Wow! Quintuplets!

Yep! You read that right- Stephanie is currently pregnant with quintuplets. If you didn’t know how many babies that is, it’s five. FIVE BABIES. CRAZY.

If you are wondering if we have gotten used to the news yet, the answer is an absolute no. Multiple times per day I still can’t seem to believe that this is happening. Back in December Stephanie and I  sent out a Christmas letter, and in it we mentioned our dream was to have a big family…. Wow! God seems to be answering our prayers, and we feel incredibly blessed.

To blog or not to blog…

It has been almost a year since I decided to “quit” social media. However, I do use social media for work so I had to keep it to some extent. My solution was to unfriend everyone (please don’t take it personally!) so I don’t get lost in the endless cycle of scrolling. 

While we haven’t kept the news of the quintuplets a secret by any means, we have not made any posts on social media about it until today. For those that we speak with, one of the most common responses is “You should start a blog!” or “When is the TLC show coming out?”. The last thing I want to do is make a spectacle of our family through this for fame’s sake. That said, I have come to the conclusion that social media and blogging will be an extremely useful tool for sharing our story, but also keep friends and family in the loop on our journey through the pregnancy and raising these kiddos. 

So, as I write this on Apr 21, 2023, my 29th birthday, and today marks 21 weeks of pregnancy. What a birthday present these quintuplets are! I thought today would be as good a day as ever to make our official “social media announcement” (that sounds so cringe) and write our first blog. There is too much to unpack in this one blog, but I do hope to give a quick insight into our journey so far in this pregnancy, and give an idea on what our future is going to look like. Plus we got some awesome photos from our anatomy scan this week, and I’ll share some photos 😃.

A Very Brief Recap Of Our Quintuplet Pregnancy

Again, to keep this blog brief I’m not going to unpack our full story here, but I still will aim to give a quick recap.

Our Journey With Infertility

For those that don’t know, back in July of 2017 we discovered that Stephanie had a pituitary tumor. While it was frightening news (especially finding this only two months after getting married), it was somewhat of a relief as it finally gave us an answer as to why Stephanie was having so many issues with her hormones. Long story short, we got connected to an absolutely amazing doctor who specializes in pituitary tumors, and we were able to remove it in September that year. The surgery went great, and in fact, we found out it wasn’t even a tumor, but rather a cyst. Steph’s daily headaches immediately went away- to God be the glory!

While the surgery could not have gone better, the journey post-surgery has not been easy on Stephanie. While we were able to stimulate a monthly cycle through hormone therapy, Steph was not able to regain her natural cycle, and her body has never had a natural ovulation since the surgery.

As her husband, it was really difficult sometimes to see someone who dreamed of being a mom so much go through this. Admittedly, there were times I was worried that we may not be able to have kids- we even had a doctor tell us it would most likely not happen. We didn’t go see that doctor again…

Even though we had tough days throughout the past few years going through our infertility journey, we didn’t lose hope, and we truly believed God could write an awesome story (and it sure looks like He is).

Back in February of 2022, we had our first consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist. It was over Zoom, he started off with a big smile on his face, and within minutes he said “guys, I think this is going to be super easy.”

It was the first time a medical professional had given us hope of getting pregnant and it was an  amazing experience.

After our first appointment and doing some bloodwork, the staff at the fertility clinic affirmed they thought getting pregnant would not be a challenge. In fact, Stephanie was super fertile- we just had to get her ovulating again (and some medication would be able to handle that). They described Stephanie’s fertility as a “Ferrari of fertility” so we had to be extra careful not to give her too much medication as this could cause a situation where we could have too many babies. Haha! 

We will speak more on our full fertility process at another time, but long story short, on December 23, we found out that Stephanie was pregnant after our fourth cycle of ovulation induction paired with IUI. It was a pretty amazing morning for us. There was no doubt as those lines were nice and dark!

Finding Out We Were Pregnant With Quintuplets

Again, the lines on the pregnancy test were very dark. That paired with Stephanie waking up and throwing up just a couple days later, we pretty much had no doubts that she was pregnant.

We went in a few days after the pregnancy test to have Steph’s HCG levels checked out. We were told a number around 200 would be great news, and if it’s around 1000 it could be a sign of twins. Well we got the blood work back… Stephanie’s HCG level was at 6300. Yeah… my mind was spinning. I don’t think I slept until our first ultrasound.

I spent hours researching and watching videos on YouTube, hearing other people’s stories about high HCG levels and how they found out they were having twins. I was pretty much convinced we were having twins. I would tell Steph, I think there is a 50% chance that we are having twins, 30% chance that we are having a singleton, 15% chance that we are having triplets, and 5% chance of quadruplets (but even that I was not confident in). I even remember seeing a quintuplet baby bump on Google images and knowing for sure that there would be no chance of that for us. It didn’t even cross my mind.

Well, on January 4th we went in for our first ultrasound. It was very early so we weren’t even guaranteed to see a heartbeat since it was only about 5 weeks into the pregnancy. I had watched so many ultrasound videos at this point, and I knew what to be looking for. The ultrasound started and I think both my heart and our nurse’s heart sank a little. The nurse’s first words were “Oh girl…” I didn’t know it was quintuplets immediately, but I knew it was a lot. That day we saw two heartbeats and five gestational sacs. It was one of the craziest moments of my life. On one hand, I was so happy to finally see life! On the other hand, we had heard some horror stories about when someone gets “overly fertilized” and I was scared for Steph’s health. 

We went in again a week later, and well, we no longer saw two heartbeats, we saw five! It was wild to say the least. Stephanie was officially pregnant with quintuplets.

This is our best image we could get showing all gestational sacs at the same time for our first ultrasound 🙂

Happy And Scared

I’m not going to lie, the next couple weeks were difficult. We were immediately told about the risks of our situation- both for the babies and for Stephanie. It was a sobering moment for me. We were informed of our options- either move forward, or do “selective reduction”, which is about as sad as it sounds. We knew that was not going to be an option for us, and we felt God had given us five children for a reason. We were going to do everything we could to give these babies their best chance. 

One of the worst parts of all this was we had a trip planned to go to Mexico in January, and my parents would be joining. While Steph’s family knew, and lots of our friends did, I chose to keep it a secret from my family because I wanted to tell my family in person. Not being able to share the news with them, and process it through with them was definitely a challenge. I’ll have to share a video of me telling them the news, because man it was wild!

We knew we had a tough and scary situation ahead of us, but we also knew we serve a faithful God, and we were confident He would see us through.

Moving To Phoenix

I did what I always do when I don’t know something- I got on YouTube. I searched “quintuplets” and immediately found the Scott Family, a family from Utah who had quintuplets. I started to watch their videos from the very beginning, and in one of their first videos, they mentioned this doctor down in Phoenix, who was the world’s best quintuplet doctor. His name was Dr. Elliot and he had delivered 25 sets of quintuplets, 120 sets of quadruplets, and over 700 sets of triplets. I remember talking with Steph and saying “Are we going to be moving to Phoenix?” It didn’t make sense. We had just started a carpet cleaning business, and the thought of leaving our community did not sound fun.

The next morning after discovering Dr. Elliot, I was flying to California to go pick up another van for our business. I had already flown from Bellingham to Seattle and I kept doing research on Dr. Elliot during my layover. I watched all of his videos on YouTube, and watched all the stories of different parents who came to see him for their quintuplet pregnancy. 

I’m not gonna lie, I started breaking down right in the middle of the airport. I’m sure I got some stares from bystanders. The stories from the videos were so encouraging, but also so similar to ours. These people had only been given “doom and gloom” news, and Dr. Elliot was the first doctor to give them this wonderful thing called hope.

I called Alaska Airlines to see if I could cancel my flight, and the representative answered with “it’s a beautiful day in Phoenix, how can I help?”. 

I knew we were moving to Phoenix.

While waiting on a bus to take me back north to Bellingham, I messaged Dr. Elliot through his website saying we wanted to work with him. 

That night Stephanie and I spoke with him on the phone, and it was a HUGE sense of relief. He didn’t sugarcoat our situation, as he explained the risks and difficulties of a quintuplet pregnancy, but he did let us know it was possible for this to be successful and he was optimistic. This was something we hadn’t heard from a doctor yet. That said, we had to drop everything we were doing, and make this our absolute priority. He also told us Steph would gain 70-100 pounds in the pregnancy and she needed to start eating 4000 calories a day! Wow!

Long story short, we moved to Phoenix on March 14, 2023 for the duration of the pregnancy. We sold our carpet cleaning business and airstream, and temporarily said goodbye to everyone back home.

While it was difficult to leave home, life in Phoenix has been great. Life is somewhat “boring” or simple, but that’s an okay thing! We are loving the sun, Steph is resting a lot, and we like to spend every evening out at the pool.

So How Are The Quintuplets? How is Steph?

Again, today marks 21 weeks of pregnancy, and well, Steph is already quite big! I think she looks so beautiful.

But this pregnancy has been touuuuggghhhhh on her. I wish we had started a vomit counter, because we (I mean she)  would be up there for a record. Unfortunately, she has been very sick through it all, and is still having difficulty eating solids. However, she is getting nutrition through my smoothies I make her and a heavy dose of Ensure. Plus, I’ve now gotten over my fear of vomit! Just trying to keep that optimistic mindset!

While it has been tough on Steph, it is with great joy that we share the fact that the babies are doing fantastic! We just completed the big anatomy scan, which took around five hours! Steph is a trooper!

We are having four girls and one boy! Help me! The average weight for a baby at this stage is about 12.5 ounces. The night before our scan I had prayed that even though it doesn’t make sense, I prayed that one of the babies would already be a full pound and the babies would be big and healthy.

God answered that prayer! Here are pictures and weight of the babies:

Baby A

  • A girl!
  • 14 Ounces!
  • We weren’t able to get the 3D image of her beacuse she was moving so much

Baby B

  • A girl!
  • 14 Ounces

Baby C

  • A boy!
  • 15 Ounces!

Baby D

  • A girl!
  • 14 Ounces!

Baby E

  • A girl!
  • 1 Pound!!!

So What Is Next?

Our goal is for the babies to make it to 34 weeks, which puts delivery right around July 21. The babies will stay in NICU for 3-7 weeks, and once the babies are healthy, we will head back north to Bellingham. We really have no idea what the long-term future looks like. All we know is we want to get these babies here, and do everything we can do to ensure their health.

In the meantime, we are somewhat hunkering down, making sure Steph gets plenty of nutrition and rest, and start planning what life is going to look like with quintuplets. 

We truly believe these babies are a gift from God, and we can’t wait to hold them and raise them.

I will do my best to keep everyone updated through this journey. Steph and I truly believe in the power of prayer, and our biggest request to friends and family is to pray for Stephanie and these babies. Pray they make it to 34 weeks with no complications. Pray for Steph’s safety and health. She currently is somewhat anemic, and her blood pressure is high.

Thank you so much,  God bless, and here is to quintuplets!

Graham