CLINTON — Last year at Thanksgiving, Heather and Steve Staley had no idea that Heather was pregnant with quadruplets.
“This time last year, we just barely found out we were pregnant,” Heather said, “and had no clue — no clue — there were four, because at the beginning, they only found one baby.”
Heather didn’t feel well right after Thanksgiving, and she knew something was up. She found out she was pregnant shortly afterward.
Heather and Steve went to their first official ultrasound on Dec. 10, but medical staff only found one baby. A couple of days later, they found two more. They spotted the fourth on Dec. 21.
“Let’s hope you don’t get sick after Thanksgiving this year, too,” said Jackson, the Staley’s 11-year-old son, making his mom laugh.
The Staleys had three children before the quads: Jackson, 11; Brynn, 7; and Tanner, 3.
Steve joked that he looks back at family pictures from this time last year, with everyone smiling, and thinks “you have no idea what’s coming.”
The babies were due Aug. 7, but they were born two months early on June 7 and spent a couple months in the newborn intensive care unit at Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden.
Their weights ranged from tiny Parker, who weighed 2 pounds 8 ounces, to Cole, nicknamed “bruiser” by the family since he was the biggest, weighing in at 3 pounds 14 ounces.
The two girls, Tara and McCall, were in the middle, at 3 pounds 10 ounces and 3 pounds 8 ounces, respectively.
When she was born, baby McCall weighed the same as the Staleys’ little Yorkie, Charlie, who monitors the quadruplets with concern, despite having been surpassed in weight by the babies, who are now almost six months old.
The four babies were born at 31 weeks and two days, just a few days shy of the doctors’ goal of 32 weeks. Parker’s growth had slowed, so doctors decided it was time to deliver them.
They started coming home Aug. 1; the two girls came home first. The boys followed shortly after, with all the babies home in time for the Staleys’ anniversary on Aug. 27.
Friends came over to help with the babies so Heather and Steve could celebrate, and Heather said they asked, “So what are you going to go do, go out to dinner?”
“We were like ‘nope, we’re going to bed,’” Heather said, laughing. “It was like 10 o’clock. ... We seriously were so exhausted. ... We at least got five or six hours of sleep that night, and it’s probably the most we’ve had since.”
All in all the babies have been healthy, with no serious complications, though there have been a few concerns.
Cole, though he was the biggest baby when he was born, was the last to come home because he couldn’t stay awake to eat. Parker had surgery after developing a hernia, which are more common in premature babies, Heather said.
They had a scare two days after bringing Tara home because she had an unexplained episode where she stopped breathing. She went back to the hospital in an ambulance, but she recovered fully and still came home before her two brothers.
Since then, the family says life looks a lot different.
They have friends, family and neighbors at their house for the better part of the day. About eight to 12 come over each day, and they sign up for shifts on a large whiteboard hanging just outside their kitchen.
They’ve also hired three nannies, Steve said.
To keep track of each baby, they have pacifiers with color coded ribbons tied to them, and Heather tracks the stats that doctors check up on, like how much each baby eats and how many diapers they go through, in a color-coded chart.
They burn through about 85-90 ounces of prepared formula and 35 diapers a day, Steve said. They make 28 bottles every night to stock their fridge.
Steve said he’s run into a host of other funny situations.
Tools parents commonly use to track their babies well-being and growth aren’t built to accommodate the data of four babies, he said.
The Staleys have Owlet monitors for each of their babies, to track their breathing and other vitals, but originally they thought they’d have to set up a different account and log in separately for each baby.
After he contacted Owlet, Owlet updated their app so the Staleys could monitor all four babies on one account.
Their baby scale will only track two babies per account, so Heather keeps two of them in one account on her phone, and Steve has the other two on his.
They also purchased a large grey van to transport the entire family, but they haven’t used it much yet since the babies are young, so Steve drives it to work.
Since it looks exactly like an Amazon Prime van, minus the branding, he gets waves from just about every Amazon Prime delivery driver — and the delivery drivers often get excited mistaken waves from people who know the Staley family, Steve said.
They’re anticipating removing their dining room table to accommodate four babies in walkers.
Even though having four babies crying at one can be challenging, they said the biggest challenge is balancing their time among all of their children, including making sure their older children don’t feel like they’re forgotten.
“At the end of the day, a lot of times ... I’ll come home and I’ll hold some babies and at the end of the night, I’ll be like ‘I haven’t even seen McCall today,’” Steve said.
“I try to spend time with each of them each day, just a moment with each,” Heather said.
“When we’re all together, it feels amazing,” Heather said, “because they’re all here, and we’ve been so blessed that ... there haven’t really been any complications. ... Yes it’s crazy, but it’s awesome having our family together.”