Alexis Madeline Lupei ~ 12 months old
I wish I would have taken time, a year ago, to put my thoughts down and write about one of the most amazing days of our lives, when the last baby in the NICU, finally came home. There was an overwhelming amount of mixed feelings from happiness to uncertainty and so on. It was exciting to have all four babies home. A new chapter about to unfold…
I will never miss the days when half of the babies were home and half in the hospital. I wanted to somehow clone myself so I can be with all 4 at the same time. Once the boys came home, we were not able to visit the girls every single day. And they were getting slower and slower in learning how to take a bottle (and finish a whole feeding by bottle) among other important things that kept them from coming home. The NICU nurses and doctors have told us that the babies knew our voices, recognized our smell and it did make a difference if we spent time with them in the NICU or not. In the beginning I didn’t think it mattered that much or that the babies really knew I was with them the whole day. But later, I realized that they did know I was there, they did know when Daddy was there. And so this dedicated father went to visit the girlies by himself after work while I was home with the boys. On the weekends we always took the boys with us back in the NICU and spend a whole day there with Hannah and Alexis.
Family picture before we left the NICU. The babies were 70 days old
You would probably ask me “what in the world did you do 10 hours (or more) a day in the hospital?!”. I was SO busy that
sometimes many times I didn’t even have time to grab something to eat! Taking a lunch break meant leaving the NICU nursery, because I wasn’t allowed to eat there. But my meals were also important because I was pumping around the clock, every 2 hours at that time, to get my body to produce more and more milk so I can keep up with all 4 growing babies. And even though it was hard and time consuming and I was dreading it, I was happy to do it because it was one of the few things I was able to do for my tiny babies those days. Along with that, I did Skin to Skin therapy (also known as Kangaroo Care) with each baby daily. This practice helps babies maintain body warmth, regulate their heartbeat, and gain weight (and also gave us the opportunity to hold and cuddle with them). I had days when I couldn’t cover all 4 because I needed at least 1 hour with each and in between that and pumping and trying to eat, there was just not enough time. I always felt very guilty for the days when I couldn’t do everything I planned and I felt very bad when I wasn’t spending the exact amount of time with each baby. But again, super daddy was there to help out, every day after work. He would stop by our friends house to shower and change (they lived 10 min away from the hospital) and come spend time with our little peanuts. At the end of each day, both of us would do Kangaroo Care with a baby, sometimes in the same nursery, and that felt awesome (we had 4 babies in 3 different nurseries in the beginning). That was family time for us. The time didn’t matter anymore; the fact that we were very uncomfortable sitting on those wooden chairs for an hour without moving an arm, did not matter; all the noises that the machines in the nursery were making on and on and on didn’t matter; not even the wires and the tubes that were in our way and all the things that were making it so hard to hold our babies, didn’t matter anymore. We were spending precious time with the most precious little people in the world. After that, we said good night to everyone, grabbed the laundry bags and headed out to get some dinner in the hospital cafeteria if it was still open. Oh those nights… when you are hungry but don’t want to go out and sometimes don’t even have the money to go out for dinner, but there is nothing at home to eat. I don’t think I made time to cook dinner in that period of time. Stopping by the grocery store? Ummm that would have taken away from the time I needed for my babies. Don’t ask how we survived, we just did. We were getting so tired of those long drives to the hospital (we lived about 40 min away from Northside at that time). We just wanted everyone home, under the same roof.
I feel like my mind is all over the place. While I try to stick to Alexis’ homecoming story, I jump to many other things, hopefully you can keep up with me :) Glad I still remember these things, but then… how could I forget?
NICU nurses rock! Kaitlyn and Lori saying goodbye to the Quads ~ November 16th, 2013
Lori & Kaitlyn today with the Quads! November 16th 2014
Alexis took her car seat test the day Hannah came home, right before we left the hospital . At least one of the parents was supposed to be there for that so we were glad that she passed and we got that out of the way. We were really hoping that in a few days she will come home too. And she did. 5 days later Alexis finally got discharged! After spending 70 days in the NICU, our super girl was coming home! We took our time leaving that hospital. You would think we wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. Not really. We made friends and memories for life. There are some very special people that work there and had a huge impact on our lives and they will forever be special to our family. We took some pictures with some of our favorite nurses that were at work that day. It was kind of crazy :) But thankfully we had auntie Ada with us to help out while auntie Lois was out and about, shopping for some last minute stuff that we needed at home for the quads.
Ready, set, go! A full load :)
My heart was pounding as I was getting pushed in the wheelchair, with my little fighter in my arms and 2 strollers with the other 3 babies were following us. My hubby and Ada were trying to get everything on camera, push the strollers, don’t lose the balloon, make sure we have all the bags and all the stuff with us. We were leaving the NICU for good. Wait, what ?! Really? Finally we were saying goodbye and talking about maybe visiting our Northside friends one day… we were going home. All six of us were going home !!! Oly and I no longer left the hospital empty handed but with our hands full and our hearts even fuller! I cannot help myself but cry just remembering those moments…
Going home! November 16th, 2013
Our family, a year later, in the same spot :) November 16th, 2014
We strolled our way out on the Northside Hospital’s corridors and there was the Quad Taxi waiting for us. Oh how I dreamed of that day… I used to see families leaving the hospital with their babies, daily. Balloons and flowers, excited parents and tears of joy. I wanted that every single day of our NICU stay. Finally it happened! Our minivan was packed. And off we went!
Home sweet home <3
First night at home, Hannah reached out to her sister as they were sleeping. Love this picture!
I would like to talk about our Alexis since it’s her homecoming anniversary. Maybe you wonder why I call her our super girl. It is because I feel like she fought the hardest throughout the NICU journey and even after she got discharged. This whole year has been a complete transformation for her and we praise God for answering our daily prayers. Each and every one of the quads has their own pace and their own way of learning things and reaching milestones. Like I said before, we need to give them extra time to accomplish things (because they were born premature) but also we work with them to get there. Andrew has been the leader and sometimes we call him the big brother just because he has a faster way of learning and figuring out things. It is funny because he is our baby, he is baby D of our set of quads.
Our little elf!
Well, Alexis is the one that needs more time than the others and she is also an observer. Before she tries anything new, Alexis needs to make sure she knows exactly what to do (Andrew just goes for it, such a risk taker). And I think she is also a perfectionist (ahem, like her mama) because she easily gets upset if something goes wrong. On the other side, she has been a leader herself! First one to sleep through the night! (sleep training was so worth it!!) We were waking her up when the others wanted to eat (that was one of our rules – one for all and all for one). First one to say bye-bye and also wave. First one to get over baby formula and eat big kids food! I have to say that a lot of her progress happened because of a very special person, Ms. Aimee. I mentioned in my post about Hannah’s homecoming anniversary, how this amazing lady works weekly with our girls. She puts her whole heart into it and loves our babies so much! We are very thankful for her.
Alexis is one of a kind <3 She is so friendly and ready to play even with people she sees for the first time. She is Daddy’s girl (I think a very strong bond was built back in the NICU when Daddy spent his nights with her) and loves him so much that sometimes calls him “Mama!” :) . We are truly blessed to have her as our daughter. Her sweetness is contagious!
Four peas in a pod
Even when you were a tiny baby in your Mommy’s belly, we knew you have a big personality because you were taking your space by kicking everyone all over the place! You are such a strong girl and we are excited to see God’s plan for your life. The first time I got to hold you in my arms, I felt like God is pouring his grace all over us… You transformed from this tiny helpless preemie baby into a strong, beautiful and gracious little lady. Coditza, you are and always will be our miracle baby, along with your sister and brothers, and we will never stop thanking the Lord for you guys. Mommy and Daddy love you so very much and we are SO proud of you!
Mommy & Daddy
Love her so much!
6 months old
Busy bee :)
Our little piano player!
Cutie! Look at that hair!
Out for a walk in the Runabout stroller
March of Dimes with Daddy
Her smile…. <3
Coditza :) (pony tail)
1st time at the pool
our little crawler! so proud of her!
Best friends :)
Alexis Madeline Lupei ~ 14 months ~
We wanted to do something special today, to celebrate this day. So we took a trip to Northside Hospital to visit our friends. It felt surreal to be there, to see everyone. Tears of joy and hugs and cuddles with the babies – pretty much sums it up. We stopped by the NICU first and then we made a quick visit to the High Risk Pregnancy floor, where I spent two and a half weeks. Loved seeing everyone and it was well worth going back.
A few of our NICU nurses, I wish we could have seen all of them today!
A few of the nurses that cared for me on the HRP floor and Brandee (first on the L) that made sure I always had plenty to eat so I can keep the quads growing big and strong in my belly :)
We had such a busy, fun but full of emotions day, I feel drained! Taking a peek through a window at one of the NICU’s nurseries made my heart sink… I couldn’t help but tear up because I will never forget those days spent there with our miracles. God is so good!