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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fall Fun!

Thought I would share some cute pics of our little pumpkins!  
Our Little Pumpkins!  From L-R:  Lauren (smiley!),  Hannah, Tyler & Tanner
Our beautiful Cherub girls

The dudes

And a few great pics from the pumpkin patch with Jenna last week.

                              Happy Halloween, folks!  And Happy Fall!

...and one last one: awwww!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Three Months!

I can't believe we have four, chunky, healthy and adorable three month old babies! 
Hannah, Tanner, Tyler & Lauren having a pajama party

On Wednesday (October 17), the babies had their 3 month check-up.  The doctor was very happy to see them doing so well, and loved their weights!  There were no concerns, and everything looks normal and healthy.  Andy & I then took the babies home and both grandmas watched all 5 kids while we went on a wonderful overnight date!  (three words: FULL NIGHT SLEEP!).  It was awesome, and felt so good taking time out of our busy life to re-focus on us as a couple.

Here is a picture from out doctors visit & their weights.  Amazing how it wasn't that long ago when I felt they would NEVER would be this big--  Praises to God for chunky monkeys!

Tanner:  9 pounds!
Hannah:  8#, 14 oz!
Lauren:  8#, 12 oz!
Tyler:  7#, 8 oz!

All babies are feeding great and more alert each day.  I forgot how awesome it is to talk to a baby and have them stare at you, listening, as if they understand everything you say!  They are all so cute and are really getting their own little personalities.  They also seem to be developing really well.  With preemies, they obviously aren't going to be like full term 3-month olds, but they all seem to have way better head, neck & trunk control than 2-week olds (their gestational age)!  Just now I had all four babies on their bellies for tummy time when Tyler started to fuss.  I looked, and lo and behold, he has scootched 3 feet up and off the blanket!  Wowza!  I also love how much more social they are becoming.  I don't always have my "OT eyes" on (I am a pediatric occupational therapist), but I do more than not and am so very pleased with how well they seem to be doing.

Here are quick little updates & pics:

Tanner is our biggest and most alert baby.  He is low-fuss and while a little gassy, has also matured a lot in this area.  He seems to have a wise old soul and Andy and I laugh because it feels like he understands everything we say to him.  I think he might be the ring-leader right now, but maybe that's because he is also the biggest!

Our Hannah Grace in the front- she has turned into our best eater and gets the award for not spitting up practically ever.  She is sweet and good natured and loves to cuddle.  And so, so beautiful!!!
Our Smiley little Lauren.  She seems to be so good natured and easy-going.  She smiles at us all the time and makes these aggressive little grunts when hungry that are simply adorable.  And she also is so, so beautiful!!!
The boys: can you tell who is who?

Our little peanut Tyler waving "hi"
Hannah & Lauren being silly on the changing table

So Sweet! The other morning Jenna woke up and wanted to watch TV.  Tanner was on the sofa waiting for me to feed him & his brother.  While I changed Tyler, Jenna spontaneously reached over to hold Tanner's hand.  Awww!

Tanner, Lauren & Tyler in a milk-induced coma on my lap.

Life keeps us very busy and with encouragement & tips from other quad moms, I have been experimenting on how I can feed all four at the same time.  Normally, we always feed 2 at a time and each "double-feed" takes about 1/2 an hour.  Thus, feeding all four alone this way takes an hour (and we do feeds every 3 hours).  While I have help from others frequently and Andy helps when home too, I still do a lot of the feedings by myself.  Thus, the need for a quad-feed.

A moment of peace in a quad-feed.  Ahhhh.... all four sucking at the same time with no coughs or spit ups--- (this lasted about 15 seconds, by the way).

As you can tell, they all have these turtle or ducky "bottle huggers".  I also prop the bottles up and prop the babies up in a Boppy.  I have fed all four successfully several times, but it still is fairly hard to accomplish.  The boys need to be burped A LOT during a feed, but if you stop the girls to burp sometimes they lose their momentum and fall asleep (even if they really need a burp).  It still takes a lot of effort for them to feed.  It poops them out (literally & figuratively!) and it is fairly aerobic for me too (I feel like one of those plates spinners).  They all spit-up a fair amount, too, and I don't want any to choke, so I need to monitor all four constantly.  However, when I am alone all day long & feel brave, the quad-feed is starting to become a good option for me!

Andy snapped this of me in action.  

We still feed the babies on a strict 3-hour schedule, but have been stretching out the nights.  So far they average 5-6 hour stretches (note:  this is taken from the beginning of their last feed until the start of the next).  We are following tips from other moms of multiples and the book Babywise.  As they get bigger and we gently push the time a little longer, I am sure this will increase.  I dream of the night they will be able to go 10-12 hours! The only thing bad about stretching out the nights is that often they all start to rouse at the same time, causing what Andy and I lovingly refer to as the "Symphony of Quadstruction".  For those old-school Megadeth lovers out there, we literally have made our own lyrics to the much loved 90's song.  Just smile and nod:-).

Lastly, Jenna continues to love preschool, and is a big helper.  She loves to "hold" the babies and feels that she can do much more then mommy and daddy allow her to, but she also legitimately is a huge help.  She happily will keep watch over a baby on the sofa or floor while I change another, and sometimes I let her hold them all by herself.  Jenna helps wash bottles and throws empty ones in the sink for us.  She helps velcro the tabs of diapers and speaks kind and lovingly to them (mostly... she sometimes says in a loving, high pitched voice, "It's OK Tyler..." and then her voice will change to a mean growl as she finishes, " you need to be QUIET right NOW!").  Hey-- she's 4!  But overall she is the most superstar of all big sisters!

That's all I can think of for now.  I still marvel almost every day at how God saw fit to bless our family.  He makes it work somehow, and I would not have it any other way in a million years.  My mother-in-law said something so true the other day: "You know, life would be practically boring if you only had one baby!".  Yup!  We are so blessed.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day Zero

October 5, 2012-- Happy Due Date to our babies!  

Tanner, Hannah, Lauren & Tyler

In January when I first found out I was pregnant, I hoped & prayed I might cuddle a sweet newborn baby in the fall... little did I know that I would be cuddling not one, but 4 very healthy babies (even if they actually are 2 ½ months old)!

Our babies have grown up so much since their birthday, July 17.  At first, I wondered if they even would be able to survive, much less thrive.  But thriving they are!  
Here is the latest on how the quads are doing.

Hannah- Birth weight:  2#, 12 oz.  Current weight:  7#, 9 oz.
Hannah Then

Hannah Now
Since being home, our little Hannah Bean has blown us away with how well she eats!  She has made leaps and bounds in the past 2 weeks.  Sometimes she still might need a prompting at the start of meal-time, but she is by far our fastest and most coordinated eater!  Hannah is simply beautiful and a very good mannered baby.  She is alert and curious during play times, and when she sleep she does the sweetest little hum.  We simply adore her!
Lauren- Birth weight:  2#, 5 oz.  Current weight:  7#, 6 oz.

Lauren Then
Lauren Now
Our sweet, chubby little Lauren Ladybug!  Like Hannah, Lauren is a great eater and very well mannered.  She has a sweet demeanor and does the cutest little smile/chubby cheeked grin!  Lauren was on a electronic monitor to keep tabs on any apneas that might happen, but thankfully on Wednesday we got the all clear from the doctor to discontinue.  We were elated to be able to carry her around the house freely without having to unplug her and carry the monitor and its enormous cord with us ;-)!!!  We love her so much!

Tyler-- Birth weight:  1#, 14 oz.  Current weight:  6#, 6 oz.
Tyler Then
Tyler Now
Tough lil' Tyler continues to be our scrapper!  A little more than a pound lighter than his identical brother, he keeps up with and looks more and more like Tanner each day.  We are having to rely more often on tricks to tell the two apart.  Tyler is a sweet little boy and is also our fussiest and most “high maintenance” baby right now.  He loves being held, but just seems to be in pain at times and will cry and fuss especially after a feeding.  We feel so bad for him!  Both boys are very, very gassy and grunt a lot, so we are figuring out whether the discomfort is gas related or possibly silent reflux.  The poor boy often seems uncomfortable & so we use different remedies to try and ease his discomfort.  Fussy or not, we sure do love our Tyler, though!

Tanner- - Birth weight:  2#, 4 oz.  Current weight:  7#, 10 oz.
Tanner Then
Tanner now
Our big boy Tanner Man is the heaviest of all and so solid!  He is a great eater and always leads the others in being the first to request a bottle at feeding times!  Tanner is actually pretty much a mellow guy, just don’t mess with his food and don’t mind all his grunting he does.  Both he and Tyler burp tons when eating and toot a lot, too.  Gassy guys!!  Tanner is very curious and is starting to really interact with his environment.  He is quite a smart guy, and darn cute, too!
Hannah kissing Tyler's nose
Tanner & Tyler
Lauren & Tanner

Tanner resting (so cute!)

Girl time!

 Life is busy, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.  God continues to bless abundantly!

God Bless!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The New "Normal"

It has been almost 2 weeks since we brought our little Hannah home, and I love it that we all are settling into our "new normal" routine!  As nice as the NICU staff was, it feels SO wonderful to have everyone at home.
Our first family photo of all of us together!
Needless to say, life is very. very. very busy.  And a little redundant day to day, but honestly, (for the most part) I am loving it!  It's not easy by any means, but I have no doubt God designed me to be a wife & mother to 5 (albeit 4/5 are quadruplets).  I still marvel that my journey included years and years of having a crazy maternal instinct paired with frustrating infertility.  I was so confused and at times downright frustrated, wondering if I ever would be a mommy, but now I know He had this plan all along!  God has provided Abundantly.  Not that this is at all everyone's story, but for me, it has been and I just marvel at His providence.  We are so blessed!
Tyler, Lauren, Hannah & Tanner
This is what life is like in the Niemeyer Household these days.  The babies are, overall, very well "trained" from their stay in the NICU!  They still sleep most of their day away, and we feed them every 3 hours.  Sometimes they rouse around a feeding time, but often we have to wake them up.  Times are 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm, 12am, 3am, & 6am.  Yes, we are tired often.
Me the other morning- very tired abut with 4 babies needing snuggling (while Andy got the other child off to Preschool!)
Because there are 4 babies and they take anywhere from 20-30 minutes to eat their bottle, feeds last anywhere from 1-2 hours depending on multiple factors including baby alertness & pace, amount of people helping feed, etc.  So if you do the math, that means I usually get about an hour or so stretch between feeds.  We are working on elongating the night feeds, but still figuring it out.  We also have help at night and early morning often, which is AWESOME for right now.  But lots and lots and lots of bottles.  Here is what the kitchen counter often looks like!

We have been blessed with friends and family offering to come and help, which is great.  We do get help frequently... I have no idea how we could manage otherwise!  There is always lots of laundry to do, life to live, and general house cleaning (ahem... like bottles washed over, & over, & over...)!
Snug as bugs in a rug!  They love sleeping near each other!
Hannah, Tanner, Tyler & Lauren
 We are trying to keep our date nights and church attendance to twice a month (without babies, of course!), which feeds our marriage, emotional, and spiritual life so much.  Then there are doctor appointments, errands needing to be done, friends and family visiting... life is really busy!  And feedings.  Lots and lots of feedings-- have I mentioned that yet?!?
Our entry way fixtures, for when we need to go out for doctor appointments.  It almost seems normal to see this every day.

We try to give Jenna lots of attention and love, while still teaching her boundaries with the babies and keeping consistent discipline.  I strive to balance having Jenna at home with us but also with friends and family, which is a catch-22.  It is so helpful when she can get away and have others' attention, but then I really want her at home having family time, too.
Some of our nieces visiting and holding babies!
I find that Jenna can try to push the limits more when she is away or with others more, so thus the balance.  With one new baby I know siblings can have their world turned upside down, so all the more four babies have really impacted Jenna's life!  Despite this, she has been SUCH a big help and is so understanding for a 4-year old.  Jenna is also doing really well with Preschool and loving that, so life goes on for our vivacious little girl.
With a neighbor friend at a parade the other day

So, our new normal life is busy, but good!
Daddy kissing chubby cheeked Lauren
Look at the boys smiling!!

 Last night, Andy was feeding the girls and I was feeding the boys.  I said to him, "This feels normal now, does it to you?"  Giving a little chuckle, he agreed.  Our new normal.  And life is good!