Little Patients, Big Miracles: Quads come early, doubling a family's size

Published: Aug. 22, 2016 at 5:56 PM EDT
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Monday, Aug. 22, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- There is never a dull moment at the Kirkland house. Julianne Kirkland says crazy is their new normal.

"There will be times when I'm upstairs getting them ready for bed, and they're all crawling around on the floor, and I'll be like, I HAVE FOUR OF YOU! It's crazy," Julianne says.

Their new normal has also been a big adjustment for dad.

"I pictured myself having one kid, two kids at the most, but having six, never," says Matthew Kirkland.

The Kirkland family was expecting one baby to complete their family of four, but when they went for a sonogram, they found out four more were on the way.

When you have one year old quadruplets, instead of counting hours in a day, you count it by diapers.

"There was one day I counted 53 so I stopped counting," says Julianne.

The family of four had no idea their numbers would double when they started trying for one last child, hopefully a girl. But her sonogram revealed three unexpected blessing. Once the shock settled in for her, telling her husband was another story.

"I entered my own little personal twilight zone at that moment....I basically just stared at the microwave for 45 minutes," Matthew said.

The risks go way up when you're dealing with that many babies. So Julianne's doctor in Athens recommended she reduce the number of babies.

"I remember clenching my fists so I wouldn't punch this man in the face. Thank you, but no. I'm not going to reduce my children," she said.

At 23 weeks, she started having contractions.

"The head neonatologist, my OB doctor, and pretty much the hospitals' attorneys decided it was best for me to go to Augusta where I would receive the best care if they were to come," said Julianne.

When she got to Augusta to the Children's Hospital of Georgia, things weren't looking great, until she met Dr. Brown.

"I was so discouraged, and I don't like when people call your babies fetuses, he called them babies. 'We're going to make it! We're going to get you past 28 weeks.' That was it. It's what we were going to do, and it made the world of difference to me," Julianne said.

She went into premature labor several more times while she was there, and each time they were able to get her contractions under control.

"I didn't feel like just a patient. And that was huge, because I was alone," said Julianne.

In total, before and after delivery, Julianne spent 14 weeks at the Children's Hospital of Georgia.

"I was away from my family, and my church, and my friends. And they were just so kind and they cared for me. I knew that was exactly where we needed to be," said Julianne.

Now, their new normal is a little crazy, but they're thankful the Children's Hospital of Georgia made it possible. They both say, they wouldn't trade it for the world.

"The man upstairs thought we needed six kids, and so we have six kids. Who knows? If he thinks we need more, we may have more," said Matthew.

The Children's Hospital of Georgia helps make miracles like this one happen every day, and you can help. The Children's Miracle Network telethon August 2 from 12:00PM to 6:00PM on NBC 26.