She Gave Birth To Quadruplets. Then Doctors Saw Her Babies’ Faces… It Was One In 15 Million

She Gave Birth To Quadruplets. Then Doctors Saw Her Babies’ Faces… It Was One In 15 Million

For Bethani Webb, all of the joy, fear, excitement, and trepidation of becoming a mom was multiplied four-fold when she learned she was expecting quadruplets. And there would be a further surprise in store after Bethani finally reached the delivery room. You see, as the doctors looked more closely at the newborns’ faces, they discovered something truly jaw-dropping.

Meet the Webbs

The Webbs are a typical couple from Northern Alberta, Canada, and their love story begins like many others. Tim and Bethani got hitched in their early twenties, and like many a normal couple who are very much in love, they started thinking about having children. Little did they know what was in store…

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Surprise!

As it turns out, things started happening faster than they’d anticipated. Shortly after the Webbs’ wedding in June 2015, Bethani fell pregnant. The couple had been planning to wait at least 12 months before having their first child, but life, as they say, happens while you’re making plans. Still, it was great – if unexpected – news for the pair, who looked forward to starting their own little family.

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Unexpected news

So, on the day before Christmas Eve 2015, the first-time parents attended a routine scan. And it was then that the nurse delivered some unexpected and pretty awesome news. It wasn’t quite the early Christmas present the couple had been preparing for, and to say it left them floored would be an understatment.

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Family history

The first clue that something was up came when the nurse asked if the couple knew of any multiple births in either of their families. The expectant pair said no, unsure of what was coming next. And it was at this moment that the nurse pointed to the image on the monitor.

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Quadruplets

As Bethani recounted to Canada’s Global News, “She turns around to the screen, and she says, ‘There’s one baby, there’s two, there’s three and there’s four…’” “That’s when I just about fell over!” Tim added.

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An adorable rarity

And the couple’s families were just as stunned by the news, too. It’s no wonder really, is it? According to Dr. James Bofill of the University of Mississippi, the chance of anyone conceiving quadruplets without the aid of fertility treatment is roughly one in 729,000!

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Daddy’s girls

Aside from having to quadruple preparations for the new arrivals, Bethani’s pregnancy went well. And during that time, the Webbs got some more news: Tim was going to be seriously outnumbered because all four of their babies were girls! Just a month after that bombshell, Bethani arrived at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, to get ready for the birth.

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A cesarean section

Because Bethani was having quadruplets, doctors had advised a cesarean section at 33 weeks. This went ahead as planned, and before the couple knew it, they had four cute and healthy little daughters. But as each of the girls was lined up next to one another, everybody was stunned.

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Identical quads

If the odds of naturally conceiving quadruplets are small, then the likelihood of the Webbs’ new discovery was nigh-on miraculous. Because incredibly – and by a chance of one in over 15 million – the four newborn girls were all identical.

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Real-life magic

“It was kind of like a magic show because they’re pulling out one, two, three, four… It was kind of surreal,” Tim told Global News. But once the magic show ended, the couple had to name their new arrivals – and they chose Emily, Grace, McKayla, and Abigail for their little girls.

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#Blessed

The ecstatic dad later said, according to the Edmonton Journal, “I feel overwhelmingly awesome that the babies are here. I feel blessed. Relieved, too, because you worry with multiple births. There’s risks… but all of it was perfect.”

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Choosing names

And while multiple births might mean less sleep and more diapers, there is, at least, one big advantage when it comes to choosing names. “It was nice that we didn’t have to pick our favorites,” Bethani told Global News. “We could pick four we liked, we didn’t have to choose just one.”

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Telling them apart

And the naming, it seems, proved a lot easier than actually telling the girls apart. That said, immediately after the birth each girl was placed in her own tiny incubator, making it a little easier to differentiate one quadruplet from the others.

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Quadruple vision

Distinguishing the girls from one another outside the incubators, however, proved slightly more problematic. Speaking to CTV News, Bethani revealed, “Right now I’m glad they’re separated so we can tell them apart. But even just holding two side-by-side, I can’t tell them apart at all.”

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Different personalities

New mom Bethani also divulged to CTV News that their individual personalities couldn’t be more different, and in time, that will most certainly help when it comes to telling them apart. She described Emily and McKayla as chilled out, and Abigail – the smallest of the four despite being the eldest – as feisty. Grace, meanwhile, is “kind of a character.”

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Color coded

And the couple do have a plan in place to help them differentiate between each girl now that they’re home, too. Bethani and Tim will color-code each one with hair accessories and bracelets! And they’ve even considered painting their toenails to tell each one apart.

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Bunking with grandma

Undeniably, bringing home four babies has been a lot for the new parents to adjust to. And so the pair have moved in with Tim’s mom for a helping hand. They even have the 820-strong population of Hythe, Alberta – their hometown – behind them, too.

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Setting up a GoFundMe

As Tim told the National Post, “The community held a fundraiser which brought in approximately $50,000, and there’s a GoFundMe [site] set up by friends.” The couple have been so overwhelmed with the generosity of the community that they’ve even had to turn to a local church in order to house all the gifts.

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Beautiful memories ahead

Raising quadruplets is a daunting challenge, but the Webbs are still more than willing to take it on. Proud dad Tim told Global News, “I’m looking forward to the memories and how close they’ll all be.” And Bethani added, “It’s going to be crazy the first few years… [But] it’ll be very exciting.”

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DNA test

As we know, the fact that these babies share the same DNA is extremely rare. But what do the genes look like in identical triplets? Well, one famous set of triplets took DNA tests to better understand their ancestries. But the unexpected results of the tests had some experts crying foul — and others wondering if humanity understood genetics as well as we thought!

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Can’t tell them apart

Just like the Webb babies, the Dahm sisters are pretty much indistinguishable from one another at birth. Born in December 1977, Nicole, Erica, and Jaclyn are identical triplets, and as babies, even their parents couldn’t tell them apart.

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Baby tattoos

In fact, that’s why each was branded with a unique tattoo at birth: Nicole, born first, was given one dot on her butt; Erica dons two dots for having been born second; and Jaclyn, out third, went tattoo-less.

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Playboy stardom

As the three grew older, they navigated the world of modeling together, becoming the first ever triplets featured in a Playboy Magazine centerfold. The girls were 21, and the world marveled at their physical similarities. In fact, this raised a lot of questions.

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Very rare

Just how similar were they? Well, triplets occur when a single fertilized zygote splits into three identical portions in the womb. A certain journalist, however, wanted a more granular understanding. She wanted to know if their ancestry aligned.

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Ancestry answers

So that investigative reporter, Lisa Guerrero at Inside Edition, devised an experiment to find out. To get started, she gave the triplets each two home DNA and ancestry test kits.

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DNA testing

The DNA tests, supplied from the popular ancestry site 23andMe, worked like this: the triplets surrendered spit into a small vial, which was then shipped to the parent company. There, professionals extracted DNA cells from the saliva.

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Comparing samples

Then, 23andMe compared the extracted DNA to the already analyzed DNA of over 10,000 people with known ancestries, people who’d already submitted samples to the site. Experts then keyed in on the regional source and ancestry of the triplets’ genomes…

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TV reveal

The triplets waited anxiously for the results, and soon they received the good news: experts had finished analyzing their samples, and the details of the study would be shared with them on the set of The Doctors, a daytime talk show.

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The key question

When the show began, before diving into the results, The Doctors host Dr. Travis Stork asked the triplets a simple question: “How would you feel if your ancestry was different?” Nicole’s answer echoed a lot of viewers watching at home.

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The sisters’ assumption

“I don’t know how that could happen,” she said. “We’re one egg that split, and we all came out of our mother, so maybe a little different DNA, but we still have the same ancestry, right?”

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First test

Well, the first of the two tests the sisters took, which looked purely at their DNA and not their ancestry, confirmed the obvious: they were indeed identical triplets. The second test, though, had more surprising results.

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Second test

In front of a live audience, Lisa revealed the results of the second test: “Nicole” she said, “you’re 18 percent British and Irish. Erica, you’re 15 percent British and Irish.” And Jaclyn?

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Different ancestries

Jaclyn, left, was 19 percent British and Irish! How, the sisters wondered, could their percentages be different if their DNA was the same? These were small discrepancies, sure, but discrepancies nonetheless. The test results had further surprises in store.

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Even more confusing

Nicole had about 11 percent French and German ancestry while her sisters had about twice as much; meanwhile, Nicole was 11.4 percent Scandinavian, while her sisters were just 7.4 percent. With more discrepancies showing up, the sisters — and audience — grew more confused.

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Trying to make sense

What was particularly confusing was that they could actually unlock each others’ phones with their identical fingerprints. How could they be so similar, yet so different? Were they human anomalies? This was clarified when 23andMe responded.

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Confidence levels

See, 23andMe reports change based on a user’s “confidence levels.” These “lower confidence levels,” the spokesperson said, “allow you to take a more speculative look at your ancestry breakdown.” In other words?

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A possible explanation

If the triplets submitted their tests with “low confidence levels,” then, “you are going to throw off the comparisons,” the spokesperson said. “Even when [the triplets] did that, there wasn’t that great of a difference.” Case closed?

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Lingering questions

Back on the set of The Doctors, Lisa pitched a question to Dr. Travis: “we found a few discrepancies,” she said. “What does that say to you? What is your takeaway from these tests?”

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Imperfect technology

Dr. Travis gave the diplomatic answer: “I’m not a geneticist,” he said. “But I love the idea of these at-home tests for fun…we’re not to a place yet where you can just spit in a cup and have every single answer that you’re looking for.”

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A growing trend

What the tests did accomplish, however, was a widening of the world’s understanding and interest in genes, ancestries, and genetics. The Dahms may continue to wonder about their genetic differences for the rest of their lives, but they’re glad to have gained more insight into the at-home DNA test trend.

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