Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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December 19, 2011

One big happy family

Quadruplets, twins bring ‘blessings’

LOCKPORT — The two-story house at 322 Caledonia St. has assorted troubles, but is packed with love, caring and smiles.

It houses 2-year old quadruplets, 10-year-old twins and, of course, mom and dad, Bridgett Maskell and John Mistalski.

The 2-year-olds are part of the first quints known to be born of Niagara County parents. Justin, Tyler, Ramona, Anna Belle and Kayla were born Oct. 1, 2009, at Buffalo Children’s Hospital after a high-risk pregnancy. Kayla, Baby A, died 16 days after birth.

The quints, who totaled less than 7 pounds, were born 25 days early. A sixth baby died in the first month of pregnancy.

It was touch-and-go for some time. Tyler weighed a pound. Ramona was 1-pound, 11-ounces; Anna Belle and Justin 1-pound, 9-ounces; and Kayla, 1-pound, 10-ounces.

Bridgett had twins,  Brandon and Aimee Jo, from a previous marriage.

The house has three bedrooms and a room off the dining room with four cribs.

Bridgett is a personnel manager at the Walmart in Lockport and works six days a week. John works nights stocking shelves at the Walmart in Niagara Falls. He is also a volunteer with the South Lockport Fire Co.

How do they manage? The 10-year-olds are helping hands. Their love is uplifting. John’s mother, Marianne Mistalski, comes twice a week from Buffalo.

Occupational, speech, physical and special instruction therapists are regular visitors. A friend from Walmart baby sits.

Two babies are walking and one is crawling. Justin is talking. Tyler is on the move.

Two of the 2-year-olds have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Justin and Anna Bella. Justin is progressing, and the family just found out Anne Bella has CP.

“Now that they’re at the age of 2, when you pick up one, the other one wants to be picked up,” John said. “When they’re playing with toys, you can have four of the same, but they all want what each other is playing with.”

“I am very much blessed,” said Bridgett. “They have their moments where they fight over a toy or something, but normally they’re pretty good.”

The boys like to chase each other under the kitchen table. Tyler wears a T-shirt that reads “Patience Tester” — and he is.

Their story was featured two years ago on the Today Show and Ch. 2. They were the second quints born in Erie County.

Bridgett, a native of Wilson, has been working at Walmart for 12 years, and John has been working at Walmart for nine years. They met at a Walmart in Clarence.

Mom and dad and the children have different last names. The boys are Justin and Tyler Mistalski. The girls are Ramona and Anne Bella Maskell. “It was just the way she wanted to do it when we got married,” John Mistalski said.

The twins, Brandon Pardee and Aimee Jo Maskell, attend Emmet Belknap. “It gives them more of an independence,” Bridgett Maskell explained the different surnames.

John and Bridgett wanted children, and Bridgett took a fertility drug to conceive but did not undergo in vitro fertilization.

“It was mind-boggling,” John said, and thought, “Where we going to put them? How are we going to get around. Am I going to be able to be a good dad to these babies?”

Mom and dad do get out occasionally and will take the babies shopping. Hand-me-downs from friends help.

“We don’t keep the older ones from enjoying Christmas,” John said. “They still get their stuff, but right now the family just helps out and we try to enjoy it.”

As the children get bigger, Bridgett and John hope for a more spacious home and plan to apply to Habitat for Humanity, Lockport.

Contact reporter Bill Wolcott

at 439-9222, ext. 6246.

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