For Darrell and Annie Simms, adjusting to their new life as parents of quadruplets and a toddler can seem like a flurry of bottles, diapers and laundry, but the family is settling into their new life beautifully.
Believed to be Fort McMurray’s first family with quadruplets, the Simms made local headlines with the exciting arrival of Carter, Nate, Julie and Heidi in October 2018. Since then, the little ones went from a newborn intensive care unit in Calgary, to finally making their way home to Fort McMurray in January 2019. Annie and Darrell have been thankful for the support from friends, family and the community.
“We started a Facebook page originally as a way to keep all our friends and family updated with the pregnancy and babies, and quickly learned that many more people were interested and supportive,” says Darrell, Mechanical Availability Leader with Bitumen Processing at Syncrude. “All the well-wishes, gifts and support have been overwhelming and we’ve appreciated it.”
Going back to life as they knew it in Fort McMurray was nearly impossible with the four new additions, but the duo were up for the challenge. So was their three-year-old daughter Payton.
At one point we remember her making comments like ‘where are all these babies coming from’
“We are so lucky she is such a relaxed little girl, and she’s at an age where she wants to help by doing things such as taking out their bibs. Her imagination runs wild sometimes, as only a three-year-old’s can, and she is able to entertain herself sometimes when our hands are full.”
Darrell also noted the incredible support they’ve received from both sides of their families, especially after he went back to work. Extra helping hands have helped to share the load at home.
“I remember feeling so excited about getting back home, but at the same time having moments of hesitation thinking about figuring it all out,” says Annie, on parental leave from Suncor Energy.
It makes us laugh when we think about getting to this point – I am proud of all the progress our family has made.
Aside from the obvious baby supplies needed to accommodate one newborn, the Simms family had to figure out making “four-of-everything” work. The couple did hours of research on a new vehicle that could accommodate the right number of car seat attachments, bought two double strollers, used trial and error to figure out the baby sleeping arrangements, and use online shopping to order specialized premature infant formula.
With a lot of juggling and planning, Annie, Darrell and their children are all adjusting well. The family takes things day by day. “My wife is an amazing woman. She is so organized and helps to keep everything running efficiently for our family. Sometimes we both look at each other and laugh – we are so outnumbered,” adds Darrell. “We make sure to check in with each other every night. So far we are enjoying our new normal. We’ll figure out the details as time goes on.”