seemed fine. I breathed a sigh of relief that we were in the clear. Too soon. That night, I woke up around midnight because I was sick. From my position on the floor of our bathroom, I could hear Baby A whimpering in his crib. As soon as I could make my way, I went to check on him where I found him in the same predicament his baby sister had been in the night before. By now, I was a pro and had learned that it wasn't a good idea to be a human bedside pail so I worked out alternate arrangements for my first born son. Little did I know, it was only beginning. That night...October 12, 2015 was quite possibly one of the worst nights of my life. I'm not kidding when I say this is the stuff they make horror movies out of. One by one, within a matter of hours, all three of my remaining children woke up to projectile vomiting. I tried to care for them amidst my own illness...changing sheets, diapers, pajamas and giving baths as best I could. We suffered through that next day together. Baby D was already better so while the other three slept in their cribs, I tried to stay alive on the couch while I let her play on her own in the living room. watch endless cartoons and eat Cheerios straight out of the box by herself. It was touch and go for a while, but I'm happy to report that as you probably guessed since you're reading this, we lived to tell the tale! Here's the free advice I learned from our stomach virus for the next time it strikes your family: use every towel you own if you have to. Changing sheets is hard when you're dying. Towels can be put down on the bed and you can remove them in layers which is much easier. Also, laundry doesn't wash itself. If you really love someone, and I do mean REALLY, next time they're sick, offer help with laundry. It took me close to two weeks to get caught up with all the illness going around. I also spent the entire next day and the one after that disinfecting our home. I may wish for a maid in my mind very often, but I promise I had never wished for a cleaning fairy to randomly show up as much as I did in the midst of all this! 


We had our 18 month well-visit at 20 months. I was tired that day and took a nap during this picture. Also, I'm so thankful that we were able to find our pediatrician back! From left to right, the first three babies weigh 26 pounds. The one Adam is holding weighs 24. She is also the tallest! The one I am holding is the shortest.


I'm hopeful that we are now completely on the mend and since our 21 month birthday is in three days, I'm just proud of myself for actually getting this posted ahead of time. In my mind, we're still 20 month olds so technically this is not late! I promise, I'm working on that!