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Monday, January 28, 2013

The best yes ever

A few days ago I realized with a shock that it was exactly a year ago- January 26, 2012- that I had the awesome experience of seeing a "YES" on a pregnancy test.

To understand the awesomeness of this, you need to understand the difficulty a woman (or couple) faces whenever they try, month after month, to get a positive test and never receive it.  By now it's old news that we had a very difficult time getting pregnant.  Many of you reading this may have experienced the same struggle or are currently waiting for that elusive positive.  It is hard.  I have friends right now who are struggling with infertility (why do I still cringe at that word?) and my heart breaks for them.

For us, a year ago we had decided this was our last try using fertility help.  We needed fertility help with Jenna.  In the fall of 2010, we "naturally" conceived and I was over the moon, but soon after I miscarried.  We went back to the fertility clinic early fall 2011.   I remember the doctor asked me if I had tried the over-the-counter ovulation tests.  "Yes," I sighed, "They don't work at all."  To this, he raised an eyebrow and cautiously replied, "Well, they work great if you ovulate..."  Ouch.  The truth hurts!  We had given it several months, but the financial costs, emotional, and physical toll it took on my body (I was a hormonal nightmare-- just ask Andy) was very difficult.  We were looking into adoption and trusting God to lead us one way or the other. We were very at peace with this being our "last try".

We did an IUI (inter-uterine-insemination) and used injectable hormones, but after the procedure and the l-o-n-g 2 weeks following, I did not feel pregnant.  I just knew it would be yet another negative.  I even remember visiting a friend the day before I was to take said test, and telling her everything & through tears admitting, "I know I am not pregnant.  I guess I am just mourning the loss of knowing this (sob, sob, sob)".

I have spent oodles of money on tons of pregnancy tests over the years.  After a few years I wised up and bought the tests at the dollar store.  But this time, knowing it would be our last, I didn't want any unclear lines or squinting to see " that a line???" which TORMENT the soul.  I bought the kind that simply said either "YES" or "NO".  We were actually leaving for a water-park vacation with my family that day so I needed to pack.  I took the test, and had the biggest knot in my stomach for the heartache I knew was to come.  I busied myself-- 1, 2, 3 minutes... then with dread I looked down at that digital screen.

It said YES.

I tell you what, to have been blessed with just one child would have been monumental.  The fact that I had quadruplets was the reason I started this blog and the reason why you are reading this, because I probably would have never shared my story otherwise.  At that time I had (& still do) a 3x5 index card on my mirror.  It now looks tie-dyed because it has fallen into my wet sink a hundred times, but I love the truth of what it says.  In my scrawl it simply reads,
"Becky: Trust me.  I know what I am doing.  -God          
Jeremiah 29:11 & Proverbs 3: 5-6."  

For God knows the plans He has for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your path straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I have no idea what else He has in store for me or for you.  But I do know God can be trusted.  He does know what He is doing!

And... brace yourself.  He likes to throw curve-balls ;-)


Thursday, January 17, 2013

6 months!

Hannah, Lauren, Tyler and Tanner 
are 6 months old!!!
Babies in birth order A-D:  Lauren, Tyler, Tanner & Hannah

It's fun to watch the different developments simultaneously in all four of them.  They are four amazing miracles and I love each one so individually and so fiercely.  I can't imagine our life without any of them.  Precious, just precious gifts from God.  These are snapshots of who each person is these days:

Tanner, I think you are the leader of the pack right now.  You seem to be the first to talk, coo, roll over, and you have a very calm demeanor overall.  You were so serious when I was taking these photos, buddy, but you are actually a very happy and smiley boy.  You like to talk a lot.  Ah-goo is one of your favorite expressions.  When you are on your back, you pedal your legs like you are bicycling in a triathlon.  When you are on your tummy, your head is a straight 90 degrees up and you weight bear really good on your arms.  I think you will be crawling in no time.  You like to extend your hips so sitting is not your favorite, you would far prefer to stand but mean therapist mommy makes you sit a lot with her.  Don't worry, you'll thank me some day.  You have rolled over both ways, but seem to have forgotten for the moment that you can do these fancy skills.  You don't think you need to nap, silly boy.  You would much rather talk & play in your crib.  You are a pure joy and I cry tears of gratitude to God when I remember that we almost lost you that first night.  You've come a long way, my Tanner Man... mommy & daddy love you so much.

Hannah, you are such a sweetheart!  And boy, what a personality!  We still call you our "Diva", which is funny because you have been our "Diva" since day 1 in the NICU!  All that means, my dear, is that you don't try to hide how you feel and I love that about you.  When you are happy you smile the gummiest, happiest, most infectious smile.  And when you are upset, mad, or hungry, you cry like the world is going to end.  Oh. my. goodness. you. cry.  Hard.  Thankfully, most of the time you are a very happy little girl.  Gone are the days where you were always fussy in the evening.  Most of the time you really only cry when hungry, bored, tired, or in pain.  We kind of overdose you on prune juice right now because when you get constipated--- oh my.  Hannah, you have improved so much in tummy time skills in the last 2 weeks!  Suddenly the past 2 weeks you have been rolling on your side, and then two days ago you learned how to roll over.  During tummy time you do very well and hold your head up for nice amounts of time or roll yourself over.  On your back, you like holding your hands and like putting your feet up in the air.  You also have taken a liking to a soft lovey, you love grabbing it and putting it (and anything else!) in your mouth.  You talk and coo with fresh, bright eyes and love to socialize with others.  You are so beautiful and we are just so glad you are our baby.  You've come a long way, sweet girl.

Tyler (can I just say I LOVE this picture?!?)
Tyler, my little man!  You are just so sweet.  Still the tiniest, you are a snuggle bug and you make the cutest coos and baby noises.  You are still a good pound or two smaller than your brother & sisters, but you don't let your size fool anyone!  Developmentally you are doing wonderfully.  Your hands are always together and you enjoy bringing your feet in the air.  You like toys and grab at them.  You roll sideways all the time and are just so close to rolling over.  And your laugh--- I love it!  Ever since I put cereal in your bottles you have barely had any scary spit-ups, and your personality shines.  You are a happy boy and mommy & daddy just love you so much.  To think that had we not chosen to do the c-section when we did, your life would have been jeopardized... ooh.  I just can't imagine our family without you, buddy.  You've come a long ways since 1# 14 oz, sweet boy!

Lauren, our sweet, content little girl!  You are the happiest baby out of the crew and few things ruffle your feathers.  When you cry, there is a reason, but mostly you are smiley and happy.  When you smile, your eyes smile too and it's just so sweet.  I love when you talk to us- your purse your lips and quietly say, "ooooh wah!" like we are sharing secrets.  You are the least ambitious in terms of sitting and rolling over, you are just content laying down watching others and talking to us.  You love faces and smile at everyone.  Tummy time is not your favorite but you are the best, best sleeper of the bunch.  You are a very easy-going baby, still our Laid-back Lauren!  Daddy and I are just so in love with you, sweet girl.  You've come a long way since being that tiny, fragile girl that we couldn't hold for the longest time because of your tubes and medical issues!  Look at you now, big girl!  Love you so much.
Jenna (in her "Nutcracker Dress & ballet slippers) hugging on Hannah & Tyler.  Yes,  every night she wears this outfit and dances to Nutcracker music or baby toy music.  She is a bundle of energy, pure joy, and life!  We are SOOOO proud of our beautiful big sister Jenna!

Life sometimes seems redundant, but schedules keep things nice & predictable, which decreases stress and makes the house run more smooth for all.  I for one, think schedules are- the. best. thing. ever!  Don't get me wrong, my times are give or take an hour always.  But, overall, our schedule right now is:

7:30- Jenna wakes us up every morning bright and eager to start the day.  Get her ready, fed, etc.
8:30- wake babies up & bottle feed (yes, I said wake them up... they could sleep even longer!!!)
9:30-10:30- play time, change babies clothes (this takes a while and it's a good opportunity to have some 1:1 time with each baby!), followed by babies nap
12:00- wake babies up & bottle feed
1:00-2:00 play time, then nap for at least an hour
3:00- wake babies up & bottle feed
4-5 play time, then nap for at least an hour
5:30 family dinner
6:00 wake babies up & bottle feed
7-8 play time, then nap
9:00 wake babies up & bottle feed.  Swaddle/sleeper sack them and put down for bed.  All kids sleep a SOLID 11 hours at night.  Good, good, good babies!!!

It has been a whirlwind last year, especially the last 6 months.  But daily we continue to praise Jesus for four healthy babies!!!  We love our fab 5 so much and couldn't imagine our life any other way.  We pray daily that the kids remain healthy, our marriage remains strong, and that God continues to help us faithfully & cheerfully handle the gifts we have been given.  God is good.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Wash.  Rinse.  Repeat.... my life sometimes feels redundant, but at the same time I know how important it is raising my crew!  I love Andy, Jenna & the babies so much... every night I kiss them goodnight, and whispering prayers of gratitude for them... but the days are busy busy busy and at the end of the day, my list of "to do's" somehow only gets longer.  Sigh... there's always tomorrow, right?

Pajama party!  Give yourself a cookie if you name all 4 correctly.
Jenna started back to school this week which is great because she was getting way bored at home.  We had several play dates over the break, but I am jumping for joy happy for her that school started again.  She did, however, play very well with the babies over the break!
Jenna playing with the quads over break
Tummy time!
Babies are definitely growing!  They have officially moved to 3-6 month clothing, and are in size 1/2 diapers (Lauren is a firm 2).  Once these 1/2's are done, we will go to all 2's (maybe not Tyler... he can fit into 1's still).  Tyler also still fits 3 month clothes but he is catching up & different sizes are more work, so those are on their last wear.  Out with the old, in with the new!!!
Bins of outgrown clothes to donate/get rid of
Also, everyone is sleeping in their bedroom exclusively.  The first few months the babies were still pretty much in newborn mode, and so we set up the cribs in our living room to tend to them the best.  Our home is set-up with the master bedroom on the main floor and the kids rooms (2) on the lower level, and we did not want to walk up & down those stairs any more than we had to at first!  Then, about 4 weeks ago they became more aware of their surroundings and we decided it was time to move.  I had them sleeping at least one nap in their room all along to get use to it, so when we finally made the switch it was seamless and everyone is happier!  Big kids!  (now I gotta finish decorating it... the room is pretty much bare bones right now!).
Yes, only 3 cribs.  We have a 4th in waiting once we need it :-)
I have a few (very) little changes that have helped me out immensely.  First, I know it sounds weird, but I am SO happy I bought a Pampered Chef Family Pitcher!  I just dump and mix once now instead of 4 fills with my ol' Dr. Browns pitchers.  It works great and cuts down on my evening 20-bottle prep by about 10 minutes!
Doing the math for the water/formula ratio was the hardest.  Math is NOT my strength.
Second thing that helps me immensely are easy crock-pot recipes my Quad-moms and I are exchanging, along with the best invention in history: crock pot liners.  Like I said, it's the little things...

The babies are almost 6 months (I can't believe this!!!) and I will do a post soon about how well they are doing.  Until then, some fun pics of our happy and healthy crew!

Lauren getting better at Bumbo time and trunk strength
Brothers discussing worldly issues like spit up and toy preferences

iPad's make tummy time so much more fun

Play time with daddy

Jenna comforting Tyler

The girls discussing worldly things like the pros/cons of hair bows & favorite sleeper colors
Happy Tyler!

Hannah is placing EVERYTHING in her mouth.  Teeth soon?!?
My handsome Tanner (& Hannah!)
Rub a dub dub!  Time for some grub!



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Year in Review

We have no idea what the next year will bring.
As a New Year starts, we are often full of promise and hope.
When the year 2012 started, I had no idea the crazy journey God had planned for us.

Some years are better than others... for me, my 2010 was a very bad year.  Still, in that terrible year, I learned to rely on God's provisions and promises more than I ever had before.  I clutched onto Him & His word, including Romans 15:13:  "May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you put your Trust in Him, so that you may overflow with the Hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

As the year 2012 closes and a New Year arrives, I celebrate all that God has given us this year.  He has indeed blessed our family over-abundantly.  All the glory and blessings can only go to Him and Him alone.
Praising you, Father, for the gifts of 2012!

And now, a recap of our crazy, Multiples Journey of 2012.

Andy & I decided to try one last round of fertility treatment (IUI) before going to other options.  We were praying about what to do and trusted God would lead us.  When I went in for my consultation at the fertility clinic the nurse surprised me with finding FREE samples of the fertility med I needed: a $1700 value!!!!  She gave it to me with a smile and a "Merry Christmas!".  Merry, indeed!
My "8 week" photo.  I was starting to get a belly already and we knew we had four babies in there, having found out at just 6 weeks along.  I was a little in denial the first few weeks, especially knowing the odds were against us of bringing four healthy babies into the world & knowing the complications of multiples.  Then I kind of vacillated between elation and panic.  Slowly I learned to embrace the crazy idea of FOUR BABIES ALL AT ONCE!!!!
Our first view of all babies at once!  "A" was Lauren, "B" was Hannah, "C" was Tyler  and "D" was Tanner.  FYI, the alphabetical labels change when born to ABC order of who is born first.
On vacation in Florida... our last family vacation for a long time, I bet!
Then I grew... and grew... and grew... and grew...and grew......

This photo was taken the day before we went to the hospital to deliver.
We made the difficult decision of getting rid of our beloved dogs... it was sad, but they were adopted by a good friend & her husband.   Right now Scout & Oxford are getting spoiled & loved on lots more than we could ever do!  

It was a very good decision to adopt Oxford & Scout out, but at the time so hard on this hormonal momma!

Meantime, all four of our babies were growing wonderfully!  When I was 28 weeks pregnant (and super huge, basically incapacitated & really uncomfortable!), we found out that Tyler's umbilical cord to the placenta was not good and he was loosing oxygen and nutrients.  We needed to make the decision to stay pregnant which would put him in serious danger, or give birth early at 28 1/2 weeks and pray for the best.  To us, it was a no-brainer.  "All four one, and one four all" was our solid consensus.
Jenna celebrates her 4th birthday
Taken at Jenna's birthday party, celebrated a weekend early.  We would have the babies  the day before Jenna's actual birthday, only 2 days after this last family photo of 3 was taken!
Some of the huge crew on the day of babies' arrival, July 17, 2012
Lauren Faith Niemeyer (Baby A)
Tyler Allen Niemeyer (Baby B)
Tanner Andrew Niemeyer (Baby C) 
Hannah Grace Niemeyer (Baby D) 
Proud big sis! 
Celebrating Jenna's 4th Birthday, July 18, 2012, in the NICU with other families
My first time holding one of my babies!  I had the honor of holding Hannah 
Andy's first time holding a baby:  Tanner had the honor!
My sweet little Tyler, 1 week old
Lauren holding mommy's hand

Tanner stretching out
This was our life for a while!
Beautiful Hannah sleeping

Sweet Lauren saying "Hi"
The babies grew healthier and stronger each day.  The number of people praying for us was overwhelming!
Daddy earned bragging rights to be the first to hold 2!  Here is Tanner & Hannah
Big sister Jenna was also very careful around the babies and loved visiting them!
Getting bigger & stronger...
First time holding all four in my arms!  I was a happy, happy mommy that day.
They gradually went off the CPAP breathing devises, were able to maintain body temperature, and learned how to such, swallow & breathe as they drank milk!  Each day in the NICU the babies seemed to have ups and downs, but they all gradually grew bigger, stronger, and more independent.
Snuggling with the boys

Giving baths to the babies!  That meant some were really close to going home!
September 4, 2012:  Lauren and Tanner officially get discharged from the hospital and get to to HOME!!!
Proud big sister Jenna welcoming 2/4 home
Jenna starts Preschool!  
First day of school:  September 10!
Lookie Lookie!  On September 13, Tyler joined his brother Tanner and sister Lauren!

So sweet, but not complete!
Finally, on September 19 Hannah joins her siblings to go HOME
Our last walk out of the NICU... Praise Jesus.  The staff there was so amazing, but we were more than ready to have our crew home once and "four" all!
Awww!  Now they were complete!
5 kids+ 36 bottles a day+ feeds every 3 hours around the clock+ very slow and difficult eaters = exhausted parents! 
Our 5 amazing and beautiful kids!
First Family photo with all 7

The amazing Dan Johnson took photos of our babies right around their "official" due date of October 5, 2012

And the babies grow and thrive at home!
Therapy Play Time!
My kiddos :-)
Sweet lil' punkins!
More therapy- uh, I mean, play time (Hey, I'm an OT!  What do you expect?!?)
The kids with Papa & Mimi
Grandma feeding 2 at a time: a must over here!
Tanner getting snuggles with daddy
Hannah, Lauren, Tanner & Tyler getting so big!
The kids with grandma & grandpa
Love the cammo, boys!  Some day you can go hunting with daddy!
Smiley Lauren
Smiley Hannah
The girls- what a friendship they will have!
The boys- what adventures they will concoct!
Mommy getting better at feeding all four
These kids are mesmerized by the TV!
Taken yesterday.  Look how far we have come!  (Tanner, L, is again mesmerized by the TV... lol)

Taken today, the last day of 2012.  What a year it has been!

Wishing you a very, very good 2013.

Who knows what kind of exciting adventures await you in this next year?!?

Thank you God, for such an AMAZING 2012 for our family.

New Years hugs to all!