January Down

2017 has only just begun but an entire month has gone…buh bye January!  I’m horrible at keeping this blog up to date, but there’s no rules, right?  I mean, I guess I have an excuse or two…Mommy to six kiddos 3 years old and under, Wifey, Full-Time employee…

The main purpose of this blog was to have something that I could look back to and remember moments in life.  Time just goes by so quickly that you forget the little things that make you smile.  Pictures capture those moments, but the story behind those pictures is what I want to remember.

I’m thinking I’m going to just start posting lots and lots of pictures (other than what’s on Facebook or Instagram) and captioning them.  Find us on Facebook @Hawaii’s Quintuplets or on Instagram @quintuplets_of_hawaii I’ll also be uploading videos to our YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/Shakababymommy

January brought many firsts:

  • First Slumber Party
    • The kiddos were so afraid of the fireworks that were going off on New Year’s Eve that we brought all our pillows and blankets out and had a Slumber Party!  I think this will be a traditions for us.  Perhaps next year we’ll have our own sleeping bags.
  • First Steps
    • Kamali’i is the first to walk.  She’s a girl, so it was totally expected.  From 2 steps, to 11 to almost running, that little girl is strong!
  • First Fights
    • Boys will be boys – nuff said!
    • Girls are bossy.  Need I say more?
  • First Bites
    • Everyone got lots of teeth, so its inevitable that this was going to happen.  I always wanna bite their cute little faces, so I guess I understand 🙂
  • First Kisses
    • So much germs get passed around in my house.  Everyone learned to kiss and they love to give em out.  Seeing them kiss each other is absolutely heart-warming!
  • First Words, First Sentences
    • You’ll hear “dada” and “mama” from everyone, but Kamali’i says “I love you” and “Hi Daddy”
  • First time to:
    • Seal Life Park.  Makaio has been there a few times, but this was the first for the babies.  Makaio had a blast!  His favorite part was feeding the fish (lettuce) and getting splashed by the Dolphins.
    • Ala Moana Shopping Center.  Shirokiya, Food Court, Jungle Fun and the Disney Store were the few places we explored although we were there for FOUR HOURS!
    • Sam’s Club & Costco.  The babies are now big enough to be able to sit in the carts and only a few stores here have carts that will hold two kiddos so it’s Daddy with Kupono & Kaolu up front, Makaio in the cart, and Mommy with the triple stroller with Kamali’i, Kapena & Keahi.  It’s fun to finally be able to go to a store as a family.  I know soon I won’t want to bring them with me at all, especially when they’re toddlers, but for now, it’s awesome.
    • Target also has those awesome carts so we took advantage of that too!
    • Wal Mart.  On a Saturday afternoon.  What was I thinking?  Wal Mart has the most interesting (not in a good way) people.

I think that pretty much sums up our January 2017.  Just add in a little bit of crying (mostly from Makaio), some screaming, scratches,smiles and lots of LOVE…

Babies from L-R: Kupono, Kapena, Keahi, Kaolu & Kamali’i

Kupono on Kaolu

Keahi

L-R: Kupono, Kapena, Keahi, Kamali’i and Kaolu

Kapena in the back, Keahi in the front

Kupono

Kupono

Kaolu

Kaolu

Keahi

Kupono

Kapena

Kapena

Keahi

Kupono

Keahi, Kaolu, Kamali’i, Kapena & Kupono watch as Makaio strikes a pose!

Blue Stroller Back: Kapena & Keahi, Front: Kaolu & Kupono

Kupono on Kaolu

Makaio & Kaolu

Kapena hugging Makaio

Everyone waiting for Mommy to get her Starbucks @ Ala Moana Shopping Center

Jungle Fun @ Ala Moana Shopping Center

Shirokiya @ Ala Moana Shopping Center

Kupono

Kaolu

First trip to Sam’s Club

 

Keahi

Kapena

Kupono

Kaolu

Keahi

Keahi, Kaolu & Kapena with their cousin Sydney

Kaolu, Keahi, Kupono & Kapena

Babies with Daddy L-R: Kapena, Kaolu, Keahi, Kupono & Kamali’i

Makaio’s favorite part @ Sea Life Park

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The Wall of Hope

We were so honored when Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children asked us if we’d like to be featured on this years’ Wall of Hope.  The Wall of Hope is a photography exhibit which features former patients who have endured and overcome a health crisis.  Although our babies have overcome a lot so early in their lives, I am in awe to be accompanied by such inspirational stories of all the others that participated this year.

Photo shoots took place in August, and on October 16th (the day after the babies’ first birthday luau), the hospital hosted a brunch for all the former patients and their families.  The photos they selected to be featured on the wall was strategically placed around the room.  For the first time, we got to see what everyone would see walking through the hallways of the hospital.

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The photo (shot by Elyse Butler) selected to be on the Wall of Hope.  The statement below accompanies the photo.


Shocked. That’s the most appropriate word to use when you find out you’re expecting five – yes, FIVE – babies.

“I found out I was pregnant with quintuplets when I was just a bit over 16 weeks,” says Marcie Dela Cruz, who became the first person in Hawaii to give birth to surviving quintuplets on Oct. 10, 2015.

“I went into pre-term labor at 23 weeks and was admitted to Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, where I remained for five and a half weeks before giving birth,” Marcie recalls.

All five babies were in the Kapiolani Neonatal Intensive Care Unit until December.

Kapena (the oldest) and Kupono (the middle) were the first two babies to go home one Dec. 13.

Kaolu (the youngest) joined them the very next day.

Keahi (the smallest at birth) and Kamalii (the only girl) were the last to arrive home on Christmas Eve, two months and two weeks after their birth.

Now 1 year old, the babies are doing great. They have no known complications and have not only caught up with, but surpassed the normal weight of babies their age.

And while having six keiki under the age of 4 (she and husband, Ray, also have a 3-year-old son, Makaio) is certainly a life-changer, Marcie says it was her experience at Kapiolani that left the real impact.

“I saw so much compassion, patience and willingness to make patients happy from everyone I encountered,” she says. “I’ll forever be thankful for those who took care of me during my pregnancy and those who cared for my babies during the first couple of months of their lives. Mahalo nui loa!”

Hauoli La Hanau

365 days, 52 weeks, 12 months, 1 year.  No matter how you say it, I can’t believe it!  On October 10th, we had a small celebration with family at home for the babies’ first birthday. It was a last-minute gathering, as we knew we’d be celebrating with 300 of our closest family and friends in less than a week.

Their Luau was nothing short of a success.  The music was great, the food was ono, and most importantly, the babies were on their best behavior while surrounded with love. They were all lined up in their high chairs at the entrance of the hall greeting their guests.

We’ve created so many memories during this first year of their lives.  We welcomed them into this world not knowing what to expect at just 1 and 2 pounds each.  I could’ve never imagined how much I would learn in the next few months.  Having a baby (or babies) born prematurely sure teaches you a lot.  Life is so fragile.  We’ve been blessed that all of our babies are strong, healthy and happy today.  We pray that their lives are similar to what they’ve experienced in this first year; that they remain healthy, strong and happy and that they continue to be surrounded by love and positivity.

Ray and I are so honored to be their parents.  We’ll continue to do our best to guide them in life.  We are a team.  We thank everyone who’s there to help us along the way.  After all, if it takes a village to raise a child, we may need the entire state!  Happy Birthday, Babies!


Hearts & Circles

My Makaio turned 3 last month (on September 2nd). We must be doing something right because he is everything I’d want my little boy to be and more.  He’s not perfect.  He’s spoiled.  I’m probably overcompensating for all the attention all the babies get.  He’s my first born and I don’t ever want him to forget how much he means to me.  No matter what happens in life, he’ll always be my number one!  He’s naughty and selfish with his toys sometimes, but what he is NOT, is jealous.  He loves, loves, loves his babies like a big brother should.  I can already see how protective he’s going to be over his little sister.  He even scolds his little brothers if they knock her over or hit her with a toy.

He’s my funny bebe. Makaio is the only person that makes me laugh every single day.  His smile brightens my day no matter what is going on.  It’s genuine.

We sing “Betcha By Golly, Wow” together almost every day. If you don’t know the song, look it up.  Every single word is my truth to him.  Another thing I like to do with Makaio is tell him “listen to my heart”, then I place his head against my chest.  I tell him it’s saying “love you, love you…”  One day after doing that, he said “Mommy, Mommy, listen to my circle”.  I said, “it’s not a circle, it’s a heart”.  He says back at me “no Mommy, only girls have hearts, boys have circle”.  So every time I tell him to listen to my heart, he does the same and tells me his circle says “love you too”.

Love him.

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One day at a time

Babies are nine months old.

Nine months went by in the blink of an eye. As I look back at pictures of the babies when they were born, I’m amazed at how far we’ve come.  We decided to take a “one day at a time” approach to parenting the quints.  Our days are so consumed with schedules and routines that it’s no wonder the days turned into months so quickly.  We do our best to enjoy every moment but time is our enemy.

So much has changed over the past nine months.  Schedules changed from every three hours to only 4 feedings per day.  Luckily (for us), the babies started sleeping through the night at just 4 1/2 months, so night feedings are a thing of the past.

The babies have transitioned to solid foods and even their bottles have changed.  As much as we loved the Dr. Brown bottles, we’re happy to now have bottles with only three parts.  Everything matters when you multiply it by five.

Many things in our lives have changed for the better, but there are some things that have become a little more challenging.  For instance, they grew!  Oh boy.  Getting them in and out of our bus (I mean Van) is a task!  They currently all weigh between 16-20 pounds.  

They’ve started to fight over toys and constantly hit each other; there’s  even been a few instances of biting already (and there’s only five teeth total). Soon they’ll be mobile and the challenges will become more aparant.  Interestingly, we’re eagerly awaiting these new challenges.  Not because we’re glutten for punishment, but because it’s part of the process.  Seeing them discover new things is pure joy.

Our pastor recently said something that really struck me.  “Fear steals joy”.  It’s so true!  During the scary moments of our pregnancy, I chose to be positive.  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy my pregnancy and what was happening around me.  I’ll chose to continue to live my life that way.  There’s so many things I could worry about…so many things to fear.  I won’t.  I’ll continue to stick with the “one day at a time” approach to life and see where it takes us.  We’ll still plan for our future but will not succumb to fear or worry.

We made it through nine months and we’re still going strong.  I’m pretty proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish so far.  People assume we have a lot of help. Unfortunately, it’s not true.  When we need it, we get it.  Otherwise, it’s mainly just the two of us managing the six pack.  My husband made the decision to retire from roofing so he’d be able to take care of the babies once I returned to work.  It’s been 3 months since I’ve been back working full time and he’s been amazing.

May God continue to bless our Marriage & Family.

The Middle

Recently, we were asked if we planned on having this many babies at once.  My  husband began to tell him “we did IVF…” and before he could get another word in, the man interrupted and said “oh, see?  you did try for all these kids”.

Statements like that irritate me.  The mere question about fertility treatments somehow get under my skin.  I know most of the time people are so curious and shocked at seeing so many babies all at once that they don’t know what to say.  I think its natural for people to assume we went through some sort of fertility treatment, and I get it.  But asking “did you take fertility drugs” is a bit personal.  I mean, why should it matter whether or not we had fertility treatments?  Does the fact that we did IVF somehow discredit my children?  Do you even know what that means?  Probably not.

The process is very scientific from a medical perspective, but can be very trying on the woman (both mentally and physically).  I recall times when I had to give myself about 8 shots in one day.  You’re constantly being monitored by your doctors and its all about timing. It was 8 months from my initial consultation to the day I found out I was pregnant.  Getting pregnant this way was not fun.

People don’t out-of-the-blue just come out and say “I think I want twins, I’m gonna do IVF”.  Most people that go through fertility treatments just want to be parents.  There’s no guarantee you’ll get pregnant and there’s definitely no guarantee you’ll have twins.  The reason multiples are more common with IVF is because more than one embryo  (typically two) is implanted at once with the hopes that one will “take”.  Most of the time, only one of the embryos survive resulting in one baby (which is what happened when I got pregnant with Makaio).  Sometimes, both embryos survive, and that’s when you see fraternal twins; each of them from their own embryo.  More rare is when there’s identical twins.  When multiples are identical, that means the embryo split naturally.  In my case, the two embryos survived.  One was a female and the other a male.  The male split, then those two split again.  The chances of that occurring is extremely rare and nothing we would’ve anticipated or could’ve even planned.  So, no sir…we did not “try” for all these babies.  It was a blessing and a miracle from God.

Please don’t discredit those who’ve gone through some sort of fertility treatment.  We shouldn’t be defined by how we got pregnant.  Its really no one’s business.  For many people, its their last chance at having a family.  The result(s) of these treatments is not the beginning nor the end of their journey…its the middle.  There’s always a story behind the decision, and there’ll be more stories to be told in the future.

six pack.jpg

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An Unforgettable Day

This Father’s Day has been a day we’ll remember forever.  Not only did my children spend the day with their father and my father; they were dedicated to our Heavenly Father.  Pastor Jon Burgess of New Hope Oahu brought our family on stage during the 11 a.m. service. He invited all the other pastors on stage and asked the entire church to pray for our family. Looking out into the audience and seeing everyone reaching out to us was an unforgettable moment. The entire church was praying for us. The Pastor led them in prayer for me, my husband, our six children and all those who’ll help raise them.

I also had an opportunity to share our testimony which will be shared at all 5 services during the first weekend of July. God has blessed us with these children and was with me during every step throughout this journey; especially during the darkest, scariest moments. I am amazed at all He has done for us and can’t wait to see what’s in our future. #blessed

First tooth!

Kupono is the first to have teeth!  Not only one, but both bottom teeth have broken through.  We didn’t even know he was teething!  I mean, we know it’s time for teeth to be coming in, and there’s definitely drool, but no fussiness or fever.  Here’s hoping the rest of the teething is the same.