Rebecca George looks most like her brother, Alexander. He's the easiest to distinguish because he's the only boy in the bunch. Besides, he's bald. Natalie is the smallest. And Erica? Her face looks just a little rounder than those of her siblings.

Four eggs. Four babies."We were just trying for one," says new mother Cathy George. "One would have been fine."

Just telling the Christmastime quadruplets apart is still something of a trick for George, 23, and her husband, Ralph, 28. But the Rexburg, Idaho, parents know the most difficult part is ahead: raising the four babies born during a single trip to the delivery room.

"We'll have our hands full," George says. "Just when we were holding them for the pictures the other day, we couldn't do anything."

During pregnancy, Cathy George was conscious of two tiers of babies: the uppers and the lowers. Now she figures Alex, her largest child, and Natalie, the smallest, were responsible for the kicks and heartbeats in the upper region of her abdomen. Rebecca and Erica must have been the lower babies.

What she remembers about delivering some 17 pounds of baby is the noise. She and her husband were relieved by what they heard.

"They delivered one baby, and it cried," says father Ralph George. "That was a good sign to me." All of them were crying when they came out.

Then came announcements from the delivery team: ` "It's a girl. It's a girl. It's a boy. It's a girl,' " remembers mother Cathy George.

George was taking a fertility drug when she got pregnant after trying for two years, but her doctors didn't think it was working and planned to discontinue the treatment.

An ultrasound in her seventh week of pregnancy revealed two babies. Another one during her 12th week revealed four babies.

By 24 weeks, she was the size of most women at 40 weeks of pregnancy. She spent nine weeks confined to bed at the University Hospital. By the time of her hourlong Caesarean section delivery on Dec. 22, she had gained 53 pounds.

The quads were the third set delivered at University Hospital in the past five years and the only quadruplets not conceived through in-vitro fertilization, said hospital spokesman John Dwan.

Born seven weeks premature, the George quadruplets, were relatively large: 5.1, 4.6, 4.0 and 3.1 pounds. For a time, all four were connected to ventilator tubes for oxygen.

The babies are expected to be hospitalized for another two or three weeks. Then the whole family, who are now staying in Riverton with relatives, will move back home to their Rexburg apartment.

Cathy George, a registered nurse there, says her babies have been the talk of the hospital. She's grateful for the offers of help, grateful for two sets of grandparents who live in town.

The quads make up four of the five grandbabies welcomed into the George family within a December week, four of eight grandchildren born within the last eight months.

"We tell our friends not to tell us planned grandparenthood jokes, because we're happy about them," says Grandmother Carol George.

Ralph George has delayed starting pharmacy school at the University of Montana. Both he and his wife sound a bit overwhelmed about their plunge into parenthood, times four.

When four eggs become four babies, that translates to four cribs and four midnight feedings. The Georges don't have any of those cribs yet. They waited to set up the nursery to make sure all the babies would survive.

"I think it'll be real hard, but I think somehow we'll make it," Cathy George says.

"We wouldn't have minded a family this size," says the new mother. "We just didn't expect to get them all here at once."


Donations will be accepted at any branch of First Security Bank for the George quadruplets.