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June 15, 2010

Four times the fun: Craig quadruplets turn 10

JEFFERSONVILLE — Action figures, video games, scraped-up knees and wild adventures — it’s the life of a 10-year-old boy, and every parent knows that this life of never-ending excitement can be a little exhausting at times.

But for Gretchen and Jimmy Craig, the fun and games are multiplied by four. That’s four times the toys, money, bumps and bruises for each of their quadruplets.

And the Craigs couldn’t be happier.

When they decided to have a child 10 years ago, they never expected to end up with four. Already parents to 2-year-old Hayden and 1-year-old Hayley Jo, the Craigs decided to try In Vitro Fertilization.

But when problems arose with the in vitro injection, Gretchen Craig said the doctor told her and her husband the chances of a successful pregnancy were low.

“The doctor told us there was a 20 percent chance of having one baby and less than a 5 percent chance of having triplets. He said there was no chance of having more than that,” she said.

But the Craigs were in luck — they soon discovered they were having triplets. And when Jimmy Craig noticed a fourth heartbeat during an ultrasound, the couple realized their life was in for a tidal wave of change.

The quadruplets were born nine weeks early June 2, 2000. All four babies — Holden, Houston and identical twins Harrison and Hamilton — stayed at Norton Hospital for the first three weeks of their lives, while Gretchen and Jimmy juggled life at their New Albany home with the other two children and life with the new babies.

“Jimmy took care of Hayden and Hayley when I was with the boys,” Gretchen said. “I’d come home for a while each day and spend all my time with Hayden and Hayley. As soon as they went to bed, I would speed back to the hospital.”

This life of hustle and bustle was just beginning for the new family. Everything was a tough task at first — each baby had to have a bath, each had to eat and each needed love and attention. The Craigs, who now live in Jeffersonville, quickly learned to shape their lives around the boys.

“I remember we would line up four car seats and put baby, baby, baby and then hold one and feed him. Then we would just move them all down a seat and do it all again,” Gretchen recalls.

Today, life with the Craigs is still just as fast-paced. Their house is bursting with excitement; the children giggle while they play in the other room, the doorbell rings, the older kids pick on each other, even the family dog jumps and barks with enthusiasm. Hayden Craig, now 13, said life with quadruplets is “crazy.”

“The quads are absolutely nuts,” big brother Hayden said. “Me and my dad call ’em the monkeys.”

Hayden and his 12-year-old sister Hayley Jo think living with quadruplets is a demanding task. But despite the extra chores, the bigger responsibilities and the “very crazy” atmosphere, Hayden and Hayley still think living with quads is a lot of fun.

“It’s like an army. We could have our own platoon if we wanted,” Hayden said. And as he calls the four boys into the living room, they certainly sound like an army coming up the stairs.

Houston, Harrison, Hamilton and Holden file into the room, wearing matching T-shirts, jeans and grins from ear to ear. One of the boys had what he later identified as tacos spilled down the front of his shirt.

“Can I tell you a story?” one of the boys asks eagerly.

“Yea me too!” shouts another.

The four boys talk about their recent 10th birthday party at the YMCA. They talk about video games, “Star Wars” and playing with friends.

They explain the best parts of being a quadruplet are “never being bored” and “having more people to play with and care about.”  

The boys are full of energy and excitement, making it immediately obvious that life with quadruplets is a constant adventure. And as the family gathers amidst the excitement in the living room, it’s clear the Craigs would not want it any other way.

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07_23_New_Tech_01.w.jpg

Families enter Renaissance Academy, Clarksville Community Schools' New Tech high school, for an open house on July 17. Much of the construction is finished on the building, with classes beginning on July 31.

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