“I was in utter shock,” says mom Kendall as she recounts the moment they discovered their small family of three would suddenly expand by four additional children.
These miraculous babies have defied the odds to become the first set of quads in our country in two decades. Now 13 weeks old, Molly, Quinn, Indie, and Hudson will finally get to sleep side by side, snug in their beautifully furnished Timaru nursery, after being discharged from the hospital following their momentous birth in August.
In an exclusive feature with Woman’s Day, proud parents Kendall and Joshua MacDonald, both 27, express their overwhelming love for their new sons and daughters, who are now siblings to three-year-old Brooklyn. They can’t believe how fortunate they are to have navigated pregnancy and the nerve-wracking first weeks of life without any tragedy.
“After experiencing the heartbreaking loss of another baby, we tried for three years to have a second child, and finally, just getting pregnant was such a significant achievement,” shares the former real estate administration worker, her voice trembling as she recalls years of infertility struggles. “I always envisioned holding a baby again, but to have four was amazing.”
The quads, born within three minutes of each other, entered the world at 2:28 am on August 15, weighing between 1.1 and 1.3 kilograms, despite being only 28 weeks and four days into the pregnancy.
As Kendall prepares for our special photo shoot, it doesn’t take long before two drowsy infants awaken, demanding to be fed. Despite their young age, she mentions that the newborns are already displaying their unique personalities.
“Since day one, we’ve always known that we need to keep an eye on Molly,” she remarks, gazing at her daughter with raven hair. “She seems like she’s going to be the mischievous and playful one! The funniest thing about Molly is that she’s unfazed by anything. She’s such a dream baby, and then there’s Quinn, not too far behind.
“Indie is quite sensitive, and as for Hudson, we affectionately call him Grumpy. Just talking to him can make him burst into tears. It seems like nothing can bring him joy.”
With both a fraternal and an identical set of twins, Mom and Dad confess that they are having trouble distinguishing between their matching daughters, Indie and Quinn, relying on a Vivid marker dot on an ankle to prevent mix-ups.
“They had name tags in the hospital, but if I looked at them and didn’t see the tags, I couldn’t tell them apart,” admits Kendall.
The young couple reveals that they were initially shocked when they discovered early on that their small family of three would suddenly expand by an additional four children at once.
“I was in utter shock,” recalls Kendall, who had been taking the fertility drug clomiphene to induce ovulation after experiencing difficulties conceiving a second child.
“I was just yelling – I couldn’t help myself! Whereas Josh was quite the opposite and didn’t say a word.”
Josh explains, “I didn’t say much for the first few hours as I tried to process everything, but I was obviously very excited but scared. We had tried for a few years to have just one more child, so we certainly made up for it!”
At the beginning of the pregnancy, Kendall underwent a scan at just five weeks due to concerns of a possible early miscarriage. The scan initially revealed a single baby.
However, three weeks later, a second scan revealed twins and a third sac, raising concerns about the well-being of the third child.
“The count just kept going up,” says Kendall. “Due to this, we opted for a specialized scan, which showed a third living baby, along with two babies in one sac. During the scan, I could only see three babies, and at the end, I asked if all three were healthy. To my surprise, she said, ‘No, all four are healthy!'”
The pregnancy was marred by severe morning sickness that persisted until the halfway point.
“Besides the threat of miscarriage at the beginning, I never had a single problem with the babies. They were fine. It was just me who was struggling. Once I hit 23 weeks, I went downhill really fast because the babies were getting so big, and I couldn’t breathe or walk.
“When you’re going through it, nothing can relieve it – not even lying down! You can’t move; you can’t get in and out of bed. It was just horrible. On top of that, I was running around after a toddler!”
Reaching the size of a single full-term pregnancy at 25 weeks, it would take three more weeks before Kendall, now relocated to Christchurch ahead of the delivery, would give birth.
“They expected me to go into labor anytime from 25 weeks. I made it to 28 weeks and three days, and the babies were still doing well. I went to bed that night and couldn’t get comfortable – I kept tossing and turning.
“Then I sat up and realized the uncomfortable feeling was my stomach tightening. It was happening every minute, then every 30 seconds, but it didn’t hurt. I wondered if this was labor, so I called my midwife, and she advised me to go to the hospital. I arrived there at midnight and ended up having a C-section right away.”
With specialized delivery teams prepared in two theaters, Kendall’s health began to deteriorate as low blood pressure caused her to drift in and out of consciousness.
“I was quite sick during the C-section. They couldn’t administer the epidural, and as soon as they laid me down, my blood pressure dropped significantly, so I don’t remember it at all. I do recall hearing them say they would bring a baby out, but because they were so little, I couldn’t hear them clearly, and I was worried something was wrong.”
It wasn’t until Kendall was wheeled out on her bed four hours later, with Josh by her side, that she first laid eyes on her newborn babies.
“It was really challenging for me. I was still recovering from the C-section and hadn’t slept in over 24 hours. The medical staff were still attending to the babies, inserting tubes and performing necessary procedures, but they allowed us to touch them and took photos for us. It was such a surreal moment. It was hard to believe it was happening. However, I wish I had waited to go see them later because when I did, I was in tears.”
“It was surreal,” adds Josh, who saw the quads for the first time alongside his wife. “We always hoped for the best outcome, but deep down, we never really thought it would be a positive result due to the high risk involved.”