Babies head home after more than ten weeks in the Nursery Intensive Care Unit
PHOENIX, Ariz. – May 12, 2022) – A Gilbert couple has full hearts and hands after welcoming all four of their quadruplets home from Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center following a complex delivery, and 10 week stay in the hospital’s Nursery Intensive Care Unit (NyICU).
“We are so blessed to add four little miracles to our family,” said Ashley Crandell, the quadruplet’s mother. “They are incredibly strong, and we are so grateful for the care they received at St. Joseph’s. We are looking forward to creating more memories at home as a family of seven.”
After having their daughter, Isla, Ashley and Lance Crandell knew they wanted to have more children, but struggled to get pregnant. The couple was shocked when they learned Ashley was expecting. They were in for another big surprise when they found out more than one baby would be joining their family.
“At our first ultrasound, the technician loaded four separate sonograms to the screen,” said Ashley. “It took me a minute to process that she was showing us four babies. Once it hit us, my husband and I burst into panicked giggles.”
Those panicked giggles turned into cheers and happy tears when the couple shared the exciting news with their friends and family. At what their guests thought was a gender reveal party, the Crandell’s opened a box only to have a “number four” balloon pop out.
But, similar to most women carrying multiples, the road to delivery wasn’t easy. Quadruplets are extremely rare. Of the more than 3.6 million births recorded in the United States in 2020, only 108 were quadruplets according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The pregnancy can also be taxing on both the mother and babies.
Ashley was under close monitoring during her pregnancy, and at one point, the couple was told that they may have even lost one of the quadruplets. However, one week later four heartbeats were detected, reaffirming the Crandell’s that their little loves were born to be fighters.
On February 11, Ashley and Lance welcomed Wesley, Emma, Leah and Nora into the world at St. Joseph’s, which is one of only a few hospitals in the Valley experienced in delivering a high number of multiples. The quadruplets were delivered by renowned perinatologist, Dr. John Elliott, who specializes in high order multiple pregnancies.
The babies were born at just 31 weeks gestation. Since they were nine weeks early, three of the babies weighed just over three pounds, and the fourth weighed hardly two pounds. Luckily, each newborn had a dedicated team of NyICU nurses on hand in the operating room to provide them with the immediate care they would need after birth.
“St. Joseph’s is home to a world renowned NyICU that is skilled and prepared to care for some of the most fragile babies, including high-number multiples,” said Dr. Mohammad Elkhwad, medical director of St. Joseph’s NyICU. “Families expecting quadruplets or quintuplets often travel from all over the country to deliver their babies at St. Joseph’s, and receive world-class care for their newborns. This time, we were lucky enough to care for a family who resides in our own backyard.”
For ten weeks, Ashley and Lance made the trip from Gilbert to St. Joseph’s in Central Phoenix to watch their four babies grow outside the womb. They celebrated each milestone, such as when they weaned off their oxygen tanks, started taking a bottle and when Ashley was able to hold all four of her babies at the same time.
“Holding them all in my arms together was literally the best feeling in the world,” said Ashley. “The nurses made magic happen that day and there are no words to describe what it felt like to have all four of them with me again.”
During the 70 days the “Crandell Quads” were in the NyICU, they continued to gain strength and were finally ready to go home and meet their big sister in late April. Leah was the first to leave the hospital, followed by her big brother Wesley and older sister Nora. Emma was the final baby to be discharged, completing the Crandell family.
“We are grateful to finally have all of our children under one roof, and watch Isla be the best big sister to her little brother and sisters,” said Lance, the quadruplet’s father. “We are so excited to watch them become their own people, and to see what the future holds for our family.”