Laura Baldwin sat on the floor at her home in Swanton, closely watching her swaddled quadruplets who are with her in the living room as her preschooler darts about.
In that nurturing scene, no one would guess that Mrs. Baldwin, 24, was a wreck when she and husband William, 26, learned they were going to be parents of multiples. The quadruplets were born in Toledo Hospital on Sept. 8, two months early.
“I cried a lot and I was a mess. My husband was calm and quiet,” she said about getting the news. “I was worried about seeing that they would make it and how we would handle it financially and how I was going to carry them.”
On a recent wintry day she was anything but “a mess,” though it was clear that she her hands — and house — full. As the babies slept in four little bundles on the floor during Mrs. Baldwin’s chat with a visitor, she occasionally stopped to speak to daughter Leah, 3. When Logan began to cry, she picked him up, cuddled him, and he fell back to sleep.
That’s pretty much how it is in the Baldwins’ modest Swanton apartment. That’s how it’s going to be as they work through the coming years, rearing Leah and two boys, Logan and Ryan, and two girls, Madalyn and Reghan.
They were stunned to learn she was carrying multiples. After all, they didn’t exactly plan it this way. For two months, Mrs. Baldwin was on a medication to help her ovulate, and then the former Perrysburg Woodforest National Bank employee became pregnant with quintuplets. Mr. Baldwin is an information technologist at Toledo photography company.
“I was told there was a 3 percent chance of [becoming pregnant with] twins, but not triplets, quads, or quints,” she said. Several weeks after getting news that there were five babies, they learned one of the babies died in utero, she said.
After spending more than five weeks on hospital bed rest, Mrs. Baldwin went home a few days after giving birth. The quads stayed much longer. Without hesitation, she announces exactly how long each remained hospitalized.
“Logan was in for five weeks and five days; Madalyn for six weeks; Reghan for six weeks, two days, and Ryan came home at eight weeks,” she said.
Though the Baldwins’ lives have been dramatically changed, they are not in this endeavor alone. Like most families of multiples, they have widespread support. Learning about a group for mothers of quadruplets on Facebook provided some relief. Plus, their relatives, friends, and community have been terrific, too.
At a recent fund-raiser, they received gift cards and many of the other items that parents of newborns need. What she wanted most, though, was a van to transport her family of seven. She received it, as one was donated from Faith Lutheran Church in Swanton.
Meanwhile, everyone in this young family has also stepped up to make it work. Mrs. Baldwin credits daughter Leah with helping to get baby bottles and to get and dispose of diapers. “She’s probably one of my biggest helpers,” she said.
And she is quick to credit her husband, who doesn’t at all mind that when he arrives home from work, she disappears in their home to be by herself for a while.
“My husband and I take a shift each night,” she said. “He goes over and beyond what most men might do.”
Contact Rose Russell at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6178.