Noah would have been amazed. His old two-by-two standard is being doubled by Holladay couples in the baby business. They're adding to the population four at a time.
It was just a few days after hearing of the March 15 birth of Scott and Sherri Cook's quadruplets that Ken and Diana Hsu were shocked to learn that their three girls (Julie, 8; Lisa, 6, and Stacy, 31/2) would be getting a pre-Christmas gift - four new siblings."My husband's first reaction (to the tell-all ultrasound) was he thought I was going to die, and then he thought he was going to die from instant bankruptcy," said Diana Hsu, who was hospitalized eight weeks ago after going into premature labor.
Her due date is Oct. 1. But physicians at the University Hospital predict the quads will be born in late July or early August.
"At first I didn't want to get my hopes up too high; because of the premature labor I thought I was going to lose them," the 27-year-old woman said. "Now that the babies seem more and more real (they're kicking up a storm), I think, `how are we going to take care of them?' "
What worries the young couple most are the enormous medical expenses that have been piling up and the possibility that there will be no insurance money to cover them.
Ken Ching-Jing Hsu immigrated from Taiwan five years ago and had been a full-time student until he married Diana two years ago and became "Daddy Ken" to her three girls by a previous marriage. Although his bachelor's degree is in fine arts, he has been managing two Dairy Queen drive-ins while launching a career as a professional artist.
Before her hospitalization, Diana Hsu also worked at Dairy Queen of Utah - as a secretary. And it was through that company on Feb. 1 that she enrolled herself and her dependents in an FHP family plan. Her husband had previously been a full-time group member.
But her employment at Dairy Queen was brief.
Diana Hsu said that on Feb. 23 she learned she was pregnant; on March 18, an ultrasound confirmed she was carrying quads.
Eleven days later the family received notification that FHP would no longer renew its contract with Dairy Queen of Utah - a decision Diana Hsu believes is directly related to her pregnancy.
But Dr. Robert M. Alston, FHP associate vice president of medical affairs, maintains that's bunk.
"We dropped the group because of low penetration and lack of profitability on the group over a two-year period," he said. "When the underwriting department made the decision they didn't know she was pregnant."
Alston said all members of the group, as with any group in this situation, were offered individual conversion plans that provides a continuation of care and coverage.
Alston acknowledges it's a slightly different policy. Under the initial Dairy Queen policy, Diana Hsu had 100 percent hospitalization reimbursement; the conversion policy provides for 80 percent reimbursement.
But the medical director insists this is a "non-issue" because there is also a "stop-loss" clause that says she cannot pay more than $1,000 before the company picks up the expenses.
"The conversion policy would up their rates by about $70 a month, but for whatever reason she is choosing not to pick it up is political nonsense," Alston said. "It was a business decision to drop the group, but if she chooses to join us (through the conversion policy) within the next few days we will pay her bills. If she chooses not to, she'll be on the hook for all bills since April 1."
Diana Hsu has decided not to pick up the conversion plan because she believes she was dropped because of the quads and is concerned that she and her husband will have to pay 20 percent of her hospitalization (likely to exceed $150,000) if they went with the optional plan. She said she has not been informed by FHP of the "stop-loss" clause.
Instead, she has filed a complaint against FHP with the Utah State Insurance Department. In her April 13 letter to the insurance commissioner, she wrote, "I must know the turnout of this complaint before the end of April. In the event that this case will not change FHP's behavior, then I will plan to pick up on FHP's conversion policy."
However, Diana Hsu said Tuesday she no longer has that intention.
Alston said FHP has answered one letter of inquiry from the department, and he now presumes that the department has accepted the company's response and the matter is settled.
Not so, according to state insurance officials who Tuesday said they are still negotiating with FHP. A second letter, requesting additional information, has been sent by the department to the insurance carrier.
Meanwhile the Hsu family is seeking parental advice from the Cooks, whose quads are home in Holladay, sharing a condominium with sisters Heather, 5 1/2, and Ashley, 2.
Although the Cooks' insurance covered all medical bills, the couple quickly learned that rearing four babies (each of whom goes through eight to 10 diapers a day) isn't cheap - or easy.
"It's hard and time consuming, but they are four special individuals and because we love them so much, it's hard to complain when they are so sweet and good," said Sherri Cook, whose already busy life turned hectic two weeks ago when all four babies were reunited.
It takes two hours to bathe, change and feed the quads, who eat every three to four hours (32 bottles of formula a day).
Yes, that means little sleep for Sherri and Scott Cook who are awakened twice for a nightly routine. Cuddled on their king-size bed, each holds two of the babies. While one infant eats, the other is entertained by David Letterman on late night television. When that baby is being burped across the parent's knees, the other one downs the formula. Each child has been assigned a specific color to keep their pacifiers straight.
The quads have consumed their lives, but the Cooks aren't complaining. Born 10 weeks premature, the babies - Gregory John, Jordan Scott, Heidi and Amy - ranged in weight from 2 pounds, 12 ounces to 3 pounds, 2 ounces. They now are a hefty 71/2 pounds to 6 pounds, 3 ounces and are healthy - almost free of medical complications.
Each child still wears a heart monitor (a built-in alarm system), and each sleeps on a reflex board, to avoid vomiting and possibly aspirating. But Gregory is the only child still on oxygen, and the quads' pediatrician has assured the Cooks that the big green oxygen cylinder won't be part of the nursery decor much longer.
Wednesday is a special day for the Cook family. It's the day the quads were due to be born. It's a day Sherri and Scott Cook planned to celebrate the miracle of life.