Kaitlin Hartman was told as a teenager that her chances of ever getting pregnant were not good because of a hormone imbalance.
Years later, she and her husband, Josh Hartman, decided to try with fertility treatments.
When they finally learned they were pregnant, an ultrasound indicated three babies. That was a shock. The next week, the technician made a correction: There were actually four babies. It was going to be a rough pregnancy, but the Hartmans were resolved to face the challenge.
At 21 weeks, doctors were worried that one of the babies was trying to push through. So Kaitlin lived for 67 days with her feet 10-12 degrees above her head to ease the pressure on her cervix.
“For many weeks we heard nothing but negativity and statistics — and none of the statistics were in our favor,” Josh Hartman said Thursday. “We heard that all the way throughout. I think that was the most difficult part. Faith was the only thing that got us through ... There were many times that we were told that we need to prepare ourselves to go home empty-handed . That is very difficult to hear. I don’t know how to cope with that. We did a lot of praying.”
On Nov. 17, at 30 weeks and one day, doctors performed a C-section. Teams A, B, C, and D, one for each baby, each had eight members and one physician. All four babies were delivered within five minutes and were whisked away to the neonatal intensive care unit at Overland Park Regional Medical Center.
“We heard all four of their cries when they were born, which melted our heart,” Kaitlin Hartman said Thursday. “We didn’t know what to expect ... It’s encouraging to hear them cry now.”
The babies were remarkably healthy. Only one needed oxygen at birth.
Teagan weighed 3 pounds, 1.9 ounces. Ainsley weighed 2 pounds, 3 ounces. Sadie weighed 2 pounds, 4 ounces. Braylon, the only boy, weighed 2 pounds, 14.5 ounces.
Now they occupy a suite of rooms in the NICU, and their parents are hopeful of bringing them home to Louisburg late next month. They bought a van in anticipation of a family that has just tripled in size. The Hartmans have family support and friends from Christ Community Church in Leawood. Some have created a GoFundMe page to help with medical bills, diapers and everything else.
Kaitlin Hartman keeps a blog.
On Thursday, both parents lovingly changed Braylon’s diaper. He now weighs 4 pounds, 3 ounces. He kicked his legs up in the air as he was being changed.
Brent Finley, a perinatologist at Overland Park Regional, dropped by the unit Thursday to say hello to his patients. They had their picture taken together.
Finley knew well the odds they had faced. The chances of just conceiving quads with fertility treatment are said to be one in more than 700,000.
“There’s a huge difference between quads and triplets,” Finley said. “Statistically, it’s not uncommon to lose at least one of them during the course of the pregnancy, or to have major complications.
“I think the outcome is fantastic.”