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Mom of rare identical quadruplets reflects on sons' 1st year amid a pandemic

While the family faced a few challenges, life with four identical boys has been a joy for the family.
/ Source: TODAY

On March 15, 2020, Jenny and Chris Marr’s lives changed dramatically when Jenny Marr gave birth to identical quadruplet boys. Identical, spontaneous quadruplet births are rare, somewhere around 1 in 11 million or 1 in 15 million births. More than a year later, life has settled into a somewhat normal routine.

“I loved my career before babies, but this is definitely what I was supposed to do in life. I was meant to be a mom,” Jenny Marr, 36, of Dallas, told TODAY. “Life with multiples is just crazy … It’s fun to be able to share our story as it is so unique.”

From three to four heartbeats

When the Marrs went for their first ultrasound, their doctor gave them a strange look. The first time parents worried that Dr. Lauren Murray saw something bad.

“I was like, ‘Oh no, there’s no heartbeat.’ And she’s like, ‘No, there is a heartbeat,” Marr told TODAY in 2020. “She goes, ‘Y’all, there’s three babies in there.’ And we were just absolutely floored.”

In November 2019 they visited a maternal-fetal medicine specialist for a follow-up appointment and an odd look passed over the technician’s face.

“She gave me a funny look. We were like, ‘Oh what’s going on now?’ We got worried again,” Chris told TODAY in 2020. “She was really cute. She said, ‘I’m not supposed to say this, but y’all got four babies.'”

Jenny and Chris Marr felt stunned to learn that she was pregnant with quadruplets. They've learned a lot about themselves and their sons over the past year. Courtesy the Marr family

Chris joked that he didn’t want to return to the doctors “because there are going to be five babies next time.”

Marr and Chris are both only children and don’t think multiples run in their families. Identical, spontaneous quadruplets are so rare that Murray and her colleagues could only find 72 case of them in medical literature.

“It’s unbelievable. It’ll never happen again in my career. I said, ’Girl, go buy a few lottery tickets because those are the kinds of odds we’re dealing with,’” Murray, an OB-GYN at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, told TODAY in 2020. “What a miracle it was.”

What’s more, the babies all shared one placenta, which made it complicated. If one baby didn’t share the placenta well, the other babies could get less nourishment. But luckily for the Marrs, the babies weren’t greedy. On March 15, Marr gave birth via cesarean section. Harrison was first, weighing 2 pounds 6 ounces. Hardy followed him at 2 pounds 10 ounces. Next up was Henry, weighing 2 pounds 6.7 ounces and finally Hudson, who weighed 1 pound 15 ounces.

“They were all born in three minutes,” she said. “It’s incredible.”

Life at home

When it comes to naps, the family sticks to a strict schedule. The boys go down between 10 a.m. and noon and then 2:30 and 4 p.m.

“The only time that they’re ever really fussy and not super fun to be around, is when they are tired and hungry,” Marr said. “We stay on schedule for feeding and naps.”

The boys, who turned 1 in March, love to play with the dog and eat. Now they're crawling everywhere as their parents struggle to keep up. Courtesy the Marr family

While they’re identical, Marr can easily tell the four boys apart.

“I see that they look similar but I don’t see that they are identical like everyone else,” she said.

Harrison, the oldest, embraced the role of the eldest.

“When it comes to doing things, he catches on a bit faster. He’s definitely the one that watches you and mimics you a lot more,” she said. “I call him the bulldozer because if he wants a toy from someone, he’ll just bulldoze anything in his way.”

Hardy is a comedian, full of smiles. Recently, Hardy developed a distinctive physical trait.

“He chipped his tooth while we were in San Diego so he’s easy to tell apart,” she said. “His smile is just infectious.”

Henry is the “sweetie pie.”

“He’s always happy, always makes the funniest little faces,” Marr said.

Hudson is “sweet and content.”

“He is the loudest of all of them,” she said. “The tiniest baby is the loudest.”

The quadruplets have started exploring and they climb and crawl and shimmy over everything. Courtesy the Marr family

While getting to know her babies better over the past year has been a joy for Marr and Chris, they did face challenges. The family contracted COVID-19 and then they lost power in the winter storm that hit Texas.

“I had to take Henry to urgent care,” Marr said. “It was an absolute mess and then he ended up in the ICU.”

Henry developed pneumonia and spent two days in the hospital.

“It was so scary,” she said.

But the other three just seemed like they had bad colds.

“It was just a constant snotty nose and they were just a little grumpier,” Marr said.

But then the power was out and the temperature dropped to 34 degrees inside the house. All the hotels were booked and the entire family was positive for COVID-19. Luckily, a friend let the family stay with them.

“I was like, ‘We have no power and the babies are going to freeze in the house,’” Marr recalled. “They let us come in and stay with them even though we were all sick.”

But they have all fully recovered and recently visited with family. The boys mostly enjoy playing with the dog and eating.

“They eat nonstop,” she said. “They love to feed snacks to the dog, that’s one of their absolute favorite things to do.”

They’re taking self-rescue swimming classes where they learn to roll over on their backs so they can breathe if they’re ever in a dangerous water situation. They’re scurrying up the stairs, crawling up the couch and “all over the place.”

Over the past year, Jenny Marr has loved seeing how her sons' personalities have grown. Courtesy the Marr family

“I feel like allowing them to figure stuff out on their own is super important and I let them discover the world,” she said. “They love to read. They love books.”

Marr loves talking about her sons and shares updates on them on Instagram. She’s been researching spontaneous identical quadruplets and thinks her children are only the second all boy set.

“It’s kind of cool,” she said. “Life is great. I couldn’t be happier with how things are and how happy and wonderful these babies are.”