In the Opera House in Central City, Colorado after seeing Faust
This week in history was an eventful time for us in 1992. This was the week we found out we had four babies on the way. I was as nauseated as all get out, making us suspicious that we might have two babies in there
instead of just one. All my blood work was moving along nicely, surging above all the averages, giving me gold stars and setting the curve for my class.
This same week I was in the process of getting a job in the Neonatal ICU at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs. I had submitted my application before we started the round of ZIFT/IVF, not even sure we were going to do it. So as things developed and the pink plus sign showed up on the stick, I just went with the flow—because the previous time, all the eggs in that basket spilled out and broke. We weren’t going to plan our life around dreams and wishes. For the NICU job, I’d had completed most all the required pre-employment work, and all that was left before my start date was to meet with the health nurse and sit for a medication examination to test my skills with pharmacology. I was having breakfast with my sister when I told her I had a drug test that day. She knocked the poppy seed muffin from my hands just as I was about to take a bite. She exclaimed, “Don’t eat that! It can make you test positive for drugs!”
Just before finding out how many babies we had, we went to Central City to see the opera Faust. It was a great break in all the business of infertility treatments and job preparations. Central City is where we used to go when I was a kid and my dad played violin in the pit of the old opera house for the opera season. (This was back in the day when it was known for its opera, and there were no casinos yet.) I wanted to show Jason the opera house and the town. With fond memories of the place, and a roll of nickels provided by my sister to play the new slots machines, it was a wonderful getaway. I was still recovering from the procedures/surgeries I’d had and the reaction to some of the drugs—which had nearly killed me once before and so we used them with incredible caution this time. The need to earp at anything that moved too quickly or smelled too strong kept me taking deep breaths and using the mantra I’m not going to puke I’m not going to puke. Though I had to move slowly, and the drive up the curvy mountain road tested my ability to talk myself out of throwing up, all went well and it was a wonderful private celebration between us.
When I went for my ultrasound a few days later to see what was cooking inside, Jason couldn’t come with me, unable to get away from work, so I went myself. As the doctor studied the ultrasound screen, I babbled away, excited for what he might find. I told him, “Twins would be great. Two for the price of one. I’d like that. I guess if there were three, that would be okay. We could do that. But four? Never. We couldn’t do four. Three, okay. I can deal with three. Two would be better. One would be fine.” He grew very silent. I said, “What???” He said, “Hang on. Just a minute.” Then he said, “Do you have a calculator?” I said, “What? What are you saying? What are you talking about???” He needed a little more time. Needed to check one more time. Then he turned the screen toward me and started pointing and counting out loud. He counted to four. I screamed. I couldn’t believe it.
When I went to tell Jason, I met him on his lunch break. He came outside and we sat on a bench looking at each other. He said, “Well?” I couldn’t speak. Utterly speechless. I just held up my hand with four fingers up. We both started laughing, probably because we were in shock. But our faces hurt with the smiling. We were happy.
Three days later I started work at the hospital. At lunch break, I started bleeding, so in a nervous but subdued panic I called my doctor. I was sure I was miscarrying all over again. He said to go home, put my feet up and rest. It didn’t necessarily mean I was losing the babies. It was common with higher multiples. I rested, I had a check up, and for that moment, all was okay. But I had to stay off my feet. So I resigned my position of one-half day and settled in for the count. I was “on the nest” then for the remainder of my pregnancy. And it worked! Giving up the job was worth it. This time, the eggs in this basket hatched just fine.
Life with Quadruplets