Four Kids, Four Years Ago

Four years ago today, my wife Ann did the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. (Just one more reason why she’s my hero.) She gave birth to four children all at once.

Patrick, Nicholas, Kenneth, and Helen came into the world fighting for every breath. Three of them had to be intubated to get them any air at all. Born 11 weeks early, Patrick was the largest at two pounds, eleven ounces—he came out yelling—while silent Helen barely budged the scales at a frail pound and a half.

At the time, the kids’ doctor only gave each of them a 70% chance to live. Even if they survived, there’d be risks of blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, and a full list of other ailments. Ann had done the best she could, with the help of the staff at Rockford Memorial hospital, to keep those kids in as long as she could, but tiny Helen’s placenta had started to break down. They all had to be born then to make sure she wouldn’t die.

The days, weeks, months, and years since then have shot right by in a sleep-deprived blur. Today, the kids are all happy and healthy and—believe it or not—four rambunctious years old. And I’m the luckiest dad I know to be able to call them and their big brother Marty my own.

Happy birthday, Pat, Nick, Ken, and Helen! Here’s to many more.

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