ALBERTVILLE, AL (WAFF) - They stole hearts across the Tennessee Valley when they were born and now they’re quickly becoming America’s sweethearts.
The Waldrop family and their sextuplets are the stars of a new TV show on TLC.
Rayne, Layke, Rivers, Tag, Blu, and Rawlings are happy and healthy babies. They’re adored by their parents Courtney and Eric and their three older brothers and there’s never a dull moment at their Albertville home.
[READ MORE: First sextuplets born at Huntsville Hospital]
“Our journey has been absolutely incredible. We have been blessed beyond measure. We had six healthy babies and they are perfect in every way and God truly answered every prayer. It’s been a miracle,” Courtney said.
The sextuplets made headlines when they were delivered at Huntsville Hospital and part of their show, called “Sweet Home Sextuplets,” was filmed at the hospital. It follows the Waldrop family’s life-changing journey every step of the way, from Courtney’s high-risk pregnancy to the births and how they adjust to becoming a family of 11.
Now, the sextuplets are 9 months old.
“They’re just starting to crawl now. Developmentally wise, they’re not really behind what a normal nine-month-old would be considering they were 30 weeks when they were born. They were 10 weeks premature. They’re crawling and really getting around now. They’re doing great. We’re really proud of how they’ve come along,” Eric said.
The babies are starting to show their unique traits, quirks and individuality.
“We’ve been able to tell a difference in their personalities for a long time, but now that they’re crawling and moving around, they’re separating themselves even more,” Eric added.
“They have their different looks and their different personalities. They’re getting really fun! It’s about to get wild at our house,” Courtney said.
The sextuplets have three older brothers- twins Wales and Bridge, 6, and Saylor, 9.
“Our three boys love the babies. We wondered how it was going to change our lives with our three big boys, but they love their baby brothers and sisters. They help us take care of them. They’re wonderful,” Courtney explained.
“From the very beginning, we really focused on trying to incorporate them in everything. We didn’t want them to be separate with the babies and the other children doing separate things. Especially now that the babies are getting bigger and stronger, the big boys are just constantly playing and helping,” Eric added.
The Waldrops are eager to talk about their journey on national television. The show premiered on September 18.
“It’s a blessing to be able to share our story with the world. It’s an amazing story. The Lord has brought us through so much. We’re just excited to tell about it and hopefully someone else can be blessed through our story,” Courtney stated.
Camera crews were in Alabama for 12-14 weeks and have been back and forth doing some more filming. The family has grown close to the production crew and staff members.
“Some of them are kind of like family now and we’ve enjoyed that part of it and forming close bonds with them. It’s been great,” Eric said. “They just follow us with different activities and milestones of the kids and hitting highlights of what our life has been like through the first six months.”
“When someone is in your house that much, you get close to them and we were blessed with an amazing crew to work with,” Courtney added.
The babies were delivered at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children on Dec. 11, 2017. Dr. David Rushing, of the Clinic For Women, delivered the sextuplets by Cesarean section with help from a team of about 40 labor and delivery nurses, neonatologists, anesthesiologists, maternal fetal medicine specialists and surgical assistants.
The fraternal sextuplets – three boys and three girls – ranged in weight from 2 pounds, 4 ounces to 2 pounds, 14 ounces. They spent several weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) before going home to Albertville.
The Waldrops expressed their gratitude for the efforts of Dr. David Rushing and the entire team who helped provide care for the babies.
“We had so much faith in him as a doctor, he put a lot of our fears at ease. The whole staff was great,” Eric said.
“They will always hold a special place in our heart because they were awesome,” Courtney added.
Sextuplets are exceedingly rare. It was the first sextuplet delivery in the history of Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children, the first sextuplet birth in Alabama since 2011, and the first time sextuplets were born in the state outside of Birmingham.
Employees from the NICU, Labor & Delivery Unit, Mother Baby and other clinical departments held multiple drills to practice every aspect of the sextuplets’ delivery and first minutes of care.
Courtney and Eric, childhood sweethearts, had been trying for one more sibling for their three boys when they found out that they were expecting six babies. Courtney school teacher, but she had to leave work during her pregnancy with the sextuplets. Eric owns a landscape company.
After the birth of their oldest son, Saylor, Courtney had a miscarriage and learned that she had a blood clotting disorder which could risk the lives of both the baby and mother. So the Waldrops turned to fertility medication, which led to the births of their six-year-old twins.
It was a shock when they tried again and found out that sextuplets were on the way.
The show started with Courtney at 25-weeks pregnant and already on strict bed rest and hospital crews planning for the delivery.
It also touches on the gender reveal and the babies’ arrival at the hospital. Camera crews then follow the family home to Albertville as the family adjusts to a new norm, using 70 diapers a day and the need for round-the-clock care and feedings, along with keeping with up with their three other children.
“We aren’t just home with just six babies. We have three older boys. We’re constantly on the go,” Courtney said. “We’ve made it a point to not slow down for the big boys. We don’t want to hold them back. They continue to do everything they’ve always done, play every sport and Eric coaches them. And we have six babies on top of that. It can be challenging. I think that’s something different about us!”
The Waldrops will also discuss long-term decisions for their family’s future. Sweet Home Sextuplets airs on Tuesdays at 10/9c on TLC.
The family thanked relatives, friends, and members of their church for all their support.
“They’ve all helped us in some form or fashion, whether it’s bringing us over food or helping us with the babies so we can sneak out and go to a ball game with our big boys. They’ve been incredible. We don’t know what we would have done without them,” Courtney said.
The family doesn’t see themselves as TV stars. They just appreciate the opportunity to talk about their experiences with viewers.
“We just take it day by day because it can be hard. With nine kids and everything that’s going on right now, we just take it a day at a time and just thank God that everyone is healthy,” Eric said.
The sextuplets continue to bring their parents and brothers lots of joy and their smiles are contagious.
“We can’t imagine our lives without them,” Courtney said.