Today is a remarkable day for one special Austin family. One year ago today, the Jones family welcomed five, that’s right, five babies into the world. It’s been a year full of surprises: the good, the bad, and you can guess the ugly (5 babies soiling up to 10 diapers a day could definitely get ugly), but this incredible family has persevered, made the most of the hand they were dealt, and it looks like they are definitely coming out on top.
Their story really started in August of 2008, when Ethan and Casey Jones found out they were expecting quintuplets and were soon to go from a family of three (daughter Eliot was four at the time) to a family of eight. Ethan says that their reaction to the news was pretty stereotypical: “We laughed, cried, freaked out a little bit, then did it all over again…and again…for about six months!” He admits that overwhelming feelings and even anger came over them at times, but all of those feelings ceased when the little ones were born.
Throughout Casey’s pregnancy, the Jones family became somewhat local celebrities and were soon the topic of many radio shows, morning news shows, and conversations alike. Not everyone gave their best wishes, but Ethan and Casey stayed positive, held onto their faith, and focused on those who supported them. HEB held a diaper drive for the family in which Austinites donated diapers of all sizes and gift cards for the family’s impending growing grocery bills. After hearing about his situation (in which at the time he and Casey had just found out about the pregnancy and number of fetuses), Baylor University graciously granted Ethan a scholarship for the entire cost of the Executive MBA program he had just entered. His classmates even took up a collection and awarded him a generous donation! And other companies such as Similac and local businesses such as Taylor Made Portrait Studio and Ella Bella Photography, not to mention a few who wished to remain anonymous, also came through for the Jones family by way of donations of products and time.
To chronicle their ever changing lives, Ethan started a website, www.joneslife.net, through which readers could follow the progress of Casey’s pregnancy and growth of the quints, and where readers could also sign up to donate much needed supplies, funds, and even their time as volunteers. They developed a huge following and continued to count their blessings as Austinites and others showed their support.
Fast forward to January 16, 2009. A preeclamptic Casey gave birth to five little ones, four girls and one boy, with weights ranging from 2 lbs 2 oz to 2 lbs 13 oz, and the mayhem began. Welcome to the world, Brooklyn, Britton, Jack, Lila, and Ryan! As the Jones family tried to get used to the fact that they now had five beautiful new babies in the Seton Medical Center neonatal intensive care unit, news crews, reporters, and seemingly the entire city of Austin anxiously awaited to hear a update from Ethan.
Each baby spent 2 – 3 months in the NICU, and with each homecoming, life got a little crazier for the Joneses. This was the new normal. Endless diaper changes, feedings, and volunteers coming in and out of the house. The hardest part about having newborn quints? Well, every parent remembers the sleepless nights with a newborn, but five? “It was brutal…physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually!” But other than extreme sleep deprivation, Ethan states that he, Casey, and even Eliot all had to deal with the fact that “…our lives were truly no longer ours to live as we wanted. We had to give up just about everything about our former lives to make it work.” But these challenges have also been met with endless milestones, joys, and blessings watching the Fab Five grow over the last year.
So what’s next for the Jones family? You mean other than raising 5 soon to be toddlers? Ethan and Casey recently announced on their blog that they are going to be featured in a television special that will hopefully lead to a series. A camera crew has followed the family since shortly after the babies’ birth, witnessing their first holding in the NICU, and tagging along on outings and events such as church dedications and Thanksgiving. Ethan can’t disclose the production company or even the network just yet, but this is sure to be a very exciting venture for this great family. And we wish them all the best.
Want to learn more about the Jones family? Check out their blog at www.joneslife.net.