Bolton's historic quadruplets start nursery school
RED-Y TO GO From left, quads, Bethany, Millie, Elli, all aged three, grandmother Chris Marlow, big sister Abbie, aged 12, and mum Gillian
PARENTS of Bolton’s record-breaking quadruplets could not be more proud of their precious little girls — now they have started nursery school.
Gillian Holden and Marc Hanley defied odds of 750,000 to one when they naturally conceived Bethany, Millie, Lucy and Ellie.
They are the first family in Bolton to have quads in 50 years.
Miss Holden, aged 39, who lives with her family in Kearsley, said: “Three years have gone so quickly.
“They were really tiny when they were born and now they are in nursery, I am so proud of them and happy that they are happy.”
The girls were born prematurely by Caesarean section and spent in months in hospital before being allowed home.
The quads turned three on January 28. Bethany, Millie and Lucy, attend the nursery at Kearsley West Primary and Ellie, who has cerebral palsy is at Green Fold nursery in Farnworth.
Miss Holden said: “They all have their own personalities now.
“Bethany is very strong willed, Millie is cheeky and adorable, Lucy is a listener and Ellie is always giggling and laughing.
“They are all very different — and it is a battle of wills sometimes.”
And reaching this stage of their lives really is a landmark moment for the gorgeous quads.
The babies were delivered after just 28 weeks, when the strain of carrying them proved too much for Miss Holden’s body, and her organs started to fail.
Miss Holden said doctors wanted to deliver the children at 25 weeks but she was determined to hold out as long as she could.
And thanks to medics at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester, Miss Holden and all four of her children survived the birth.
Millie and Bethany still needed oxygen 24-hours a day through nasal tubes when they came home and Ellie is still on oxygen.
But now, the girls are confident youngsters, enjoying the normal sibling rivalry and playing together — especially now the military operation of feeding and changing their nappies is more relaxed.
But the couple still have more to worry about than most parents.
Not only that but Mr Hanley suffered a heart attack just before Christmas and needed to have bypass surgery.
Ellie suffers from seizures and still has oxygen when she sleeps.
She is still under the care of doctors and has undergone a number of operations, spending the end of last year and the first few months of this year in hospital.
Little Ellie struggles to sleep through the night and her parents are often up with her until the early hours of the morning.
“She will wake up at 2am and we are downstairs with her most of the night and still only get a few hours asleep,” said Mr Hanley.
And all four of the girls are still susceptible to chest infections.
Last year the family suffered a scare when Millie and Bethany struggled to breathe.
Mr Hanley, aged 51, said: “I thought we had lost them. You cannot switch off, we know the symptoms and are always aware of what could happen.
“When I had a heart bypass earlier this year I just kept thinking of my family. When I was taken into hospital with a heart attack just before Christmas they wanted to do the bypass operation then but I wanted to be with my family. They let me go home but said the operation would have be done as soon as possible afterwards.
“Ellie was very poorly and there were times when we were told that there might be nothing that could be done. I always knew she would make it — and look at her now. ”
Miss Holden said: “It doesn’t get easier, it gets harder.
“Maybe when they are in full-time school it might be easier.
“But then they come up to and tell you they love you or say sorry — and they are so adorable.”
Thanks to Miss Holden’s parents, Michael and Christine Holden, the couple are still able to spend quality time together.
And they are determined to ensure their eldest daughter Abbie is not forgotten while the younger ones jostle for attention.
Abbie and her mum make sure they enjoy shopping trips and days out, just the two of them.
Twelve-year-old Abbie, a pupil at Kearsley Academy, said: “I am very protective of my sisters and I was a little worried when they started nursery. But I am so proud of them.”
The girls, who share a bedroom, say they enjoy nursery school.
Fortunately for the nursery teachers the girls wear name badges — so identical twins Bethany and Millie cannot confuse the teachers.
Lucy said: “I enjoy painting.”
Millie added: “I enjoy playing and have made friends.”
Bethany said: “I am excited to go to nursery, I like it and look after my sisters.”
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