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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Van Nuys

Quadruplets Mark Their 1st Birthday

August 25, 2000|STEPHANIE STASSEL

Dressed in similar seersucker outfits, a set of quadruplets celebrated their first birthday Thursday amid balloons, cake and presents with hardly a cry or tear.

It's been a quick year for Colleen and Dick Whiteman, who have seen Garrett, Cole, Chad and Katy grow from about 2 pounds each to 12 to 15 pounds, sprout teeth, crawl and start to pull themselves up to a standing position.

Born 12 weeks premature, they are at the developmental stage of 8- or 9-month-olds, but that is fine with their mother, who wants them to remain babies a little longer.

"I'm enjoying them. I don't want them to grow up," said Colleen Whiteman, 40, going from one child to another, helping them unwrap presents--donated by Toys R Us--with a little help from 2 1/2-year-old adopted brother Jeffrey.

The party was held at Valley Presbyterian Hospital, where the quadruplets were born.

Their story began when Colleen had five eggs implanted and was told she was expecting four babies.

Then on Aug. 26, 1999, at 28 weeks' gestation, Colleen's doctor, Maha Elmeligy, discovered a blockage in Cole's urethra, which caused urine to back up into his stomach. Elmeligy performed a Caesarean section a few hours later. They are the only quadruplets to be born at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in its 40-year history.

"She didn't want Jeffrey to be an only child. Geez, we got swamped here," said Dick Whiteman, 61, a building maintenance worker for the city of Burbank.

Cole has since had three surgeries and will need continued monitoring, but otherwise all the babies are now healthy.

The babies came home around Thanksgiving, started sleeping through the night at Christmas and are kept on the same schedule. To keep things straight, their baby food and bottles are labeled "A," "B," "C" and "D."

And they each have their own personality. Garrett is "mama's boy," Cole is happy and always smiling, Chad is the serious one and Katy is "independent and ornery," Colleen said.

Helping out in her church's nursery when she was a child made Colleen's adjustment to having quadruplets easier.

The Burbank couple have not had much outside help caring for the babies, except from Bianca, Colleen's 12-year-old daughter from a previous marriage.

"It's been no trouble," said Colleen, who drives a 21-passenger van part time for the city of Burbank. "If you stress out, the babies are stressed out. The calmer you are, the calmer the babies are."

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