January (or February?) in 1999, picture taken by our pediatrician. I think.
I always wanted to be a wife and a mom. When my older siblings started their families, my favorite thing to do was babysit. I couldn't wait to become a mom myself. It probably wasn't a surprise to anyone when I got married young, but what was a surprise was the fact we couldn't get pregnant when we thought we were ready to have a baby.
During the difficult infertility years a friend told me maybe God was preparing us for something special, like triplets. I remembered laughing nervously. Oh no, not me!! I also remember telling a friend with twin boys "better you than me". Boy, was that one coming back to bite me later..
Finally in the Spring of 1998 we found out I was pregnant. Oh, the joy and happiness!! I had about a month of sweet day dreaming about that little bundle of joy before we had our first ultrasound.
The Captain was able to come with me to the ultrasound. We couldn't wait to hear 'all was well' with our baby. The technician was so quiet. We could see three ovals on the monitor, and the Captain remembers thinking "how can she tells which one is the baby". Finally I asked: "Are they all babies?" The technician nodded, and quietly kept doing the ultrasound. Then a fourth oval popped up on the screen.
I don't write a lot about the early years of having children. The simple reason is I don't remember a lot. Starting from that first ultrasound it's all a big blur.
There were tears. A lot of tears. And fears. We were advised to have selective reduction to give two of the babies a better chance of survival. We were confused and scared, but that we knew: selective reduction was not an option for us. We had prayed to have children (I had specifically prayed to have four children - didn't realize God would take me so literally ;-). These babies were gifts from God, and He would see us through - no matter what the future brought.
Whether any of them would survive. Whether some (or all) were born with complications. He would be with us, He would equip us. My verse to cling on those first months was: "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me." Phil. 4:13
Those seven months of pregnancy stretched our faith in such big ways.
And then they were born! Two months premature, about three pounds each, three boys and a girl. Tiny, healthy - except typical preemie issues, they were perfect. But quickly whisked to a NICU (in fact the operating room was quite the zoo with all the doctors and nurses).
I was wheeled in to see them the next morning. I got to hold my daughter two days later for the first time, on my birthday. And the boys each. And a month later our little girl was first to come home, weighing at four pounds. Two months later, all the boys were home too, and our new normal was starting to look quite... not so normal.
When the babies first came home from the hospital, they needed to be fed every two hours. Day and night. After they each were fed, burped and changed (sometimes changed again), there was a half an hour window before we had to start over again. To feed, burp and change. And repeat. And repeat. And...
The babies were color-coordinated to have their own bottles. We had charts to record every feeding and diaper change. (Had to keep track each baby was fed - it would have been easy to feed one twice and skip another when you hadn't slept or showered for who knows how long!).
The Captain's parents moved to be closer. My dad had stopped by (a business trip to LA from Finland!) two days after the babies born. My mom came for a month. A friend who had just graduated from medical school in Finland came to be with us for five months to help. A local friend volunteered for a year, then moved in with us. My younger sister came when the babies were less than a year old, and stayed for six years (you are the best!!!). Another friend came from Finland for three months to
Our families, our church family, our neighbors, even strangers came together to support our large family. For the first three months people brought meals, others came over to clean or help with laundry, and a team of 20-something generous folk took turns to come over to rock, feed and change babies. Day and night, usually at least for three or four nights a week, and most days. One gifted friend organized the schedule, another one sent birth certificates to companies, who then sent us free baby bottles, coupons for free diapers and free baby food. What blessings. People giving of themselves, people helping each other.
As the babies grew, and with the support of our helpers, we were able to live more normal lives. Traveling, going to Finland to see family, or Florida to see grandparents, going camping, doing things we would have done before kids, or with just one child. And now they are just our 'big kids'.
So yes, we have quadruplets. They are 13 years old now, such wonderful children. We rarely call them quadruplets or quads, they are each so different, even though they were born only a minute apart. They have always shared a lot, and still do, and probably do look a like a bit - but no more than biological siblings of different ages.
In 1998 my dream came true: I became a mom. And while it hasn't been quite what I had pictured in my day dreams (when is it??), it still is what I want to be when I grow up. (Smile)
December 2006, picture taken by one of our adoptive parents from our group *thanks*
The second time (or fifth, rather) was also a different way to add to your family. Just as special though. The day our quadruplets turned eight we signed Little Miss' adoption papers in China. Missy was there, as she had started praying for a little sister as soon as she was old enough to talk. It took a few years of praying, but we started the adoption process in 2005. In November 2006 we saw Little Miss' picture for the first time, and so fell in love. We brought her home in December 2006. (You can read more in the Adoption tab.)
And now Little Miss is praying for a little sister.
**** This post was originally written and posted in May 2011.
Tästä postauksesta tuli niiiiin pitkä. Kirjoitettuani nelosten tarinan olen ihan puhki - väsyttää mennä Muistojen tielle :) Googlella on kääntöpalvelu, joka löytyy täältä. Eihän se ihan oikein tekstiä käännä, mutta ehkä auttaa? Pähkinänkuoressa minusta tuli äiti vuonna 1998 kun neljä vauvaamme syntyivät. Jep, meillä on neloset. Ja 2006 nelosten 8-vuotissyntymäpäivänä kirjoitimme Pikkuneidin adoptiopaperit Kiinassa. Meidän ihana erilainen hassu perheemme :)