Marc Lindberg admits that he enjoys being a quadruplet.
"We get a lot of attention," he said. "It's a lot of fun, but sometimes it's embarrassing."
On occasion, strangers still approach them on the street, barely believing their eyes. "Oh, my gosh!" one said, recognizing the parents from news stories 13 years ago. "I remember when you guys were born!"
Attention, in fact, has been part of the Lindbergs' lives from Day One, when the foursome became the first quadruplets cared for in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Phoenix Children's Hospital.
David and Lucette Lindberg had tried for six years, without success, to start a family. Fertility specialists tried a then-experimental procedure called a low tubal transfer, cautioning the parents that there was only a 30-percent chance of a successful fertilization.
Given the odds, Lucette's doctor was more than a bit surprised to find, at first, that she had two babies growing inside her body. A third baby was discovered a few weeks later. Then the fourth one appeared.
"I thought the doctor was going to faint," Lucette said, feeling a bit light-headed herself.
"I remember thinking, 'How can all four babies survive inside?'"
They made it to 32 weeks, when they were born by Cesarean section. Marc was the smallest of the four, at 1 lb., 15 oz., and the sickest. One of his heart valves was not closed - a common problem in premature infants - and had to be repaired surgically.
Nicole struggled with a different problem, also common to preemies: bradycardia. "Her heart would just forget to go sometimes," Lucette explained. During each episode, a monitor would sound, and quick attention from NICU staff would restore her heart rate back to normal.
But one day David and Lucette walked into the nursery to find solemn faces, without the enthusiastic greeting that usually came with their visits to the unit. "Nicole had had an episode so bad, most infants don't come back," Lucette said.
With all the difficulty, the couple fondly remembers the comic relief that came from one resident, at the times when they needed it the most.
"He just knew exactly when to say something funny when we were on the verge of tears," she said. "If it wasn't for him, I would have cried a lot more than I did."
At four weeks, Danielle and Erica were able to go home. Nicole followed a week later, and Marc was discharged at seven weeks, appropriately completing the family on Father's Day.
The Lindbergs became one of PCH's best-known success stories, appearing at many promotional events for the hospital. In 1996, they represented PCH as Children's Miracle Network champions and traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet President Clinton.
Now the Lindbergs have a typical - albeit crowded - household. Another son, Matthew, joined the brood 11 years ago, earning the nickname "Pup" for the way he followed his older brother and sisters around when he began crawling.
"It's always like a big crowd at our house," Lucette said. "They want you all at the same time." Nicole laments the fact that "I can't get my mom or dad alone for a very long time."
But the busyness of the Lindberg home has its strong points, according to Danielle: "I am never lonely, and I get a lot of help on my homework." Erica agrees - except for the drawback of sharing clothes with two sisters.
"We are always fighting with each other on what we can wear for that day!" she said. "It is a big pain, but on the bright side, you get three times the amount of clothes!"
Clothing is an ongoing issue for their mother as well, who grimaces at the thought of $400 spent recently on athletic shoes (all four quads are on the cross country team at school). But she doesn't complain.
"I have healthy, active kids who are physically and mentally capable because of PCH," Lucette said.
"How can you ever say thanks for that? It's a forever thing."