Capturing the Moment

After seeing many pictures of our family throughout our home and website, people have asked how we became connected with the photographer. Last July Ethan gave me a gift that I will never forget! He scored major points with this one!!!!!

One morning he left a note in my car that said “I know you are going to have a great day!” That afternoon he had a card delivered to me at work. The card said he had a change of clothes packed in my car and to meet him downtown at the Austin Museum of Art at 5:30. I was so excited about an unexpected date night!!!! It was also exciting because we had just found out we were pregnant so I thought it was so sweet of him to plan something special for us.
So after meeting him downtown and walking through the museum he told me we had reservations at Jezebel’s, which is a restaurant that we both became big fans of after another surprise date night he planned for me in July ’07. During that dinner we exchanged gifts and he gave me a beautiful engraved bracelet that I wear everyday.

So, after entering the restaurant they walked us back to the same table we sat at the year before. When we got to our table I looked up and there was the most beautiful portrait I had ever seen - it was of Ethan and Eliot. I was completely in shock and speechless!!! Ethan got a referral from a friend of a photographer, Tracey Taylor, and took Eliot to have their pictures taken together. He chose a 24x20 portrait, wrote me a beautiful message that was actually printed on the portrait, signed it and had it framed. I was first blown away that he came up with the idea and then that he was able to pull it off without Eliot telling me!!! It is a gift that will always hold a very, very, very special place in my heart!

After some of the shock wore off he told me the second part of the gift was to go back to Tracey and have family pictures taken. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to because I had already gained some weight from he pregnancy and I knew after the new baby (didn’t know there were five yet) arrived I would want to do family pictures again. But Ethan and Tracey talked me into it by saying this would be the last time it would just be the three of us and we would want to remember this time in our lives. I am so thankful I finally listened because Tracey took some great shots of our family that I will cherish forever!

After we found out we were expecting quintuplets, Tracey immediately said she wanted to help us document this miracle. So we have been going to Tracey’s studio in Pflugerville every three weeks to take pictures of my growing belly. It has been fun seeing how much I grow from session to session! Tracey has not only been generous with her time in taking these pictures (she has donated all of the sitting fees), but went above and beyond by offering a free 8x10 portrait to customers who bring in a package of diapers for us until the quints turn one! Check out her website and blog for more information http://www.taylormadephotos.com/.


Here Comes the Belly!!

We had another appointment today with Casey's ob/gyn and thankfully all went very well. We got to see all of the babies again while they checked their heart rates and all checked out well. Here are some interesting facts about what is coming our way in the next few weeks:

- The babies are currently about 1 pound each, give or take a couple of ounces. In other words, she is carrying 5 pounds of baby. Most of you know that babies are typically between 6 and 9 pounds when they are born between 36 and 40 weeks.

- Casey's belly (uterus) is officially bigger now at 22 weeks, 2 days than she was when Eliot was born at 36 weeks.

- Our goal weight for each of the babies is 4 pounds which is where they should be if they are born around 32 weeks.

- Therefore, if we make it to 32 weeks, Casey will be carrying 20 pounds of baby!!

- Growth will be rapid, just do the math. It took 22 weeks for the babies to get to 1 pound. Now, they are expected to grow 3 pounds more in only 10 weeks!

- Hold on, I'm not done yet. Don't forget about the placentas and the amniotic sacks (there are five of them) which will grow along with the babies.

- If we make it to 32 weeks (I keep saying "we" as if I'm helping carry these little guys...forgive me!!), Casey will be carrying around 40 pounds of baby and all of their other little parts!! Just in her belly!!

Those of you who have seen Casey in the last few weeks can testify that she looks exactly the same as she always has except for the belly - I don't think she's gained an ounce anywhere else!


Casey is having a really hard time moving around. She is having a a lot of difficulty breathing and can only be on her feet for about 15 minutes before she feels like she really needs to sit back down. The contractions that more or less started last week have not stopped and likely will not stop until the quints arrive. She spends maybe an hour each day on her feet (brushing her teeth, showering, etc.) and the rest of the time is spent on the couch with her laptop, thank you notes, and remote control.

Casey's spirit continues to amaze me! I can't begin to imagine what she is going through, physically and mentally, and I am overwhelmed by what she has coming. Watching the struggle that she goes through just to reposition herself on the couch makes me hurt for her and it's going to get exponentially more difficult in the coming weeks. Yet, she keeps on smiling, keeps her focus on cooking up healthy babies, and keeps on thanking God for giving us this amazing blessing!! Please continue to pray for Casey's health, her strength, and her spirit as we hunker down for what's coming our way!

God Bless,

P.S. Thanks to Tori Wright Gordon for the pictures you see on this blog. She is a friend of ours from the Denton days and has been a great supporter from afar throughout the pregnancy. Check out her blog at http://www.swampbrat.net/!


A Little Dose of Reality

First, a quick explanation on the picture to the left. The diaper you see there is the diapers that the preemie babies in the NICU wear...smaller than a dollar bill!!! The picture of Casey and I was taken three weeks ago when she was 20 weeks pregnant! Moving on...

As if our week wasn't crazy enough with our little hospital excursion, we also had a meeting on Thursday called a Patient Care Conference where we met the team of people who will be involved with Casey's and the babies' care once we get closer to delivery. There were nurses, doctors, clinicians, neonatologists, perinatologists, obstetricians, a rep from legal, a couple VP's of something or other, and even one of the chaplains. In all, there were 20 people in the room, not including Casey and I. Twenty people who represented different teams that will be responsible for making labor and delivery of our babies a success...WOW!!

We had already been told that there will be at least 18 doctors present at the delivery (3 assigned to each baby and 3 just for Casey), but we found out that there will be at least 30-40 people involved at any one time while the C-section is performed. The hospital has organized teams of doctors and nurses who have volunteered to be on-call 24/7, including holidays and weekends, starting at 24 weeks and continuing until the babies arrive to ensure that they have all of the needs covered when the time comes.

A Herculean effort to be certain, which we knew was coming, but seeing all of the folks in the room and hearing them describe their role in the birth of the quints served as a little dose of reality as to the magnitude of the situation we are faced with. The doctors discussed several of the different risks involved with premature birth as well as the probabilities of survival and disability and they have asked us to make a few decisions in regards to resuscitation efforts (resuscitation was defined for us as any use of breathing tubes or other equipment necessary to keep the babies alive).

Probably the most striking statistic that was thrown at us was the survival and disability rate as it relates to gestational age of the baby when it is born (the number of weeks that Casey has been pregnant which is 22 weeks as of today). At 24 weeks, the survival rate is 25% and of those that survive, 95% have long term disabilities which may include Cerebral Palsy and severe mental retardation. At 28 weeks, the survival rate is 95% while the disability rate is only 5%. What a difference 28 days can make!!

Casey and I have already made the decision that no resuscitative efforts will be attempted prior to 24 weeks. The likelihood that any of the babies could survive if born that early in their development is highly unlikely and if they did survive, it would only be through incredible intervention that would be very hard on the babies. Beyond that, we have been asked to decide what level of resuscitative efforts we will allow assuming they make it past 24 weeks. Will we allow a breathing tube, chest compressions, or anything beyond that? I don't know what all of the different levels are, but it is something we will be talking with our doctor about at our next appointment on Monday.

After the meeting, a couple of the nurses took us through the NICU and allowed us to see a few of the babies they were treating. That was an incredible sight to see!! These babies were SOOO little!! It was cool to see the wall of baby prints that they had on display and see how tiny their little hands and feet were. It's hard to imagine we're going to have five of these little guys in a couple short months!

All in all, the meeting went very well and we were thrilled with the level of concern that the hospital is taking in preparation of our arrival. We had been counseled on the risks and probabilities of survival and disability when we first found out about the quints so we were not disheartened by this news. We were actually advised to undergo a selective reduction at the very beginning to get down to two babies because the risks are so high. Clearly, this was not an option for us!!

As far as our mindset is concerned, not much has changed. We knew from the beginning that this was going to be a dramatic experience in our lives and it has certainly lived up to expectations! Casey and I have leaned heavily on our faith in Christ to get us to this point and we will continue to do so to get us through the next couple of months. We can use all the prayers we can get so please continue to pray for the health of the babies and for Casey's body to remain calm as it continues to grow and change rapidly! Please specifically pray for guidance and clarity with the decisions we must make in regards to resuscitation. We're wading into really murky waters with what is the right thing to do and can use some guidance on this one! Thank you all so much for your love, prayers, and support!!
God bless,


Update on Casey

Casey had a great night and the contractions have stopped. Basically, she was experiencing Braxton-Hicks contractions, but way too early in the game to be taken lightly. They are sending her home later this morning with instructions for strict bed rest until the babies arrive. The contractions are expected to continue from time to time so we are officially on pins and needles from here on out. When the contractions become noticeably more painful and increase in regularity, we’ll be headed back to the hospital. I imagine this won’t be our last overnight stay before she is admitted long term.

Thanks to everyone for your prayers and concern! It really is fascinating to see how people have rallied around Casey in prayer during these times of uncertainty.

God bless,


Hospital Visit #2

It’s amazing how quickly things can change. We’ve had a great couple of weeks and a very nice weekend, but got thrown a pretty serious curveball today. Casey and I went this morning for a checkup with her ob/gyn and she ended up in the hospital! Casey had high blood pressure this morning at the doctor’s office so they wanted her to be admitted to the hospital for monitoring. The doctor told us to expect that she might be kept overnight, but we might go home later this evening.

When she got here, all seemed to be going well with the blood pressure, but they found a new complication – she was having contractions. They are relatively mild and pretty sporadic, but they are definitely contractions. Now that she knows how to identify the contractions, she has realized that she has been having them for several weeks, but did not recognize them as contractions. The scary part here is that if she proceeds to early labor, there is nothing that can be done to stop it. If that happens, the babies have very little chance of survival. They have given her a couple of medications that are supposed to calm the uterus, but they won’t do much to prevent pre-term labor if her body decides it’s time for that.

At this point, we have no idea how long Casey will be here or if she’ll be allowed to leave at all (there is a possibility they will decide that she is safer here and that she will have to remain here until the babies are born). I don’t know exactly what the deciding factor is, but for now all we know is that we will be here overnight.

We have several friends taking care of our immediate needs and are very grateful for all of the prayers and encouragement we’ve received. Please continue to pray that Casey’s body will quiet down and those babies keep incubating!!

I’m not sure if I remembered everyone that I should have on this email so please forward this on to other friends and family!

God bless,


Exciting, Amazing, SUPERCOOL!!

I've got a couple of quick hits to share:

First, the EXCITING: I felt the babies move!! I'm not sure how many of them I've felt moving around in there, but there are three different places on Casey's belly where I can feel the little bump of tiny heads or feet or arms! I'm pretty sure I feel Baby B, C, and D, but who knows??

Next, the AMAZING: We were reading online that a 21 week baby is approximately 10 inches long from head to toe. That means that Casey has more than four feet of baby inside her belly!! Wow!!!! Thank God for the fetal position!

Finally, the SUPERCOOL: My woman has had the most incredible attitude through all of this! She has dealt with aches, pains, nausea, muscle spasms, vomitting, major food aversions, back aches, a trip to the ER and two days in the hospital, sleepless nights, major immobility, shortness of breath, and on and on and on, but through it all she has kept a smile on her face! She would stand on her head for the next nine months if she had to to keep these babies healthy and for that she gets the SUPERCOOL Mom-TO-Be Award!! Keep smiling, Casey Ann!! Oh yeah, the picture? Halloween party at a friend's house...that's as close to Hillbilly Casey as she'll ever get!!!

Born to Serve

I have to take a moment here to recognize the extraordinary efforts of my mother-in-law, Stevie Krueger. One of the toughest things to deal with lately is just keeping up with the day-to-day house work…dishes, laundry, etc. When Casey was still going to work every day, it was a major struggle just for her to get through the day and she would come home completely wiped out. Now that she’s home, she’s on bed rest and it’s for a good reason. Casey isn’t able to do much around the house because she can’t stay on her feet for more than a few minutes at a time. I know it’s got to be incredibly frustrating for her to have to just lay there and watch the world swirl around her, but that is her charge right now – get rest, take it easy, and cook up babies!

No complaints on my end because I’ve clearly got the easier job here, but it’s not easy to find time to do the dishes after getting Eliot fed, helping Casey with whatever she needs, getting Eliot ready for bed and reading her books before bedtime, and oh yeah, studying for my grad school classes. So imagine my relief and gratitude when Stevie showed up one weekend in early October and just went to work! Sure, she came to visit her daughter and family, but her visit had a purpose to it. She cleaned, she laundered, she folded, she swept, she cleaned some more, she loaded, she unloaded, and she cleaned some more. It was AWESOME!! And even better than that – she came back to do it again two weeks later! And even better than that – she’s here this weekend to do it again!!

Some people were born to lead, some were born to follow, some were born to sing, and some were born to ride…ok, sorry, had to put that in there, couldn’t pass it up. Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Stevie was born to serve. She’s been a nurse for nearly 20 years and before that she was a flight attendant, two jobs not made for the faint server of heart. And before that I’m pretty certain she was born not with a silver spoon in her mouth, but with a silver tray in her hand.

Since I have known her (nearly 15 years), at every holiday event, family get together, the Krueger’s annual Memorial Day party, or any other sort of event, Stevie could almost always be found in the kitchen. When my parents host Thanksgiving, Stevie doesn’t leave until every last dish has been cleaned and put away. When we stay at Casey’s parents’ house, we’re constantly yelling at her to sit down and relax, but she just keeps on serving…and serving…and serving. The world needs more Stevie Kruegers, but I’m afraid it is going to be left wanting. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many “Stevie’s” who get their 15 minutes of fame in our serve me first and serve me now society. Thank God for the few he did give us!


In the News...

What a crazy day! Casey called me this morning when I was out on one of my projects and asked how flexible I can be with my schedule today. Apparently, KVUE News, our local ABC station, caught wind of our story and wanted to do an interview...today...for a news story...today!! So, at one o'clock we're sitting on our couch, both wearing microphones, talking with a reporter about our lives. It was so much fun!

This all happened because our unofficial publicist, Emily "Superstar" Yeck, sent an email to Olga Campos (one of the anchor's for KVUE) about us on Sunday. She forwarded it onto Mari Alvarez, a reporter for KVUE, who interviewed us today and the rest is history!!

It was really cool to see the whole process unfold - from the interview, to the excitement of telling our friends what was coming, to hearing ads on the radio for the newscast highlighting our story, to the teasers throughout the broadcast, and finally to watching the feature on the six o'clock news! Probably the coolest thing, though was that we were able to be together with our small group from Marriage Builders (the Sunday school we attend through Riverbend Church) to watch it! Since these are the folks who made all of this possible and have been our biggest supporters from day one, it was only appropriate that we were all together to share in the fun!!

For now, the video is linked at http://www.kvue.com/video/index.html?nvid=302888. You'll have to scroll down in the "local video" box until you find "More Quintuplets in Austin". In the next few days, we'll post the video to our website, http://www.joneslife.net/. Check it out!!


Baylor Rocks!!

This is kinda long-winded, but it's a great story and worth the read...promise!! Enjoy...

Most of you know that I started grad school this August through Baylor's Executive MBA Program. I actually started four days after finding out about the quints (at that time, it was actually sextuplets!). Going to grad school and getting my MBA is something that I have had in the back of my mind for years, but never put any serious thought into. My industry (residential construction) doesn't quite value MBA's as other industries do so it was never something that seemed relevant to my world, though I never let go of the dream of going back to school. I'm not even sure how the conversation about going back came up this time around, but when it did it seemed to weigh more heavily on my mind than it had in the past.

At the time, I was working for a small custom home builder (a job that was going nowhere fast) and was looking for a career move. I was working with a career counselor and also contemplating starting my own business, but nothing had yet materialized. A good friend of mine, Dean Yeck, had gone through Baylor's program a few years back and was talking it up quite a bit and I started to investigate the different programs available. Though I have been a Texas fan my entire life and always knew that if I went back to school I would be a Longhorn, something kept tugging me in the direction of Baylor. Though I wasn't committed, I started the application process and committed it heavily to prayer and contemplation. When the time came to make a decision, I knew which direction I was headed!

Fast forward three months to August 14th. Casey and I are sitting in our fertility doctor's office at our first sonogram. As we watched Dr. Silverberg label the babies - baby A, baby B (awesome - twins!), baby C (whoa - triplets!!), baby D (hold on a minute...quads!?), baby E (time out, I need to sit down...), baby F (six babies!!! Is this a joke??!!) - the excitement, drama, and tension mounted as the thought of bringing six babies into the world had our heads swirling and our hearts pounding out of our chests. What does this mean? What are the odds? How can we possibly do this?

To be honest, one of my first thoughts was of grad school and how I was going to be able to handle both the time and the financial commitment with six babies on the way. I was supposed to start in four days! What do I do now??

Well, I called the director of the program the next day. "Stick with us," he said, at least until we know how many babies remain (the viability of the babies at that time was at great risk because there were so many). "We would love to be involved and help out in any way we can," he said, but he didn't see how it would be possible for me to continue. I called my dad. "I don't know how it'd be possible, son," he said. I called Dean, a man who bleeds green on odd numbered days and gold on even numbered days. He found out his wife was pregnant the day he found out he was accepted to the program; surely he would tell me I could do it. Well, he didn't. He said beyond having twins, he could not have done it. I prayed. Why, God, would you lead me to go through this program knowing what was to come, knowing that I would never be able to complete it? Why, why, why? And while we're at it, why am I so selfish?! Why am I so concerned about this when my priorities should be focused elsewhere? Frustrated, confused, and frustrated again...

I decided to continue on for about a month or so, at least until I found out how many babies survived the critical 12 weeks at the beginning of the pregnancy. I went to orientation week in Waco and loved it! I met the Dean of the Business School, Gary Carini. "Stick with us," he said, "we'll work with you. We'll make it work somehow. Just stick with us." A glimmer of hope - that was a godsend! I kept going to class for the next six weeks as we kept going to weekly sonograms. We lost one of the babies early on, but it looked like our course was set...five babies on the way, getting close to decision time.

Then I got a call from a friend (identity withheld to protect the not-so-innocent). "Hey, stick with the program. Some conversations are taking place and that's all you need to know. Keep going to class." Then I had a conversation with Phil Sanchez, the director of the program. "We're working on something to help out," he said, "stick with us." That was all I needed to hear. Keep going to class and let the rest take care of itself. Keep going to class and keep praying...lots to pray for these days!

A couple of weeks later, Dr. Carini pulled me aside before class and told me that Baylor had decided to grant me a scholarship for the entire cost of the program. The ENTIRE cost!! Are you kidding me? That's almost $70,000!! WOW! That's all I could say. And, "THANK YOU!!" Decision made - I'm sticking with the program! Sure, the time commitment is still there and it's a huge one, but how could I ever turn down such incredible generosity? How could I ever pass up on a full scholarship on a world class education, no matter the time commitment? No way, no how...I'm in for the long haul! What an amazing turn of events! God is great!!

One of the main reasons I was drawn to the Baylor program is that everyone I talked to who was involved with the program told me that Baylor was concerned with developing the character of its students along with their business acumen. They told me that Baylor is a family and is committed to each of its family members as you would your brothers and sisters. "They are a Christian organization, founded on Christian principles and it shows in how they approach the program," they said. They were right. I didn't ask for Baylor to help us out and I didn't expect that they would. Baylor saw an opportunity to live their ideals and they jumped on it. They stepped up, big time! To put it simply - BAYLOR ROCKS!!

I believe that God has been hard at work in my life for a long, long time. I believe he led me to enter grad school and that he specifically led me to Baylor's door. I believe that he has great things in store for my family and that my relationship with Baylor is somehow integrated into His plan for us. I believe that He has similar plans for everyone who allows Him to work in their lives. I don't know how it's going to be possible to raise quintuplets, earn an MBA, grow my business, carve out some time to keep my marriage vibrant, and keep my sanity all at the same time, but I believe that God is going to help me figure that out. One day at a time. I don't know how our story is going to unfold from one day to the next, but I know that we're in good hands and that life is good...very good!


50 Fingers, 50 Toes!

Before I begin with the update, I want to explain the picture to the left. The sonographer happened across this image as she was measuring the babies today. We can count at least 7 and maybe 8 feet in this picture...can you find them all?! Too cool!!
Updates, updates...we have updates! Casey started partial bed rest today (Monday was her last day of work) which means she is supposed to spend about six hours per day lying down (not counting sleep hours). Unless something dramatic happens, she will not have to go on full bed rest until her body just hurts too bad for her to move.
We had an appointment today with Dr. Berry, our perinatologist, where they did an anatomy scan of all of the babies. All five checked out healthy and all of their measurements were right on track for 19.5 weeks!! This is what we expected to hear, but it feels really good to have it confirmed! The four girls weighed in around 11 ounces, while Big Bad Jack came in at a whopping 13 ounces - that's my boy!! On a side note, I forgot to mention that Jack got his first baseball mitt last week when my parents came to town...thanks, Mom!

The next 6-8 weeks are critical for the health of the babies and there are several major milestones that we will be focused on along the way. The first milestone is 24 weeks which is the point at which it is reasonable to resuscitate the babies if they are born this early. In other words, if Casey's body were to go into labor before this point and it could not be stopped, it would be highly unlikely that they would survive.

The next milestone after that comes at 26 weeks. If the babies are born at that time, the likelihood of survival is high, but the likelihood of significant defects is also high. After that, we focus on week 28 which happens on New Year's Eve. Delivery at 28 weeks is the average for quintuplets and we hope to beat this! If the babies are born at this time, their likelihood of survival is very high and the likelihood of defects is dramatically lower. At 28 weeks, we claim victory! Beyond that, every week is critical to minimizing the time the babies spend in the NICU and to further strengthen their development, but the likelihood of major complications is much lower.
Our goal is to deliver the babies in early February at 32 weeks. For a point of reference, if this were a normal pregnancy, the due date would be March 27! Casey will likely spend the last 3-4 weeks in the hospital on full bed rest (with two nurses at her bedside to help move the belly when she needs to turn over!!). We have a meeting later this month with the NICU doctors and staff at Seton to tour the NICU and go over the delivery plan...apparently this is going to be quite a production with up to 18 doctors (three for each baby and three for Casey) plus nurses in the delivery room!!

Please keep the prayers coming over the next 8 weeks for both the babies and for Casey! Casey's spirit is strong and positive, but she gets more and more uncomfortable every day as her body literally grows before our eyes! We have been incredibly blessed throughout this experience and we pray that these blessings continue throughout the rest of the pregnancy!

God Bless,

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