Becoming a mother is a unique and unforgettable emotion that has the potential to change a family’s life in the best possible way. Kimberly Fugate certainly knows something about the person, already the mother of a 10-year-old girl, Pʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴛ with triplets at the age of 42. Kimberly and her husband Craig did not plan this second ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ, also because they knew the ʀɪsᴋs involved in taking such a route in old age. However, something unexpected happened: Kimberly became Pʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴛ. But the most astonishing aspect that surprised even the doctors and nurses was the number of children Kimberly was carrying, which was three.
After three babies were delivered Feb. 8, 2014, Kim heard a doctor announce, “I have more feet” — there was one more baby to come. That last baby, who had been overlooked on ᴜʟᴛʀᴀsᴏᴜɴᴅ, made her the mother of rare identical quadruplets at age 42. Kimberly recounts the health ᴄʀɪsᴇs the four tiny girls faced, how she tells the quads apart and what a big help their 11-year-old sister is.
I feel very lucky, like the luckiest mom in the whole world. I wasn’t planning on starting over with more children, and many things have changed since I had my quadruplets, Kenleigh, Kristen, Kayleigh and Kelsey. It’s a lot of work taking care of even one baby, let alone four, but I don’t mind. It’s a lot of fun, and they make it all worth it. Just getting up in the morning and seeing the smiles on their faces, hearing them coo at me and listening to them babble at each other — the joy is overwhelming. I know every mom is partial to her babies, but I feel like I have the prettiest babies with the prettiest smiles. And those dimples. The babies were the biggest surprise of my life, and I couldn’t imagine my life without them.
The past year has been a whirlwind. I was 13 weeks along before I found out I was Pʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴛ, and had the babies at 28 weeks and one day. I didn’t have a whole lot of time to comprehend that I was having more children. Everything happened so fast. Sometimes, I still have to pinch myself and wonder, “Am I dreaming or is it real?” When the babies were born more than two months early, they weighed between 2 and 2½ pounds and were ᴄʀɪᴛɪᴄᴀʟʟʏ ɪʟʟ. They spent more than three months in the N.I.C.U, and needed to be on ᴠᴇɴᴛɪʟᴀᴛᴏʀs to help them breathe because their ʟᴜɴɢs were so small.
But there were a lot of very sᴄᴀʀʏ moments, and their first few months were like a roller coaster. One baby might be having a good day but another having ᴀ ʙᴀᴅ day. There were times when I ꜰᴇᴀʀᴇᴅ ꜰᴏʀ ᴛʜᴇɪʀ ʟɪᴠᴇs. Several of the girls’ ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ ʀᴀᴛᴇs ᴅʀᴏᴘᴘᴇᴅ, and I ʜᴇʟᴅ ᴍʏ ʙʀᴇᴀᴛʜ as I watched two be ʀᴇsᴜsᴄɪᴛᴀᴛᴇᴅ. Kayleigh ɴᴇᴇᴅᴇᴅ ᴇʏᴇ sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ before she came home. I stayed at the Ronald McDonald House near the hospital so I could be close by. Even though my blood family wasn’t there with me, the other parents of ɪʟʟ ᴄʜɪʟᴅʀᴇɴ staying at the Ronald McDonald House became like family. And the N.I.C.U nurses were awesome. When I cried, they cried. They always told me, “We’re going to get through this. We’re going to make it.”
They finally came home in May and June and are doing really well. They weigh between almost 18 and 22 pounds, and their doctor is pleased with their growth. They are generally healthy. One quad has a mild case of ᴀ ɢʀᴏᴡᴛʜ ᴅɪsᴏʀᴅᴇʀ and is being monitored regularly. I believed that God picked me to have these quadruplets, and I felt that He would take care of them and allow them to sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇ. To see how far they’ve come makes me feel very blessed.