When a routine ultrasound revealed four babies instead of the expected one, Canadian newlyweds Bethani and Tim Webb were left speechless. Married for just less than a year, Bethani and Tim could do little more than stare in disbelief when they eventually saw the ultrasound .
“I could not believe it, I was in such shock,” Bethani told CBC News. “Honestly, I thought the ultrasound tech was joking.” Initially, the couple was happy when they discovered that they were expecting – however, they were completely unprepared for quadruplets. And if finding out you’re pregnant with quads isn’t life-changing enough, there would be an even crazier surprise waiting for her when the expecting mom finally made it to the delivery room and laid eyes on her four babies for the very first time.
Before their lives were changed forever, there really wasn’t anything too out of the ordinary for the young couple.
22-year-old Bethani and 23-year-old Tim Webb married in June, and like many normal couples in love, they started talking about having children. And just a couple months later, in September, the couple found out that they were expecting.
“My husband definitely wanted to wait a year,” Bethani told CBC News. I” was fine with whenever it ended up happening, but when we found out we were very excited, only thinking then we were having one, not four.”
December 24, 2015, was when the first-time parents attended a routine ultrasound scan. That’s when they were given their first peek into their future as parents.
When the nurse asked if there was any history of multiple births in either of their families that the couple knew of, they were understandably caught off-guard with the question. Still uncertain of what multiple births would really mean for them, the couple shook their heads no. It was then that the nurse delivered some unexpected and unbelievable news to the couple.
Baby Three Is Enough
During the ultrasound, Bethani said she saw the technicians looking and pointing at two different areas of the screen.
Due to the technicians’ actions, Bethani assumed that she was going to have twins. “She turned the screen,” Bethani said. “She started counting babies and she counted baby one, baby two, baby three”
“I was thinking ‘OK you can stop at baby three. Baby three is enough’ and she counted out the fourth baby,” Bethani told Canada’s Global News. Tim chimed in and said, “That’s when I just about fell over.”
This was clearly not the early Christmas present they were hoping for.
“I definitely did go through some panic attacks,” Bethani admitted.
While they had originally planned to start a family, all of that changed in seconds right before their eyes. In one day, their small family of two subsequently tripled. Realizing the full gravity of the situation, their joy was suddenly replaced with nervousness.
They counted the four
“That day with the ultrasound, when they counted the four, I actually felt quite faint and I had to ask for a seat because it was just too much all at once,” Tim recalled.
Because there is no family history of multiple births in Bethani and Tim’s families, and the couple did not use fertility drugs or in vitro fertilization to conceive their children, the news of their pregnancy is even more astounding. “The doctors said it’s just something that happens. It doesn’t happen all the time – it’s very, very rare,” Tim said.
A one in 67 million occurrence
As of 2007, there were approximately 3,500 sets of quadruplets recorded worldwide. “I’m definitely glad I was laying down because I could not believe that there were four there. I thought there had to be some kind of mistake,” she laughed. One of the nurses that works at the hospital said it was a one in 67 million occurrence, Bethani recalled. “I’m still waiting for it to sink in.”
When notified of the incoming quads, both of their families were left dumbfounded. Tim’s sister, Vera Webb had her doubts. “Are you kidding? You must be kidding,” she said. “Tim likes to tell jokes sometimes.”
“My friends were like, ‘I don’t know if I should say congratulations, or I’m sorry,'” Tim laughed. In fact, it turns out that the chances of naturally conceiving quadruplets are actually one in 729,000, according to Dr. James Bofill of the University of Mississippi.
Bethani confessed that while she was excited for the babies, the notion of how much they would need to care for them is overwhelming. After all, four times the love means four times the cost.
“I realized that we didn’t have a vehicle that could support four babies,” Bethani said. “We were good until that four number kicked in, then we weren’t prepared at all,” Tim added.
The soon-to-be parents of four were planning on staying in their one bedroom apartment after having their first baby, but since learning they were soon to be a family of six, they had to consider other options, which included moving in with Tim’s mother.
The two are going to need four of everything: four strollers, four car seats, four cribs and four times the diapers.
“Diapers everywhere,” Bethani said. “Diapers and formula, that’s probably going to be the most expensive part for us right now.”
The couple calculated that they would need approximately 48 diapers a day, once their daughters arrive. So whose responsibility will it be to change all those diapers?
“Hers!” Tim exclaimed. “I have a weak stomach! I can’t change diapers.” But it’s something that Tim will just have to learn to overcome.
It may take a village to raise a child – or in this case, 4 villages! Knowing this, friends and family sprang into action to help out the couple.
To help with ongoing expenses, they’ve set up a GoFundMe page for the family. The couple’s hometown of Hythe also rallied around and held fundraising events in order to gain funds for the family. The hospital in nearby Grande Prairie held a diaper drive to help with the stockpiling, and some brave community members have even offered to babysit for them.
“There are people around the area making little hats, getting diapers ready, and making bracelets,” Bethani told My Grande Prairie Now.
“It’s really amazing because there would be no way we could do this by ourselves,” said Bethani.
Royal Alexandra Hospital
Despite having to completely reinvent their lives from the bottom up, the pregnancy was going quite well.
Considering that the Webbs are from the village of Hythe, which isn’t equipped with a large hospital, doctors had advised that she be transferred to the state-of-the-art Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta.
“I’m excited, but it is weird when they start moving. Sometimes I’ll feel more than one move at once and it kind of takes me by surprise, even being 27 weeks pregnant, I don’t think its sunk in that there’s four there yet,” said the happy mother-to-be. The doctors couldn’t let her go full term as it could jeopardize the babies’ health. To avoid complications, she would need a C-section at the 33 week mark.
“I’m nervous about the birth, but I’m also really excited to see them,” she said.
Everybody Was Stunned
Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be any more surprises with this pregnancy, the Webbs received even more life-changing news. Tim –we’re sorry but your dreams of raising a son are going to have to wait, because you’re about to live in a house full of girls!
“Living with five girls… Yikes! I don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s going to be overwhelming, being the last man standing,” Tim said.
But then, on Friday, May 6, as each of the girls arrived and were lined up next to each other, everyone was even more stunned than they already were.
An Instant Family
Just in time for Mother’s Day, and only weeks before their very first wedding anniversary, the Webbs became an instant family. This was an anniversary gift that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Tim told Global News, “It was kind of like a magic show, because they’re pulling out one, two, three, four… It was kind of surreal.” Yet the true magic didn’t become apparent until the girls were seen side-by-side. What the doctor told the Webbs next changed the odds of this pregnancy from 1 in 15 million to something even more impossible.
So not only had the Webbs already won the baby lottery by getting quadruplets, but miraculously they ended up being all girls. And if those one-in-over-15-million odds weren’t small to begin with, just wait until you read this: incredibly, all four newborn girls were all identical!
It only took about an hour to deliver the babies, who ranged in weight from three pounds to four-pounds-one-ounce. So, the babies were quadruplets, all girls and all identical. The family was in shocked, to say the least.
With the high-risk nature of the pregnancy, there was always talk that there was some risk of delivering very early, said Dr. Billy Wong, the couple’s obstetrician. For us to get to this date in the pregnancy, almost 33 weeks, we were actually very fortunate.
The Webbs say they an extensive support system back in Hythe, where everyone is waiting for the new family to arrive home. The relieved dad said, according to the Edmonton Journal, I feel overwhelmingly awesome that the babies are here. I feel blessed. Relieved, too, because you worry with multiple births. There’s risks… but all of it was perfect.
Choose Just One
The names of the newest additions to the family are Emily, Grace, McKayla and Abigail.
We can only imagine that the downsides of having quadruplets clearly means quadruple the trouble, but at least they get one nice perk to it all. It was nice that we didn’t have to pick our favorites, Bethani told Global News. We could pick four we liked, we didn’t have to choose just one.
How To Tell Them Apaprt
Now, Tim and Bethani have a new problem: how do they tell them apart? To make things a bit easier to differentiate one quadruplet from the others, immediately after the birth each girl was placed in their own incubator.
“Just don’t take them out of the incubator!” Bethani said to CTV News. “Right now I’m glad they’re separated so we can tell them apart. But even just holding two side-by-side, I can’t tell them apart at all. Soon enough however, our new family is going to have to come up with a solid plan to distinguish the girls from one another.”
Different from each other
Luckily for the new mom, their individual temperaments couldn’t be more different from each other. Certainly, that will be the most distinguishing factor in telling them apart. Abigail is the smallest and youngest, so she is a bit hot-headed. Emily and McKayla are apparently very mellow, however, Grace, on the other hand, is described as “a character.”
And yet, now that they’re all home and a bit more relaxed, the couple has hatched a makeshift plan to differentiate between each girl. Each girl will get a designated color-coded bracelet or hair accessory. They’ve also considered painting their toenails as a more semi-permanent solution.
Without A Doubt
Without a doubt, the Webbs had more than they could handle. As a result, Tim’s mom offered to house them in order to give them a helping hand – or two. But help didn’t stop there, as you might have imagined. The people of Hythe, Alberta, the tiny Canadian town with a population of 820, were lining up to offer their support.
The community held a fundraiser which brought in approximately $50,000 as well as their money raised from their GoFundMe campaign. Completely blessed and also overwhelmed, the Webbs even had to start stockpiling additional supplies and reserves in a local church.
Bethani said Tim was ecstatic about becoming a dad but still needed to get used to the idea of being the only man in a house of five females.
“I think my husband has gotten used to the idea that there are four babies, but I don’t think he’s gotten used to the idea that there are four identical girls,” Bethani told reporters.
As for the dad-to-be, Tim said, “I think of them as blessings really. I’ll probably be pulling my hair out a year from now, but now I’m excited.”
A Whirlwind Of Emotions
After a whirlwind of emotions and shocking revelations, the Webbs are still undaunted and are ready to take on their new life with enthusiasm. There’s no doubt the girls will have fun swapping places and playing tricks on friends and teachers in the years to come. But for now, their parents are still trying to work out how they are going to tell the four identical newborns apart.
“I’m looking forward to the memories and how close they’ll all be,” proud dad Tim told Global News. Bethani, a bit wearier, added, “It’s going to be crazy the first few years. it’ll be very exciting.”
A Bundle Of Nerves
Bethani Webb was a bundle of nerves one evening in early June. That’s because the next morning, her 2-month-old identical quadruplet girls would have their very first photo shoot. “I was nervous that they wouldn’t sleep and they’d be awake the whole time or crying and fussy,” Webb, told Us Weekly. “But they did so well.”
The project took much more planning and assistants than photographer Cassandra Jones was used to. Five extra people helped her set up the shoot: one person per baby and one to help arrange the flowers and props. In addition to the extra hands, it took three large vehicles to haul all the items needed to the outdoor location in Grande Prairie.
An Incredible Task
Obviously, feeding, changing and caring for four babies is an incredible task, but photographing them so perfectly wasn’t easy either! Photographer Cassandra Jones was blown away by the infants. “There were absolutely no tears ,” she told Today Parents. “In fact, they didn’t even raise an eyelid. They slept like little angels for the entire shoot.”
The girls’ knit hats and wraps were custom-made specifically for the shoot. Jones chose white outfits so that she could coordinate all of the different hats without having to change the babies and risk waking them up, she said.
Stole The Hearts Of Thousands
They may be just two months old, but sisters Abigail, Mckayla, Grace and Emily Webb have already managed to steal the hearts of thousands. The photos from the shoot have since gone viral with thousands of likes on social media.
Jones admits she and her assistants did struggle to tell the girls apart, however. “The pictures she took are absolutely beautiful, and I love them so much,” Bethani smiled.
To Help Identify Them
Since the girls are identical, the parents came up with a solution to help them identify their daughters: Each baby has her toenails painted a different color than her sisters.
As for a more permanent solution, their parents revealed that they recently had the girls’ ears pierced, and each wears a different color of stone: Purple for Emily, red for Grace, blue for Abigail, and pink for Mckayla.
Each baby has her own distinct personality as well. Abigail is the feisty one, Emily’s usually pretty quiet, Grace is the one that is most sensitive to pain and Mckayla is a combination of all of them. She can be feisty but is also calm and collected. All four girls share a regular-size crib. “They like sleeping together, they don’t like being apart,” says Webb. “If we separate them they’re not happy.”
Trying To Cope With The Surrealness
Tim said that he is just trying to cope with the surrealness of instantly becoming the father of four girls.
“My dad passed away just about a year ago and so this is kind of a blessing, and it’s a blessing to have the family that I have and the community that I have and the doctors that we have here,” he said.
The Chances Of It All
The chance of having quadruplets without fertility drugs is one in 729,000, said Dr. James Bofill, a professor of maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Mississippi.
But the odds of having identical quadruplets are about one in 15 million, according to the website RaisingMultiples. And interestingly enough, the Webb babies are the fifth set of quadruplets born in Alberta since 2004.