Tribute to Arizona

Exactly one year ago today, we hopped on a plane and moved to Phoenix. It was a move that was scary, required lots of faith, but turned out to be one of the best decisions we have ever made. We have been home for seven months now and already my time spent in Arizona has become so precious to me. Trust me, moving over 1400 miles away from home was not what I had envisioned for my first pregnancy. I mean, who does that? In fact, when I first spoke with Jac Tubre and she told me about her move to Phoenix, I thought the same thing! To Jac and another friend and triplet-mom, Bethel Ann Randall, I am indebted forever to you for introducing me to Dr. Elliott's work. Through much prayer and careful consideration, we knew without a doubt that Phoenix was where the Lord wanted us. I never imagined that the short 5 months I spent in Arizona (I can say "short" now that it's over) would be one of the greatest things I've ever experienced.

Dr. John Elliott - the whole reason for our move. I can't say enough about this man. He is simply amazing. From our very first telephone conversation with him, he was very clear on the difficulties with this pregnancy but also provided some hope and encouragement. He was the first to tell me that there would be a time where I would want to give up, but that I must have an iron will and keep going for the sake of my babies. Maybe it was his reputation and results that spoke for him but we just had a peace of mind being under his care. He has delivered more than 3 times the number of quads than any other doctor in the world, not to mention countless other high order multiples. His dedication and determination to keep me pregnant as long as possible (down to the very last hour!) was incredible. I remember once when the resident paged him...he was in my room within 5 minutes completely out of breath. Apparently, he ran from clear across the hospital to get to us. Of course, we had a good laugh when he realized it wasn't anything urgent. That is just the kind of doctor he is! He will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Dr. Elliott's office in Glendale, AZ

My home away from home away from home!

Dr. E watching over my contractions - please ignore the big blob in the bed! I love this picture...I think it captures his dedication and commitment

The night they were born - checking out the troublemaker a.k.a. Jagger

Our two favorite doctors - Elliott and Slater-Meyer

6 week check up - our last visit together

Dr. Lexi Hill - the resident assigned to me. I've said it before and I will say it again and again, we will be forever grateful to Dr. Hill. During one of my routine daily ultrasounds, she noticed that Jagger had a heart deceleration. Instead of ignoring it or assuming that it was just a coincidence (as that will happen from time to time), she kept watching only to find out that he was having them frequently. This began the constant monitoring for my contractions which ultimately led to their delivery 2-3 days later. She was part of the delivery with Dr. Elliott and as my mom said she was elbow deep in me fetching babies out! Not only is she a great doctor but also a great person with fabulous style! I know that if we lived close to one another we would be the best of friends.

Miss you Lexi!

Labor and Delivery Nurses - I spent a little over 4 weeks in the hospital. During this time, I had so many wonderful nurses. Just to name a few...Barbara, Deb, Gloria, Joy, Laura, Tammy, Thais, and Michelle(and many more) were so great to me. It was pretty surprising how close you can get to someone for such a short period of time. We shared many life stories, laughs, and how could I forget...discussions about the Bachelor. These ladies were always there if I needed anything...even if it was just a cup of ice. Unfortunately, I do not have alot of pictures of them, but there faces will be engraved in my mind forever. I think of you all often.

My bachelor buddy, Barbara

Gloria giving me a steroid shot

Again ignore me please, this is sweet Joy just hours before my surgery

Deb and Nietzsche - Deb is the wonderful lady who takes time out of her weekend each week to bring her dog, Nietzsche, to visit and lift the spirits of patients in the hospital. I so looked forward to seeing this beautiful 111 pound puppy every Sunday. Thanks Deb and Big Nietzsche!

Isn't he beautiful?!?

Tara - This was our ultrasound tech that determined Baby C & D (Madden & Jagger) did not share an amniotic sac. Besides the fact that I was carrying four babies, my pregnancy was real tense because we had (so we thought) these two babies that shared an amniotic sac which put them at extreme risk for cord entanglement and other complications. Tara did not take my word that they shared a sac because that is what we were told up until this point, but she examined carefully and intently until she found that thin, and I mean thin, membrane!

Susie - my food connection to the cafeteria. Most people usually complain about having to eat hospital food day in and day out. I will admit it can be a little repetitive and unexciting. Susie, however, kept things interesting for me. She would bring me smoothies daily along with all kinds of goodies to help pack on the weight! By the way, shout out to Moni Graf for letting me in on the giant rice krispie treat secret...I had one on my plate every night! Susie became a close friend while I was there and I will never forget her, and she just became a grandma herself...congrats Susie!

Me and Susie with Madden & Sloan

Jennifer and Becky - PR for Banner Good Sam. These ladies were very professional and we enjoyed working with them so much!

Steve - videographer. Such a great thing this man does! As you may imagine, the moments leading up to the delivery and the delivery itself can be very tense...being uncertain of the health of the babies. Having video footage of the birth was the last thing on our minds. Fortunately, Steve was there to capture that priceless moment for us and I will cherish it forever. He got out of his comfy bed at almost midnight to be there for the birth...and I should note he did this twice the night of the birth because we had a false alarm just hours before the real thing! He does it just because he enjoys it! God bless him!

Lee - Nurse manager. This is a special lady to us. She was the one who decided to break the rules and allow my mom into the operating room. My mom was very nervous about having to wait alone during the birth. She had been with me throughout the whole pregnancy and the thought of missing her grandbabies' birth was heartbreaking. While everyone was prepping me for surgery, Lee must have noticed her anxiety and made an exception to the rule. What an amazing gift...one my mom and I will always be grateful for!

My mom with Lee

So it is true, the reason we went to Phoenix was for Dr. Elliott and Banner Good Samaritan Hospital, but we did not know just how blessed we were going to be by Phoenix Children's Hospital...where the babies would be cared for. It is a satellite Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) connected to Banner Good Sam. This place was incredible! The doctors, nurses and other staff were awesome! Did I mention it is one of the best NICUs in the country...if not the best, I'm not too sure on my statistics. Both hospitals were simply amazing.

Dr. Linda Slater-Meyer - the babies' neonatologist. We just fell in love with Dr. Slater-Meyer and like Dr. Elliott, the passion this lady has for doing what she does, just oozes from her pores. She was a God-send...the way she cared for, treated and loved our babies! We could not have asked for anything more.

Doc with Jagger

NICU nurses - so these are the ladies (and a couple of guys) that we became so close to. The last baby came home from the hospital around 9 weeks so we spent the majority of our time dealing with and learning from them than anyone else. We had so many wonderful nurses but I do want to name some of the ones that were most special to us...Trish, Danielle, Joyce, Amy, Lacie, Megan, Meghann, April, Felicia and there were so so many more. It was so comforting to know that when we left the hospital our babies were in the hands of these completely capable, but more importantly, loving nurses. They really did love them or so it seemed to us and I guess that's what really matters! You will never know how you have touched our lives and in a way that will never be forgotten and always be treasured. We loved you then and we love you still.

Amy with Madden

Megan with Rocco

Joyce with Jagger and Trish with Rocco

Danielle and nursing student Alicia with Rocco

Lacie with Jagger

Our church - First Baptist Church of Scottsdale. Before I was admitted to the hospital, mom and I visited some churches. After our visit here, we looked at each other and knew that this would be our church home for the next several months. We absolutely loved it! Such a great worship service and message week after week! We also would like to express our gratitude to James and Lori Mitchell, the children's directors, for driving all of us in the church van to the airport for our final flight home. Thanks guys!

My visitors - I basically moved across the country and I certainly did not expect to be seeing anyone from home except our parents. But no, I had so many visitors! So thank you to Mr. Frankie, Jeff, Heather, Travis, Sissy, Rylee, Griffin, Jason, Kemper, Evan, Jude, Nate, Ashley, Laura, Tiffany, Casey, Brent, Aunt Donna and Jana...you really made me feel special and a little less homesick!

Quad mommas & daddies - Well since this is the place to go if you are having multiples, we were introduced to some fine families over there. I think I've said it before, but it really is crazy how you can have such a bond with these families that you have never met before. We made some lifelong friends and are excited to watch are children grow together...together but across the country! Thanks to Paul and Maria Carlson for opening your home to us and showing us the ropes while I was pregnant. Thanks to Kami Crisanti for all of your visits while I was in the hospital. To Imran and Sharmeen Mussani, we had a wonderful time getting to know you and your family...hope to meet again in the future!

Of course, I couldn't let this post go without thanking our parents for making this possible for us. You are all so loved and appreciated...I don't think there will ever be enough words or things we could do to show you just how much.

To everyone, we wanted to do whatever it took to have the best outcome possible for our babies and you allowed us to do it. Not only that, but you made it easy for us! When I think about where we were one year ago compared to where we are now, it's indescribable. To say thank you is hardly enough, but please know that you have made a difference in our lives and we pray that you are all blessed because of it!

Our final walk, taking the last two babies home (me holding Rocco & Nick holding Jagger)

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday!



waiting said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
waiting said...

Your post is beautiful. You are such an encouragement to everyone around you. I know in the future other moms will reach out to you, and you will be right there for them!

Hilary said...

What a sweet post!! So grateful for you :)

Tracy said...

Nice! I am laughing though because the building shot, it is THE SAME design as our hospital here (Providence). THe same designer made them and he did like 5 or 7 total...they make a design if you draws lines on a map between them all.

We call it the spaceship hospital!

Anyway- What a blessing they were to you there!

Moni Graf said...

Ohhhhhh....thank YOU for the trip down memory lane! So many familiar faces and sites in this post. What a journey, huh?!

So happy your family of 6 is healthy and happy (except, of course, when you clothe them in that God-awful purple and gold crap! Who could truly be happy wearing that garbage?).


p.s. and HOLLA on the ginormous rice krispy treats every day! I STILL crave those bad boys on occasion.

Shannon said...

That was beautiful!!! It is so wonderful to hear about the good stuff we do at Good Sam. I love seeing pictures of your beautiful babies. Hugs and Kisses from one of the nurses!

Misty said...

What a walk down memory lane! I, too miss Phoenix! What a fabulous post! And ignore Moni, purple & gold are the best colors!
Geaux Tigers,

Holly said...

Oh Kami, you brought tears to my eyes.......could be my hormones but I truly think it was your wonderful post. It's so great to see you and your beautiful family and how blessed you have been!