An Alabama couple is going to need several more stockings to hang on the mantle this Christmas.
In a matter of minutes, Courtney and Eric Waldrop, 35, became the parents of nine kids on Monday after giving birth to sextuplets, three boys and three girls – adding to their three older sons.
It’s the first time sextuplets were born in Alabama since 2011. The babies were born at just under 30 weeks and weigh less than 3 pounds each. It took a team of nearly 40 medical specialists to deliver the newborns via C-section at Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children.
The boys’ names are Tag, Layke and Blu, and the girls’ names are Rivers, Rawlings and Rayne.
Courtney Waldrop said the most difficult part of her high-risk pregnancy was not being able to give her three older kids the amount of attention they were used to.
“It was really nothing else than just the challenge of trying to be still a good mom for them and grow these six babies and get them where they needed to be,” she said during a press conference on Thursday.
In a Facebook post, she recounted the birth, writing, “They're oh so very little but absolutely perfect!! May take a few more days for me to recover. But it was all worth it.”
During her pregnancy, Courtney Waldrop recounted on social media how she endured several miscarriages after having their first son, Saylor, in 2008.
She said her doctor put her on a low dosage of fertility treatments that was supposed to lower the chances of her carrying multiple babies. But the group of doctors was prepared and had been practicing for the complicated delivery.
“We had stabilization stations set up all around the delivery suite. So as each catcher received their baby, they took them to their designated beds and that’s where we had more team members there to help stabilize the babies and make sure they were doing well,” said Lee D. Morris, a neonatologist at Huntsville Hospital.
Courtney Neill Williams, a friend who photographed the birth, told TODAY that the couple’s goal was to make it to 28 weeks. On Monday — two days before she would have hit the 30-week mark, Waldrop began having contractions at around 3 a.m. She had a scheduled C-section later that day.
“From the first baby to the last baby, it took four minutes. It was very quick and fast,” said Neill Williams. “It was just so surreal. When the first girl was born, Courtney’s husband leaned and kissed her on the forehead and said, 'You’ve got your first little girl.' He was just very comforting to her and held her hand the whole time.”
The sextuplets are still in the NICU. Eric Waldrop predicted the real work won’t start until their whole family returns home.
“When they grow and we’re actually responsible for feeding them and changing them and still taking care of our other three — and trying to work and make money to raise them, that’s when it’s gonna get real.”