The Macdonald quads’ 6-month milestone after a terrifying medical scare

It's been a difficult few months for the Timaru family. But now that they're into a routine, life with five children under four isn't as hectic as mum Kendall feared.

Photo: Hazel&Cass Photography/Cassandra English

In the six months since the Macdonald quads entered the world and captured the nation’s hearts, life has been an endless stream of nappy changes, bottles, cuddles and broken sleep for their Timaru parents.

But as the fab four – Hudson, Molly, Indie and Quinn – celebrate their half-birthday, proud mum Kendall and dad Josh tell Woman’s Day that change is in the air, with all bubs putting on weight, babbling away and even showing a bit of sass!

Kendall, 27, also mum to four-year-old Brooklyn, tells us that despite initial trepidation about having so many little ones at home, life with five under four isn’t as hectic as she feared.

“I’m not struggling,” she insists. “We’ve found a very good system that works for us and I guess we’ve had four babies that are really good. Actually, we’re coping just fine thanks to the nanny, our family and even Brooklyn doing things to help out.”

She does admit it’s rather trying when the babies all suddenly want attention and she’s the only adult on hand.

“Honestly, the hardest thing is when everyone is crying and I simply can’t comfort them all at once. I have to methodically deal with each one at a time and settle them individually.”

Photo: Hazel&Cass Photography/Cassandra English

While multitasking has become second nature to the young mum, her creative ways of caring for her wee tots went next level when a freak sports accident last month left her on crutches for weeks.

“It wasn’t ideal,” groans Kendall, who was enjoying some time outside the house when it happened. “I was playing basketball and rolled my ankle. Being on crutches with four babies is hard work!”

While she’s back walking now, she says the hardest thing was not being able to lift any of her children, as her swollen and badly bruised joint prevented her from putting weight on her foot.

“I couldn’t carry a baby,” Kendall laments. “It’s a pivotal thing as a mum, but I couldn’t do it on crutches.”

Instead, she propped herself on her living-room couch, using every remaining limb to care for her brood – her good foot rocking one baby in a pram, her arms holding a feeding baby, a third child lying patiently outstretched on her lap and a fourth tot sitting propped up on the couch alongside her watchful mum.

“I’m always multitasking – it’s never ending!” she exclaims.

Left to right: Indie, Quinn, Hudson and Molly. Photo: Hazel&Cass Photography/Cassandra English

Because they were born more than 10 weeks premature, last August, the foursome are only now hitting their three-month milestones, and are just beginning to interact with their parents and big brother Brooklyn.

“There are lots of smiles,” gushes Kendall. “We love that. If you’re having a hard time and they start smiling, you find you just forget about the troubles.”

In the past couple of weeks, she says they’ve all started to coo and gurgle in the most adorable fashion.

“Indie was the first to laugh, Quinn does the most talking and Hudson has the loudest squark. But Molly is so loud and cute, and she makes the sweetest noises – her smile takes up her whole face.

“Molly might be the littlest, but she is definitely the strongest. At tummy time, she’s perking her head up and looking around.”

While they’re all unable to crawl at the moment, the signs are ominous it isn’t going to be much longer before they start getting underfoot and into everything.

“Quinn is so close to rolling over and once that starts, it’s going to be a whole different ball game,” tells Kendall. “She puts her leg over and is at the point where she just needs a little bit more oomph, then she’ll get it. And I’m positive Hudson is teething. He’s been dribbling a lot and just the way he wakes so upset at night, I’m sure his teeth are moving around.”

Up until recently, the quads were feeding and sleeping on demand, but since talking with a sleep consultant, Kendall says the babies are now following a strict routine during the day with results that have left the young parents grinning from ear to ear.

“They were going down at 9pm or 10pm, and waking once during the night between 3am and 5am. During the day, it was chaotic and they did what they wanted, being fed on demand and sleeping at different times.

“At the start of the month, we put them on a set routine and it’s going really well. Molly has already slept through the night!”

Kendall was so ecstatic at that magical milestone, she posted a cheery picture of her refreshed-looking baby after the first 12-hour stint.

Same but different: The babies’ unique personalities are starting to emerge, the proud mum tells.

Photo: Hazel&Cass Photography/Cassandra English

Surprisingly, it’s the same daughter who gave them an awful scare back in November, barely a fortnight out of hospital and soon after Woman’s Day introduced the quads to Aotearoa.

“Hudson had bronchiolitis and then a couple of days later, Molly went downhill very fast,” recalls Kendall of the terrifying week. “She ended up in hospital, needing help to breathe.

“I burst into tears seeing how sick she was. I get upset just talking about it now,” she adds, describing the helplessness she felt watching her baby girl turn purple.

Doctors determined that Molly was suffering from a collapsed lung and inserted tubes into her frail body to drain air.

“It took a few days to stabilise her and her heart played up, but thankfully she pulled through,” says Kendall, who reveals her daughter is still monitored weekly for signs of illness.

“Molly came out of hospital still barely feeding and we’re still battling with that, even up until last week.”

Her identical twin sisters are having no such trouble, packing on the pounds as they down every last drop of formula.

“Indie and Quinn have been soldiers,” she tells. “They have been eating machines!”

Photo: Hazel&Cass Photography/Cassandra English

Three of the quads – Indie, Quinn and Hudson – are close to weighing in at six kilograms and, having outgrown their newborn clothes, are now wearing the next size up.

With Molly finally cracking 5kg, doting Kendall and Josh are hoping their littlest tot will rally in coming months.

As the four cots line the stylishly decorated nursery with matching pink and blue covers, identical mobiles and colour-coordinated bunting artfully decorating the wall, Kendall says the way the

wee foursome have been incorporated into family life has been the greatest and most pleasant surprise to date.

“We’ve been handling it so well,” she confides. “I knew it would be hard, but I’m surprised it’s going as well as it has been. I expected to be exhausted and up all night, but for the most part, it has been great. And I’m really surprised how fast they are growing!”

Quads by numbers

28 changes of clothes a week! The quads need at least one change each day, but Kendall says, “Hudson and Molly are spillers, so they can have up to four!”

14 loads of laundry a week or two loads a day.

480 baby wipes. That’s two bulk packs of 240 wipes a week – $30 worth!

210 nappies a week! “We change nappies each time they feed, so at least 28, but that’s doesn’t count for any ‘number twos’, so I’d say at least 30.”

196 bottles a week. The quads are fed at least six times a day, making 24 bottles, “but they have random top-ups here and there, so I’d say at least 28.”

4 cans of formula each week! “We go through a can every 1.5 to two days.”

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