Vivian van Gorder had intended to graduate from Tarleton State University - Waco this fall with her MBA.
Had her plan worked out, she would be shopping for books and supplies now while preparing for her last semester of study.
That was before daughter Grace and her three siblings changed everything.
Vivian and her husband, Chris, an associate professor of religion at Baylor University, knew they were going to be parents. In fact, their doctor had advised them to prepare for triplets.
Then during Vivian’s pregnancy, Grace hid, only making her presence known after two brothers and a sister had already been born.
“The doctor said, ‘Here’s a boy, and another boy, and a girl,’” Vivian recalled. “Then he said, ‘Wait a minute, we found another baby. A girl.’ It was like a movie.”
Vivian, who moved to Waco from her native Nigeria 12 years ago, learned she was in a family way after complaining to her doctor of fatigue in December last year.
She and her husband already had three children, ages 11, 9 and 5. “We thought we were through having babies. We were in shock.”
That shock was multiplied by three when she went for her 18-week check-up sonogram.
“The technician said it had been a long time since she’d seen triplets,” Vivian said. “I told her she must be drunk.
“She said, ‘No, look. Three babies, three heartbeats.’”
The planning for three new family members began in earnest while Vivian was still in spring semester classes.
“Every weekend in April there was a baby shower,” she said. “We got three bassinets, three of everything.”
In May, after finals and assembling what they thought would be all the furniture for the nursery, the big day came.
“I was in the delivery room and one of the nurses said, ‘We’ve been waiting for the Triplet Mom,’” Vivian said.
Her nickname changed with Grace’s unexpected entrance, making the van Gorders the parents of the first quadruplets ever born at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Hillcrest.
Now the parents of seven children, they not only had to add a bassinet and one more set of baby clothes, they had to return a new car bought when they thought they were only bringing home three babies.
“It just seated eight,” Vivian said with a laugh. “We had to return it because our family jumped from five to nine.”
Her educational goals, though temporarily sidetracked, have taken on new meaning now.
“I’m not going to let the babies be a drawback,” she said. “I want to set an example for my kids. Just because I had these babies doesn’t mean it’s the end of my career.”
Next spring she expects to graduate with her MBA about the same time she’s planning a birthday party for Erik, Tristan and Clare.
And don’t forget, for baby Grace, too.