North Bend couple Lacey and Rob Potoshnik expected one new addition to their family.
Instead, they got four.
About six weeks into Lacey’s pregnancy, they learned that she was carrying quadruplets.
“They were a surprise,” Lacey said.
Although the Potoshniks initially planned for a family of six, including three children from Rob’s previous marriage and Lacey’s first born in addition to the family dog, Marlee, they expanded to include an additional four on Oct. 28, 2007 when 30-year-old Lacey gave birth to quadruplets.
“We call them bonus babies,” she said.
The Potoshniks planned a ‘Babymoon’ vacation as a last hurrah before adjusting to her unique pregnancy and preparing for their family’s expansion.
For two and a half months, Lacey lived at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. The cabin fever was horrible, she said, but the hospital staff were fantastic. They chose the center for its reputation in dealing with high-risk pregnancies.
Even though the quadruplets arrived more than two months early, commonplace when mothers carry multiple babies, special precautions were taken to boost their chances of remaining healthy, including a steroid shot Lacey received 24 weeks into her pregnancy to speed up the fetuses’ lung development.
While Lacey was only in labor for two hours, the recovery process and waiting for her babies to come home from the hospital was not easy. Two months of bed rest and carrying four babies made for a difficult recovery.
“I was so exhausted,” she said. “The hardest part was that I didn’t get to see them them right away.”
At 10 weeks early, the fragile newborns were placed into neonatal intensive care units, which are designed to meet the special warmth and nutrition needs of premies
Pregnancy added 75 pounds to her petite frame by the end of October, when the quads were delivered by caesarean section more than two months before her Jan. 7 due date. Nursing four infants made the pounds come off fast, she said.
Fraternal twins, like those of the Potshniks, are not identical. And at eight and a half months, they’re beginning to develop their own personalities.
“They’re all very different,” Lacey said.
Cal, the only fellow among the four, has the most relaxed disposition; Winter enjoys bouncing in her excersaucer; Victoria is the observer; and Maggie Mae, the smallest at birth, is already crawling.
Members of the Cascade Covenant Church in North Bend, nearby friends, and family from near and far have helped the Potoshnik’s adjust to a large family lifestyle. All the help has been a blessing, Lacey said.
At the start of each week, she receives an e-mail list of volunteers, thanks to CeCe Breneman of Cascade Covenant, who organizes the volunteers and e-mails so Lacey knows when to expect a few helping hands.
“If there’s enough of them I get to take a nap,” Lacey said.
Breneman said about 45 volunteers “from ages 14,15,16, with their moms, to gals about 65,” help with the babies. The first shift arrives at 9 a.m., allowing Lacey to catch up on sleep and household chores. The next round of volunteers take over from 1 to 5 p.m. Generally four helpers volunteer each day, although CeCe’s sons, ages 15 and 16 stopped in a few times to round out a light volunteer day or two.
“I just knew this would be an experience of a lifetime,” Breneman said.
During quieter moments, the volunteers pitch in on laundry, up to three loads each day, and other chores, which gives Lacey a moment to catch up on the accounting work she does for Rob’s business.
In addition to the church community and nearby friends, the Potoshnik’s family help as much as they can.
“Family has been a huge help,” Lacey said. “My mother stayed for three weeks and now she comes as often as she can.” The rise in gas prices have made her mom’s visits less frequent, but she still tries to visit a couple weekends each month from Cashmere, Wash.
“You wish you could take care of them all on your own,” she said of her babies. “But you can’t.”
The big, happy family does not plan to move from their four-bedroom home, Lacey said. “We’ll make it work.”