Glendale residents who became parents of quadruplets last month say they have finally received the baby gift they most needed: a large house they can rent to replace their one-bedroom apartment now overflowing with infants.
Thanks to a Pasadena family willing to rent out the house at less than market rate, Norair and Rubina Dereghishian hope to move their quadruplets, three girls and a boy, from Glendale to the three-bedroom house in Altadena this week.
The move will end six weeks of searching by the Dereghishians and the Hollywood-based Armenian Evangelical Social Service Center for a suitable, affordable house in the Glendale-Pasadena area.
"Not many people want four babies in one house," said Rosine deCervantes, a center volunteer.
'The Right House'
"It is the right house for us," said the new father. "It is very comfortable and is close to the hospital and close to the pediatricians."
The infants were born Jan. 15 at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, where they became favorites of the medical staff.
Dereghishian said he can afford the $575 rent. An emigrant from Iran's Armenian community, he manages a gas station and convenience store near Los Angeles International Airport.
He said he is grateful to the landlords who, he said, "dropped the price a lot for us." It is difficult to find a large house in the area that rents for less than $800 a month.
The house belongs to brothers Harry and Paul Gedigian, both Pasadena residents who heard of the Dereghishians' situation through friends in the Armenian community. The Gedigians' mother, who lived in the house until she had to be placed in a nursing home last fall, died a few weeks ago.
Harry Gedigian, a retired Pasadena firefighter, said he thought his mother would have wanted the quadruplets to live in the house because she was a woman who often aided needy families.
"Armenians are a very close-knit people, and we tend to help each other," he said. "It's not going to hurt us to give in a little on the rent. Besides, we're more interested in getting someone in the house who is sociable and dependable than in getting the full market rate."
Asked whether he was concerned about the effect of four children on the house, Gedigian said: "I'm not one of those guys who worry all the time about something possibly getting broken. The house is to be lived in."
The house has a Pasadena mailing address but is in Altadena. The Dereghishians do not want the address revealed because they fear gawkers. At the hospital, they received two "strange inquiries" on the telephone about whether they wanted to keep the babies, the father said.
Through a fund established by the hospital, the infants have received donations of clothes, furniture, food and strollers. Hospital nurses and friends have been volunteering a few hours a day to help care for the infants, who were released from the hospital one by one as they gained weight and are now all in good health.
Narbeh, the only boy and the last to leave the hospital, came home 12 days ago. The girls are named Armineh, Melineh and Nairy.
Concerned About Care
Even with the help, the Dereghishians are concerned about their ability to care for the quads. The father, 33, used his two weeks' vacation for diaper changing, feedings and the house search. The babies have been sleeping on the parents' bed because donated cribs are being moved directly to the new house.
"It's been very tough. I don't know what we're going to do after I go back to work next week," he said. Their medical insurance does not cover home nursing and they have no close relatives in the area.
However, the Dereghishians hope that their parents will be able to emigrate soon from Iran when visa and financial problems are overcome.
The quadruplets, the first in the 92-year-history of Huntington Memorial Hospital, were delivered by Caesarean section about six weeks prematurely after doctors became alarmed that an umbilical cord might be wrapped around the neck of one of the girls.
The 27-year-old mother, who was taking fertility drugs, had been in the hospital's high-risk maternity ward since November. The Dereghishians have no other children.