PORT ORANGE, Fla. - It's been a special year for Jessica and Marco Falletta family of Port Orange.
Last Jan. 22, their quadruplets were born 12 weeks early at Jacksonville's Baptist Medical Center. The babies - identical triplets Isabella, Gianna and Natalia and their fraternal sister Alexis - weighed 2.5 pounds or less at birth and spent several months in neonatal intensive care.
Over the past year, the Falettas have learned to function on almost no sleep, soothe crying babies and navigate through crowds of gawkers when they go out.
"This has been the best year of our lives and the most stressful year of our lives," Marco Falletta, 38, told The Daytona Beach News-Journal. "We've learned what it means to have faith.
Over the course of the year, Jessica Falletta decided to quit her job as a nurse to stay home with the babies because of the high cost of child care. Her husband quit his job as co-owner of an Ormond Beach restaurant to open his own place in Daytona Beach.
Now, Marco Falletta works 8 a.m. through 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Sunday is reserved as a family day and a date night with his wife, while the grandparents babysit.
The babies are still about three months behind on some milestones, but doctors say they'll catch up by the time they turn 2.
They can now crawl, hold their bottles and stand. The girls wear different colored earrings so their parents can tell them apart.
The Fallettas have learned to deal with the attention they get when they take the children on outings.
"We tried to keep track of how many people stopped us once, but we lost count by the seventh person," Jessica Falletta said.
They found that a quick trip could turn into an all-day affair if they stopped to talk to everyone. So their tactic is to keep moving. They're less likely to be stopped if they stay in motion.
"I'm not the kind of person who seeks attention, so it was hard for me at first, but I've gotten used to the stares," she said.
They're also taking one day at a time. The idea of four daughters dating stops them in their tracks.
"That's pretty scary," their father said. "I don't even want to think about what that will be like."
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