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One home, four to grow: Ladner babies thriving at UMMC



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The birth of Haylee and Shawn Ladner’s quintuplets wasn’t one miracle, but five.

The parents, of Purvis, say each of their 2-month-old babies – four identical quadruplet girls and a boy – has a unique personality.

“Adalyn likes to sleep, but if she’s upset, you’ll know it,” Haylee said. “Everleigh likes to eat. Jake is the calmest as long as he’s fed and gets his sleep. Malley Kate, or MK, is the smallest, but she’s also feisty. Magnolia Mae is dainty and calm. I’m constantly amazed with how strong they are and how beautiful they are, and I’ll always be grateful for that.”

The babies, born Feb. 16 by Caesarian section at Wiser Hospital for Women and Infants at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, are patients in neonatal intensive care at the Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower at Children’s of Mississippi. The girls are next door to each other in two NICU rooms designed for twins, and brother Jake is across the hall in a single NICU room.

The five siblings, born at 28 weeks and one day, are growing up. The babies, born at weights ranging from 2 pounds, 5 ounces to 1 pound, 11 ounces, all weigh more than 5 pounds now. Jake came home from the hospital April 26.

Haylee said they are looking forward to Jake’s sisters coming home, too. “We are beyond ready for all the babies to come home. It will just be the greatest day ever when they can be home.”

The family has been at the Medical Center for months. Haylee was admitted to UMMC Jan. 11 so her obstetrician, Dr. Rachael Morris, associate professor of maternal fetal medicine, could keep a close eye on the expectant mom. Morris provided prenatal care and delivered the babies. In fact, Haylee and the babies have a care team involving UMMC Women’s Care and the Center for Maternal and Fetal Care, in addition to Wiser Hospital, children’s hospital and its Center for Newborn Medicine.

“We spent a lot of time in the hospital patiently waiting for them to be born. We had ultrasounds every day to check on them and their development,” Haylee said.

At 28 weeks’ gestation, signs of impending labor were showing. Feb. 15 and 16 were stressful, Shawn said. “We were thinking we could make it to about 29 or 30 weeks, but the day before delivery, she had pain in her stomach. Dr. Morris came in and said, ‘We’re having those babies tomorrow at 9 o’clock in the morning.’ It was pretty much a sleepless night for me that night.”

Haylee was “a trouper,” Shawn said, “and I’m over here panicking but trying not to show her I’m panicking.”

The preparation across UMMC and Children’s of Mississippi for the birth showed, Shawn said. “The staff did amazing. She had so many people by her bedside helping her. They obviously showed how well-prepared they were for this, and they did an amazing job.”

About three years into marriage, the Ladners wanted to start a family. After Haylee had problems conceiving and experienced miscarriage, the couple tried intrauterine insemination, or IUI. One of the two fertilized eggs divided four ways, resulting in a rare pregnancy.

“Reports of spontaneous quintuplets vary but are about 1 in 60 million,” Morris said. “There are very few reports of identical quadruplets in the literature to date. Reported incidence is 1 in 10 to 15 million pregnancies. There is only one other report of this combination in the literature from 2018.”

Seeing the babies for the first time was “the greatest experience ever,” Haylee said. “The first thing I wanted to do (after the babies’ birth) was see the babies. Every day I get to see them is the best day of my life.”

Shawn, a maintenance mechanic at Wis-Pak, a manufacturer of soft drinks and purified water in Hattiesburg, has returned to work but comes to see his wife and babies every chance he gets.

“Having babies in the NICU isn’t easy, but we’re making it work,” he said.

Haylee agreed. “NICU life is definitely hard, but we’ve been very supported by the nursing staff,” she said. “We have the best support system here, so even though it’s really hard at times, we’re able to get through it.”

The Ladners, realizing their house was too small, bought a larger home for their growing family.

“The day we were supposed to close on our new home was the day the babies were born,” Shawn said. The closing was rescheduled to the following week.

The babies’ nurseries are ready and waiting for them. The girls’ bedroom is light pink with a Disney princess theme, and Jake’s room has a “gone fishing” theme, said the babies’ maternal grandmother, Sharon Bullock. “That’s perfect for a Mississippi boy!”

The Ladners are mostly ready for all their babies to come home. “They have car seats and beds,” Bullock said, “but they need a larger vehicle.”

Having Jake at home has been wonderful, Haylee said. “It’s even better than we could have imagined.”

The day when all the Ladner babies are home isn’t far

Teresa Moncrief, a registered nurse who is among those caring for the babies, said all the Ladner babies are doing well. “You couldn’t hope for a better outcome,” she said. “They’re surpassing everyone’s expectations as far as development.”

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