College

Sunday, Dec 11 2011 05:14 PM

CSUB assistant Goodman and wife raise 3 surviving quadruplets

  1. 1 of 8

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Coach Bryan Goodman spends time after work and dinner playing with his children including Grace, Reece and Clark.

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  2. 2 of 8

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Reece takes a shot while brother, Clark, and dad, Bryan Goodman watch him win the game of 21 in their backyard.

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  3. 3 of 8

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    The Goodmans wrap up their meal time, as father and coach Bryan talks with Clark as he takes a few last bites, while brother, Reece, right, watches, and mom, Amy and Grace are in the background of their new home in Bakersfield just in time for Christmas.

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  4. 4 of 8

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Amy goodman and son Clark spend time together after dinner time in the Goodman house.

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  5. 5 of 8

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    The Goodman's ham it up during family portrait time including, Clark, Amy, Reece, Bryan, and Grace.

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  6. 6 of 8

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Grace Goodman all of the sudden becomes shy after dinner and hides behind a lampstand.

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  7. 7 of 8

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Coach and father Bryan Goodman plays hoops in their backyard with two sons, Clark, and Reece.

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  8. 8 of 8

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Coach Bryan Goodman gives his daughter Grace a kiss after dinner time before the family has game time.

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BY jeff evans Californian staff writer jevans@bakersfield.com

Bryan Goodman apologizes that a few boxes still need to be unpacked in his office in the CSU Bakersfield Icardo Center.

But prominent on the bulletin board just above his desk is a black-and-white photo of his 3 children, who were born minutes apart nearly six years ago: sons Reece and Clark and daughter Grace.

"They are a handful," said Goodman, CSUB's associate head coach for men's basketball.

Goodman and his wife, Amy, had a fourth child that day: a daughter, Sophia.

She didn't survive. Sophia got sick from an infection and died 60 days after she was born.

The quadruplets were born 15 weeks premature on Jan. 10, 2006, and there were times when the Goodmans thought none of their children would make it.

But now they're in kindergarten at Columbia Elementary School. Members of the CSUB team come by the Goodmans' home and play with the children. Amy and the children come to CSUB home games and sit behind the Roadrunner bench.

"Cognitively, they can all talk back," Goodman said. "They can all laugh. They're learning in school. They can argue with each other. They fight over Legos.

"We're very blessed."

Sophia remains a part of the Goodman family, her father said.

"We just kind of made that decision," he said. "So they know her. They talk about her. They ask questions about her. We celebrate the day she passed every year."

Amy said her three children often talk about Sophia, even to strangers.

"We've addressed Sophia's passing at their age level," she said. "We keep it simple. I can talk to them about it. Her name comes up often. I don't have to pass it over."

Bryan said there's no way to explain what it's like to lose a child.

"I'd like to say I'm over it, but we're not over it," he said. "Every time we're having a good time with the family, we kind of look at each other and say, 'Almost perfect.' "

Amy said the tragedy prepared her for being the wife of a basketball coach.

"Looking back on it, that's what's so ironic," she said. "I never knew the high and lows; the hirings and the firings. We've moved three times since the children were born.

"Losing a child is the worst thing that can happen. It puts things in perspective. When things happen like losing a job, it seems disastrous and horrible. But nothing compared to what we went through."

Bryan and Amy Goodman were married in May, 1998. By 2005 they were ready for children.

After being unsuccessful at conceiving, Amy was prescribed the drug clomid, which helps a woman produce more eggs.

"I had to resort to taking fertility medication, where we were told we could have twins," she said, adding that in vitro fertilization was not an option.

"When we went in for the first time for an ultrasound after an initial positive blood test, they said 'twins.' This was exciting and fun news. And then the second doctors visit they said 'quadruplets.' That brought me to tears."

Bryan said he was ignorant of the risks of having four.

"I thought, 'The more, the merrier,' " he said. "Obviously I saw a lot of concern on the doctor's face, which was a little concerning. And there was a lot of concern after the doctor left. Amy started crying.

"She was well-read, obviously, about the complications that can arise from multiple births."

Bryan, an assistant coach at Bucknell University (Lewisburg, Pa.) at the time, said the doctor in charge strongly urged the Goodmans to reduce the pregnancy.

"That's something we weren't comfortable with," Bryan said. "And seeing how they were going to do it, we were even more uncomfortable."

Another doctor said Amy was healthy and should be able to handle it, Bryan said.

"He said, 'In this day and age, we have the technology. I think you can carry them long enough to have a healthy pregnancy.'"

In late December or early January, Amy had an ultrasound scheduled. It was supposed to be routine.

Cameras from ESPN The Season were following the Goodmans around as the Bucknell team was being featured and the network learned about the quadruplets.

The cameras were in Amy's hospital room when doctors entered and ordered them out, Bryan said.

"They told us, 'You're not leaving the hospital. You're dilated. We're worried about you."

Amy was given medication to slow down the contractions. But 10 days later, her water broke, and the births quickly followed. It was a scary time.

"By that point I was well-read that the lungs develop at 28 weeks. We weren't there yet," Bryan said. "At that point we were at 24 weeks."

Sophia was the first born and she was wailing, Bryan said. "They got the other ones out in a matter of 30 seconds each," he added. "They were out in two minutes. The hospital did a wonderful job from there caring for them."

At 1 pound, 5 ounces, Sophia was the smallest. Bryan said Reece was 1 pound, 10 or 11 ounces; and Grace and Clark were each 1 pound, 8 ounces.

"That doesn't sound like a big difference, but you could see from the sight of them she was the smallest one. But she was the fiery one," Bryan said.

"The thing is, she was the healthiest one. She was off the breathing machine first. She was eating first. After a month, she was progressing so well she was the first one we held.

"The others had a lot of complications. But then she got an infection from who knows what. And the complications from that..." Bryan added, his voice tailing off.

"We were with her in her last moments. It was a very peaceful passing," Amy said.

Amy said she couldn't grieve over Sophia right away.

"The very next day, Grace had eye surgery to determine if she could see," Amy said. "We had to come back (to the hospital) that night because Grace was in surgery. The nurses were crying, but I was all cried out.

"I had three other kids whose lives were in the balance. I didn't know if they would live or die, either. I had to push mourning to the side."

For weeks the Goodmans dealt with the emotion of their babies fighting for their lives.

Bryan said as a coach, the focus is always on trying to concentrate on what you can control.

"You can't control any of what we were going through," he said. "They were sitting there for 3 months and you're lucky if you get to hold them once a day. And for the first 8 weeks, we didn't get to hold them at all. They were too fragile.

"Talk about being in a spot where you have to have complete faith -- not only in God but in the people around you. It's a completely helpless feeling."

Shortly after Sophia died, Clark was given the last rites by Bryan's priest.

The doctors said Clark's lungs were in poor shape. "They said they hadn't seen one this bad in a baby that survived," Bryan said. "It was like cotton balls, really white in the lungs.

"But he just continued to fight, fight, fight. He continues to have lung issues today. We've been told he'll have severe asthma, but we haven't seen too many signs of it.

"We were concerned about moving to Bakersfield because of all the things we read (about air quality). He seems to be doing just fine."

The 3 surviving children combined for six surgeries after Sophia died, Amy said, plus countless X-rays and other hospital visits.

"It was just one thing after another," Bryan said. "It was such a slow process. For them to gain a couple of ounces took weeks.

"After bad news after bad news after bad news, finally, they kind of turned the corner."

Grace was able to go home first, about 31⁄2 months after her birth, Bryan said.

"Reece came home a week later and Clark was about 2-3 weeks after that."

Except for immediate family, no one had seen the children yet.

"Grace was barely 4 pounds," Bryan said. "To us, she looked like a giant. But to everyone else, she was a little bit petite."

The outpouring of support from Bucknell and surrounding community was heartwarming for the Goodmans.

"Sophia is buried in Lewisburg. That's how strong we felt about the community," Amy said. "It's the place where our children were born. We go back once a year to the grave site -- we put flowers on her. My family lives 11⁄2 hours away.

"My dad went to Bucknell. I went there. Bryan worked there. I worked there in admissions, too."

A member of the Lewisburg community made the Bucknell basketball team bracelets in honor of Sophia. All of the players and coaches received one.

"It's eventually broke and it's in a box at home," Bryan said. "We won't get rid of it.

"We don't look at it often, but there are a lot of boxes of things we were sent from people all over the country. We had a lot of support.

"ESPN had covered the team and that probably got us more attention than we wanted it to. But all the people praying for us, all the support from all over the country was a little bit overwhelming."

Some people the Goodmans meet refer to the children as triplets.

"It bothers me a little bit to call them triplets, but it's something I don't bring up every time. I just say we have 3 of them.

"They're quads. But there are 3 of them. But they don't know. If they ever ask, I won't shy away from it. It's not a sad story, it's a happy story.

"We're very lucky and we know that because at a certain time it looked like we may not get out of there with one of them," Bryan said.

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