A mum who decided to try for one more baby and became a parent to seven after welcoming quintuplets revealed how manic it is now they are one.
A mother who wanted to try for another child and ended up with seven after giving birth to quintuplets has revealed how stressful it is now that they are one – and crawling.
Megan Hulen and her husband Joshua from Minot, North Dakota, were already parents to Jacob, 8, and Matthew, 3, when they chose to try for a third child in the hopes of having a young girl.
The mother had previously relied on fertility medicines and artificial insemination to conceive since she had the polycystic ovarian syndrome, which means she doesn’t ovulate naturally.
As a result, the couple was taken aback when they discovered they had conceived the quints through natural ovulation.
“It’s been a learning experience,” she stated to Fabulous. We’ve felt like we’ve had to relearn how to do things with each new achievement.
“However, they’re now capable of holding their own bottles, crawling, furniture cruising, and sleeping through the night.”
“Our first year has been crazy, but it has also been full of love for each newborn and, of course, our older boys.” They’ve been fantastic.”
She previously told: “We had decided to try again for a daughter and I became pregnant before we even got a chance to begin IUI.
“I started to feel really weird and I thought, surely there’s no way I could be pregnant because I never actually ovulated on my own.
“But the one time I did we found out we were pregnant and that was a surprise enough in itself.
“But then we found out that we were having five babies and nothing could have prepared us for that.”
The couple went in for an ultrasound at six weeks where they were initially told that only one heartbeat was present and it was unlikely that all five would be viable.
Megan said: “We went back in a week later and saw five heartbeats.
“I was so shocked – the ultrasound technician worried they were hurting me because I was shaking and I said, ‘I’m shaking because you’ve told me I’m having five babies.’
“After the ultrasound, I told my husband I couldn’t go home because I needed time to freak out away from the kids so we went to his office and I sat in the corner and cried for about an hour.”
But while the news came as a shock to Megan, she says that a previous pregnancy had taught her to remain calm.
She said: “My younger son Matthew was born with Nager syndrome and we spent about three months in the NICU with him. It was a really hard time.
“I spent my entire pregnancy with him freaking out and I think I realized that didn’t do me any good.
“I couldn’t control anything and what was going to be was going to be – I wasted so much time worrying.
“In an attempt to relax during this pregnancy, I began doing a belly picture once a week and celebrated those little achievements.
“Once I had that Zen, I could just be happy and in the moment.”
Emotions aside, Megan found that there was a big difference between carrying one baby and carrying five.
“There were a lot of differences from being pregnant with one and with five. I couldn’t vacuum the carpet without needing to take a break.
“Standing in front of the mirror to put my makeup on I would become too winded or too tired from holding the weight up and would need to sit down.
“Even half an hour was too long to stand!”
But while the pregnancy was a slow plod, Megan was baffled by both the speed and ease of the birth.
She was admitted to Fargo hospital in Sanford, North Dakota, at 32 weeks after doctors noticed a surge in blood pressure, and the couple welcomed the quintuplets via C-section on September 2.
“The birth was not what I had anticipated,” Megan stated.
“I was very taken aback since the infants were all born within four minutes of one another.” All the babies were out with a bang, bang, bang.
“Getting my bleeding under control and myself patched up took a lot longer than getting the kids out.”
Allison weighed 3 pounds 5.6 ounces (1.5 kilograms), Adam 4 pounds 0.2 ounces (1.82 kilograms), Madison 3 pounds 6 ounces (1.53 kilograms), Emma 3 pounds 10.9 ounces (1.66 kilograms), and Chloe 3 pounds 3.5 ounces (1.66 kilograms) (1.46kg).
Megan was discharged three days after giving birth, despite physicians’ warnings that she would need a blood transfusion due to severe birth difficulties.
“I was even at the stage where I could stop taking pain medication after a week and a half,” she continued. “I can’t complain about healing.”
The infants were born without difficulties, however, they were early at 32 weeks and were only kept in the NICU for three weeks.
“We expected them to be in the NICU for at least a month or more,” Megan added, “but we were able to take them all home within three weeks.”
“The doctors were as taken aback as we were.”
The couple is now adjusting to life at home with their quints, acknowledging that it has been a learning experience.
Megan explained, “Life with the quints is hectic, but it’s a good craziness – we’re just so glad to have everyone under one roof.”
“The first few days, my husband and I were awake for almost 24 hours because feeds took up to three hours.
“Premature kids eat more slowly, so by the time you’ve finished burping and feeding the fifth one, you’ll have approximately a half-hour before you have to start feeding and burping the first one again.”
Megan and Joshua, on the other hand, have figured out a system for the quints, but they could never have anticipated the amount of effort needed.
She said: “We started taking three out at once and propping them up with bottles and burp cloths and we can now get everyone fed in about an hour.
“I had anticipated and prepared for the amount of laundry I would be doing – but it’s even more so than I expected.
“With five babies I sometimes feel like I am living in spit-up. After every couple of feeds, I do a load of laundry.
“I end up doing about three or four loads of laundry a day and that’s become the norm now.”
Typically busy Megan gets up at 3 am every morning for a feed and then again at 7 am before trying to squeeze in a little rest between 7.30 and 8 am before the older boys get up.
She then begins homeschooling Jacob before moving on to preparing and administering Matthew’s medication.
Once Matthew is taken care of one or two of the babies will “start to fuss” and Megan will begin her military-style feeding operation.
She explains: “Every feed we change their diapers and log their changes and feeds in an app as well as how much they ate because with five babies it’s easy to forget who did what.
“In between dealing with the quints, I’m busy chasing my two-year-old and making sure my seven-year-old is getting his homework done.
“Every once in a while I will have time to vacuum the carpet or do a load of laundry.”
Now a family of nine, Megan and Joshua are being forced to upscale in every area of their lives.
She said: “We’re hoping in two years we will be able to get another house. We are definitely going to need one. This one is already somewhat small for a family of three kids.
“We’ve been looking for a bigger vehicle but we haven’t come up with the perfect solution just yet.
“Everything we’ve looked at has eight seats and we need nine so we have started to look at larger commercial vans.”
While the parents themselves may be taking time to adjust, there is one member of the family who has settled into life with quints like a duck to water.
Megan said: “Our eldest is adjusting really well. He was so excited about the babies from the beginning and was the only one to guess all the genders correctly.
“He told me ‘mum I wished and prayed for sisters’ so he got his wish and is so thrilled and loves helping with them.”