No one plans to have quadruplets, and Rachel and Henry Lambert were no different.
But after turning to fertility treatments, their lucky number turned up four.
Early in the pregnancy, Rachel remembers when the doctor told them there were three heartbeats. Henry felt nauseous and left the room for a few moments to lie down.
Upon his return, his wife shared more news.
“When I told him four, he had to lay down again,” Rachel said with a laugh.
Her first thought was, “How am I going to pay for college?”
Twenty years later the children are students at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
Rachel said their children initially had other schools in mind, but Henry — an LSU alumnus — “had a great influence” on their final decision.
Luckily, LSU is a manageable seven-hour drive from their Colleyville home. So Joanna LaFleur, Matthew Frank, Stephen Augustus and Amy Marie — graduates of Grapevine High School — came home to celebrate their recent birthdays.
The quadruplets love having a ready-made party all the time thanks to the multiple births.
Amy said she’s glad she’s not a “singleton,” their word for children without siblings.
“Singletons are weird,” Amy said.
Added her older sister Joanna, “They’re spoiled.”
Rachel delivered at 31 weeks, four days.
The quadruplets were born on April 7, 1997, with Joanna LaFleur first at 3 pounds; Matthew Frank second at 3.8 pounds; Stephen Augustus third at 3.5 pounds and Amy Marie fourth at 1.11 pounds.
They were each born one minute apart, with different lengths: Joanna was 15 3/4 inches, Matthew was 16 inches; Stephen was 15 1/2 inches, and Amy Marie was 12 inches.
To help family and friends tell them apart, each was assigned a clothing color: Green for Joanna, blue for Matthew, red for Stephen and yellow for Amy.
The couple asked the hospital to keep the news out of the media, deciding it would be better for the children to grow up out of the limelight.
Asked about the specialness of being a quadruplet, they had different answers.
Said Joanna, “I thinks it’s having all the same friends.”
Said Matthew: “There’s more people to tease around the house.”
Said Stephen: “It’s always fun having someone else around.”
Said Amy: “I demand more attention being the baby.”
‘Always a friend nearby’
They grew up in the Grapevine-Colleyville school district, attending Bransford Elementary and Colleyville Middle School.
When it came time to decide where the fraternal siblings would attend college, many schools were on their radar, including the University of Alabama, Mississippi State and Texas A&M. But dad convinced them his 1988 alma mater was a good choice for all their different interests.
“Having all four at one place is going to make it much easier on us when we go to visit,” Henry said. “It’s a built-in support system for them.”
The boys room together and so do the girls.
“There’s always a friend nearby,” said Henry, who is senior manager of packaging logistics at Dr Pepper Snapple Group in Plano.
He said LSU was a great fit for each of their majors: chemical engineering for Stephen and Matthew, horticulture for Joanna and wetland science and French for Amy.
The Lamberts have attended LSU football games with their parents since they were youngsters, so the Baton Rouge campus already feels like home.
“It’s funny how much quieter the house is,” Rachel said. “There’s a drastic drop in dishes and food.”