Tiny knees to chest, tiny hand to mouth, the baby snuggles peacefully with her brothers and sister. “She has your nose, Jayne,” Jeremiah Cluff teases his wife.
Jayne Cluff’s eyes never leave the monitor, as the outline of each beating heart, each curving spine, each round bottom gradually comes into view.
The quadruplets are nearing 28 weeks gestation and the daily ultrasounds show that they are thriving. Their mother has spent the past five weeks at Banner Desert Medical Center and hopes to stay there another six weeks or more before delivering the babies, who will be the Mesa hospital’s first quads.
“My personal goal is 34 weeks,” Jayne says. “The doctors say it depends on how the babies and I are doing. And every time they check our babies, they’re awesome. And they’re big.”
Weston, Addison, Brynlee and Cambria weigh in at nearly 2 pounds apiece, with the boys a few ounces heavier than the girls.
Mom has gained 55 pounds, and has another 25 to go to please her doctors from Phoenix Perinatal Associates. She’s working on it, with a 4,500-calorie daily diet that includes two Ensure drinks and plenty of healthful between-meal snacks.
Jayne became pregnant for the first time in November after just a month of fertility treatments.
When the Gilbert couple learned a few weeks later that they were having quadruplets, their reactions were poles apart.
“I was excited that we were having babies, but I was very overwhelmed,” Jayne recalls. “I was crying, ‘Oh my gosh! What are we going to do?’
Jeremiah says he looked at his wife and grinned. “Isn’t this awesome, Jayne? God trusts us so much.”
He allows that he might’ve been a bit naïve. Maybe still is.
“I was so excited when I heard there were four,” he said Friday, standing in his living room amid cribs, strollers and bags stuffed with clothing, blankets and other baby paraphernalia.
“I’m not too scared. I don’t know, maybe I should be,” he says. “But there’s a reason why this happened to us.”
It’s Jeremiah’s cool that helps Jayne cope.
Doctors put Jayne on bed rest in March, then checked her into the Mesa hospital April 6 when she started showing signs of early labor, which is common with multiple births.
Now, she’s hooked up to two IVs to slow contractions. Her tummy is wrapped with a monitor, and she spends only about 30 minutes a day outside her room.
She passes the time with visitors, books on tape (the anti-contraction drugs make it difficult to read) and the Cosby Show.
Jeremiah, 32, a custom home builder, visits daily and spends the night two or three times a week.
He helps Jayne take a shower, quite the ordeal given the IV lines and her growing girth (she can no longer reach her feet).
He brings video of his progress putting the nursery together. White wainscotting, green paint. Four donated cribs, all painted white. Pink butterfly bedding for the girls, green and brown elephants for the boys.
Jayne, 30, knows that the longer the babies stay inside her, the better off their start in life will be. The closer she can get to full term the more their lungs will mature, the fatter their bodies will become and the better their suck-swallow breath sequence will be.
A delivery date will be scheduled in the coming weeks, but it’s possible that the babies will come on their own time, despite the care that Jayne and her medical team are taking to stall things.
Once they’re born, Jayne will get a quick peek at the babies and then Jeremiah will follow them to the neonatal intensive care unit, where each baby will have a four-person medical team.
Depending on their birthdate, the babies could need some help with breathing and keeping themselves warm, says Dr. Michelle Bez, a neonatologist with Phoenix Perinatal. They’ll be settled into incubators and, at first, likely fed through an IV.
Jayne worries about spending time away from the babies once they’re born. It could be weeks before the Cluffs can bring them home, or just a matter of days.
“We won’t send them home until they’re ready,” Bez says.
The couple has a long line of family and friends who are eager to help. Jeremiah’s parents and Jayne’s sister live nearby, and her mother will come from California and stay as long as she’s needed.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ward also stand ready.
A baby shower in April brought in the basics, but they will need thousands of diapers and cases of formula. Anyone who wants to contribute can ask about the “Cluff Quadruplets” account at any Bank of America branch.
Though she’s not yet a mother, Jayne Cluff will spend today as close to her babies as she’ll ever be. She strokes her belly, talks to them and loves them.
She can’t wait to meet them. But like all good mothers, she worries.
“How do you give them all the love and attention they deserve? That worries me,” she says.
“It’s the unknown. I’ve never been a mom before,” Jayne says. “You just hope you can give them a good life.”