Kortney and Justin Miller, both 23, were hoping to add to their family, and they knew that twins and triplets ran in the family on Kortney's mother's side. So when Kortney went to her OB-GYN's office seven weeks into her pregnancy, she wasn't completely surprised when the ultrasound technician stopped mid-scan and asked her if multiples ran in her family.
"I told her yes, and I was sure I was having more than one," Kortney told TODAY Parents. "I felt a little different."
But the Newnan, Georgia couple — who also have a 4-year-old son, Bentlee — were not prepared for the news they received that day. It turned out there were actually four separate gestational sacs in Kortney's womb: quadruplets conceived spontaneously, without fertility treatments. According to the Millers' OB-GYN, Dr. Heather Turner, the odds of the Millers conceiving quadruplets naturally were just 1 in 700,000, and to have "quad quads," or four separate and individual sacs and placentas, is even more uncommon.
"I never thought there would be four," said Miller. "My mother was with me, and she said, 'You're carrying on the tradition!'"
Miller said she and her husband were "shocked, happy, scared — all kinds of emotions" when they heard the news, but she adds that they also felt "very blessed."
When Miller reached 15 weeks in her pregnancy, Piedmont Newnan Hospital assembled a "quad squad" to get ready for the Miller babies' births, the first set of quadruplets ever to be born at the regional hospital.
"Once we recognized it was a pregnancy that was meant to be, there was a lot of preparation to do," Dr. Turner told TODAY Parents. "Any time we anticipate a pre-term delivery, there is a lot of coordination across the labor and delivery unit as well as the hospital to lay the groundwork so everything can be as smooth as possible."
Dr. Turner said the hospital took a multi-disciplinary approach to the quads' births, holding weekly meetings including several hospital departments to be proactive and troubleshoot any issues they might encounter during delivery. They also held regular conferences with the Millers themselves to make sure the couple knew what to expect before and after the births as well.
On Friday morning, December 16, Kortney sent Justin to work, then went to her doctor's office for her 29-week appointment with her mother without packing a single bag. So of course, when she arrived, her doctor found her dilated to 3 centimeters. "We're going to go have babies!" Dr. Turner told Kortney. Luckily, Justin was able to turn around make it to the hospital just in time to witness the caesarean section deliveries.
Baby Brandon was born at 1:30 PM and was the largest of the babies, weighing 3 pounds, 1 ounce. Then came Brayden, Bryant, and their sister, Kenlee, all just minutes apart. The births went "amazingly well," said Dr. Turner. "They are our very special early Christmas presents."
Dr. Turner reported that the babies are all "fantastic," and no longer require additional oxygen or breathing tubes. They are starting to eat breastmilk and are ahead of schedule in terms of what their doctors hoped for them. They will stay in the level-3 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Piedmont Newnan Hospital until they grow stronger and bigger.
Big brother Bentlee doesn't completely understand what just happened, said his mother, though she brought him to every appointment and ultrasound, and he visits the babies in the NICU with his parents. But he makes it clear to everyone, she said, that these are his babies.
The babies' births were "nerve-wracking," said Justin, who noted he made "many midnight runs to Buffalo Wild Wings" during Kortney's pregnancy. Dr. Turner credits the successful pregnancy and births to the Millers, who she said embraced the idea that this would be a different kind of pregnancy from their first child's and made the necessary lifestyle changes in order to focus on Kortney's health and the health of the pregnancy.
"What a terrific family," said Dr. Turner. "This was something I'll probably never see again in my practice. It was a thrilling experience."
Kortney was being discharged from the hospital on Tuesday, December 20. Heading home without her four babies was "a little hard," she said. But the Millers plan to spend the holidays together, even if it means many family trips to the NICU, as a party of seven — and that's nothing short of a Christmas miracle (or four).