Today I am excited to welcome Roxanna from The Hoffman Quintuplets who shares her story with us. I have found through my multiples groups, both in person and online, that mamas of multiples tend to admire families with one more child. Mamas of twins have respect for those with triplets. Those with triplets have respect for those with quads and so on. We had four babies, and picturing having 5 at once plus two more makes our busy home seem not quite as busy! Find our more about Roxanna and how to follow her journey in her bio at the bottom.
It is amazing how much life can change in an instant! I never thought I would find myself a mother to seven little ones! I feel truly blessed to have been suddenly been chosen though for this journey! Michael, my husband, is currently serving active duty in the United States Air Force. We had our first son in, Conner, in 2006 (now nine years old). We wanted to add another to our family and fell pregnant easily in 2011. Sadly, after weeks of devastating test results, we lost our daughter, Allyannah, at just before 24 weeks’ gestation. She had a random genetic disorder Turner’s Syndrome and many heart defects. After grieving a long time, we decided to try for another addition again. We suddenly found ourselves in a whole new underground world of unexplained secondary infertility after we had no success for years! Michael and I decided to start fertility treatments with the guidance of a specialist. We were told we had one follicle that may do something based on ultrasounds before our IuI procedure. We found out at two early ultrasounds that they saw “twins”! We were super excited and had just been told we were moving to northern Alaska with the military too! Luckily, Michael could get off of work to come with me to our heartbeat ultrasound at seven weeks! The technician quickly showed us five, strong heartbeats! Yes, out of nowhere we were expecting quintuplets at 24 years old! Every part of our life changed at that moment! Our vehicle could no longer hold our family, we had to find a special doctor, the unknowns were huge if we would all survive the pregnancy, our orders to Alaska were cancelled, and more. I stopped working in the Air Force at 20 weeks. After a terrible experience and almost losing all the babies in New Jersey (where we lived with the military), I left to be under the care of Dr. John Elliott in Arizona. He has delivered higher order multiples than anybody else worldwide. We were his 19th set of quintuplets! I stayed on 10 weeks of hospital bed rest alone across the country from our family and friends in a city I had never been before! It was really hard! I was given many drugs to stop labor and was on magnesium for 8 weeks continuously! I also had to eat a 7000 calorie a day diet since I was losing weight while on a 5000 calorie a day diet! I had so many protein shakes a day and could only consume, high-calorie junk food since healthy foods did not carry enough calories and took up stomach space. My husband and oldest son had to stay in New Jersey for work and school. The military decided to move us last minute and they arrived in Arizona two days before the babies were born! My husband moved our entire family across the country alone!
I was scheduled for a C-section at 34w1d. However, I delivered at 31w1d due to pulmonary edema. I gained 40 lbs of fluid in the four days before delivery! Our quintuplets are four girls and one boy. The babies arrived weighing 3 lbs 1 oz, 3 lbs 2 oz, 3 lbs 5 oz, 3 lbs 9 oz, and 3 lbs 11 oz. These weights were great since the average singleton at this gestation weighs 3 lbs 4 oz! The babies had NICU stays of 23, 73, 23, 21, 30 days accordingly to weight! NICU included a lot of tasks that had to done, surgeries, and more. The babies had so many doctor’s appointments there first year because of being premature! They are thriving though given so many obstacles! When we found out about our quintuplets. We came up with a boy and girl name for each letter A-F. We skipped C since Conner our oldest already took that letter for our family. My husband picked his favorite approved boy name once we found out it was just one boy in the group. Conner was able to pick which girl got which name once he saw them. He essentially named Aurora, Briella, Delilah, Elias, and Felicity!
My husband returned to work after his 10 days of paternity leave ended. Our family has come to visit a week here or there to see them. However, they all live across the country. Because of this, I have taken care of them with no family, friend, hired help, volunteers, etc. Yes, it’s not like the tv shows! My husband and I do everything alone. My husband works 12-17 hour days when home and is frequently gone with the military for trainings, deployments, and more leaving just myself a lot.
When they first came home, the babies were on a strict 3-hour feed schedule! I averaged a total of literally thirty minutes of sleep a day. I did 3 loads of laundry a day, had 50-60 diaper changes a day, pumped breast milk up to 23 hours a day to build my supply, and still found time to take all of the children to watch our oldest play sports 3-4 times a week! I get asked a lot about pumping and breastfeeding. We are pro feeding your baby formula or breast milk just as long as you feed them something! The doctors and our family chose breast milk for our little ones as much as possible as the right choice for us. I would wear my pump like a backpack and pump constantly. After 12 weeks, I had to start supplementing them some. However, at least half of every feed for their first year was my breast milk! We did fortify the breast milk with preemie formula for extra calories for them to help with development. We went through 75 cans of it a month! I stopped breastfeeding when we found out I was unexpectedly pregnant with our last little one Gideon who is now three weeks old!
I found out about Gideon when I went in for the first surgery of a few different ones to repair my body after quintuplets. It was a kidney stone surgery. At that time, I was breastfeeding still, on birth control, Michael had a vasectomy scheduled, I hadn’t had a cycle yet, and we were moving. They could not perform the surgery then because of our surprise blessing! The pregnancy was challenging in some ways but easier in others. I was lifting 30 lb quintuplets until I delivered at 39w5d. I had many strong contractions throughout the pregnancy and was never able to rest since our 20 month old quintuplets needed me! I was often exhausted. In other ways the pregnancy was way easier, since I did not have to stop preterm labor constantly or worry about the status of five little ones. Gideon arrived on 2/19/2016 and weighed 9 lbs 6 oz! He perfectly completes our family! We are gearing up for a move later this spring. It will be our third move in under 3 years (second cross country). I will be driving our 22 month quintuplets, a 2 month old, and a 9-year-old in our 15 passenger van as my husband drives the moving truck behind us.
We often get asked about our vehicle. We have a 15 passenger van right now. We bought a used E350 van since it is way cheaper than the alternatives and has equal safety ratings. With having six, rear facing car seats and one, high-back booster, we need space! Our Runabout quintuplet stroller does not fit inside the van so has a custom hitch on the back of the van! We definitely get looks when we are out but love to answer questions! I will baby wear Baby Gideon since he will not fit in the quintuplet one. I normally take them out daily somewhere. At first it was just doctors’ appointments because of RSV lockdown and nightly neighborhood walks. For their first 9 months, I would push a double stroller with their cars eats in it, pull another double stroller by the car seat handle, and carry the 5th baby on the crook of my pushing stroller arm almost daily when out alone with them. Before they all came home, the discharged babies would visit the still admitted in NICU babies with me. It was a long process but it got faster with time and practice!
Right now, the quintuplets are learning to be gentle to the baby, climb on playground equipment, and are becoming more independent daily. They are growing way too quickly! They are working on improving their speech since they often speak to each other in their own language instead of English. Every day is a new adventure! I have found with having multiples, some days you thrive and other days you barely survive! Either way, as long as you are trying you are doing amazing! We are constantly adapting our life to them and tweaking things to fit their current stage. I highly recommend any family with multiples to have a strict schedule for at least the first 18 months. It was a huge
lifesaver for everybody including the kids to know what was happening at what time. Also, know it is okay to put the babies in a safe place and step away for a shower or to clear your head for a few minutes! Everybody needs that sometimes and feeling rejuvenated always makes things more manageable when times are tough! I have found that it never really gets easy it just changes and is different. At first, you are sleep deprived but they are not mobile. As time goes on, you get more sleep but they are non-stop, everywhere! You just learn to overcome and figure out what works best for you! Someday, you’ll look back and realize how truly strong, and incredible you were during challenging moments! Please feel free to reach out whenever at The Hoffman Quintuplets on Facebook!
I am a military wife, a mommy to seven (21 month old quintuplets, 9 year old, and a 4 week old), 26 years old, a daughter, a nurse, and a student! Previously, I was in the United States Air Force as a medic until I was 20 weeks pregnant with the quintuplets. I spend my days playing, making memories, breastfeeding, and encouraging others to never give up on their dreams now as a stay-at home-mom. We are in gearing up for our 3rd move in 3 years so life is hectic but it wouldn’t be my life otherwise .