By Jessica King
Aimee and Justin Ahlgren are about to add four new residents to Ramona in the form of one very extra large-sized bundle of joy.
The Ahlgrens, who themselves were each raised in Ramona, are expecting quadruplets — a son named Jackson Bruce and three daughters: Kennedy Lynn, Ryan Charlotte, and Reese Marie. It’s been a journey of tears and
cheers documented by the 26-year-old mom-to-be in a public blog.
Aimee launched “Ahlgren Adventures in Quad Land” on May 1, nearly three months after conception. Her due date is Nov. 8, but she will not carry the quadruplets to full term because multiples deliver early.
“I enjoy doing it, I look forward to it every week,” Aimee said of her blogging, noting she started it because, when the couple turned to the Internet to learn about having and raising quadruplets, information was scarce. That is except for in the blogging world, where Aimee said she found other blogs by quadruplet moms and an invaluable support system.
The Ahlgrens didn’t set out to have four babies at once, but their pregnancy was definitely planned. The couple, married in 2009, faced infertility issues and turned to doctors after exhausting home remedies of acupuncture, weight loss, and vitamins.
On their second try of intrauterine insemination with fertility drugs, a nurse called the Ahlgrens with the news they’d been waiting for for years.
“I was crying so hard I’m sure (the nurse) couldn’t understand a word that I was saying, and I hardly remember what she said after she told me that it was positive except for one thing,” blogged Aimee. “She had said that I am very pregnant, meaning my pregnancy hormone levels were higher than most and that I could have more than one in there.”
Nervous and excited, the couple went to their first ultrasound appointment and learned they were expecting not four, but five babies originally. Sadly, one miscarried early in the pregnancy.
From there, the Ahlgrens had one primary goal — keep their babies growing inside of Aimee for at least 24 weeks, which is the point at which doctors say they would have a viable chance at survival.
Week 24 has come and gone and as of press time, Aimee is nearing the 28-week mark. Aimee said if she makes it to 28 weeks, the new goal will be to deliver the quadruplets any time after the 30-week mark. The typical single-birth uncomplicated pregnancy lasts 38 weeks.
Since week 23, Aimee has been confined to bed rest at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women and Newborns in San Diego. It’s there the couple recently celebrated Justin’s 28th birthday with hand-delivered treats from their families.
“I felt horrible because he had to celebrate his birthday sleeping on an uncomfortable hospital sofa … He’s really been a trooper throughout this whole thing … I can’t wait to be home so that I can dote on him and our little munchkins,” blogged Aimee.
Aimee’s blog entries range from the light-hearted side of indulging in sweets and weight gains to the serious medical scares, like early contractions.
Aimee, whose maiden name is Hamblin, graduated from Ramona High in 2004. Justin, who works in the heating and air conditioning industry for San Diego-based Alpha Mechanical Inc., graduated from Montecito.
Aimee previously worked as a dispatcher for RBS Towing in Ramona but won’t be returning to work after giving birth, thanks to her generous in-laws.
Justin’s parents, Julie and Bruce Ahlgren, have moved into a small guesthouse on their property and given Aimee and Justin the main house to live in with the quadruplets. Aimee said the move allows her to be a full-time stay-at-home mom.
Family also threw the couple an early baby shower this summer.
“Everyone has just been such a big help, especially Justin, and gosh, I don’t even know what to say about Bruce and Julie now living in this teeny tiny guest house for us,” said Aimee. “They’ve all just been amazing, and my sister and the rest of our families, too. I don’t know what I’d do without them all. It’s nice to know that they are there for me.”
From her bed at Mary Birch, Aimee hasn’t been able to help with the couple’s move into the large house. She said it’s been hard because she’s missing that nesting stage of pregnancy when women typically get the strong urge to clean and prepare their homes for baby.
“It’s been hard because everything has been moving so quickly and there’s been a long period of time I haven’t even been able to walk or do much more than lay here,” said Aimee.
Because Aimee is expected to delivery much earlier than her due date, the quadruplets are expected to be admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, upon birth. They will remain there until they gain weight and are deemed healthy enough to be released.
Aimee said she and Justin are putting off completing the nursery until that time, when she can be there and participate in between visiting the quadruplets.
“It’s just been a roller coaster of emotions,” said Aimee. “We’ve had a few bumps but we’re still going.”
Those few bumps include the biggest scare yet when in week 26, Aimee started having contractions and had to be wheeled to the hospital’s labor and delivery floor.
“I didn’t like being on that floor at all,” she said, noting medicine helped her avoid delivering that day.
For the most part, Aimee blogs every Thursday, summarizing the previous week of her pregnancy. After the quadruplets are born, she plans to continue posting but probably not as frequently.
“We’re going to see how it goes,” she said with a laugh because she knows she’ll be busy with four times the diaper changes and feedings. “It might not be an every week post but maybe biweekly.”
To read Aimee’s blog, visit www.ahlgrenquadlings.blogspot.com.