Jon and Kate say their lives were turned upside down the day they found out they were expecting sextuplets.
When Kate went in for an ultrasound five weeks into her pregnancy, she says she thought she might be carrying more than one baby…but she never imagined there would be six. "As soon as they flashed the ultrasound screen, I saw too many circles to count," she says. "I was thinking, 'These cannot be babies. There's too many.' I instantly went into shock."
As the doctors whispered, Jon says he crouched on the floor to keep from fainting. "He was close to tears, which he's usually very silent and strong," Kate says. "I thought, 'Now we're really in trouble.' … It sounds funny now, but at the time, our whole lives just flashed before our eyes."
At just 26 years old, Jon says he immediately thought of the family's finances, as well as Cara and Mady. "I [was] thinking of my twin daughters and, 'How am I going to afford this?'" he says. "As a father, I think you want to take care of your family and do the best you can."
They knew raising eight children would be draining—emotionally and financially—but Jon and Kate say they never considered reducing the number of fetuses in the womb. "When we went in for that [fertility] appointment, I said to them every time, 'Really be careful with us, because we're not doing that ever. It's not for us,'" she says. "Actually, right before that ultrasound, the last thing I said to [the doctor] was, 'Whatever you're giving me, we're taking.'"
On May 10, 2004, the family of four welcomed Hannah, Joel, Leah, Collin, Alexis and Aaden into their lives.