Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Update - The Quads are here!!!!!!!!!!!

I am working on a couple hours of sleep in the last 36 hours so I’ll start by saying that I hope this all makes sense. I wanted to give an update since Carrie has been in the hospital since Friday night June 20th and has not had Internet access and it’s been crazy and absolute chaos for our whole family since that night. Rest assured that Carrie will give a further description of everything from her perspective once she is up on her feet again and has time. The following is my account!

It all started Friday night when Carrie was rushed to the hospital via ambulance due to what seemed like significant bleeding. At the time this happened, Carrie was feeding Luke a bottle at bed time and just lying down. She was taken to AGH where they concluded that baby boy A’s placenta previa tore some blood vessels when the uterus contracted (from ordinary Braxton-hicks contractions all women have at this point in the pregnancy) and this also caused his sac to rupture. They were able to stop the bleeding and at that time gave her a couple steroid shots to promote the lung development of the babies in the event they were forced to deliver. At this time she had become very anemic and the doctors started blood transfusions. Her blood cell count was so low that they could not have delivered then even if they had to due to the risk to Carrie, plus they needed to get the pregnancy at least 48 hours further for the steroid to work.

So over the weekend Carrie became stabilized and we were informed that it was really day to day at that point. We were told the pregnancy could go on this way for weeks (which would be best case) but a number of different complications would force a decision to deliver – one of which was infection from the ruptured sac. Monday afternoon Carrie began feeling short of breath. As the day went on the shortness of breath worsened. The doctors were looking for signs of pre-eclampsia or high blood pressure but they could not find out why her breathing was becoming very labored. Dr. Celebreeze then came in from home and she had Carrie call me and her parents to have us come to the hospital in case she found something she didn’t like and had to deliver the babies. She insisted that the last thing she wanted to do was deliver them last night. So we call pastor Matzat and he follows me and Dick to the hospital. Dr. Celebreeze really got us through the next couple hours talking to us almost constantly while watching Carrie very meticulously. The doc at this point was planning to check Carrie in the morning and see how she was responding to the Lasix and she was hoping that much of the breathing problem was caused by the fact that she’s pregnant with Quads, in the last 36 hours had several units of blood transfused, had steroid shots, antibiotics, etc… But then the fever started indicating an infection was setting in. Just at the moment pastor Matzat was walking out – Dr. Celebreeze asked him to turn around. She told us the fever was going up rapidly and that she had to deliver.

I can not explain the fear and nerves that Carrie and I went through while they organized a small army of doctors, neonatologists, anesthesiologists, nurses, PAs, etc… Carrie was just devastated that she couldn’t carry the pregnancy any further. We knew that at 26 weeks 6 days that maybe the 2 girls (baby B and baby C), and the boy (baby A – who was now at risk for, or already had an infection) may have a fighting chance, but there was baby D (Kate)– the one who was always much behind in development. We thought it was just terrible news for her. At this point Carrie is really having a hard time breathing while they prepare her for the cesarean section and I was in such shock that I thought I was going to pass out or be sick.

Since Carrie already had an infection she could not get a spinal anesthetic and was under general anesthesia and was asleep for the operation. I was to wait outside the room right next door and they would call me in after the babies were delivered. I heard them one by one - a cry from each. That was the best thing ever. I knew that was at least some good sign and I thought “thank you God”. They had me step in and I found myself in a room not knowing where to look first or who to talk to or what to say. It was completely overwhelming. I froze completely. Then I looked around one by one at the little babies and I remembered from touring the NICU weeks past how small these babies are and so you would think I would be prepared for the sight of such small babies. I really noticed and paid close attention to baby D (Kate). She just looked so extremely, extremely, tiny. She made the 2 pound babies look huge. We then had to wait it our until they got them under control in the NICU room. There must have been 15 people in there helping and I was thanking God for each and every one of them let me tell you. I was also increasingly worried about baby A (boy) who one PA told me, looks like he had an infection and is pretty sick.

Next they let me and pastor come around to each one while pastor Matzat baptized each one with me there taking a picture of each (sorry I don’t have them ready yet – but soon!). After this pastor and I walked out of the NICU and just looked at each other … and we both had the same look. It was a look of awe on our faces. Things started to seem a little more calm and I was just waiting to find out how they were actually doing. Dr. Barbara Clouser came in and informed us that all babies were stable and breathing well and the weights were as follows:

Baby A – boy John Quentin 1lb 14 oz.
Baby B – girl Elizabeth Avery 2lb 1 oz.
Baby C – girl Claire Renee 2lb 0 oz.
Baby D (our trooper) – girl Kate Mackenzie 1lb 5 oz.

Dr. Clouser then when on to explain that tiny little baby D had an issue with her umbilical cord attachment area. They went to cut through it and they noticed some unusual dark color. They speculated it was a piece of intestine and that it may need surgery in which case they have to transport her to Children’s Hospital (thank God again for all the awesome medical facilities in downtown Pittsburgh) so that a team of Pediatric Surgeons could look at it. They assured us that there was no way they would have known that would happen when they started to cut.

So my sister and I head to Children’s Hospital in Oakland. There it was very tough to see little Kate in there knowing that a dangerous surgery could soon follow. There were very many nice nurses there who were answering lots of questions. The first surgeon came over and stated that they will be observing her and talking it over between the surgeons but he said that a surgery would be “very risky” given her tiny size. Later we talked with this same surgeon but this time with another, Dr. Kane. Dr. Kane was very nice and thought her condition was manageable and wouldn’t require surgery, at least not immediately, and may not need it ever. He wrote down the name of this condition that he said was very rare and had nothing to do with the fact that it was a quad pregnancy:
omphalomesenteric duct remnant

Dr. Kane was optimistic and said they’ll keep watching it and hopefully she can return soon to her siblings over at AGH!! As you could imagine at this point I’m going back and forth between the two hospitals checking on my babies and I can’t believe it’s all happening so fast and several weeks before we expected. Let me tell you it’s the most surreal numbing feeling ever.

Dr. Gothrie came in later in the afternoon to update us. He said they are all doing “very well” especially considering their prematurity. Things can still change on a dime as they are so vulnerable right now but Carrie and I breathed a monstrous sigh of relief and knew this was a miracle. Dr. Gothrie told us he had worked intimately with 15,000 premature babies over 40 years (he’s retiring in about one month!) and had never had a case of what Kate has with this umbilical cord – that’s just how rare it was.

Meanwhile up to this moment (where I finally came home to sleep for an hour or two but instead have been typing this) Carrie has yet to be able to see any of them. They’re hoping to get her into a wheelchair or something to go see them soon. Carrie is recovering very nicely she’s just sore and very tired. Her breathing is substantially better than before delivery and she’s improving all the time. She did so wonderful the whole pregnancy and I’m so proud of her. So all-in-all we thank God for Carrie’s health and our 4 precious babies and we pray they continue to grow and breathe better and better. Thanks for the many prayers from all of you (including all the people we’ve met on our journey), and please keep them coming. I’ll try to update with other blogs when I can but hopefully Carrie can soon resume the blogging since number one she loves it, and two, she’s much better at writing than me!


Suzanne said...

omg...so i am bawling right now...on my knees praying. please give carrie my love. those babies are fighters and i'm praying for them to just stupify the doctors with how great they are doing every second of every day! stay positive and keep God close. update when you can...we're cheering you on!

Jennisa said...

Praying for you and your babies...

The Murray Crew said...

They are SUCH Little Fiesty Fighters! We are praying for your strength, patience, courage, wisdom, and perseverance as you enter this new challenge of the NICU. God is faithful - You can bank on it! We quad parents are here for you. We'll be rooting for you until they are home safe and sound. Fight, Babies, Fight!

Anonymous said...

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! We will continue to pray for John, Claire, Elizabeth and Kate.

Anonymous said...

Such prayers are going out for you all tonight. You have all shown such strength through this pregnancy, and now with their birth that strength will continue. Please give Carrie a hug from me and let her know so many people care for your family and we so admire all you have done to this point. Your strong faith will get you through these next hours and days....please know you have many prayers going up.
Jan T.

Audrey said...

Praying in Oklahoma!

Anonymous said...

Thank you John for the update! All of you are in our thoughts and prayers! The names you have chosen for your precious babies are beautiful!!!!
God Bless all of you and give you peace!

Gen McNulty said...

I'm crying here too! Suz sent me your blog today and my heart is just racing.

Jen was right.. we quad mamas (and dads) are here for you. Hang in there. Keep praying. We are cheering you on and sharing the love.

Please let me know if there is anything i can do to help. We live in Sacramento.

Hugs and Love
Gen McNulty and Family

my hubby:

Paul and Kathy Stanis said...

Dear John and Carrie,

We rejoice at the arrival of your four little ones. We lift you up in prayer and ask our Heavenly Father to continue to carry you in the palm of His hand.

We celebrate at the baptism of your four babies. They are God's children and the Holy Spirit lives in them.

The throne of the Lord is being bombarded with prayers on your behalf. Rest assured that He hears everyone of our prayers.

We love you,

Paul and Kathy Stanis

Anonymous said...

May our good Lord bless you all! You are in my thoughts and prayers as much as ever!


Burkett Quad Squad said...

i've been praying for you and will definitely keep on..:) Congrats mom and dad! it's a surreal feeling isn't it. just want to echo what the other quad mommas have said...! praying praying praying for you all. let us know what we can do for you!


Sean (Pittsburgh) said...

Congratulations John and Carrie! Stay strong! Let me know if there is ANYTHING I can do to help!

Anonymous said...

Carrie and John,
The quads are so blessed to have such wonderful parents to come home to! We are praying for you all, and special prayers for those four little miracles. I know you will continue to gather strength from God, and Carrie - you've been through so much - you did it! I am praying for your quick recovery. Blessings to all.
Tracy K.

Anonymous said...

Carrie - just letting you know that I'm thinking of your family and praying that you have a speedy recover and that the quads gain strength every day. They're such little miracles. I'll be keeping you in my prayers. ~Leslie M

Andria said...

What an awesome post...what an awesome God!! Congrats Dad! Prayers are going up!

augchris@alltel.net said...

Carrie, Johnny & Luke,
Wanted you both to know how our love and prayers are with you today as always. I am so happy and proud of the way you have endured and sent words of encouragement to all of us through posting your journey. I know you have many special angels looking down watching over your sons and daughters.
Please know we all here for you always for ehatever you may need.
Chris & Jim

Erin Hein said...

I am praying for you, John, Luke, John, Elizabeth, Carrie, and Kate. I've been checking your blog religiously for the past few days and was so shocked to read John's post. You did such an amazing job throughout your pregnancy. I know that the love, strength, and faith your family posess will pull all of the Lemons through. Please know that I will be thinking of you and the babies each day and hoping and praying for all of your well being. Keep on fighting and stay positive.
I'm thinking of you all,

Mojo said...

Carrie and John,
I think about you and your babies and little Luke too all day!! I pray for all of you.
May God Bless you and your family.
Stay strong.

Anonymous said...

John, Carrie and big brother Luke : )- I'm praying for ALL of you and your four tiny, little miracles! Wishing you all the VERY best!! You are in my thoughts! Congratulations and best of luck!! Lots of love and well wishes,
Kelly Marshalek (Seans friend & old neighbor)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the birth of your babies. Prayers for blessings for your entire family from a stranger friend.

Tiffany Augustine said...

John and Carrie,
My grandpap was telling me about what was going on and I read about your blog on my mom's myspace. I hope that you know you are all in my prayers.
Stay Strong!

Tina said...

OMG I sure didn't expect this when I checked your blog.

I am sending lots of positive vibes across the water all the way from Australia. May your precious babies continue to progress and hopefully you'll be holding them very soon.

Great post daddy. You've done well.

Anonymous said...

John Carrie and Family
Congratulations on the birth of John, Elizabeth, Claire and Kate. How wonderful to hear this birth from the Dad's point of view. All too often the Dads get pushed in the background because its the Mom who does all the work of the carrying the babies and then delivering them, but it was wonderful to read your point of vbiew. I know that God is holding each of your little ones in his arms and giving them all the love and caring he can give. I know that you and Carrie and Luke will need all the strength and courage and understanding and love that you can muster up to get throught these next couple of week also. Your Families are right there to help and so many of your friends are there for you also. sending along prayers and love to all of you....
God bless
If there is anything that I can do for you please let me know...

Gina & Jake said...


I was so shocked to hear Carrie say "The Babies Are Here!"
So I can't even begin imagine what it must feel like to be Mommy and Daddy - brand new parents of QUADRUPLETS!

Please know that MANY prayers are being offered at this moment for you and all your children. I pray for God to embrace each and every one of your Tiny Troopers in His loving hands to give them His strength, comfort, and love as they commence their journey. And for you - their AMAZING parents who CHOSE LIFE - that you will continue to be blessed with God's favor. God clearly has a plan for all you "Lemons"... :) He has brought you this far, and He will continue to guide and support you on this journey.

John- It was WONDERFUL to hear your account. I haven't met you, but through Carrie, I feel like I know you, and she and your children are VERY blessed to have you. Keep up the excellent work!

And parents too...

God truly IS GOOD and He is with you all at this very moment...

Please give Carrie and New BIG BROTHER, Luke a BIG SQUEEZE from me and Jake and we hope to be visiting you all very soon.

With Love, Prayer, and MUCH JOY!

Robb and Jess said...

Congratulations!! Excellent summary, John--moved me to bawling of course. You all have been in our thoughts and prayers and will continue to be. These are some strong little lemons and with every passing day they'll continue to get stronger! Absolutely love the names you selected. Congrats and hugs to big brother Luke!!!

cat said...

Congratulations on their safe delivery. We will be praying and keeping you in our hearts and thoughts here in South africa. Know that God's love never fails.

Anonymous said...


Hi, I'm Sean Berecek's wife. I've been reading along on your blog. Congrats to you, Carrie and Luke on the birth of John, Elizabeth, Claire and Kate. You and your family will be in Sean and my thoughts and prayers.


Anonymous said...

Praise God for the safe arrival of all four of your little ones! He hasn't let you down yet and He will carry you on through the days ahead. Thanks for blogging, John--great post! Best to Carrie, & we are still praying, praying, praying. Congratulations!
Susan Wright

Bill said...

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the babies.
The Becker Family

Justin said...

I truly can't even explain the emotions I feel right now as I sob and giggle at the same time! So I can't imagine even for a minute what you and your family must be going through!!! I rejoice at the arrival of your beautiful blessings and can already picture your "crew" running around in your yard on a beautiful summer day just a very short time from now! But I'm at the same time overwhelmed with the seriousness of their journey to get to that point! Carrie...John...please know that I will think and pray for you and you're darling family daily, several times a day I'm sure, knowing god will give you the strength and courage that you all need to get through this! I am amazed by and admire ALL 7 of you!!! HUGE hugs and kisses to you (Carrie, John, and Luke) and sweet little, soft kisses to baby John, Claire, Elizabeth and Kate! :)

Tana said...

...post above from Justin, Tana, and Ella! Forgot to sign it in all the excitement! :)