Long County quadruplets Bowen Harrison “Bo” Parker, Robert Charles “Charlie” Parker, Walter Dale “Tripp” Parker III and Ellie Reece Parker celebrated their first birthday last weekend at the Dorchester Shooting Preserve in Midway.
More than 100 friends and family attended the party, showing support for the four babies and their mother, Jenna; father, Bubba; and two sisters, Reagan, 7, and Riley, 12.
Jenna Parker said the last year has been a whirlwind, and she has learned a lot from all of the joy and difficulty.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself,” she said. “There was a lot of times it was pretty chaotic, but the good Lord has always been there for me, and I found out I was much stronger than I ever thought I was.”
But Parker said that even though the year did have some tough times, every time she saw her four babies playing or walking or doing all of the other things babies do, she was thankful.
“Each time things got a little crazy, I tried to remember that I had so much to be thankful for,” she said. “With a high-risk pregnancy (like mine), the likelihood of health problems are higher. So whenever I got up in the middle of the night, I always remembered that I was getting up to four completely healthy children. … That’s what gets me up every day.”
Parker said that taking care of Bo, Charlie, Tripp and Ellie is a full-time job. Fortunately, her two older children, Riley and Reagan, are always ready to lend a helping hand.
“Riley is older, so her role is more like a parenting one,” Parker said. “She loves them so much and helps me take care of all of them. Having her is a real blessing. For Reagan, it was a little more difficult. You have to remember, for seven years she was the baby. She takes more to Ellie and helps with her, at least until Ellie gets tired of her and wants her to go away.”
Parker said that her four babies have their own individual personalities and are unique.
“Ellie is the diva,” Parker said. “She’s the youngest, and she will let you know what she thinks and what she wants. She is the most patient of the four, and she also loves books and when you read to her.
“Bo, he’s the trickster and is always making some kind of mischief. He makes the biggest mess and will chew and eat anything. If he is quiet, you know he’s up to something.
“Tripp, he does everything first. He crawled first; now he’s moving so fast, it’s like he’s running. He was the first one I felt inside of me, and I call him the pain in my side — just like his daddy — but he is also a big mama’s boy.
“Charlie, he’s the sweetest young’un you’ll ever meet,” Parker said. “He loves to kiss and cuddle, and he will hug anyone. He’s also very sensitive, laid back and he loves his Daddy.”
She said that having six kids has made finances tight, forcing her husband, Bubba, to have to work three different jobs. She said with his working all of the time, she doesn’t ask him to do much around the home, so he ends up primarily playing with the kids.
“When he walks in the door, he whistles, and they know that whistle means Daddy’s home,” Jenna Parker said.
Parker said that though she and her husband are happy now, that is not how they initially felt when they discovered that she would be having more than one baby. She said that during her pregnancy, she knew something wasn’t right, but she didn’t know what it was. Only after a specially scheduled ultrasound did she and Bubba Parker learn that there were four babies inside of her.
“I was completely and totally scared; I was hyperventilating,” Jenna Parker said. “No one can imagine what was going through my mind.”
But she said that with the support of her friends, her family and, especially, God, she was able to find peace.
“Everyone needs to remember a person is a person no matter how small they are,” Parker said. “Once I gave it all to God and put my faith in him, it was OK. He took care of me and my babies.”