Shatswell quads, family moving to Texas
Nevada Appeal News Service
Gardnerville’s famous babies ” the Shatswell quadruplets ” are getting ready to move to Texas with their parents and 2-year-old sister.
Joseph Jr., Myleigh, Rory and Kaylee, born Oct. 26 at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, have been living at the Gardnerville home of their grandmother, Pam Fredline, with their mom, Darah, 24, and big sister Zowie.
The plan was to stay until July when dad, Army Spec. Joe Shatswell, 23, returned from his deployment in Afghanistan.
That all changed when Shatswell, an infantryman, was permitted to return to Gardnerville late last year to help his wife with the growing family.
Shatswell was on leave for the quadruplets’ birth, but returned to Afghanistan in November. It didn’t take long for the Army to send him back to Gardnerville to help with the family.
“They wanted to know why I even came back,” he said. “Those were my orders.”
He is to report back to Fort Hood in Texas and the family expects to be in their off-base housing by the end of the month after a 28-hour drive from Gardnerville.
Shatswell said he was sent home because Myleigh and Joseph underwent hernia operations.
“I still feel bad about coming back, that I’m not there,” he said. “I understand my responsibilities are here with the kids, but over there (Afghanistan), that’s my second family.”
He re-enlisted for five years and expects an overseas deployment when the children are older.
The babies, conceived without fertility drugs, are thriving. Born prematurely, they weighed between 2 pounds and 3 pounds, 5 ounces at birth.
On Jan. 30, JJ, the only boy, weighed 9 pounds 5 ounces. Myleigh weighed 9 pounds, 4 ounces; Rory, 8 pounds, 1 ounce; and Kaylee, 7 pounds.
Darah Shatswell said the babies each gain 1-2 ounces a day.
“They worked so hard to learn how to eat,” she said.
And they have their own personalities.
“JJ is laid back, keeps to his schedule and loves to eat,” said his father as he cradled the tiny boy.
“Myleigh loves to sleep and would sleep right through her feeding,” Darah said. “She doesn’t cry very much.”
Rory and Kayleigh, who are identical, “are high maintenance twins,” she said.
Darah is very grateful for the extra hands ” Daddy’s as well as Zowie.
“She brings me diapers and tells me, ‘babies,’ when they’re crying,” Darah said. “And she sings to them.”
The babies are fed and changed once every three hours. That adds up to 32 bottles and 32 diapers a day.
The Shatswells try to sleep in four-hour shifts to accommodate the demands of the quads.
They keep track of what goes in and what comes out of each baby on a written chart.
“That way if someone is crying, we know the last time they were fed or changed,” Joe said. “It helps decipher why they are crying.”
They are on oxygen, but their parents hope that is coming to an end as they are able to breathe longer and longer on their own.
The Shatswells are looking forward to returning to Texas, but their stay will be short. In November, they’re being transferred to Colorado.
They thanked the dozens of friends, family members and strangers who donated diapers, clothing, gift cards and other baby items.
“People are still giving us things,” Darah said.
The babies have already outgrown clothing she’s packed up to be passed on.
“It’s been amazing how fast they can grow and how far they’ve come,” she said.
Having parented quadruplets for almost four months, the Shatswells have settled into a routine.
“It’s not as hard as everyone thinks,” she said.
By late afternoon, Joseph, in a crib, was gazing contentedly out the living room window.
Zowie, Joe and Darah were sharing the couch, each cuddling a baby.
“This is what we do every day, all day,” Darah said with a smile.