Raising quadruplets presents challenges and rewards
If two is company and three is a crowd, then what are four and five?
Local couple Tabitha and Shane Burchett discovered the answer to that riddle when they welcomed quadruplets last December, bringing their total number of children to five, counting their then four-year-old daughter, Brielle.
The quadruplets turned one on Dec. 15.
The couple recalled discovering they were expecting four babies.
“I didn’t believe my wife at first, and then once I looked at the ultrasound pictures, it was, ‘How are we going to do this?’” Shane said.
However, the pregnancy went incredibly smoothly.
“I worked up until I delivered them. So, we delivered them at 32, almost 33 weeks. I really didn’t have any complications at all… I went shopping on Black Friday and we delivered them 15 days later. We did everything, it was just like a normal pregnancy,” Tabitha explained.
The babies were in the hospital for two weeks, and once they came home, the family soon fell into a routine.
“All six of us go drop Brielle off at school every morning. And they usually take a nap then,” Tabitha said.
“Most of the time I’m by myself,” she continued.
She explained Shane is around for a few hours before he heads off to work second shift, and her sister Jessica Zimmerman picks Brielle up from school and comes over for an hour each afternoon.
Brielle also assists her parents.
“Brielle’s a big helper. If it’s bath night, she watches two while I give two a bath. But I’m not very far away. She helps entertain them while I get dinner ready. They like to watch her dance,” Tabitha said.
Furthermore, running errands is nearly impossible.
“To go to the grocery store, you have to have two carts, and then you have to have a place to put the groceries… Today, we went to Aldi’s because they have double seats, and so I went by myself, and I took all four of them, and we made it. Usually, if we have to go there, I take Brielle, because she can take one cart,” Tabitha explained.
Quadruplets present the same difficulties as singletons, but amplified.
“The most challenging is when they’re all crying and you can’t get to them all. It takes forever to make four bottles and get out here to give them to them, and they’re all crying, so it’s a little frustrating,” Tabitha said.
Zimmerman noted that the transition into toddlerhood brings new challenges.
“Now that they’re all mobile, keeping track of them [is most challenging]. I watched three of them the other week when Hadley had a doctor’s appointment and I lost Grayson a couple times, and they were gated,” Zimmerman said.
But, having so many kids around can also be rewarding.
“I’m always buried. Sometimes I go, ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t think I’m going to make it through the day,’ but in the end, it’s really all about the kids…The most rewarding is when they all come to you and want to be held and snuggled, not when they’re crying. And in the morning when they’re so happy to see you, it’s so fun,” Tabitha reflected.
The future will hold challenges of its own.
“How am I going to teach them all to drive at once?” Shane remarked.
But for now, the family thinks in the short term.
Tomorrow holds a superhero-themed birthday party, next week, one-year-old shots, and finally, the family of seven’s first Christmas at home together.