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Utah family celebrates birth of quadruplets

OGDEN — On Christmas Eve, when Jackson Staley's parents told him he was about to become a big brother four more times over — all at once — he says he couldn't believe it.

"I thought they were lying for a minute. I was just in shock. I couldn't go to sleep that night," Jackson, 12, recalled.

"It's something to remember forever, huh?" his mom, Heather Staley, said Monday as the family introduced the newborn quadruplets, two boys and two girls, and told their remarkable birth story at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden.

When asked if he would help change diapers, the now-big brother of six said, "Yeah."

Steve Staley checks on son Cole in the newborn intensive care unit at McKay-Dee Hospital on Monday, July 1, 2019. Steve and his wife, Heather, are new parents to quadruplets, who were born June 7.
Steve Staley checks on son Cole in the newborn intensive care unit at McKay-Dee Hospital on Monday, July 1, 2019. Steve and his wife, Heather, are new parents to quadruplets, who were born June 7.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

"We have this on record, right?" Heather Staley quipped.

Each preterm baby requires several hospital staff members to assist in the birth, intensive care unit neonatologist Anne Anderson explained. Multiply that number by four, and about 30 people were buzzing around the intensive care unit when the Staley quadruplets were born on June 7. Many of those staff members had signed up to be on call for when the babies were ready to arrive, making up a team nicknamed the "quad squad."

"I think Steve thought it was mayhem," said neonatal intensive care unit coordinator Jennifer Hunt-Falkner.

"It was organized chaos," Steve Staley, the father, explained.

As of Monday, the babies remained in the intensive care unit and "all of us are healing," Heather Staley said.

"We're really grateful for everything that the hospital and the NICU have done for us. I just stood back on the day of delivery and kind of took it all in. … It was just amazing, the care that was given and how well everybody knew exactly what they needed to do," Steve Staley said.

On the day of the babies' birth, nurses took care of the boys in a resuscitation room and quarantined off a NICU room for the two girls. "I was running between Heather and the boys and the girls and trying to figure out where I was supposed to belong," Steve Staley said.

Heather and Steve Staley talk about their new family members — quadruplets Tara, McCall, Parker and Cole — while visiting them at McKay-Dee Hospital on Monday, July 1, 2019. The quadruplets were born June 7.
Heather and Steve Staley talk about their new family members — quadruplets Tara, McCall, Parker and Cole — while visiting them at McKay-Dee Hospital on Monday, July 1, 2019. The quadruplets were born June 7.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

"It was very peaceful and just very, like, it was comforting to know they were there and they were being able to be cared for at that point," he added.

The babies were born at 31 weeks "and two days," Heather Staley said. She carried the babies longer than expected and, toward the end of her pregnancy, said tasks like eating and breathing were incredibly difficult.

With multiple-gestation babies, "it's a tightrope … because you don't have just one baby in the womb getting all the nutrition, you have four, and if you start to see markers like one falling off in their growth a little bit, you worry that they might not be getting quite the blood flow they need, quite the nutrition they need. And then the risk for mortality goes up," Anderson explained.

"And so you kind of have to strike a balance of delivering not too early where you have a lot of other complications, but not waiting too long."

Heather Staley said she took the difficult pregnancy day by day and hour by hour.

Before they "more than doubled" their children, the family bought a "big behemoth van," Steve Staley said. "And so I guess we'll cruise in that for a long time."

In addition to Jackson and the quadruplets, the couple has a 7-year-old and a 3-year-old.

When the new babies — Tara, Cole, Parker and McCall — were born, they each weighed between 2 pounds and 8 ounces, and 3 pounds and 14 ounces. Since then, they have grown. On Monday, the family showed them off as they peacefully slept, bundled in blankets. Name signs colored by their siblings were stuck to each of their respective beds.

Parker Staley, one of the quadruplets born to Steve and Heather Staley, rests in the newborn intensive care unit at McKay-Dee Hospital on Monday, July 1, 2019. The quadruplets were born June 7.
Parker Staley, one of the quadruplets born to Steve and Heather Staley, rests in the newborn intensive care unit at McKay-Dee Hospital on Monday, July 1, 2019. The quadruplets were born June 7.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

"They're just learning how to take that food into their stomach, and one of these days they'll start eating," Steve Staley said.

"We're grateful for where we're at right now. … We know that the infertility journey doesn't always end where we've been able to get to, so we're grateful for where we're at. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who can't make it to this point. But we're grateful to have been blessed with these kids."

The couple had to take medication to conceive each of their kids, Heather Staley said. "It wasn't an extreme amount. We always just had one baby, and we decided we wanted to try for the fourth."

They began fertility tests and medication, the same amount they had for their third baby, she said.

At the first doctor's visit, doctors found one baby on the ultrasound.

On the second doctor's visit, doctors found two more babies.

When they learned there were four, "I can't even describe when we found out. I cried because I was so overwhelmed with so many emotions — excitement, worry, nervous and everything you can imagine, I felt," Heather Staley said.

Jackson Staley gives his dad, Steve, a high-five after they and Steve's wife, Heather, talked about their new family members — quadruplets Tara, McCall, Parker and Cole — while visiting them at McKay-Dee Hospital on Monday, July 1, 2019. The quadruplets w
Jackson Staley gives his dad, Steve, a high-five after they and Steve's wife, Heather, talked about their new family members — quadruplets Tara, McCall, Parker and Cole — while visiting them at McKay-Dee Hospital on Monday, July 1, 2019. The quadruplets were born June 7.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

"I just sat in the corner and laughed. I didn't know what else to do. I figured it's either laugh or cry. So I've laughed a lot the last several months," Steve Staley recalled.

Steve Staley said he isn't too worried about buying the thousands of diapers, an estimated 40,000 until the quadruplets are potty trained. The formula is more of a concern, said Staley, who works as a mechanical engineer.

"The diapers we'll figure out. It's just a big balancing act. But we'll figure it out," he said.

"So it was quite the shock, but as we processed it … (with) a lot of faith and prayers, to be honest, and we just kept going. And our community around us has been really amazing," Heather Staley said.

The babies will get to go home when they're able to keep up their own body temperatures, have a stable amount of oxygen and can eat everything by mouth well for at least 48 hours, Anderson said, as well as show reasonable weight gain.

The older siblings "are pretty excited. They get to try to hold them as much as they can. … They're really excited to bring them home. We'll see in a couple months if they're still really excited to help," Heather Staley said.

The day of delivery, Jackson got to wait outside the operating room doors "very nervous and trying to peek in. And so one of the times, I took him into the NICU and he got to peek in the room at the siblings … and he had the biggest smile on his face," Heather Staley said.

When Jackson got to hold one of his new siblings for the first time, baby Cole, "It was really special. He was really cute," he said.

"Pretty in awe of him. And all of them," Heather Staley added.