"I Was a Surrogate Mom of Quads"

D-Day

Stacey had been awake for hours with a stomachache when the telephone rang at just past midnight on June 6, 2001. Debbie's water had broken a few minutes earlier; she was 32 weeks pregnant and in labor. Within minutes, Stacey, Dave, and Debbie were in a hospital room surrounded by more than 20 doctors and nurses.

At 6 a.m., Debbie was wheeled into the delivery room, and three hours later, it was all over. Kylee (2 lbs. 15 oz.), David Austin (4 lbs.), Michele (4 lbs. 3 oz.), and Shiann (4 lbs. 2 oz.) had made their debut. "We couldn't believe how big and healthy they were," Stacey recalls. "I cried as I saw each one of my babies and kept saying to Debbie, 'Thank you, thank you! Thank you, for making me a mom.'"

Because they were premature, the quads were immediately sent to the neonatal intensive care unit, where they got IV feedings for their first few days. Michele was on a ventilator for three days, and she and David Austin needed medicine to help their lungs develop. But after just three weeks in the hospital, four perfectly healthy babies went home to the cheery nursery Stacey and Dave had waited so long to prepare.

The couple can count on one hand the nights they've gotten more than four hours of sleep since the birth. Their days are pretty hectic too. "Taking care of four babies is exhausting," Stacey says. "But the good outweighs the bad. I think I was destined to be the mother of quads because I truly love it."

Two Big Happy Families

Carrying four babies and then handing them over to someone else might strain even the best of friendships. Yet the experience has only strengthened the unusually close bond between the couples.

"If someone does something for you because she expects something in return, it has no meaning," Stacey says. "What Debbie did for me was completely selfless. She made me a mother -- and I'll forever be grateful. She's an exceptional person, and I feel incredibly lucky to have her as my friend."

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