life in my eyes

If I think hard enough, I can remember the first time I truly knew I had a problem. I’d stopped somewhere to buy new clothes, as none of mine fit, and I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror. It wasn’t just that I was thin- life was missing from my eyes.

I’ve seen that look in countless people before. I remember realizing that I needed help, but not knowing how to get it, not wanting to admit to someone else that I needed it, and not wanting the negative stigma that comes along with it. So I did nothing. I continued in college, doing the best I could do to get through each day, hoping that things would get better.

They didn’t. And about a year later, I found myself in the hospital being transferred to a mental health facility.

It’s been 12 years. 12 years of ups and downs. 12 years of saying “I can never go back to that.”

The past month has not been too great for us. October started with a stomach virus, then pink eyes, then snot noses, then double ear infections, and ultimately pneumonia for me. I admit my self-care was down, simply from having sick babies and a sick husband. I realized the past couple days that I was a heck of a lot more snappy with the babies and vowed I was going to take them for a run this morning.  Then it was foggy and wet out. And the babies were crazy. Thank you day-light savings time.

So tonight I finally got back on the treadmill- after 3 weeks of not running. And it was GLORIOUS. My lungs seem to be almost fully healed. And I realized, as I was running, just how strong this body is- how much it puts up with and endures, all it’s been through over the years, how it carried my 4 miracle babies (that I was told I’d never be able to have children at all), how it’s come back after a knee surgery to be stronger, how even when it gets struck with illness, it still manages to do what it needs to in order to care for those precious babies.

Afterwards, before I got in the shower, I saw a glimpse in the mirror- of my sweaty, red face, my eyes glowing, my heart full, my soul at ease- and remembered that day I realized I’d lost the life in my eyes. How dark that time was. How I knew I was struggling and was too afraid to speak. Mental illness does that. It says “no one will understand.” And in many ways, that is true. Many people WON’T understand.

And many will. If you just dare speak and ask for help.

12 years.  In this past year, I’ve witnessed a huge change as our country elected someone who has openly boasted about disrespecting women. (I promise not to make this political.)  I’ve seen more and more women begin to speak out- and many also voice concerns that women will continue to be mistreated. I’ve seen as our elected officials go back and forth about healthcare- wondering how this is going to affect, not only my job, but the millions of people who need help.  Will people go back to trying to “fix” things themselves?- like I tried to? Will they end up in ICU only to have insurance say “oh- sorry, we don’t cover mental health issues.”? Will they not get the help they need because financially they can’t afford it? It makes me nervous. I never want someone to have to fight insurance as hard as I had to. I remember well- when I finally voluntarily sought help, there was concern about my insurance. I called my daddy and was crying- and he told me a little story.
“When I was in the marines, I came home once on leave and saw bills from our pediatrician and doctor bills from when we were little.  Mama told me- she was still paying on them. That you just have to pay what you can when you can…You need this. It doesn’t matter the cost. If it means you have to pay $25 the rest of your life, it’s worth it. Because it’s your life.”

That’s stuck with me.

Mental health is important. On November 5, it always hits me a little more so than any other day of the year- because it was the moment when truly had to admit there was a problem. Step 1. I remember on this day, that I probably shouldn’t be here; that I was given a gift. I’m reminded of all the wonderful clinicians who helped me along the way. All the friends and family members who got it and supported me- and all those who didn’t get it- but still supported me. Those who gave me space when I needed, and those who refused to give up on me- even when I really didn’t know how I was going to make it through.

12 years and my life is DRAMATICALLY different. For all of you that might stumble across this- wondering “can life be better?” Yes. Yes. I’m not saying it’s perfect. You’ll still have struggles. You will also have joy. You’ll intuitively know better how to handle situations. You’ll have stronger coping skills. When life throws you a curve (or quadruplets), you’ll be able to tackle it. Yes, you’ll still have to be on your guard at times and know how to spot the beast when it creeps back. And you’ll fight it- because you are worth it. Because this life is worth it. Always know- there are people who understand. We are here for you. We see you. You are worth this life. You CAN get through the hard times. I NEVER would have EVER thought my life could be this great. Yes, we have our struggles- largely financially, because quads. Yes, sometimes I get discouraged by the pain in the world. And I am incredibly grateful that my life is where it is. I’m grateful for those struggles, as they’ve helped me see the world in a different light- and has given me the opportunity to help others through their dark times.

12 years strong. Thank you, Higher Power. Thank you, Life. May I continue to make the next right choice and be able to give back to the universe the love and guidance that I’ve been so graciously given.


Perhaps Christmas Means a Little Bit More

I’m trying hard not to be a Scrooge and it’s been incredibly difficult to get into any type of Christmas Spirit.

The past several months have been difficult, at best, for us. It seems every time we start to try to get ahead, something sets us back. Largely financially. Thus is the life with quadruplets.  Let me be real for a moment- quadruplets are incredibly expensive. Diapers, food, clothes, not to mention our other bills.  We went from 2 incomes to 1-ish.  Paul works largely off commission and right now is a slow season- so we’ve both picked up on odd jobs, including driving for Uber.  Quad Mom, Counselor, Uber Driver- I can do it all.  The thing is, we have to take turns because we can’t afford childcare and are already maxing out the help we have. It’s tough. And if I’m honest, it’s painful that I can’t give my kids a big Christmas.

I know- it’s not about the gifts. If anyone knows that, it’s me… Still, as a parent, you want to be able to give your children something.  Thank goodness they don’t know or understand yet…Thank goodness for family who are getting them gifts.  And I’m extra grateful for those special people who’ve given us hand me downs or used toys or other gifts.  Please know how grateful I am- our kids are having a Christmas this year largely because of the kindness and love of others.  That is incredibly humbling for this Momma- that there are people who love us enough to help while we try to make it through this season of life.

2 years ago, we were sleeping at the Ronald McDonald House. The house director came to use and told us there was a room full of toys and gifts and for us to pick out something for each other and for the babies- and it hit me: I hadn’t bought the first Christmas gift for the babies, for Paul, for my parents- pretty much anyone.  I think I picked out a couple books and a leap frog dog. The hospital let us pick out toys for the babies- and gave us a little Christmas tree for their hospital room. It was hard to get into the Christmas spirit because our time was spent in the hospital all day…and as hard as it was, it was the most precious Christmas. It was my first Christmas as a Mom. I had my gift- my 4 gifts. My 4 Christmas miracles.

So yes, it’s been tough to get into the groove this year…AND-  I know how incredibly blessed we are.  We will get to spend our Christmas together and with family. The love I have for these kids is more than any money in the bank…and they are more special to me than any thing I’ve ever received. That’s what Christmas is really about- love, miracles, and family.

Just sit in it

I’ve not been quiet about my history with BEING in counseling- being the patient.

My life would not be where it is now had I not experienced that.  When I was growing up, I always felt different. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I didn’t know why. I tried hard to fit in, to fake a front- I laughed and joked.  And there was something different about me.

I am a firm believer that Freud did have it right when he said our past influences and affects who we are today. I know that to be true for me. I know my early experiences and experiences throughout life have affected who I am— I just now work to choose to let them affect me in a positive way.

I remember sitting across from my therapist. I often felt so many emotions and had much I wanted to say, yet it was stuck in my throat. At times,  can remember crying, saying I was trying to speak, and the words couldn’t leave my mouth.

“Just sit in it,” would be her response.  It was uncomfortable. I had things I wanted to say and didn’t know how to find my voice. I had things I needed to say, things I wanted to say- instead, I just sat there.

She taught me to be comfortable in the silence. That it wasn’t always important to get the words out. That sometimes, I had to learn to sit in the feelings- feel them and let them pass.

She also taught me that it wasn’t always just what I said- it wasn’t just the content, it was the process that was important.  Later, in grad school, I learned this again. How important it is to listen to people.  To listen to what they say and what they don’t say.

When I first started therapy, I was often curled in a tight ball on the couch. Knees to chest, arms wrapped around my legs, hair falling in my face…trying to be as small as possible. With time, I was able to sit tall in my seat.  I’ll never forget the day my therapist brought that to my attention. In essence, she shared:
When you first came, you were a scared little girl. Your voice was soft, high pitched at time, squeaky. You sat- making yourself as small and unseen as possible…and over time, you’ve found that voice. You speak with strength, confidence, and clarity. And you can sit upright- with the dignity of a strong woman.

I took that with me.  Because I gained strength- because i was able to dare to work through things that were difficult…and because I wanted to remember that people can change. People can get better… In their timing.  Sure, I can try to motivate- and ultimately, it’s their decision.  I’m just there to listen. To provide some feedback when needed, to be a sounding board, to encourage, and when it comes down to it- I’m there to show acceptance. When I’m counseling, it’s not about me- it’s about the client. It’s about helping them identify how to get there life where they want it to be.

Sometimes, we just have to sit in it. When we can’t find the words. When emotions are high and we don’t know where to begin- sit.  Sometimes, if we dare to sit, to feel those emotions, and eventually find some words- we just may have great growth.


Those sleeping arrangements

A year ago I made a post about sleep.  You can find it here:

I was going through a bout of a couple good nights sleep, followed by awful.  I reminded myself that eventually, it’d have to change…And it did.

Once the babies were about 14 months old, we finally moved them out our room and upstairs to their’s.  Initially, it was a little difficult. They’d wake. They wouldn’t sleep. And slowly over time, we saw slight improvements.
Until about a month ago, we would let them fall asleep and transfer them into their beds.  That worked a while, then it got exhausting. Not to mention, Griffin would NOT sleep in his crib upstairs and would NOT sleep in his pack and play in our room.  Often, he was in our bed.  Once I reached a point that was no longer working, we changed the set up again.

For about the past month, the babies have a new routine. This includes me going into their room and laying on a mattress for about 10minutes while they fall asleep. This lets them know I’m in the room so they don’t cry in excess, but doesn’t involve me holding them. And it’s been working. Likewise, Griffin, IF he wakes, comes and sleeps on a mattress in our room- NOT in our bed.  This is MY form of extinction. There have been 3 nights when Griffin has slept in HIS crib, in HIS room..ANd there have been NUMEROUS of nights I don’t have to wake and hold a baby or take them to the bonus room to sleep on the couch or floor.

My point is this: These past two years, I’ve followed my gut and my heart regarding sleeping.  There were trying days and nights… But I reminded myself that i was dealing with quadruplets. What might be one bad night for parents with only one toddler easily becomes 4 bad nights for me.  On the flip, they have been great at napping.  I didn’t want to feel like I had to resort to measures that I didn’t feel were appropriate or helpful. I didn’t want to resort to having to hear them cry until they puked….

And guess what? They typically sleep well.  And they continue to develop just wonderfully.

So- you newer moms, especially you newer moms of multiples- do what works for you. If cry-it-out doesn’t work for you, there is hope!  It truly DOES get better with time….

now….since I’ve said that, I want to prepare myself that tonight might possibly end up a train wreck because that’s how they like to trick me!

Confessions of a Quad Mom

Confessions From A Quad Mom

I’m in an amazing group of other Quad (and a couple Quint and Sextuplet) Moms. They’ve been my lifesaver on many a day. They get it. They get this life. They understand the struggles, the blessings, the highs and lows.  There are several I’ve become close to and talk (text) with almost daily.
One thing we talk about- things we often think.  Things we hear. What others say to us, and how we really feel about it. What we feel we are missing. The guilt that ensues. And the intense joy we have with our blessings.

Want to know what goes on in our heads?  Here are some Confessions from a Quad Mom:


I stop through any McDonald’s or Starbucks drive-thru anytime I finally get out because there isn’t enough caffeine in the world to fuel me

I want to be invited to get together or play dates- even when you know I’m going to Have to decline because it’s not quad friendly and I don’t have help.

I secretly envy you moms with your cute single strollers as I try to fit my 85lb one in my trunk

I feel accomplished when I wear a pair of maternity yoga pants because I instantly feel skinny…and I secretly envy those moms that “bounce back” to pre-pregnancy size.  After quads, some things will NEVER be pre-pregnancy size without lots of money, time, and surgery.

I envy moms that can exclusively breast feed.

I wish I could Cuddle without the guilt of the ones not getting cuddled.

I want to be able to dress in real clothes.

I wish I didn’t have to stress if 1 baby would wake another

I miss that I can’t buy the Cute clothes/shoes that I would buy in a heart beat if I had 1…times 4 is just too expensive

Things I like to flaunt : I can manage all of them by myself all day including going for a walk with the dog and Cuddling with more babies at the same time

I envy moms of singletons who have their hair and makeup done perfectly while I’m over here looking like a wet bag of assholes.

I envy singleton moms who can call up and get a sitter without it being an act of congress and without having to have all babes bathed and sleeping first.

I envy moms who have time to eat a decent meal instead of quick junk food or whatever still smells edible from the fridge.

I desperately want to go to Mom’s Night Out, but bed is calling and I’ve got a pounding headache.

I have a panic attack at the first sign one is sick because I know it means they will all get sick, I will get sick, and worst, their dad will get sick.

As a mom who works outside of the home, I envy moms who are able to stay home. I know it’s a different, harder kind of work, but I would love to spend more time with my kids. They would probably drive me crazy after a while, but I feel that I’m missing out on so much.

As a stay at home mom, I envy moms who work.  Childcare is too much. Some days, I really  miss working an actual job where I’m getting paid and recognized. Raising quads, I often feel invisible, unless I’m out with all 4 and attracting unwanted attention.

I envy moms who aren’t asked if they used fertility methods to get pregnant.

On the other hand, I feel sorry for those moms who don’t get to experience what we do. I may get overwhelmed, be exhausted, and have extra skin around my midsection, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I envy moms of singletons at our mommy & me class that get to cuddle and sing to their kid and do all the cute motions to the music while I’m chasing 4 screaming toddlers, one is hiding under a table, one is hanging on the teachers leg.. And other crap like that

I sometimes sit in the lobby of my daughter physical therapy appointment and tell them it’s because she does better if I’m not watching.. But really I want to watch Dr Phil on the lobby TV and have an hour of peace & quite ( is that really as sad as it sounds?)

I make phone calls to family a long way away in the car so that the kids have to be quiet thus no fighting.

I always check for enclosed areas before considering taking my kids anywhere.

I am working out at the gym because they offer child care while you are inside the building. and I just need some time to myself and a shower. The shower is probably the motivating factor.

When I see singleton babies with cute little shoes- I couldn’t be bothered putting shoes on them until they were up and running.

I used to meet a triplet-mom friend at the grocery store. We put our kids in the free childcare, then sit and chat at the Starbucks for 1 hour 45 minutes. Then we would speed shop the last 15 minutes of our 2 hour daily allotment.

My mother fail is the girls hair…. i wish I would take a moment (or have time) to comb their hair in a cute way.

I don’t have a gym membership because 1. The childcare costs more than the membership 2. Quadruplets are a cardio and strength training workout

Ok this is bad. Depending on the mood I’m in and if all four of them are playing soccer games at the same time, I may focus a little more on the kids that are better in soccer. I.e. If one is playing (he plays premier), I may watch more of his game than his brother’s or his sisters’ game. If one of them is having an off game, I may start watching another game. At the dome, there are 6 games going on at the same time and generally the youngest ages start first in the day, going to the oldest’s games late in the day so yes 3-6 12 games could be going on on all 6 fields at the same time.

I envy moms of singletons who don’t have to consider cost of everything x 4!  Swim lessons, karate, dance, soccer, etc seem affordable until multiplied by four!  I feel like my kids miss out

I envy couples who can easily hire a date night sitter because 1. It won’t cost a fortune 2. People are willing to watch a couple of kids

I cringe when people tell me they “know what it’s like” because they have 4 under 4. It’s not the same. Different situations, different problems. Until you’ve carried 4 babies at once, it’s not the same.

Sometimes just the thought of needing to go to the grocery store is overwhelming. Sometimes the thought of going anywhere with the kids is overwhelming.

Just like your life isn’t like reality TV, neither is ours. We aren’t freak show.

I often feel I am not allowed to complain. The misbelief among public is that we ASKED for this- that because we had to seek fertility treatment, we ASKED and KNEW we were going to have Higher Order Multiples…that we should have “known better”….  I often feel guilt and shame when I feel anything other than joy. Because I know the struggles. I know the pains of wanting a baby. I know the pains and fears of a higher order multiple pregnancy…And i’ve seen too many families lose babies. I know the struggles of the NICU and seeing a baby born way before time. I know my kids are miracles. I AM blessed. I feel very grateful. And sometimes, I need a moment- just like any other mom. I need to have a moment and not feel guilt and not sense judgment from anyone else.

Sometimes I hide behind the couch where I can barely see the babies, while I eat, facebook, fold clothes, or just vegetate- because if they babies see me, they fuss, scream, fight, or want to be held- but if they can’t see me, they play happily together.

I bought the leashes. Forget trying to chase them. One day, I will teach them to pull me in the wagon.

I call quad parenting- “extreme parenting.” Most of what you go through is what other parents feel too (after infancy) like being tied down, never being able to sleep in, constantly training and correcting and answering questions, strains on marriage, etc. I tell people my life is: Extremely Exhausting AND Extremely Satisfying!!

I wish I could use a jogging stroller with one or two babies in it and go for a run…instead I have a stroller that, with kids, weighs more than me.

And remember when you go to a new doctor and have to fill out ALL the paperwork for one child, while that one child is with you. Try filling out that paperwork for four children at one time, when all four children are with you.

I’d love to go out and not get stared at….and at the same time, when I go out with one baby, it feels incredibly odd not to have swarms of people gawking and asking about how my baby was conceived.

Sometimes, I think about just feeding them outside, in only diapers, then hosing them down.

Sometimes, the hard part is just getting the energy-motivation to pack the diaper bag in order to leave the house. There’s always the fear we will get somewhere and they will be a screaming mess.

Diapers x4.  No explanation needed.

I want to scream at the next person who asks if my kids are “natural.”

I desperately just want friends and adult time.

I feed my kids chicken nuggets and mac and cheese probably way too often.

I feel accomplished if I shower every 3 days.

As hard as it is, I feel so incredibly blessed and lucky. I got to experience something that VERY few women will and have 4 incredibly blessings.  Even on the hard days when all are screaming, poop is everywhere, and it seems everything has gone wrong, I wouldn’t trade it. This is my crazy life- and I love it.



There you have it, thoughts directly from quad moms. What about the rest of you? What are some of your confessions?

Fitness after Quads

I was in the BEST shape of my life directly before we got pregnant.

disney mickey

trip to the happiest place on earth while we were struggling with infertility


the week before we got pregnant


I mean, the BEST shape.  As I’ve noted before, I’ve struggled with body image, weight, and self esteem issues. Before we got pregnant, I had gotten to the point where I was “ok” wearing a two-piece bathing suit. I didn’t feel I needed to constantly keep on a long pants and a jacket. I had reached a point where, I didn’t LOVE my body, but I accepted it. I accepted how it was and I could be comfortable.

It would only make sense that it was then and only then that I got pregnant with not 1 but 4 babies.  My very first concern, besides the fact that I feared I couldn’t carry 4 babies long enough, was that I had NO clue how to eat for 4 babies. Then reality set and my doctors informed me I also wasn’t going to be allowed to exercise anymore- it simply burned too many calories and could put stress on my body.

But- I gained the weight I needed. I ate massive amounts of food and I grew those babies.  I grew 14 lbs of baby in 31 weeks.  They were all at or above average size for their gestational age.

And I easily lost 50 pounds the first week. Ok- so that was baby, fluids, and all that stuff that goes into making a baby…

Then nothing.

Granted- I was eating like a beast. Because I was breastfeeding and pumping for 4, I was so incredibly hungry. So hungry- all the time. Just pumping alone would exhaust me and make me nauseous. I continued to eat a sizable amount of food and didn’t gain weight- but also didn’t lose weight.

No worries. Those first few months were survival.  Minimal to no sleep. Constant feeding. Hyper vigilance to ensure the babies were ok and doing well.  After they were about 4 or 5 months old, I went to the gym a couple times. It wasn’t the same as when I worked out pre-pregnancy. I couldn’t get back in the groove. It didn’t help that I had 4 babies at home that I was concerned about. Summer approached. I felt out of shape. I was exhausted. I needed to get back to a workout routine.

Finally, in August, when the babies were well big enough to sit upright in a stroller (had good head control & were crawling) I ventured out to a local stroller work out group.

I was terrified. First- the stroller alone weighed 85 pounds. Second- I was out of shape. Third- I had 4 babies.  I was so afraid of not being accepted by this moms…or being judged.  I went with very low expectations. And I was embarrassed. As much as I wanted to be all “my body is wonderful because I gave birth to 4 babies at once!” I was more “I gave birth to 4 babies and I am exhausted and I don’t like how it left my body and I feel like a slob.”  It was hard work just getting there. Making sure I pumped before I left, getting a diaper bag with enough for 4 babies (snacks, sippys, diapers, clothes), loading the 85 pound stroller. But I told myself I’d try it at least once.

And I loved it.  The ladies were so incredibly welcoming and interested in my babies and in me. They encouraged me- and continue to be a big support in my life. We try to make workout at least 3 times a week- though sometimes doctor appointments or illnesses get in our way.

Since starting, I have ran at least 5 5ks- including our infamous 5k that goes over the biggest bridge in Savannah (4 of those was pushing babies). I’ve improved on my time and learned how to manage pushing over 180 pounds of stroller and baby.

Ive been able to lose almost all the baby weight- and i’ve gained so much more in strength, stamina, and fitness.  Every time I go to my workout group, I’m amazed at what I can push my body to do with the help of all these other amazing moms.

Fitness after quads is difficult. Most all higher order multiple pregnancies include some type of bedrest or modified bedrest- and lots of lounging. Because I couldn’t work out while pregnant, both because it would burn calories I needed for the babies and because it would put too much stress on my ever growing uterus and pressure on my cervix, most of my muscles had lots of atrophy. My multiple pregnancy made me exhausted much of the time…and having the babies didn’t relieve that. Instead, I went full mode into trying to care for 4 infants.  Caring for 1 infant often leads people to exhaustion- and I had 4 to worry about.  Then factors in the inability to do things that you might normally do with 1. I couldn’t easily get out and about- everything takes planning and logistics. Half the battle is just getting the energy to want to go out alone with 4 babies. There are just moments where, logistically, having 4 babies at once is a bummer.  But fitness has been important to me. For sanity, to feel comfortable in my body, and to be my healthiest self for the babies.

My motto: Just get out there and do it.  So I have 4 toddlers who are incredibly active and busy- so what. Just get out there and do it. Want to go to walmart- do it. Want to take them to an enclosed play center- do it. Want to get fit again- DO IT!  There are things that I definitely have to limit myself on having four toddlers (like pools, playgrounds that are crowded,  restaurants)- I’m not going to let it hold me back from doing something that I love.  I just incorporate them as needed.  One having a bad day and screaming in the stroller? Put on Tula or use the baby as weights instead of actual weights. As cheesy as Nike sounds- Just Do It!

Fitness after quads is definitely a challenge…and definitely a blessing. For me, it’s been life changing. I’m a much better mom, more patient, calmer, and a better wife when I’ve been able to work out.  And being fit makes me feel better about myself, which makes life go a lot smoother.  Fitness after quads was Important to me- and because it was important, I’ve made it a priority. Sometimes that means I have to run pushing over 180 pounds of stroller & baby, or utilizing tabatas and short workouts while the babies are playing, or going for a run as the sunsets when my husband puts the babies down. Sometimes it means incorporating the babies- running around the house, up and down stairs, toting 2 babies at a time, teaching babies exercises (they’ve got squat and downward dog down pat!) I’m determined to do what it takes because I want to be active—and because I don’t want to let having quads hold me back anymore than it already does. Fitness after quads is definitely a challenge…and definitely a blessing. For me, it’s been life changing. I look forward to continuing my fitness goals, meeting new obstacles, and having the babies even more engaged!




My fitness after Quads transformation and some of the ladies that have made it possible

Every Lesson Learned Is Essential

I started writing this blog entry months ago.  I wrote most of it, then didn’t have the guts to post.  Fear arose in me- do I really want to put that out there? Do I want to share that?
Fear is funny like that.  Most people who KNOW me, know this about me; and I vowed years ago to use my story- use my experience.  If I can reach one person, if one person decides to get help, it’s totally worth sharing the parts of my past I’m not too proud of….
All that said- here goes:

February 28th will forever be an important day in my books…

February 28, 2006- 10 years ago- I voluntarily checked myself into a treatment center for an eating disorder.

I remember the car ride vaguely.  I remember choking back tears, trying to pretend I was strong- that I knew I was doing the right thing. In honesty, I was terrified.  Mental illness was something I knew about, had studied about, was passionate about helping others- but did not want to admit within myself.  I didn’t want to admit that I had been defeated- that I had lost control. That I was slowly slipping away.

Even today, it’s sometimes hard to admit that I was as sick as I was. There is such shame that coincides with mental illness. Shame that further perpetuates the illness, making it stronger.

Yet today, I know, that was the best decision I ever made in regards to my health. I know that everything I have today is a direct result of taking care of myself, of standing up to myself and admitting that I needed help- that I couldn’t do it alone.

The last week of February was National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. It always runs parallel to when I went to treatment. I make sure to try and promote awareness of eating disorders, and the many mental illnesses that often join along.

It seemed the month of March, we got about every respiratory virus, stomach virus, and ear infection that was running around.  It was a tough month.  There was little sleep on our part. Little exercise.  Mainly, just trying to get through the days. Last week, I was finally feeling up to running again. I’ve been wanting to complete a 5k, without pushing the babies, so I wanted to get in some prep runs.  For the first time since having the babies, (or since April 2014, I was able to run 3 miles under 30 minutes- about a 9.46 mile. Pre-baby, I would have scoffed at that and been upset that it wasn’t closer to 8 minute miles… That day, however, I celebrated. I celebrated because my body continues to amaze me- through all I’ve put it through, all it’s been through, it continues to show me just how strong I can be.


Photo Credit: Anna Mesen

I believe that God does for me what I cannot do for myself. After years of struggling with infertility, He blessed me with quadruplets.  Recovery of an eating disorder is on-going, or at least it is for me. I still have my moments- moments I have self-defeating thoughts, frustrations, fears, insecurities..times when I get overwhelmed.  I remember, before getting pregnant, the thought crossed my mind- I’m going to have to gain weight, and my body will be changed forever.  The irony I felt when I was told I was expecting quadruplets is unreal.  Any ideas of exercising and eating healthy were thrown from my book. I was consuming upwards of 4000 calories a day, high protein shakes made with massive amounts of ice cream, french fries for days…Pretty much all food that I rarely ever ate- was my daily norm.

And I saw and got to experience my body doing something pretty, freaking incredible. Carry 4 babies to 31 weeks.  That was over 14 pounds of baby, not counting the weight of fluids, 4 placentas, enough blood for 5 people, and 5 feet 9 inches of baby. I don’t always love my body. Let’s be honest- as if I weren’t already insecure about my body, I’ve now added to the mix that I carried all that amount of baby for 31 weeks- which meant intense stretching…With things that will never return to how it was. Some days, I’m sad about that- then I look at those miracles- and it was all worth it. I’d go through much more for those beautiful babies of mine. I can appreciate my body- and all it’s been through. All it’s accomplished. All I know it will accomplish.

It’s hard to believe: 10 years ago, I was getting oriented into a mental health facility. I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum, from being given a diagnosis to diagnosing others.  I’m so grateful for all that I’ve been through that’s gotten me where I am today, including that very difficult time. And I’m grateful for my body- for not giving up on me and for continuing to amaze me with all it can do.

A couple weeks back, a local mom from the stroller workout group I go to, asked for moms to “model” for her. She was working on a portfolio of “strong moms”.  My first thought- I’m not “strong”.  All these fears, insecurities, doubts went running through my head.  Many are in such better shape, prettier, smarter, more confident- all those old scripts that used to play and hold me back.  So I took the challenge.  I realized, I have to start having better scripts, as I know I have 4 little ones watching everything I do. I want them to know they are strong. I want them to know their momma is strong. I want them to be proud of themselves- and of me. I want their scripts to be positive and strong.

Though my body isn’t where I would like it be, it’s where it is. And it’s strong. It has been through hard times and overcome them. It’s carried 4 babies for 31 weeks. It fed 4 babies, and continued to supply most of their milk for 15 months. It rocks them to sleep, comforts them, carries them up and down stairs, picks them up, totes them, cares for them, pushes them in their 85b stroller. This body works out alongside women in much better physical shape, survives off minimal sleep and less than healthy meals at time.  And it keeps going. This body is strong; every pound, every inch. I am strong.


Photo Credit: Anna Mesen


As ashamed as I sometimes am about my past, I’m also grateful for all the lessons I’ve learned along the way.  I’ve learned so much about myself, how strong I truly am, and how blessed I’ve been.  Spreading awareness about Eating Disorders is near and dear to me because of what I’ve been through, because of friends I’ve known who’ve struggled, and now, more importantly, because I have 4 beautiful children.  While there appears to be both environmental and biological factors that play a role in eating disorders (as with many mental disorders), I hope to do all I can to show my babies how to appreciate their bodies- How to live a healthy life and find balance. And always remind them- they are strong.


Photo Credit: Anna Mesen



If you are struggling, or know or suspect someone who is struggling, please- ask for help and do not be afraid to talk about it. You are strong. Recovery is possible.



(And there’s the blog that’s taken over a month to write and publish. I promise myself, I will get better at blogging in the future.)

15 Months

I had a lot of dreams and aspirations of how I imagined pregnancy, childbirth, and the first year of life to go…much of which was thrown to the side once I found I was pregnant with quadruplets.  Pretty much everything you imagine or dream of is completely blown. I was thrown into a very high risk pregnancy and quickly learned that many things, including a drug-free birth experience, immediate bonding, short hospital stay, and exclusive breastfeeding were not things I would get to have.

I was incredibly disappointed after speaking with many moms of quadruplets to find that breastfeeding would be a next to impossible task.  There were very few that breastfed/pumped, even fewer who continued to past their NICU stay.  I remember the day my mom bought me a pump- thinking, well maybe I can get a month’s use of that.  I also resigned myself to the thought that once the babies were out the NICU, I’d never be able to pump or nurse…

Then my babies came at 31 weeks.  I felt helpless.  Here were my 3 pound babies, hooked to cords…and within 3 hours of giving birth, in came the Lactation Specialist.

Yes. That I could do. I could do all I could to provide milk for them. Until about 4 months, I was able to provide all breastmilk (with formula only to add calories), then until about 6 months I provided at least 75%, after that, I’ve been able to give 50% breastmilk daily.

There were many days I wanted to stop. Many times I got frustrated. Many tears shed. Many sleepless nights. Many times I was annoyed and got incredibly disappointed in myself. And I continue to push through as I knew I wanted to give the babies as much help as I could.

And today marks 15 months and the beginning of my weaning process.

There are many people I have to thank for this:

My husband: he has put up with my endless hours I’ve had to spend hooked to a pump. Mostly, he’s always been supportive, as he’s known not only was I saving us money, but I was helping the babies. He had to step up at times and take care of poop diapers, crying babies, biting babies, babies that just want to cause a ruckus, so that I could have time to pump. Were not for him, I would not have been able to pump, and especially not for 15 months!

My mom & mother-in-law: for all the times they’ve been over to help and stepped up to take care of the babies while I pumped.

All the nurses & hospital staff:  every day, with every amount of milk I would provide, the nurses would make me feel like I was a rockstar. They would praise me and tell me what good I was doing for the babies.

The Lactation Dept: They never let me believe that I COULDN’T breastfeed. When the babies were just 33weeks gestation, they let them begin trying to nurse. They told me daily that I would be able to nurse, that I could provide a majority of their feeds, and that every little ounce helped. They visited me daily while the babies were in the hospital, checking in, giving me praise, encouraging me, answering questions, supplying endless bottles…They were AMAZING!

Paige: the amazing quad mom who convinced me that I COULD provide breastmilk & gave me much encouragement and advice.

All the other moms of higher order multiples who’ve been on the breastfeeding journey: Only you truly know the struggle of breastfeeding/pumping for many while also being a very active mom to multiples…You ladies gave me much hope.

All the other people who’ve encouraged me. I’m a member of Facebook group for breastfeeding mamas. Many of whom are able to exclusively nurse. They never frowned on the fact that I have to use bottles or formula. They encouraged me, gave me supportive feedback, and told me to be proud of what I was doing.

Ardo: for gifting me a pump after learning I was pumping for quadruplets.

Those mommas that donated some of their excess supply: this helped us make it through when I was sick and my supply tanked.


The babies are now 15 months old. We have been slowly adding cow’s milk to their diet and they are tolerating it well.  I still have some breastmilk frozen and am slowly weaning. I imagine in the next few weeks, they will be completely off breastmilk…it makes me a little sad.  As much as I’ve hated having to pump, I’ve loved the positive benefits it’s had.  I look at these 4 very healthy, strong babies, and I know that some part of that is because of what I’ve provided… For that, I am incredibly proud of myself.

To all you mamas out there who want to breastfeed- my support goes to you. My best advice- do not compare your breastfeeding journey to others. I know it’s a hard road. There will be days you cry. Days you might want to give up. Days you wonder just how long you can continue…That choice is yours- Be proud of whatever you provide, for however long you provide! You are a rockstar and your baby (babies) thank you!

Homecoming Day

I remember this day last year. We’d spent the previous night in the hospital- they call it “Rooming in”. We had to be certain we knew how to work Griffin’s apnea monitor. A few days prior, we’d heard 2 or 3 of you might come home- and we said you’d all come home together.

I couldn’t leave just one of you behind. I couldn’t stand the thought of having to drive back and forth- to have to pick who I’d spend time. Thankfully, the doctors and nurses listened to our pleas (maybe my tears)- and agreed to let you all come home together- granted everyone had a weight gain the night prior. I remember weighing you that night. I was terrified one might have a drop!  We cautiously put you on the scale and I prayed hard. I wanted us all to be in our home for New Year’s Eve…

And our wish was coming true. The last night in the hospital, we stayed up almost all night, making sure to get you all on the same feeding schedule.

Truth be told- we are both incredibly excited to get you home.

and a little scared.

4 babies at one time is overwhelming at best.

When the doctors came in that morning, I knew it was real- we’d finally be going home.  As we loaded you, I didn’t know whether to smile or cry- I was a bundle of nerves! I couldn’t wait to get you home- but I was also sad to be leaving behind the family we’d grown through nurses, doctors, and others at the Ronald McDonald House.

But what a wonderful day it was. The best way to end 2014- together.

I didn’t make it to midnight, neither did any of you, and chances are, I won’t tonight either…

This will always be our day- our celebration.

Babies, we survived a full year of being home (and 13 months of life).  I look forward to all the years to come!…–and hopefully a little more sleep in 2016.




One Year

Exactly a year ago, my life was changed drastically. I remember most of the day well…The waking to my water breaking. The rushing to the hospital. The hope we wouldn’t deliver. The news that I would. And seeing each of my precious miracles as the doctor raised them above that blue cloth.

Babies, you changed my life.


The past few days have been incredibly long and tiring- so an official post about the past year will be coming soon…

Until then- Know that you are the most wonderful thing in our lives and that I love you more than you could ever know.


Happy 1 year birthday!