The Fultz Quadruplets
For Tracey and Joe Fultz it took years of trying to have children before their daughter, Rebecca, was born in 2007. Then in the fall of 2009, their hopes were answered again when they learned they were having quadruplets.
Tracey, a 37-year-old registered nurse, and her husband, Joe, had a hard time believing they were going to be welcoming four babies into the world. "He was shocked," Tracey said, "I couldn't believe we were having that many babies either after so many years of trying to have one."
For Tracey, the pregnancy with the quadruplets was much different from her pregnancy with her first child. In February of 2010, Tracey's perinatologist advised her to enter the hospital for bed rest out of concern of premature labor. After having a wonderful birth experience with Rebecca at Iowa Methodist Medical Center, Tracey said she never considered having her babies anywhere else.
"It was difficult at times to be in the hospital for so long, but my nurses were very supportive and helped me make it through those days when I really wanted to be outside or at home," Tracey said, "They visited with me and helped distract me. Looking back on it, those weeks in the hospital actually passed quickly."
The plan for the Fultz quadruplets was to make it to 34 weeks gestation before delivery to ensure that the babies would be near full development. Tracey and Joe decided on April 22, 2010 for Tracey's scheduled cesarean section when they would welcome their children into the world.
On the morning of April 22, Tracey anxiously awaited the end of her pregnancy and the beginning of life with her, now larger, family. A team of 27 medical professionals at Iowa Methodist Medical Center and Blank Children's Hospital were present for Tracey's C-section to ensure that everyone was taken care of. When she awoke from anesthesia, Tracey got to see Aaron, Anna, Audrey and Amanda for the first time before they were transported to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Blank Children's to be placed on respiratory support and oxygen. "I was still a little groggy, but it was amazing to see them for the first time," Tracey says. "I couldn't believe they were right in front of my eyes after waiting for them for so long."
The doctors and nurses in the NICU had prepared their team several weeks in advance of the delivery in order to offer the best in care to the Fultz quadruplets. "Three of them had difficulty breathing and received help with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, and one received mechanical ventilation. The babies did very well while in the NICU as we prepared them to go home," said Samir Alabsi, MD, neonatologist and medical director of the NICU. Tracey and Joe took turns visiting their little ones during the day, and after the quadruplets resolved some minor issues with apnea, the entire Fultz family was united at home for the first time on June 1.
"I had another wonderful experience" Tracey says. "Everyone in the NICU at Blank Children's was excellent. It was such a comfort to know the babies were well taken care of even when I wasn't there."