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Poulsbo’s quintuplets, eight years later
POULSBO — In the event you stop in at the Vintage Housewife on Front Street, the answer to your question is, “Yes, they do all belong to Courtnee.”
Mike and Courtnee Stevenson’s quintuplets turn 8 on March 30. As Western Washington’s first set of quintuplets, the children are accustomed to attention; they’ve been the subject of news stories and a local wall calendar, and in 2011 were guests on KING-5 TV’s New Day Northwest.
Today, the quintuplets — Aniston, Belle, Camilee, Scarlett and Weston — pursue their individual interests. They are in different classes at school and enjoy a variety of after-school activities: gymnastics, ballet and hockey. You might see the children and their 11-year-old sister Lilli at the Vintage Housewife, which their mom co-owns. Lilli likes to help out at the cash register and the children create refrigerator magnets to sell. Mom puts their earnings into a savings account.
Courtnee Stevenson said the experience of raising six children is not much different from that of moms of fewer children, except there’s just so much more of everything. “Every mother goes through the same exact things as I do. It’s just that mine is times 6,” she said. “When the quintuplets were going through the ‘Terrible 3s’, it was times 5.”
Stevenson was initially told that she would not be able to have children without fertility treatment. Her first treatment resulted in her first pregnancy with Lilli. She and her husband expected the same result the second time around. But, nine weeks into her pregnancy, Stevenson got really sick and had terrible headaches.
During an ultrasound to check her condition, the technician said, “I see three babies! No, I see four. Wait, there’s five!”
Stevenson’s 80-year-old grandmother was in the exam room with her. She started jumping up and down and said, “I knew you’d do something great!”
Stevenson’s doctors at UW wanted her to carry two babies and terminate the other pregnancies; she said her doctors told her she was doing a disservice to her husband and daughter by keeping all five babies, that a woman’s body is not meant to handle such multiple pregnancies.
Once she saw a baby’s face on the ultrasound, she said, there was no way she would make that choice.
Stevenson found a support group, MOST, for women with multiple pregnancies. Through the group, she made contact with Dr. John P. Elliot in Arizona who specializes in multiple births. It was at Swedish Hospital that Stevenson found Dr. Tanya Sorenson, who agreed to work with Elliot.
Stevenson spent four months on bedrest in the hospital and all the babies were born just fine.
The Stevenson quintuplets consider their mom their hero. “They say, ‘Mommy, you saved all of us,’” Stevenson said. “My children are more of an asset than a burden.”
What will the quintuplets do for their birthday? They will have their first slumber party. Each girl has invited two friends, while brother Weston made the case to his mom that he should be able to invite three friends. So, yes, on March 30 the Stevenson home will be a household of 16 children — likely giggling instead of sleeping.