Daniel Hodges, a veteran and third-year medical student at Texas A&M College of Medicine, and his wife, Liz, welcomed quintuplets into the world March 24. (Jay Janner/Austin American Statesman)
By Katherine Hancock, Texas A&M University Health Science Center
Being a U.S. Marine isn’t easy. Medical school certainly isn’t a cake walk. But perhaps raising quintuplets (Teagan, Connell, Liam, Nolan and Dillon) and their 2-year old brother Rowan may be the biggest test of Daniel Hodges’ life.
The third-year medical student at Texas A&M College of Medicine recently welcomed an incredible gift when his wife, Liz, gave birth to quintuplets March 24. Four months later, the last quintuplet, Dillon, is now home with his family.
“Since all the babies have come home, it feels like one huge, beautiful but long day,” Hodges said. “Despite that we are all doing well, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
The Hodges family started fertility treatments after facing a bit of difficulty when adding more children to their family after their first son was born. Their prayers were answered when they found out Liz was pregnant, but even then, they didn’t quite expect the surprise of quintuplets.
As Hodges continues the clinical portion of his medical training, he says the experience of the quintuplets is helping to shape him into the type of physician he wants to be. A veteran and former paramedic, he hopes to work with Veterans Affairs as a physician after medical school and help serve those who have served.
“It reminds you that you don’t know what’s happening in peoples’ lives, and you have to treat everyone the way you want to be treated,” Hodges said. “I’ve always tried to live that way, but this really brings it home. Not everyone knows that I have quints, and they may not realize why I’m a little sluggish compared to what I know is my normal self.”
Overall, Hodges said the family is doing well and that the quintuplets are doing especially well, considering they were born at 26 weeks—that’s three months premature, which is an older gestation age than the average for quintuplets. Aside from the logistical difficulties of having five newborns, having five premature infants can bring additional difficulties. For instance, Connell had to have a feeding tube.
Hodges credits his wife, a nurse, with the family’s ability to make it through the experience.
“Liz is definitely our rock,” Hodges said.
Hodges also credits the spirit of the Aggie family for their support through the experience. His medical school classmates have stood behind the Hodges, donating food and money, and lending support.
“The Aggie network is so cool, camaraderie of Aggies is a real and tangible thing,” Hodges said. “I feel like all my classmates have really rallied around us.”
As if quintuplets and medical school weren’t enough, they’ve also added a reality TV show to the mix. The Hodges Half Dozen will air this fall on TLC. Hodges says that the network contacted them after viewing their Facebook page and GoFundMe account online.
“Initially we weren’t sure about it, but we ultimately didn’t want to close a door on something that may be a blessing for us and others,” Hodges said. “We wanted another wholesome show out there for families, and we get to document what we’re going through. With five little ones it can be hard to stop and remember to take pictures and videos of the experience. Now we not only get to share this experience, we will get the opportunity to look back and share it with our children later.”
While the family is adjusting to life under one roof, they are excited about the future and all the experiences ahead.
“I have definitely cultivated more patience in all that I do,” Hodges said. “I thought I had a lot of grit, but now I see I have more than I ever imagined.”
This story by Katherine Hancock originally appeared in Vital Record. Photo credit: Jay Janner, Austin American Statesman. Read their coverage of the Hodges Family.