When you’re parents of quadruplets, every day brings new challenges, and it’s often the simplest pleasures that bring the most joy.
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The girls received a selection of toys, puzzles and clothing, as well as a special eight-shaped cake, divided into four sections designed differently by Bernie Buck, a baker from South Yorkshire.
The quartet made history by becoming the first UK quads born from a single embryo after the Brinsworth-based couple endured nearly a decade of heartache while trying to conceive.
Ms Clark, 44, said: “You have to take each day as it comes because it is so different.”
Over the past 12 months, the Clark family has faced their biggest challenge yet, having to adapt to the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Alexis, Caroline, Darcy and Elisha, who were born two minutes apart, have been described by their parents as “strong-willed girls” with very different personalities.
Ms Clark said: “This is not a simple parenting technique as they are all very different.
“Alexis is a tomboy. She has no notion of fear and is very adventurous. Elisha is the mother hen and thinks she is the boss while Darcy is a ninja – very cunning and intelligent – and Caroline is very girly and a bit of a drama queen.
The stay-at-home mom added, “Sometimes I can feel a bit like a referee… You are constantly among their battles.
“If you can imagine four strong-willed girls approaching you, you must have a strong head on you as well.
“They’re going to gang up on you, there’s no doubt about it. They form a team among themselves. It’s like four teenagers.
In addition, the family supports Alexis, diagnosed with autism at the end of 2019.
Initially, Alexis would not leave her room, seeing it as her only “safe space” when the first lockdown restrictions took effect in March of last year.
But by working as a team and educating the other three girls, they learned to understand and took on the role of “mini-caregivers” for their sister.
“If Alexis is having a seizure now, they can often help her get through it – before I do,” Ms. Clark said.
During a disrupted school year, the four girls were fortunate enough to continue attending Brinsworth Whitehill Elementary School.
For the first time, when school sizes were limited, they ended up in the same class after previously being in three different classes.
“I think it was a challenge for the teachers to have the four girls in one class – they can be a handful,” said Mr Clark, 52, who works as a van driver.
Most mornings they are all ready in under an hour, although sometimes due to Alexis’ autism there might be some delays.
And when they leave the front door, they are transported in a Multimac car seat specially designed to accommodate the four of them.
“Sometimes I have to spend a little more time with Alexis to persuade her to get ready for school,” Mr. Clark said. “The other three are very independent.
This has been a challenge over the past year as both their families live in the south of England and the Clark family rely on the added support of a close circle of friends.
With four young children to feed, including Darcy who also suffers from severe food intolerances including gluten, dairy, cornmeal and soy, finances inevitably got tight.
However, a slight relief from arts and crafts, games with each other, interactive online dance lessons, and regular visits to the park have provided a welcome respite for the family over the past year.
Mr Clark claimed that one of the biggest achievements of the blockages was teaching Elisha and Alexis to ride bikes without stabilizers.
“It was a very proud moment for Dad to see this,” said Mr. Clark, who plans to teach Caroline and Darcy how to ride independently as well over the next two months.
While each new year brings new challenges, the family considers themselves lucky each day because after nine years of trying to conceive naturally, the Clarkes fear they will never have a family of their own.
“Wanting kids for almost 10 years and then being told you have four – I still wake up every morning no matter how mean or mischievous they may have been I count my lucky stars as we could. have a family, ”Mr. Clark mentioned. “We have been blessed. “
Follow the girls on Twitter here.
The miracle of the “Fab Four”
After nine years of trying to conceive naturally, the Clark family turned to the specialists at IVF CARE Sheffield.
Multiple births were once relatively common when IVF involved the use of more than one embryo to improve success rates.
Doctors now prefer to use a single embryo and three weeks after implanting the single embryo, a pregnancy test confirmed Christine Clark was pregnant.
The odds were estimated to be 70 million to one, while experts also said the likelihood of an embryo creating four babies is likely to occur only once every 4,000 years.
The quads were delivered 10 weeks in advance on March 25, 2013, by cesarean section. Caroline weighed 2 pounds 3 ounces, Darcy 2 pounds, Elisha 2 pounds 14 ounces, and Alexis 3 pounds.
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