After five months of being almost completely housebound, the Gardner Quad Squad is about to break free. Parents Tyson and Ashley recently announced that their four baby girls will make their first official public appearance at the Pound the Pavement for Parenthood Northern Utah Infertility Race and Fun Run on Saturday in Orem.
The event is held annually to raise money for local couples who are struggling with infertility. This year the run will sponsor Jeff and Bobbie Larsen of Pleasant Grove, Adam and Audre Lux of Pleasant Grove, Ben and Lindsey Mosbarger of Saratoga Springs, and Tyson and Jamie Norton of Logan.
In addition to raising funds for medical treatments and adoption processes, all registered runners have the opportunity to submit one ticket on behalf of themselves, a family member or friend for the chance to win a free IVF cycle donated by Dr. Russell Foulk of Utah Fertility Center.
The Gardners first got involved with the event two years ago when they were in the midst of their own infertility journey. At the time, Ashley was knee deep in selling homemade headbands to raise money for fertility treatments. She and Tyson were invited to sell their products at the race, which helped bring them closer to their goal of being able to afford in-vitro fertilization.
This year, the quad parents registered for the race and plan to man a booth at the event and sell blankets from their popular A Miracle Unfolding product line. They hope to sell about 100 -- at about $32 to $36 each -- and plan to donate 100 percent of the proceeds to one of the sponsored couples.
“That was me a couple of years ago,” Ashley said. “I’ve always told Tyson when we’re in a position to give back, I want to. Any penny I can give to help someone trying to have baby -- that’s what I want to do.”
The Gardners plan to set up their booth at about 8 a.m. on Saturday and will bring their baby girls -- Evangeline, Scarlett, Esme and Indie -- with them.
Because they eat every three hours, the girls will likely only stay for an hour or two, Ashley said. But, she and Tyson wanted to give the public a chance to meet them.
A self-proclaimed “germ freak,” Ashley said she’s nervous but excited about the event. They plan to keep the babies close with the help of baby-wearing gear.
“I’ve made assignments and everyone will be wearing a baby,” she said of her and Tyson’s family members who will also attend the race.
Besides doctor appointments and a few outings to church, the Gardner girls have rarely left their Pleasant Grove home since they were released from the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in mid- to late February. They were born at 28.5-weeks gestation on Dec. 28 -- in the heart of RSV season.
Weighing about two pounds each at birth, the girls have steadily progressed during the last couple of months. At their last appointment, Indie weighed 11 pounds, Esme weighed 12 pounds, Scarlett weighed 12 pounds 12 ounces and Evangeline weighed 12 pounds 15 ounces.
Tyson and Ashley give lots of credit to their family, friends and fans who have helped the along the way, though the couple usually manages the day-to-day tasks of caring for quads on their own. Tyson left his job at BlenderBottle and now works full-time managing the couple’s product line and Etsy shop.
“There was no way I could [manage the Etsy shop] and the babies alone,” Ashley said. “He’s so happy to be able to be home with the girls. It’s nice to have him here.”
The couple plans to introduce four new designs to their product line, hopefully in time for Saturday’s race.
“We got some super cute boy patterns,” Ashley said. “We have tons of stuff for girls and we try to do a lot of gender neutral fabrics, but people want really boy stuff.”
Ultimately, she just wants to raise awareness of and funds for those struggling with infertility.
“I want to make sure we make as much [money] as we can,” Ashley said. “We’ve been in their situation. We want to help and give back.”
For more information about the race, visit http://www.poundthepavementforparenthood.com/. For more information about the Gardner Quad Squad, visit http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/special-sections/quads/. For more information about the couple’s Etsy shop, visit https://www.etsy.com/shop/AMiracleUnfolding.