Not one, not two, but FIVE babies!
Jamie longed to give her sons a sibling, then she fell pregnant with quintuplets! I spoke to her and her husband Skyler about their amazing surprise and got their story published in the Mirror, That's Life UK, Woman magazine and That's Life Australia.
I’d just had an ultrasound and was so excited that I pulled my sons out of school. I filmed them as I said: ‘Final guesses as to how many babies are in my belly.’
‘I’m guessing triplets,’ Shayden said.
‘I’m hoping twins,’ Landon said.
‘It’s higher than twins,’ I said.
‘Quads?’ Landon said.
‘It’s not quads,’ I said.
‘Quints?’ Shayden said.
‘FIVE babies,’ I beamed. ‘For reals.’
Both boys’ mouths gaped open in disbelief.
‘That’s awesome,’ they cheered. ‘Five!’
The boys were almost as shocked as me and my husband Skyler had been when the sonographer had counted the heartbeats at our seven-week scan.
One… two… three… four…
It was another 20 minutes before one more baby appeared.
We had both been in tears. We’d guessed we might be having twins, but never in a million years did we expect quintuplets.
We were over the moon, but we knew multiple pregnancies were a risk to both mum and the babies.
‘Are they alive?’ I’d asked.
The sonographer and doctors had checked each baby’s heartbeat and taken their measurements.
All five of our fraternal quintuplets were the perfect size, each with a strong heartbeat.
I was flooded with relief.
It was amazing that I was even pregnant.
For years Skyler and I had longed to give Shayden and Landon a sibling. We had dreamed of having a girl and loved the name Lily.
We’d been struggling due to me having PCOS, so I’d started taking fertility medication. We tried IUI, which didn’t work - but our second attempt did. We’d been told the odds of conceiving quintuplets was 0.003%.
‘We’ll take one day at a time,’ Skyler said.
‘Yep,’ I said, taking a deep breath.
Our family and friends were so thrilled that we wanted to tell the world. Skyler created an Instagram account and we uploaded a video of us with announcing our news.
We got a great response and decided to keep our followers updated on our journey to becoming a family of nine.
Soon after, I lay in bed next to my husband and said: ‘Skyler, I’m not afraid.’
He took my hand and said: ‘Neither am I.’
We had been together 13 and a half years and we knew whatever happened, we would always be there to support each other.
As the weeks passed, I was grateful to not feel as sick as I had with my previous pregnancies. I’d suffered with hyperemesis gravidarium both times but now, all I had was a bout of regular morning sickness.
It wasn’t long before I could feel the babies wriggling around inside me.
‘Settle down in there,’ I said.
I couldn’t believe I was already telling my brood what to do. They hadn’t even been born yet!
By 18 weeks, I looked nine months pregnant and my bump was so heavy it was getting difficult to walk.
We made our way to the hospital for another scan, this time to find out the babies’ sex.
Skyler and I held our breath as the sonographer spoke.
‘A boy… a girl… a girl… another girl… and a boy’,’ she said.
‘No way,’ I said.
Skyler was grinning from ear to ear.
We had wanted Shayden and Landon to have a sister. Now they were getting three!
‘What could be more perfect?’ Skyler said.
Knowing the babies’ sex made me feel even closer to our babies. We called them baby A, B, C, D and E and nicknamed them #scquints, using our surname Scott. The most difficult task was still ahead of us – thinking up five names. As if thinking up one wasn’t difficult enough!
Despite not suffering much with sickness, being pregnant with quintuplets presented different challenges. I became wheelchair-bound because I was so exhausted, and I was hungry all the time.
Doctors had told me to gain a whopping seven stone to feed my five extra mouths – they wanted me to eat 4,000 calories a day.
‘If I had to eat that much, I’d nail it,’ Skyler laughed.
At 5ft 4in, I had always been petite so it was quite a struggle. Plus all I craved was healthy foods, like cucumbers.
I tried my best to feast on pizzas, burgers, milkshakes and ice creams.
It was also difficult to sleep. My stomach was quite painful and when one baby moved, they all did.
‘It's like a party in there,’ I said.
Shayden and Landon loved touching my bump. Their faces lit up every time they felt their siblings move.
Our neighbours and friends were so supportive too and had donated us spare baby clothes.
We knew we had a lot of baby gear to buy, including five cots, a triple and double buggy, and a large van to lug us all around.
But we weren’t worried anything except getting our babies delivered safely.
We temporarily moved more than 400 miles from our home to be near a hospital with a fantastic multiple births expert, who would deliver the babies by C-section.
We aimed to get to 33 weeks.
But at 21 and a half weeks, there was bad news.
The water had broken on baby A, our boy closest to the cervix - he had half the amount of fluid as the other babies. And it meant labour was starting.
In a hospital room with six doctors, we began to panic.
‘Do we have any hope of saving this pregnancy?’ I said.
‘I’m sorry but no,’ one doctor replied. ‘You’re going to lose all of the babies today.’
We both broke down.
I could still feel the babies wriggling around.
‘I want to enjoy this last moment with them,’ I said. ‘While they’re alive.’
We broke the news on Instagram and had everyone rooting for us. Then something incredible happened.
The labour stopped and the membrane healed.
Our specialist couldn’t believe. The chances of it happening were slim to none.
From then on, I was kept in hospital.
Then there was another problem.
My white blood cell count was getting dangerously high.
Again we were told the babies could die if they weren’t delivered immediately.
Then, miraculously, my body fixed itself for a second time and my white cell count trickled all the way back down.
But there were other worries.
The specialist said that if the babies came too early, they could be disabled.
I was put on bedrest, which was anything but relaxing. It was emotionally demanding and I could barely eat or even breathe.
Eventually though, I reached 29 weeks.
Then my contractions started.
After some difficulty, a doctor managed to check my cervix - I was 6cm dilated.
‘We’re having the babies now,’ she said.
My heart raced as Skyler got dressed in scrubs.
‘I love you,’ he said.
‘Love you too,’ I said.
Then he kissed me before I was wheeled into theatre with a team of 30 medics, consisting of a team for each baby and a team for me.
I was given a general anaesthetic and then everything went black…
When I came around, Skyler was smiling.
‘We have five perfect babies,’ he said. ‘Tiny but perfect.’
I burst into tears.
We’d done it.
I was taken to the NICU where I met my miracle quintuplets, all in their own incubators.
Violet Rose, 2lbs 6oz.
Daisy Kate, 2lbs 9oz.
Logan Matthew, 2lbs 2oz.
Lincoln Alan, 2lbs.
Lily Jane, 2lbs 3oz.
My heart was so full. I gazed at them all, taking in the 50 tiny fingers and 50 tiny toes before me.
‘You’re right,’ I said. ‘They are perfect.’
‘They are more beautiful than I ever thought they would be,’ Skyler said.
While I recovered, I expressed milk for the babies and topped them up with donor milk and formula, except little Lincoln who I ended up giving just breast milk.
Shayden and Landon came to hospital to meet their siblings for the first time, and I’d never seen them so happy. They were mesmerised.
‘They’re finally here!’ Landon said.
‘They are so small,’ Shayden said.
Over the coming days, our babies thrived.
And then we held them for the first time.
I carefully placed Lily on my chest, skin to skin.
‘Hello little one,’ I cooed.
It seemed so surreal. It had been a long seven months and yet it was incredible to be a mum-of-seven.
It wasn’t an easy recovery and I was left with a slight heart murmur from the pregnancy, but in time I regained my strength. I spent my days in the NICU, cuddling my five babies, feeding them and changing their nappies.
Skyler, Shayden and Landon travelled regularly from their home in Utah to the hospital in Arizona to visit me and the quintuplets.
They were amazing with their siblings. If the babies were fussing, the boys cuddled them and sang to them. We could feel the love our children had for each other.
Because the babies were born prematurely, they had to learn how to be babies. How to self-comfort and soothe with their little hands pulled up to their faces. How to root and suck. Even how to breathe and digest food. We loved watching them all grow and reach small but significant feats of infancy.
One by one, the babies came off air support and they steadily gained weight, even Logan whose amniotic sac broke at 21 and a half weeks.
Then we were able to take their babies home. First Violet and Daisy were discharged, followed by Logan, and days later, Lily and Lincoln were allowed home too.
The quintuplets turned 11 weeks old on the 6th June, which was their original due date. It felt so special to have all five babies out of hospital in time for that day.
Now I’m trying to get them into a routine, with the help of our family and friends. With nine of us under one roof I know there will be mountains of washing, and we’ll get through 35,000 nappies before the quints are potty-trained, but I wouldn’t change it for a thing.
Skyler and I have agreed we will be tired for the next 18 years, and we are hugely outnumbered by our kids, but we’re ready for the madness. Bring it on!