Becoming Parents Was What They Both Dreamed of
Lauren and David Perkins, two lovebirds from Texas, had a beautiful life. They were married, traveled a lot and after a while, they both decided that they wanted to get pregnant. Becoming a mom and dad would really be the icing on the cake of their love for each other. So, they decided to start trying, but unfortunately without luck. They had to keep trying, so that’s what they did.
There Had to be Something They Could Do
After years and years of trying and, unfortunately, failing, trying to get pregnant became too much for the couple. They couldn’t stand the fact that their attempts were always unsuccessful. It was heartbreaking for Lauren and David. There had to be something they could do! That was the moment they realized they had to seek medical help.
The Couple Was Ecstatic, but They Never Expected to See This
Once they were in the medical process, they still couldn’t get pregnant. After several treatments, they finally succeeded. Lauren and David were over the moon! All they had to do was wait for the day of the first ultrasound, so they could finally admire their beautiful baby. Once that day arrived, the couple was ecstatic, but they never expected to see this…
Love at First Sight
The moment David and Lauren saw each other for the first time they fell in love. It really was love at first sight. Their first date was after a University football game back in 2003 and soon after they became inseparable. Besides being madly in love, they quickly became each other’s best friends and wanted nothing more than to love each other and spent the rest of their lives together, so they did.
Life Seemed Perfect for the Two Lovebirds
About four years later the lovebirds got married. Their lives seemed perfect. Both Lauren and David were adventurers, so they decided to postpone their wish to have children. They first wanted to explore the world together. After that discovering other countries and cultures, they would settle down and think about children and the rest of their future.
Nothing Goes as Planned Right?
Just as they expected they were ready to settle down after they were done travelling the world. It took them a few years, but now they were ready to share their love for each other by starting to create their own family. Lauren told TODAY: “I was going to have two kids, two to three years apart, preferably a boy and a girl.” The future mom seemed to have planned everything down to the last detail, but nothing goes as planned…
Their Perfect Plan Quickly Fell Apart
They just couldn’t wait to get pregnant, so they started trying. Soon they realized that nothing goes as planned, especially Lauren Perkins’ plan. They never expected it to be so hard to get pregnant. They tried and tried, tested, and tested, but every time they took a pregnancy test it came back negative. They kept hoping, but deep down inside Lauren and David, knew something was wrong.
After Months of Trying & Failing
The lovebirds didn’t want to stress about it, but they wondered if their dream of having children would ever come true. Despite all their attempts not to be, Lauren and David became desperate. They tried everything they could think of to get pregnant, such as taking extra vitamins and supplements. Even changed their diet. Unfortunately, none of this worked out for the couple. After months of trying there was still no positive pregnancy test.
The Couple Had to Walk This Path Alone
Together they had decided to keep their “infertility problem” a secret from their friends and family. Having to tell them over and over again that it didn’t work out and then also having to deal with their disappointment was too much for them and the pressure of their loved ones would make the process even harder. Lauren and David had to walk this path alone, so they thought…
They Had to be Sure That They Tried Everything
Even though they didn’t want to experience any more pressure, they subconsciously did. The couple realized that sooner or later their secret would come out. Besides that, they also knew that they would feel a lot better if it was no longer a secret. Still, they decided to keep their secret for themselves. They had to be sure that they had tried everything…
It Began to Take Its Toll on Their Marriage
Meanwhile, Lauren and David tried for a year and a half to get pregnant without any positive result. They had never experienced so much disappointment and failure in their lives and this began to take its toll. The couple was angry and disappointed, which they took out on each other. How was this possible? Whose fault is it? They couldn’t take it anymore and eventually, their sadness moved on to their loved ones.
The News Was, Again, Disappointing
The longer it took, the more desperate they became. Each day was harder than the day before. How long would it take? Why couldn’t they get pregnant? And if they couldn’t, would they still stay together? That was the moment Lauren and David realized they needed professional help. They had to know what was going on. The news the couple got was, again, disappointing…
They Needed Help from a Fertility Specialist
After about a year of wishing to try it ‘the natural way’, using vitamins & supplements, and more. There was no other option but to go to a fertility specialist. They did extensive research because they only wanted the best. After a long search, they found the perfect person and made an appointment. Not knowing that the visit would overwhelm them.
It Was Time to Tell Their Secret
The fertility specialist told them about the different treatments, what their options were, and what all this would cost. Both never expected it to be so expensive, so they decided to wait and think about it before proceeding. Lauren and David Perkins also knew they had to tell their loved ones about their secret. Maybe they could help them or at least give them advice?
It Wasn’t an Easy Decision
The Perkins knew that telling their family and close friends wasn’t going to be easy. First, they had to explain that they couldn’t get pregnant and that it was taking its toll on them and their marriage. Fortunately, their loved ones were very supportive. For the couple, it felt like some pressure had been lifted from their shoulders. Although only a little, because they still hadn’t succeeded in conceiving a baby.
All They Wanted to Do Was Help
Not being able to get pregnant is a personal and intimate problem. Both friends and families realized that Lauren and David had to process this themselves before they could share it with others. But all they wanted to do was help, so the moment the couple was ready for their support and help, everyone was giving doctors’ advice and treatment ideas.
They Knew What to Do Now
After the Perkins shared their ‘infertility’ secret with their loved ones it felt like they were able to breathe again. The secret prevented them from thinking clearly. Their parents turned out to be the most supportive people from the group. The love and support they received only increased their longing for children. That was the moment David and Lauren knew what to do…
Hoping They Could Escape Their Problems
The desire to have a child was so great that it hurt. Yet the couple decided to wait. The couple needed more time and wanted to work on their own problems first, before entering medical processes such as surgeries and fertility treatments. They decided to press the pause button of their problems and go on a missionary trip to Nicaragua. Here they hoped to escape their problems for a while, but something miraculous happened.
While they were in Nicaragua, Lauren and David met a local priestess. She spoke to Lauren and laid one hand on her belly and spoke to her. “She told me she knew God had big plans for me; she didn’t know what, but it would be big.” This was such a special moment that the couple got new hope. Not only in conceiving a child, but also in each other and in God.
The Perkins’ Heart’s Desire Had to Come True
Once they came back from their trip they decided to try it again. Both knew it would be different this time. The couple promised each other to try everything they could think of, including medical processes, like fertility treatments. They would do anything to make their hearts desire come true! After some research, they chose to start with an IUI treatment.
IUI Increased Their Chances
The medical process called Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) involves placing sperm cells directly into the uterus, after which they are more likely to reach the fallopian tubes where they have to fertilize eggs. It sounds like a far-reaching procedure, but the chance of becoming pregnant is increased by approximately 25%, without costing a fortune. Lauren & David weren’t sure it would work, but they had to at least try, right?
We’ve Nothing to Lose
So that’s what they did…It was still the Perkins’ heart’s desire to get pregnant naturally, but they didn’t want to wait any longer. The disappointments & failures were just too painful. They started the IUI treatment with the thought: we’ve nothing to lose. We are either going to be very happy and pregnant or we are looking for another fertility treatment that works.
Nothing to Do Except Wait and Pray
After the treatment, the doctor advised the couple to wait at least two weeks before taking a pregnancy test. This way they could save themselves an (extra) disappointment. So, there was nothing Lauren and her husband could do except wait and pray it had worked. Although they couldn’t wait, Lauren didn’t have much hope in the IUI treatment…
The Day of the Pregnancy Test Finally Arrived
David’s wife wanted nothing more than for the treatment to be successful, but she just didn’t dare to hope. The following weeks couldn’t go by fast enough and after two weeks it was finally the day of the pregnancy test. Lauren went to the pharmacy to buy not one but several pregnancy tests. She wanted to be sure whether or not she was pregnant. When she saw the results of the first test, she was absolutely stunned…
All the Tests Had the Same Result: Positive
The result of the pregnancy test was positive. Finally, some good news. They couldn’t quite believe it yet, so Lauren did several tests, making sure the first one wasn’t a false positive. No matter how many she did, they all had the same result: pregnant. The couple were over the moon and were already looking forward to the first doctor’s appointment.
Nothing Was Allowed to Go Wrong
Lauren and David wanted to do everything they could to make sure it would be a healthy and happy pregnancy. They had to wait so long: nothing was allowed to go wrong. When Lauren had her first doctor’s check-up, her hormone levels turned out to be far too high. This can be bad news, but for that they had to wait and see.
HCG; Good or Bad News?
Lauren’s high hormone levels, also called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), can mean bad news. For example, it may indicate a molar pregnancy – a nonmalignant tumor in the uterus. In addition, doctors can’t tell when the future mother was due. Fortunately, it doesn’t just mean bad news. High hormone levels can also indicate multiple pregnancies. Even better news: this was also what was going on with Lauren Perkins’ pregnancy.
Blessed With Two or More Miracles
The doctors couldn’t tell how many babies yet, but they were sure it was more than one. Once again, the lovebirds were over the moon: who would have thought that after all those struggles they would get twins? Or maybe even triplets? To be sure how many babies Lauren was carrying, they had to make an ultrasound. In the meantime, the couple started wondering what would happen to their lives if they suddenly had more than one baby. Could they handle that? Wasn’t it too hard after all those disappointments?
Lauren Got a Bad Feeling About the Appointment
Fortunately, all those questions couldn’t spoil their happiness. Their heart’s desire had finally come true, they really wouldn’t regret it. All this time they wanted one baby and now they were blessed with two or more miracles. How many would there actually be? Before they knew it, the day of the ultrasound had arrived. They were finally going to see their babies and find out how many babies Lauren had in her belly and if they were healthy. Both of them couldn’t wait, but as they got closer to the moment, Lauren got a bad feeling. Could something be wrong? The future mom thought so…
Everything Seemed Fine Until the Doctor Stopped Talking
When the happy couple entered the examination room, Lauren’s bad feelings still hadn’t disappeared. Lauren lay down, the doctor sprayed a little gel on her pregnant belly and started his examination. Meanwhile, David and his wife could watch on the screen and saw their ‘babies’ there for the first time. During the ultrasound, everything turned out okay. The doctor seemed satisfied and confirmed this until he got a questionable face and stopped talking….
The Doctor Spoke Again
The Perkins were worried right away. Something was wrong! It remained quiet for a few more minutes until Lauren couldn’t take it anymore and asked the doctor what was wrong. His answer was the last thing the couple expected. “Well, I just counted five.” He had to be kidding right, but then the doctor spoke again…
Lauren Was Carrying Sextuplets
“Wait, wait, wait! I just found the sixth one!” Wait what: was Lauren carrying sextuplets? That had to be a mistake, they thought. Well, it wasn’t, which was a big shock to the future parents. Their heart’s desire was one baby, when the doctor told them Lauren was carrying multiple babies, they expected twins or triplets at most, but SEXTUPLETS…
Afraid, Shocked, but Above All Happiness
To put it mildly: the couple was overwhelmed and they could only think of one thing after they got the news: Wow six babies, our patience had paid off, right? Once the news had descended on them emotions took over. They were afraid, but most of all shocked. Could they handle six babies? How would this pregnancy going to look like? Soon after that the fear turned into happiness.
What About the Delivery?
One thing was for sure: this pregnancy was going to be unique. Lauren: “A year ago, I found out I was pregnant. A week and a half later, I found out I was pregnant with 6 babies. Excitement to shock to worry to wishing some would magically disappear at each ultrasound to accepting that I would indeed have 6 babies.” Soon Lauren began struggling with questions about the delivery.
Having Sextuplets Is Dangerous for the Babies & Mother
The Perkins knew right away that they would love all 6 of their children equally. So they immediately started talking about baby names. Not knowing that they would soon face another problem. Did she have to give birth six times in a ‘natural’ way and was she able to handle that, both physically and mentally? The doctor gave the couple some options because having sextuplets isn’t just dangerous for the babies, but also for the mother…
Six Babies in One Belly
He told the future parents that they had to make some tough decisions, about the pregnancy. Carrying six babies in one belly takes a lot of energy of the mother and limited space, blood supply & nutrients for the babies. The doctor told them that the best option if they wanted healthy children, was to abort some of the fetuses to give the rest a better chance…
How Could They Ever Choose Between Six Babies
This so-called ‘solution’ from their doctor was never an option for the couple. Imagine: which baby should they choose to give its brothers and sisters a better chance of surviving? That wouldn’t be fair. Lauren: “Seeing your six babies and seeing their heartbeats and there’s no sign of any problems, so you know, how do you choose?”
Proud Parents of Six
There was no thought of it: all six of their children would be born. This automatically meant that Lauren & David had to raise six children at the same time. They started their preparations: cribs, bottles, clothes, and stacks of diapers. Before they knew it, it was time for Lauren to deliver their 6 beautiful babies…
In Awe of Their Beautiful Babies
April 23, 2012 was the day that Lauren and David waited for their whole lives: they had become parents of their children, called Leah Michelle, Caroline Grace, Allison Kate, Levi Thomas, Andrew Noah and Benjamin Luke. They were born after 30 weeks of pregnancy via c-section. All 6 babies weighed between 1lb 10 oz and 2lbs 15 oz and were after their check-up sent to the NICU. Lauren, David and their friends & family were in complete awe of the beautiful babies.
Signs of Labor
On April 20th, 7 months into her pregnancy, Lauren felt signs of labor and decided to contact her doctor. When the hospital heard the news, they admitted her immediately. David: “Lauren has just been admitted to the hospital immediately after her appointment. The doctor expects to deliver Sunday or Monday. Please pray for Lauren and the babies.”
23 April 2012 10:36
3 days after Lauren’s hospitalization it was time to deliver the 6 beautiful children. Both David and Lauren felt restless, because it was 2 months too early, but they knew there was nothing they could do, so the doctors prepped Lauren for the c-section… April 23rd at 10:35, Lauren gave birth to 3 boys and 3 beautiful girls at 30 weeks 1-day gestation. Lauren: “The delivery went very smoothly with approximately 35 people in the operating room.” After the delivery, the sextuplets were transferred to the NICU.
6 Newborn Babies in the NICU
Because the babies were born too early and therefore far too small, they could not handle the environment and had to be brought to the NICU. The expectation was that they had to stay here for a while. In the meantime, Lauren and David had to patiently wait to see their 6 newborn babies… After 4 days the new parents were finally allowed to visit their babies at the NICU. Lauren: ““I officially met them on Tuesday and got to touch them! I couldn’t believe they all fit inside my belly. My very favorite moment was getting to hold one of them this morning.”
5 of the 6 Babies Could Go Home
They realized at that moment that they had become parents and not of one child but of six. Thankfully, all babies were doing fine, most were getting stronger and bigger. Except for baby Leah… With time all babies were strong enough to be held by their parents. After 4 months of praying and daily hospital visits, 5 of the 6 Perkins babies were strong enough to go home. When the couple heard this incredible news, they felt like the luckiest parents in the world.
Leah Was Struggling
Their only disappointment was that baby Leah had to stay in the hospital because she was still struggling. Doctors found out that Leah had been at the bottom of her mother’s womb, so she had all her brothers and sister on top of her. This weight caused her to struggle once she was born. Unfortunately, it got worse…
Cysts in Leah’s Brain
After Leah’s struggle to get a good place in the womb, doctors found that she had cysts in her brain. They scheduled an MRI, which showed that the cysts were taking the place of her brain matter. So the poor baby had to be operated on. Lauren about Leah’s dire situation: “Her motor skills are most at risk as well as her vision, hearing, and speech are likely to be affected too… So we’re disappointed, but trusting God like we have been and focusing on what we can do to help her and encourage her development.”
Finally, the Perkins Family Was Complete
Leah was allowed to go home with her mom and dad after the operation. Luckily this was only a short time after her brothers and sisters. The Perkins family was finally complete and well. Taking care of 6 healthy babies takes a lot of energy and is almost impossible for 2 people. Let alone if one of them, like Leah, needed extra care. Fortunately, the couple got a lot of support from their friends and family. Lauren: “I can’t believe how our friends, family, and neighbors have stepped up! It’s only been a couple of weeks, but we’ve had plenty of help (and food!)”.
The Sextuplets First Holiday Season
The sextuplets had been in the hospital for more than 4 months, so it was soon time for the holiday season. Lauren about their first Halloween as parents: “The babies weren’t thrilled with being dressed up, but they did great while we trick or treated!” At 8 months old the babies had their first Christmas and this time it was a lot busier around the Christmas tree. Lauren and David couldn’t believe that their children were growing so fast and that they were doing so well. For them, it felt like the biggest blessing.
Next Christmas Will Be Hectic
Lauren about the sextuplets first Christmas: “Christmas day we headed to my grandparents’ house for the afternoon! The babies were great in the car and at their house. We just ate yummy food, played games, visited, and opened a few gifts. It was a surprisingly relaxing day. I’m sure future Christmases will be much more hectic!”
The Parents Looking back at the First Year
The first year of David and Lauren as parents of a sextuplet’s first year had flown by and it was the first birthday of their beautiful children. The kids had a circus-themed birthday party. There was face painting, a popcorn maker, a birthday cake and more… TODAY met the parents after a year and asked them how they experienced the first year of parenthood. Lauren: “I call it semi-controlled chaos. We had to get very scheduled and very structured and organized, especially in the first year.”
Thankful for Friends & Family
“Friends would sign up to come and do feeding shifts in the middle of the night, they would help with giving the babies baths and doing laundry. We wouldn’t have made it without that generosity. They brought us dinner for an entire year,” Lauren said. Doing the household, cooking and working is sometimes already difficult with 1 baby let alone 6!
The Sextuplets; 5 Years Old
In 2017 the Perkins Pack – which is their nickname – were reading to start kindergarten. Five of the six kids were doing just fine and had caught up with kids of their age. They needed speech therapy, but when they turned 4, everything was fine. Only Leah was struggling… At the age of 5, Leah can’t talk or walk. Lauren: “She goes to public preschool for children with disabilities. She always gives 100 percent and smiles all the time. She brightens everyone’s day.”
They Include Her in As Much As Possible
The Perkins try to include their little girl – and sister – in as many activities as possible. She comes along with us to the beach, on our hikes in Colorado, to the pool and parks. She loves going down the slide and riding on those special swings.” Although Leah is struggling, the most important is that her parents and brothers & sisters love her to pieces. They will always take care of her. So everything will be just fine.
The Perkins During Covid-19
Anno 2021 the kids (8), except for Leah, are in 2nd grade and doing fine. They’re, of course, in COVID-19 quarantine which is a big challenge for Lauren. Now she has to be a mom, caretaker for Leah, teach for the other 5, chef, and cleaning lady. “My kids really are best friends. They play and work well together.”