More the Merrier – Multiple Babies; Multiple Fun?



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The Gilmours Saskatoon, SK “Quints R us!”
QUINTUPLETS • Sara, Alison, Madison, Simon and Alex

 My husband and I were married for a number of years and had no luck getting pregnant. Finally, we resorted to seeing an infertility specialist. After four attempts we had success! A daughter! After a couple of years we felt that we should try for another baby. Our doctor reminded us of the possibility of a multiple pregnancy with infertility treatments. We decided that we would be fine with twins or triplets. After three attempts we were pregnant again. The moment of truth came when a group of ultrasound technicians were crowded around the equipment and speaking in low tones that we couldn’t hear. There were six babies! We were highly recommended to have fetal reduction. We gave this serious thought, but at the end of the day we believed that God wouldn’t give us any more than we could handle. As a result, we decided to keep all of them. Early in the pregnancy I miscarried one, but eventually gave birth to five healthy children.
I wouldn’t change anything we did. The last nine years has been both challenging and exciting. The issues we have to address aren’t different than anyone else, other than dealing with five kids at the same time!

The Hrychiws Kamloops, BC “‘Why?’ times four.”
QUADRUPLETS • Isaac, Eli, Rose and Judah

After years of trying, the help of infertility treatments led us to the day an ultrasound tech told us I was pregnant with four babies! We laughed long and loud. Partly out of nervousness but mostly it felt like we had woken up on Christmas morning hoping for one gift, but finding we’d actually been given an abundance of gifts!
Then overwhelming worries of new parents (times four) kicked in: Our car was too small. Our house was too small. What if they all were to need braces? Glasses? How can we afford diapers? College? And the list went on.
Our church organized an army of people to help us with cooking, housekeeping, feeding and diapering as well as helping us with formula, clothes, blankets, toys, car seats, and more.
We kept a very tight routine, that was the only way we could manage, and it worked for us. I continue to read parenting books and talking with friends and family to get ideas on issues we are struggling with. We’re often asked, “Is it getting easier?” to which we usually say, “It’s just different.” No, we’re not changing diapers or potty training, but we are answering the incessant ‘whys’ from four pre-schoolers – would we want it any other way? Not a chance.

The Neilsons Calgary, AB “One day at a time.”
SPONTANEOUS TRIPLETS • Kaylin, Cameron, Joel and Jordan

We planned on having two kids at the most, but “surprise!” At our routine 12-week ultrasound we were told we were pregnant with triplets. Our initial worries about needing a new vehicle and house seemed minor compared to our roller coaster of emotions when they were born at 26 weeks (and our first-born was only 19 months old). After 108 days in the NICU, two heart surgeries, bleeding lungs and chronic lung disease, we were educated but still unprepared for the challenges of having all three at home on oxygen for six months. With a house full of people, we dealt with feeding issues, bi-weekly appointments, daily medications (and even potty-training our eldest), we adopted the mantra, “One day at a time”. Even though it was difficult to depend on others, hearing the doctor give our children a clean bill of health on their one-year birthdays made it all worth it.

MULTIPLE FACTS

*Incidence of…
• twins is one in 90 births
• triplets is one in 8,100 births
• quadruplets is one in 729,000 births
• quintuplets is one in 65,610,000 births
*Without fertility treatments

Fraternal (dizygotic) twins/triplets are the result of two/three fertilized eggs. Family history, mother’s age, number of previous pregnancies and race are determining factors in the incidence of fraternal multiples.

POSTNATAL COSTS

The following is a cost comparison between a three-person family with one infant and families with twins, triplets, quads and quints (two parents) based on Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto’s Guides for Family Budgeting.

** Comparison allows for basic essentials of infants. Does not allow for
1) cost of diaper service or disposable diapers,
2) cost of transportation needs when a larger vehicle is required to accommodate three, four or five car seats,
3) cost of moving to larger accommodation or renovations to existing accommodation,
4) cost of help for the family,
5) loss of second family income – childcare for multiples is costly.

Note: A 1983 study revealed that a mother of six-month-old-triplets needs to expend an average of 197.5 hours per week (out of a possible 168) between herself and paid/volunteer assistance, on the care of her children and home. This did not include a time allowance for mother to bathe, dress, sleep, eat, relax or talk with partner.

Statistics courtesy of Multiple Births Canada. multiplebirthscanada.org

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