Haylee and Shawn Ladner have been married for nearly four years after knowing each other since preschool. A Mississippi husband and wife recently became the parents of quintuplets — but the number of babies delivered isn’t the only thing that’s rare about the occurrence “We are going to need all the help we can get,” Haylee Ladner told Fox News Digital.
She had gone in for a checkup with her physician four weeks following her intrauterine insemination (IUI), which revealed she was pregnant. The couple recently moved to Purvis, Mississippi, to be closer to their families after the couple had received some life-changing news.
During her check-up, she had her hCG levels reviewed, resulting in levels showing upwards of 2,000 mIU/mL. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormones are measured for the recognition of pregnancy in women, according to Cleveland Clinic.
[It] was crazy, because even in my first two pregnancies that never happened,” Haylee Ladner said. Her previous pregnancies resulted in miscarriages, she said. On Sept. 22, 2023, the couple went in for an ultrasound during her seven-week check-up — marking the longest she had been pregnant.
[That] was nerve-racking in and of itself, because I didn’t know at that point what we were going to see [or] if the babies were going to have a heartbeat,” the new mom said. Due to the high hCG levels, the couple were expecting to see twins on the ultrasound. They were shown two gestational sacs, but the doctor did a sort of double take, saying, “I’ve never seen this before.”
That led the couple to feel a bit of panic, Shawn Ladner told Fox News Digital. The two gestational sacs indicated that Haylee Ladner was carrying quintuplets — with four of the five babies being identical multiples.
“She had a quintuplet pregnancy with four identical females. Reports of spontaneous quintuplets vary but are about 1 in 60 million,” Dr. Rachael Morris, associate professor of maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), shared during a recent press conference.
There are very few reports of identical quadruplets in the literature to date. The reported incidence is 1 in 10 to 15 million pregnancies. Dr. Morris, as well as the Ladners and their families, were in shock after being told that there were five babies’ heartbeats present. Haylee Ladner’s mother was recording video of the interaction and dropped her phone in the midst of the excitement, said the new mom. “I had to sit down on the bed with her. I couldn’t stand up,” Shawn Ladner recalled.
“My immediate reaction was just fear for her, because I [thought], ‘How is she going to carry five kids?'” The pregnancy process consisted of taking each day “one step at a time,” said Haylee Ladner.
The next step the couple faced was finding a team of physicians to guide them through this journey. With the case being so rare, it was a challenge to find a team of doctors who were willing to assist the couple in the birth of all five babies, said Haylee Ladner. She said she’d talked to a best friend whose sister is a nurse for an OB-GYN in Jackson, Mississippi — who ultimately lead them to Morris and her team.
They did exceptionally well. They took every precaution they could’ve possibly have handled,” said Haylee Ladner. “We were going into it terrified of how we were going to make this happen, you know — like what doctor can we talk to?” said Shawn Ladner. “We didn’t know who would be willing to take this on. “After we met [Dr. Morris], we literally felt 1,000 times better,” he added. “We were like, ‘We got this.’” Extra precautions were taken during the pregnancy.
The main concern was mostly [for] the quads any time they did ultrasounds … They highly watched [for] twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome to make sure there weren’t any babies [whose] growth was restricted” or for any babies who “weren’t growing at the same rate as the others because they weren’t getting as many nutrients,” said the new mom.
Dr. Morris and her team of medical professionals held weekly meetings about the pregnancy and were ready at all times in case Haylee Ladner went into labor earlier than expected.
“There were five warmers and two rooms ready for the babies, and several neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners, fellows, nurses and respiratory therapists ready every day,” Dr. Mobolaji Famuyide, chief of the Division of Newborn Medicine, shared at the UMMC press conference. “We were ready for weeks for this birth.”
Haylee Ladner went into the hospital in mid-January— and remained in the care of her doctors until her delivery. Her goal was to carry the quintuplets for 28 weeks. A cesarean section was scheduled on Feb. 16, 2023, marking 28 weeks and one day.
Her son Jake Eaton weighed 2 pounds, 5 ounces at birth. Adalyn Elizabeth and Magnolia Mae both weighed in at 2 pounds, 2 ounces. Everyleigh Rose was 2 pounds, 0.8 ounces. And finally, Malley Kate weighed 1 pound, 11 ounces, according to the UMMC press release.
Malley Kate has since joined the two-pound club, the new mom added. The babies have been in the NICU for the past three weeks since their birth. The parents are able to visit their babies every day in the NICU.
The [doctors] regulate their feeding. They look at [their oxygen levels] to see if they need any more pressure to help expand their lungs,” the couple explained, mentioning just some of the work of the doctors and team.
They said of their five children, “They are doing great! They are just getting bigger, so we can bring them home. “They will be discharged at different times,” said Haylee Ladner, “because they are individual babies … and certain individuals may need a little more support for longer than others.”
“Then we have to figure out how to transport five babies at one time,” Shawn Ladner added. The couple leaned on each other for support throughout the whole process. “He was my biggest support system,” said the new mom of her husband.
I knew I needed help, and he was always willing to do those things and never made me feel bad for asking for help,” she said. “I was ready to do it, whatever you needed me to,” the new dad chimed in. The new parents appear to be excited to experience all the ups and downs that come with parenthood.
“I’m just excited for [the babies] to be able to come home with us and [for us] to be woken up at every hour by them with a bottle … diaper blowouts and all that good stuff,” the new dad said, laughing. “This has been the biggest blessing I could have ever had in my entire life,” the new mom said.
I’m so grateful to be their mother and that God let me be their mother,” she added. She said she sees her story as a moment of encouragement for those who may have experienced the same heartbreak as she had in terms of losing earlier pregnancies.
“If there is anybody else out there who struggles with infertility or anything life that, they shouldn’t give up. If I had given up, I wouldn’t have those children that I have now,” she said.
If you want to be a parent, and you know in your heart you should be a parent and that’s your calling, then you should pursue that and not give up on that even though it can be difficult at times. The Ladners said they will share images of their newborn babies once the entire family is home together.
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