Forty new fingers and 40 new toes joined the world on May 3rd, 2017.
Quadruplets Arrow, Gunner, Cheyenne, and Scarlett, all five months now, joined their place in the Sanchez Family with mother Cassie Sanchez, 26, of Lovington, New Mexico; father Donavin Sanchez, 26, of Portales, New Mexico, and big brother Hazen Sanchez, 4.
Born at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early, the Sanchez Quadruplets needed specialized care only a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) could provide. Before the quadruplets were born, Cassie was put on bed rest in the NICU for 75 days at Covenant Children’s, a non-profit, stand-alone children’s hospital in Lubbock, Texas, and wasn’t released for another week after giving birth to the quadruplets.
“A couple of weeks, I lived day by day hoping my babies survived. And that was probably the hardest,” Cassie said. “I know they were in the NICU and they had a chance, but the most challenging part is just hoping and praying if they were gonna have a good day and survive.”
Scarlett and Cheyenne were in the NICU for six weeks, Arrow was in the NICU for seven weeks, and Gunner was in the NICU for 13 weeks after being born. The quadruplets received crucial NICU support.
“We were never really scared going to the NICU. We always trusted the doctors’ and nurses’ decisions,” Cassie said. “The nurses really helped us. They would talk us through things that we could understand in our version. The nurses were very comforting. Any questions we had we were right there.”
Thea Helms, RN, an antepartum nurse with Covenant Children’s, was the receiving nurse when Cassie was admitted into her unit. The main role of the antepartum unit and nurses is to make sure the family understands why they are being admitted to the hospital and understand what the physicians’ plan of care for the mother and baby or babies is.
The nurses are advocates for the patient and the family by meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, while helping to keep that understanding of the current situation, Thea said.
Thea walked into the hospital to a teary-eyed Cassie holding onto her twin sister’s hand. Thea introduced herself and asked if there was anything the quadruplet mother needed, Thea recollected. Cassie asked the nurse if she could pray for her.
“I sat down on the bed by her and her sister, took her hand and prayed over her, her babies, her family, and the staff that would be taking care of her and the babies during her stay,” Thea said. “The next morning, as she was getting ready for her procedure, all of her family and I formed a circle around her holding hands, and prayed over her. I will never be able to express the love, the faith and the feeling of God’s presence that I felt in that room.”
One in 10 babies are born prematurely each year in the United States. These babies are admitted into an NICU for specialized care due to premature birth, delivery complications, and other signs of health issues during the first few days of life.
The Sanchez Quadruplets are considered preemies because they were born 10 weeks early. Babies born at 27 weeks and lower are considered micro preemies.
Families go through a number of challenges after having a preemie. Most spend weeks in the NICU, even months. The Sanchez Family pulled together and adjusted their lives around the quadruplets admission into the NICU.
“My husband was there from day one. The whole hospital stay he never left my side. He was probably my number one support system because he was there every step of the way, day and night,” Cassie said. “It would have been really hard to do it all alone. And for him being there was godsent to me because I couldn’t have done it alone.”
Cassie said her family was her support system and that having the support system was important for the health of the quadruplets. After she was released from the hospital and awaited the release of the newborn quadruplets from the NICU, Cassie and Donavin lived with Cassie’s twin sister, Lindsey Jameson.
Although the family lives in Lovington, NM, Cassie’s and Donavin’s son Hazen lived with grandparents Ladonna and Martin Sanchez in Portales, where Hazen lived and went to school for 75 days. Donavin’s brother JT Sanchez and grandmother Vicki assisted with anything they could to support Cassie, Donavin and the quadruplets while they were in the NICU. This familial assistance was essential as well as the supports from Covenant Children’s.
“Trust the nurses and doctors and it’s okay to be in the NICU because it’s just support and help for your baby,” Cassie said. “The nurses are the mommas to your babies when the mommas are not there. They love those babies. When I wasn’t there I trusted that those nurses were taking care of them.” Today, the Sanchez Quadruplets are growing, eating good, gaining weight, and developing personalities of their own.
“By looking at them now you wouldn’t be able to tell they were a whole two pounds when they were born,” Cassie said.
The Sanchez Quadruplets are currently working with MECA Therapies, a local childhood development service provider in Lea County, to promote the quadruplets healthy development.