Jenny and Chris Marr of Dallas, Texas are about to become very, very busy parents. That’s because the young couple has just given birth to identical quadruplets. What’s more, they did it without the help of any fertility treatments, a feat that experts say is exceedingly rare.
It all started last year, when Jenny and Chris went in for their first OB appointment. With Jenny 10 weeks pregnant, the couple couldn’t wait to meet their little baby on the way. Neither of them expected what the doctor, Lauren Murray, would find during the visit.
“Dr. Murray began doing the sonogram, and all of a sudden she got this funny look on her face and turned the screen away from us,” Jenny told the Washington Post. “I immediately started thinking something was wrong with the heartbeat. I told her it was okay and that she could tell me if there was a problem.”
Jenny and Chris couldn’t have been prepared for what they heard next. “Oh no, there’s definitely a heartbeat,” Dr. Murray replied. “Actually, there are three babies in there.”
The news was shocking at first, with dad Chris reportedly passing out at the revelation. “We were completely overwhelmed and frankly, terrified,” he told the Post.
The Marrs’ apprehension only grew when, at their next sonogram appointment, a fourth baby was discovered.
“That’s when three became four,” said the father. “I told Jenny we shouldn’t go to our next appointment because they’ll just keep multiplying,” he joked.
A Rare Blessing
Medical experts have been stunned by news of the quadruplets’ birth. “This situation is so incredibly rare that there are only about 72 documented cases of spontaneous identical quadruplets ever,” Dr. Murray said in a release from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.
A high-risk pregnancy specialist who assisted the Marrs, Dr. Brian Rinehart, said the chances of such a birth occurring spontaneously fall in the range of 1 in 11 million to 1 in 15 million.
“Twins, triplets, and even quads have gone way up with assisted reproductive technologies,” Rinehart told the Washington Post. “But naturally conceived identical monochorionic quadruplets is something we just don’t really see.”
The term “monochorionic” refers to the single fertilized egg the quadruplets split from, versus separate eggs that fraternal twins come from. Rather than implanting independently, identical multiples share a single placenta in the womb.
The quadruplets — Harrison, Hardy, Henry and Hudson — were born on March 15, with the Post reporting that all four babies were born strong and healthy. They initially stayed at the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit for monitoring, but have since been brought home one by one, with the fourth baby leaving the hospital last week.
The next struggle? Figuring out how to tell the little tykes apart! According to dad Chris, while the parents have started using color-coded bracelets, “we confuse them from time to time.” Still, it should only get easier as the Marrs watch their unexpected blessings grow.
“They all have such different personalities already,” Chris said. “It’s incredible to watch.”