Thanksgiving and Christmas have come early for the LaJoice family.
Spc. John LaJoice and his wife, Tracie, are now proud parents of quadruplets who were born Nov. 13 at the Midtown Medical Center.
The four boys — Charlie, Korey, Hunter and John — were born at 32 weeks, 1 day of gestation, and according to the team of doctors and nurses, are doing great.
Dr. Maurice Jerry Chen, a neonatologist and the babies' attending physician, said if all goes well they anticipate the babies could go home in the next week.
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The LaJoices already have one daughter, Karie, 5, who was born premature at 24 weeks.
"It's pretty exciting," Spc. John LaJoice said. "We're just happy they came out healthy and very thankful for the team."
And it is quite a team.
The "quad squad" was formed several weeks ago and performed mock deliveries and were on a call schedule for a handful of weeks. Described as "organized chaos," Dawn Hurst, the senior director of women's services, said it was amazing to watch.
During Wednesday's news conference, the doctors, specialists and proud parents spoke about how well prepared the team was throughout the entire process.
Chen said during the delivery each baby had at least three team members. He also gave a lot of credit to the nursing staff in the Neonatal Care Unit and thanked Children's Miracle Network for their continued support with the latest in medical technology to assist.
Dr. Timothy Villegas, Tracie's OB/GYN, said the team worked in concert with each other. And since she was at significant risk for early-term labor, they performed a cerclage (a cervical stitch) to help prevent complications.
Although the goal was to get Tracie and the babies to 34 weeks gestation, she was admitted at 32 weeks to closely monitor her progress. She went into premature labor soon after her arrival, and they felt delivery was the best way to go, according to Villegas.
Tracie and Spc. LaJoice have been stationed at Fort Benning for about two and a half years. John is a Bradley Systems Maintainer with the 3rd ID Armor Regiment. They originally are from Jacksonville, Fla., but maintain residence in Phenix City.
The couple said the Army is trying to provide some support for the family since they have no immediate help in the area.
"They are willing to provide some assistance," Spc. LaJoice said. "Since she had a C-section and that recovery is normally around six weeks, they're trying to help."
The proud father again thanked the medical staff.
"I was in the (operating room) with my wife," he said. "It was amazing to watch them work. Dr. Villegas had my boys out in three minutes. These are great people."
Officials said it is the third set of quadruplets that have been born at the hospital, which formally was called The Medical Center.
Dr. David Levine, a neonatologist and the medical director of newborn services at Midtown Medical Center, said they routinely have twins at the hospital but quadruplets are rare.
"Quadruplets come about one in 500,000 or more," Levine said. A pregnancy of more than four babies hasn't been delivered at the hospital.
Levine credited the hospital and more education over the last 10 years to the improvement of care.
"We understand less is more," he said. "We can support them without breathing tubes."
After hearing the family will likely change approximately 30,000 diapers in their lifetime, Spc. LaJoice said, "We have a reason to have Thanksgiving this year."