Bethani and Tim Webb were just another newly wed couple who got excited when they discovered that they will soon become parents. Happiness soon turned into shock when they learned that Bethani is expecting quadruplets. Even the delivery room doctors and nurses were in awe when she finally gave birth to four beautiful and healthy babies.
Even experienced parents would be in above their head if Mother Nature suddenly sprang four babies on them. For the young couple, and especially for Bethani, the shock was overwhelming. Being the first-time mother, the thought of raising a single baby was daunting, let alone the quadruplets.
“My husband was definitely wanting to wait a year to have children,” Bethani told CBS news in an interview. “I was completely fine with whenever it ended up happening, but when we found out, we were very excited.”
The couple planned to break the news to their families over Christmas 2015, so they schedule the first ultrasound exam just days before. The first clue that something was out of the ordinary was when the technician conducting the scan asked if any of them had multiple births in the family. But nothing could have prepared them for the news when she told them just how many is “multiple”.
At first, Bethani thought that she was carrying twins, but then the technician turned to her and started counting babies on the screen. Baby one, baby two, baby three, baby four.
“I was thinking, ‘Okay, you can stop at baby three. Baby three is more than enough for me’, but then she counted out the fourth baby,” Bethani recalls. And Tim added, “That’s when I just about fell over.”
The overwhelmed couple even thought that the technicians were playing a joke on them. But when the reality finally dawned on them, they realized that their life will change dramatically.
The joyous news they planned for their families over Christmas turned out to be just a tad too joyous.“This was not the Christmas news I was hoping for. I definitely had some panic attacks from it,” Bethani said. It seemed that Tim was in an even worse state of shock. “That day with the ultrasound, when they counted out four babies, I actually felt quite faint. I had to ask for a seat because it was too much all at once for me.”
The fact there weren’t any multiple live births in either of their families meant that Tim and Bethani weren’t even remotely prepared for the possibility of having quadruplets. Nor were they taking any fertility drugs or having treatments that could bring such a result. The doctors explained that, while extremely rare, these things happen. There are only 3,500 sets of quadruplets in the world since 2007. Bethani said, “I am definitely glad that I was laying down when they gave me the news because I literally could not believe that there were four in there.” One of the nurses at the prenatal clinic told her that chances of having quadruplets were somewhere around 1 in 800,000.
When they told their families, the news left everyone speechless. Some even thought that they were joking. Tim’s sister Vera Webb said, “Are you kidding me? You must be kidding me, Tim!” The fact that Tim was known to his family as a prankster didn’t really help his credibility.
Considering their chances, it isn’t hard to see why their families and friends thought they were pulling a prank on them. Dr. James Bofill from the University of Mississippi says their chances of having quadruplets without any fertility treatment are 1 in 729,000. Tim remembers some of his friends’ reactions: “My friends were like, ‘We don’t know whether we should say congratulations to you or we’re sorry for your situation’.”
One of their major concerns was a financial situation. Raising one child is expensive enough, but with four, the future was concerning. Tim said: “We definitely had enough love to give to all four of them, but I was just very worried about how we were going to afford four babies with everything they need.”
Another problem was transportation. “I realized that we did not have a vehicle that could support four babies,” Bethani said. “We were good until that four number kicked in and then we were not prepared at all”.
Housing was also an issue. The original plan of staying in one bedroom apartment was gone through the window. The couple needed a house and a big one at that.
Diapers and baby formula would become a major expenditure. One baby needs about 12 cans of baby formula per month. One can cost $20. You can figure out the rest of the math by yourself. One baby needs about 12 diapers daily. Times four, the Webbs would need almost the entire pack each day.
The fact of how expensive raising four babies will be wasn’t lost on their family and friends. That is why they started a GoFundMe page to help them finance all the expenses.
The pregnancy was a rather smooth one, without any major hiccups, which was a blessing. At her doctor’s recommendation, Bethani chose Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton to deliver her babies, since it was larger and better equipped for such a daunting task. The hospital also had a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) available on site, which is necessary with any high-risk pregnancies.
Bethani remembers the final days before the delivery: “I am excited, but it is weird when they start to move around in my belly. Sometimes, I will feel more than one move at once, and it kind of takes me by surprise, even being 27 weeks pregnant. I do not think it has sunk in that there are four in there yet.” The doctors weren’t ready to let her carry the pregnancy to full term, so a C-section was scheduled at the 33rd week. As the date approached, Bethani was getting more nervous and excited to finally meet her babies.
The final shock came at one of the last check-ups when the ultrasound revealed that Tim will soon share his house with five girls. All four of the babies were females. “That is a lot of female hormones that I will have to deal with some day. Of course, I will also have to fight off the boys that chase after my daughters. It’s going to be a full-time job,” Tom wasn’t discouraged, despite the fact that he was soon to be outnumbered.
The Webb girls came to the world on May 6, 2016. But that wasn’t the end of surprises for Bethani and Tim. Speaking of delivery, Tim said: Tim said, “It was kind of like a magic show, because they were pulling out one, two, three, four. It was kind of surreal.” Bethani suffered through delivery like a trooper. The doctors laid out four baby girls side by side, and that was when they noticed something even more spectacular, which left them speechless. Not only they had quadruplets, but all four babies were identical. The chances of that were 1 in 15,000,000. Beth and Tim won a double lottery. And just like that, their family grew by four.
Dr. Billy Wong said that Bethani reaching 33rd week was a miracle in itself since such high-risk pregnancy lasts so long extremely rarely. Bethani was very lucky to have lasted long enough so that premature delivery didn’t pose a risk to the babies.
The residents of Hythe were extremely supportive of the Webb family, for which Bethani and Tim were very grateful. Everyone went out of their way to offer every help they could, not to mention everyone wanted to meet the babies. “I feel overwhelmingly awesome that the babies are here. I feel blessed and relieved, too, because you have to worry with multiple births. There are risks, but all of it was perfect,” Tim said in an interview for the Edmonton Journal.
Choosing the names was one of the easier tasks since Beth didn’t have to give up on any of her favorite ones, which is just one of the upsides of having quadruplets. The babies were named Emily, Abigail, Grace, and McKayla.
Despite having their lives turned upside down by the quadruplets, everything worked out great in the end. Currently, the happy family is staying with Tim’s mum at her house. All 800 residents of Hythe are ready to render any assistance needed. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child, let alone four of them.