Laurens, SC – Like many expectant families, Dylan and Ashley Hernandez are excited as they anticipate the new addition to their family, but this young Laurens family will be doubling their household as they are expecting quadruplets, possibly within the next couple of weeks.
“It’s exiting and terrifying at the same time,” said Ashley, as her daughter, Aubri, squirmed on her knees.
Now, however, Ashley has had a couple of significant early labor scares and right before Christmas she was admitted to Self Regional until the babies are born.
While the multiple babies is a huge surprise, the pregnancy is a blessing. The couple had been working with a physician for a year hoping to conceive a third child so that their children would all be close in age, and eventually their doctor suggested she take a very low dose of a fertility medicine which might make a difference over the next year.
“They said it would take awhile, and there was only a 7 percent chance of having twins, so nobody expected this,” Ashley said. “This definitely wasn’t a spur of the moment decision.”
Now the doctors are hoping to keep the babies from coming too soon to give the two girls and two boys the best chances once they are born.
“We hoped to stay home until close to 29 weeks,” Dylan said. “The average quads are born at 29 weeks and at three and a half pounds, so every week will help.”
This past Sunday marked 26 weeks which is a big milestone, however, and Ashley has already been given steroid shots to promote development of the babies’ lungs and other organs. Dylan said they are hoping to make it to 27 weeks, which would allow the babies to stay at Self Regional and not have to be transported to Greenville. They know the babies will be in NICU for a long time, and are hoping for the shorter commute.
“It’s scary but the excitement definitely outweighs the fear,” Dylan said, admitting that as the sole provider of the family, though, financial questions began looming as soon as he learned about the four babies.
The same questions also came to mind for staff at his company, AstenJohnson, when they learned an employee was expecting quads.
Fellow employee Patty Malfuss always serves to organize the company’s Christmas Angels program every year, and Human Resources director Ann Blanton asked her about assisting the Hernandez family instead of taking on a DSS family to adopt for Christmas.
“We participate in March of Dimes, we send coats up to West Virginia – basically anything that comes along we post it and people are very generous and we like being involved in the community,” Blanton said “But this year it was real special and everybody is interested in how the babies are doing.”
By the end of the campaign, it took two cars to haul all the diapers, newborn-sized baby clothes, wipes and baby towels to the family’s Laurens home.
“It was really overwhelming,” Dylan said. “They were very generous and it was such a blessing,” as Ashley added that for the first little while they are set for the babies’ clothes, diapers, bottles and other needed items.
Dylan even got a new nickname out of it, as friends at work started calling him El Quatro.
“My boss came up with that and I’ve embraced it,” he said, grateful for the support his co-workers have been showing.
Now with Ashley in the hospital, Dylan was using his days off this week to take Sophia and Aubri to see their mom in the hospital. When he’s at work, they are getting a lot of help from his mom, Tammy Hernandez, and they share a house with her. The couple has its focus now on healthy babies, and they’re letting the other big questions go, for the most part.
“If you think about it too much, it gets overwhelming,” Dylan admitted. “How do you change diapers all the time for four babies and all the bottles and formula, like how do you even do that?” he asked, but at the same time, both he and Ashley’s low-key personalities are helping them stay quite calm.
“People say, ‘How will you take care of four babies?’ and ‘How will you pay for six children?’ and I say, ‘The same way you do for one baby,’” Ashley said. “You just do the best you can. Obviously, families and friends will help and we’ll need it, but I can’t worry, and stressing about it won’t do me or the babies any good.”
Dylan said he’s excited about this next unexpected phase of their lives.
“It’s going to be a huge adventure for the rest of our lives,” Dylan said. “It’s an adventure for us and for them, because they’ll be a set of quads.”
One of Ashley’s family members set up a GoFundMe for the family, and it’s set as “Surprise Quadruplets, Laurens, S.C.” for anyone interested in helping with upcoming expenses.