Keeping up with their quints keeps Houston parents hopping

The Macon TelegraphMay 19, 2013 

Editor's note: This story was originally published March 6, 1996.

Four tiny bodies zip across the carpet and ceramic tile floor of Angela and Kerry Lineberger's Houston County home. They scoot and crawl with lightning speed.

Hunter heads for the child-size picnic table in the kitchen then sprawls out next to it, face to the floor, with a giggle.

Luke pulls himself up on a living room chair reaching quickly for a fragile blue china bowl just as his mother scoops it up and moves it safely to higher ground.

Ben emits a low-pitched gurgle and a screech as he makes hand prints on the floor-to-ceiling living room window.

Tal sits back, quietly observing the commotion with a grin, looking as if he's wondering just what his own plan of action ought to be.

"It's never boring around here, that's for sure," said Angela Lineberger, mother of the four boys who are on a rampage through her house. "They all have their unique personalities."

And they all, along with their 3-year-old brother Tully, occupy just about every minute of their mother's time.

"I'm very organized," Angela said. "But it's still like trying to take care of a bunch of puppies sometimes. If you don't keep all the doors closed, you lose babies. I'll find one in the closet or under the bed. It can be crazy."

Hunter Christian, Joshua Talbot, Benjamin Kirk and Charles Lucas are celebrating their first birthday today.

Probably the first quintuplets in the state though no agency keeps a record of such things the boys were the stars of the neonatal intensive care nursery after their birth at The Medical Center of Central Georgia.

The babies were conceived while their mother took fertility drugs and were born five weeks early. They were at first placed on ventilators to help them breathe because their lungs weren't fully developed. The fifth baby, Zachary Quinten, suffered from a congenital heart defect and was stillborn.

"I still think of him," said Angela, holding back tears as she spoke. "Especially now, on their birthday. People think we have so many we forget about Zachary, but we never will."

The other four are amazingly healthy, an unusual feat for multiple-birth babies. They were "truly exceptions to the rule," said Dr. Atul Khurana, their neonatologist.

And they've made the Lineberger home a one-of-a-kind household. The action hasn't stopped since the boys came home from the hospital.

Feeding them bottles every three hours when they first came home was a nightmare, said dad, Kerry Lineberger. Now Angela has it down to a science. She circles the high chairs around her to feed them all at one time, in assembly line fashion. Since their tastes differ, at least one is usually in tears during the 20-minute process. According to their laid-back mom, they just have to "learn to deal with it."

Big brother Tully has had his share of adjustment problems. From trying to feed little brother Ben a variety of nickels and dimes, to covering himself with baby powder, to biting the neighbors' dog for attention, Tully has had to learn survival techniques along with sharing his parents with four siblings. He often takes his toys and barricades himself in the babies' play pen to have some time to himself.

"But he's learning to be a good big brother," said Kerry. "It's just taken time."

The boys sleep from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., so a good night's sleep is available to everyone in the Lineberger household. And Kerry and Angela are the first to admit they need it. It's much easier than it used to be, both parents agree. And they've had lots of help from family and friends. But it still "wears you out sometimes," said Angela.

So surely the Lineberger family has reached its maximum number, right? Well, maybe.

"Once they all start school, you never know," Angela said, "We might want another baby."

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service