Before she got pregnant again, Kylie Szafranski had wished for twins. So, when she had her ultrasound, she was prepared for – even hoping for – not one but two babies. Yet when the big reveal came, disbelieving laughter was the response that came naturally.
The Szafranskis tied the knot on April 24, 2015, and they had a very special guest in attendance – their daughter, River. Soon afterwards the Arizona-based family of three was destined to expand, when Kylie became pregnant again in 2016.
Both she and her husband had a history of multiple births running in their families, so Kylie always wished for twins, yet River turned out to be a single blessing. In 2017 Kylie explained to TV news network Fox 10 that her approach to her second pregnancy had been, “Okay, so round two, I want twins. Let’s see if maybe it will happen.”
Naturally, Kylie could only wait until her ultrasound to see if her dream had come true. Of course, most moms of multiples have an idea of what to expect beforehand. This is because they’ve taken fertility drugs to boost their chances of conception.
The Szafranskis, however, had conceived their second baby – or babies – naturally, so they didn’t know whether to expect one or two. On the day of the ultrasound their doctor scanned Kylie’s belly for heartbeats. Soon the couple would learn if they really were having twins.
The doctor found one heartbeat, then two – but it didn’t stop there. Indeed, there were four heartbeats in total, which meant the Szafranskis were expecting quadruplets. And Kylie’s reaction to the unexpected news was a startling one.
“I laughed… I just, I was laughing, I couldn’t help it,” Kylie told Fox 10. The family of three would more than double in size, a prospect that the Szafranskis could never have anticipated, given the odds of naturally conceiving quadruplets.
Roughly 90 percent of women who give birth to quads have undergone fertility assistance treatments. By contrast, there’s a one in 700,000 chance that a mother will naturally conceive quadruplets. In other words, the Szafranski babies-to-be were incredibly rare.
After Kylie’s initial fit of joyful histrionics in the face of the news, she and Phillip felt concerned afterward – taking care of four more children would be a huge task. The couple wondered if and how they would be able to cope with such a daunting undertaking.
During her pregnancy Kylie described some of the family’s fears to Fox 10. She said she and Phillip were “just stressing about if they’re all going to be okay, if they’re going to make it, you know. How are we both going to still work? How are we going to make it work?”
But at the time the pair did receive some news that helped them settle into their roles as quad parents-to-be – all four babies were developing healthily. As Kylie put it, “They’re all good, they’re all strong, they’re all okay.”
Of course, Kylie had to endure a great deal of strain while carrying her four babies. “It’s very rough, it’s very physically demanding,” she told Fox 10. “Everything feels heavy. Your muscles don’t stretch, they rip.”
But all of her effort eventually paid off when she delivered her quads towards the end of March 2017. The four babies arrived prematurely. The mom-to-be, however, had known this was likely to be the case long before she actually gave birth.
At the time Kylie’s doctor, Cathleen Harris, described the new mom’s busy birthing experience at Honor Health Scottsdale. “It’s a bit of a party atmosphere in the operating room because there are so many people on the care team for each baby,” she said.
Happily all four babies – three boys and one girl – arrived in a healthy state. “It’s real now, they’re here, it’s real tangible… tiny humans,” Szafranski told Fox 10 soon after welcoming Theo, Gideon, Damon and Emery into the world.
And, even when the quads were newborns, Kylie was sure she could see a bit of personality emerging. “Our little girl was on the bottom, so she had all her brothers piled on top of her, so down there she is probably the most stubborn of the four,” she said.
Warming to her theme, Kylie explained to Fox 10 in March 2017 that her youngest daughter was simply enjoying her freedom from the tight confines of the womb. “They wrap them all up and, when we go down there, we find a foot kicked out because she wanted to stretch out. I don’t blame her.”
Eventually of course, the Szafranskis would take all of their babies home, and responsibility for their care then fell solely on their two parents. While still in hospital, Kylie revealed the couple’s plan to make quad parenthood simpler.
She told Fox 10, “I said, between my husband and I, we could assembly line it through to diaper change and we’re going to divide and conquer. He’ll take two and I’ll take two and same thing with the baths.”
And a year on, it seems as though their plan was a big success. Kylie waxed lyrical about her extra-large brood in an Instagram post. She wrote in March 2018, “We love you four more than words can express. All five of you have brought your father and I so much joy and completeness. We couldn’t imagine our family in any other way.”