Parenting is never easy, but it’s even harder when you have five babies at once. Adam and Danielle Busby learned this the hard way in 2015 when they became the parents of the first surviving set of quintuplet girls in the United States. Soon, people were clamoring to know more about the family, and they landed their own reality show, OutDaughtered. The TLC show stars Adam and Danielle, their older daughter Blayke, and the quints: Olivia Marie, Ava Lane, Hazel Grace, Parker Kate and Riley Paige.
Anyone would have a hard time taking care of so many babies at once, but the Busbys somehow make it look simple. How do they manage to take care of so many girls, and how does Adam feel about being the only male in the house? We have so many questions, and there’s so much we don’t get to see on the show. Check out the unknown facts we dug up about this interesting family!
Their love story started at Target
The Busby family got its start with a not-quite-so-timeless love story. While it may not sound very romantic, Danielle and Adam met as co-workers at Target. They worked together for months before Adam worked up the courage to talk to Danielle, but it wasn’t quite love at first sight. According to Danielle, their first date never happened because Adam decided to hang out with his friends instead. It wasn’t exactly the best start to their relationship. Danielle later wrote on the family’s blog, It’s a Buzz World, "At this point I’m thinking, this guy… who does he think he is, ditching me… I’m done with him."
Fortunately, Danielle decided to give Adam a second chance. After two and a half years of dating, Adam surprised her with a proposal and they were married six months later. It just goes to show that even the sweetest love stories can have humble beginnings.
Being pregnant with quints requires you to eat a LOT of calories
People are familiar with the phrase "eating for two," but Danielle had to eat for six people when she was pregnant with her babies! Growing quintuplets means that you have to eat a lot of food to sustain the life growing within, and Danielle rose to the challenge. She told Fit Pregnancy that during certain parts of her pregnancy she had to eat an astonishing 4,500 calories a day.
That’s a lot of food, and it wasn’t always easy, especially for someone who was used to healthy eating and getting a lot of exercise. Fortunately, Danielle managed to avoid the pregnancy cravings so many women experience when they are expecting a baby. "I had not one craving ever because I worked with a dietitian and I was able to eat pretty much whatever I wanted to just fill up that allowance —especially ice cream shakes!" she said.
It was unlikely that all five babies would survive
Having quints can be dangerous, and the babies don’t always survive. Babies in multiple birth pregnancies are born smaller, and doctors have to take extra precautions after birth to ensure their survival. Even with modern medicine, sets of surviving quintuplets are still fairly rare. The first known quintuplets to survive were born in 1934.
The Busby quints had to spend a couple of months in the hospital after they were born. Danielle and Adam had to wait a whole week before holding their babies, so that highly anticipated moment was overwhelming for them. "It was an emotional downpour,” Danielle told TODAY. "It’s been hard to see your baby in the isolettes, but that moment where you finally get to touch your baby and hold them, there’s no better feeling than that." Though, once their babies were healthy enough to hold, a whole new set of challenges set it. When it comes to premies, even changing a diaper can be scary. "It’s pretty overwhelming because they’re so tiny. … I don’t want to grab them firmly because I’m scared I’m going to break them," Adam said on TODAY.
They had to fight their doctors to keep all five babies
The Busbys got more than they hoped for when fertility treatments resulted in Danielle conceiving five babies (they were hoping for twins), but the couple rose to the challenge in spite of the doctors’ concerns. "At first they didn’t want us to have all five," Danielle told local news station KTRK. Due to the many risks associated with a multiples pregnancy, her doctors advised the couple to reduce the number of fetuses she was carrying, but "our hearts just couldn’t do that."
As is typical when carrying so many babies, Danielle was not able to carry the quints to term. They were delivered by C-section at 28 weeks and 2 days. While the babies were on the small side (even two months after birth, all were under 6 pounds) they were all healthy. According to Adam and Danielle, their quints are a miracle; they told KTRK it was their faith that pulled them through.
Adam suffered from postpartum depression
There are still a lot of misconceptions around mental illness, and postpartum depression isn’t immune. A lot of people think of postpartum depression as something that exclusively affects the person who gives birth, but it can affect their partners as well. Adam opened up about his struggles with depression after Danielle had the quints. Adam explained his decision to go public with his depression, telling People that he wanted to raise awareness. "Showcasing how human we really are has really struck a chord with people, and I think in a strange way, we’re helping others realize they don’t have to have it all figured out either," he said.
Adam said that after "coming face to face with postpartum depression" he "quickly learned that this is a very real struggle that dads all around the world go through, yet you rarely ever hear it talked about." Adam said that by being open about his depression, and talking about it in interviews and on OutDaughtered, more people would learn about how postpartum depression can also affect men. "I’d be doing an extreme disservice to our fans if I hid this from the public and wasn’t honest with them," he said.
How do they make ends meet on one salary?
Having kids can be expensive. Having six kids, with five of them in diapers at the same time, can do quite a number on your finances. The Busbys have managed to make ends meet, but it has been a challenge. When Danielle became pregnant with the quints, they decided she would quit her full time job, leaving Adam as the main breadwinner, while Danielle stayed home with the girls.
"We budget and we do what we can to make ends meet and make it work," Danielle told People. She emphasized that they believe their faith is what has made it all possible. "God has always provided, no matter what the situation. … He’s protecting and guiding us and providing … and that’s how we’ve done it!" The money they make from OutDaughtered also goes a long way towards providing for their family. While their salary is kept secret, it’s estimated that they could make up to a million dollars per season.
Adam is surprisingly skilled at this typical mom task
There was definitely a learning curve for Adam, who had to adjust to being the only male in the house. Since he’s, well, "outdaughtered," he’s had to learn more about fashion and girls’ hairstyles than he ever expected to. "Usually the mom takes on most responsibilities having to do stuff like fixing hair, picking out outfits and matching hair bows with outfits for the girls," he told Parade. "When you have six of them, you find yourself right in the middle of that. I’m better with a round brush than Danielle!"
Adam is also very conscious about being a role model for his daughters. "It’s a huge responsibility being a dad of a little girl," he said. "Instilling confidence in her and truly showing her how her future husband, her future boyfriend, should treat her — and teaching her not to accept anything less than that. That’s my mindset every day."
Danielle has mastered the at-home workout
Danielle loves to stay fit, but finding time to work out isn’t exactly the simplest thing to do when you have so many children to take care of. Before she was pregnant with the quints, Danielle felt like she was in great shape, but carrying five babies — not to mention eating 4,500 calories a day — took a toll on her body.
Since she doesn’t have much time to get to the gym or take exercise classes, Danielle said that she got back into shape by working out at home. "I’ve customized my routine to fit in with my daily schedule," she wrote in a blog post on TLC‘s website. "To build strength, I do sit-ups and push-ups every day. And forget about the Stairmaster — I utilize our staircase for daily workouts too, on top of the ‘workout’ I get bringing five babies up and down the stairs all day."
Pushing her kids in the stroller also counts as a workout. Danielle said that the total weight of the stroller (which seats six) and the babies is around 200 pounds.
Danielle believes she was made for this
With six kids in the house, things are bound to get a little hectic. Danielle and Adam do their best to stay on top of things, but sticking to a schedule is often easier said than done. Adam told Fit Pregnancy that keeping a schedule is vital, but you also just have to "do the best you can" and "smile and go with it."
It’s a good thing that Danielle’s career training prepared for the gruelling role of being the mom to quintuplets. "In my previous job I was a coordinator, and a lot of my job was planning and scheduling and organizing — and I was good at it," she told Channel Guide Magazine. She clarifies that it was obviously extremely difficult, but planning and scheduling are things she says she’s good at. "When I say I was created and made for this, I honestly was. When I was given five babies, I just had to take those skills and adapt it to baby things."
The whole family is super close
Anyone who watches the show knows that Busby family is tight-knit, but you may not know that they’re also really close with their extended family. This means that family reunions can get pretty wild, since there are plenty of cousins for the Busby kids to play with. Members of the extended family often make an appearance on the show, and it’s clear that they all have a special bond.
Danielle told Channel Guide Magazine that having her family as part of the show has "made it more exciting." She said, "I love being able to capture moments with them. … I’m glad they’re all part of the show, and it’s made good memories." Danielle also made it clear that these get-togethers are never just for the show. She said that when the cameras aren’t rolling, she still loves to spend as much quality time with her family as she possibly can.
Their first daughter, Blayke, was also conceived through fertility treatments
It’s common knowledge, thanks to the show, that the Busbys conceived the quints through fertility treatments because they wanted to give their firstborn child, Blayke, a sibling. But the couple’s fertility difficulties go back even further. After they got married, the Busbys tried to conceive a baby for nearly a year, but learned that Danielle didn’t ovulate regularly and Adam had low testosterone, motility, and sperm count. They needed some help to conceive, so they went through six cycles of intrauterine insemination before Danielle became pregnant with Blayke.
It took more than a year of trying to conceive Blayke, but when it came time to expand the family, the Busbys knew what they were up against. Danielle began taking a drug called Femara to help her conceive. This time, she didn’t have to wait as long before getting pregnant and conceived the quints within a couple months of trying.
"My faith is what has carried me through my struggles of infertility"
The Busbys are blessed with a huge family now, but for a time it seemed like they wouldn’t have kids. "Infertility struggles was one of the hardest phases of my life," Danielle told CountryLiving.com. It was a difficult time, but Danielle and Adam tried to remain optimistic. "We will never understand why we may struggle through parts of our life, but I do believe there is always good that will come from a struggle," said Danielle. "We just have to push our pride aside and not control the uncontrollable things."
Throughout the whole ordeal, it was prayer that kept her from giving up on her dreams of having a family, and it’s prayer that keeps her going today. "My faith is what has carried me through my struggles of infertility, to the struggle of carrying quintuplets, to the struggle of raising six kids and balancing life," she said.
The kids can go off-camera whenever they want
Growing up on camera can be exciting, but it also means that cameras are following your every move. The quints are young enough that they haven’t noticed how intrusive a film crew can be, but Blayke (along with her cousins, who often make an appearance) know that they’re part of something big. If, at any point, any of the kids feel the pressure of being filmed, they can go off-camera. "We respect all the kids’ wishes and if they don’t want to be on camera at certain times, we don’t make them," Danielle told All the Moms. "And we’ll do that with all our kids."
The Busbys say that the filming isn’t too bad since the cameras aren’t rolling 24/7. Still, being on a reality show filmed at your home can be pretty intense. "There’s constantly people around, regardless of if it’s film crew or family or friends," said Danielle. "So we know that our house is just always full of people. It’s just the norm now!"
The Busby household gets REALLY noisy
With six kids and a film crew, not to mention members of the extended family who come by, things can get really hectic in the Busby household. We can only imagine how loud it must have been when the quints were infants and crying throughout the day, but according to Danielle and Adam, once they turned three things got even louder. "Yeah, we have five 3-year-olds right now in the house all coming into their own personalities and figuring out who they are," Adam told All the Moms in 2018. "So there’s this major struggle between all of them to have their own voice in the house."
Adam said that their home’s noise level "reached an all-new level," calling it "ridiculous." Luckily for the Busbys, the quints have been sleeping through the night since they were six months old, and go to sleep around 7 p.m., so nights are more peaceful in the household.
Danielle says her daily routine is like the film "Groundhog Day"
The Busbys’ dedication to keeping a tight schedule might help keep things together at home, but, at least for Danielle, the routine can be a little monotonous. "From the second you wake up and get the girls up, it’s non-stop," she told StyleBlueprint. "Even when they’re napping you’re continuously doing something for the house or the family, and that’s just how it is. I’ll get Blayke up for school about 7:15 a.m. and get on the bus, and then we get the girls up about 8 a.m."
Danielle compared her daily routine to the movie Groundhog Day, in which a weatherman wakes up to find himself leaving the same day, every day. "You do bottles, milk, breakfast, get them dressed, play, they nap and that’s when I shower or do some laundry, constantly the dishwasher, constantly cooking or making food, constantly cleaning up, and they usually go to bed about 7 p.m., and then you start the dishwasher for the night and start over again in the morning," she said.
Watching episodes of the show can be a super emotional experience
With six kids in the house, life is busy for the Busbys. Danielle and Adam are constantly on their feet taking care of their girls and keeping the household together. Not surprisingly, when the quints first came home from the hospital, their mom and dad didn’t get a whole lot of sleep. This made the first season of OutDaughtered especially exciting for Danielle to watch, because she got to relive moments that she told StyleBlueprint she didn’t "remember so much because I was so sleep-deprived and living off two hours of sleep in a 24-hour period."
Danielle said that she is grateful to the cameras for "capturing our memories." Watching OutDaughtered is quite the tear-fest for her. "I probably get emotional and cry every time I watch an episode because it shows me how much they have changed so quickly, and we’re getting the best footage of our life captured," she said. "It’s better than just me doing the iPhone."
Danielle’s grandparents have been a major parenting inspiration
Being a great mom is basically in Danielle’s DNA. She gets a lot of her inspiration from her grandparents who knew a thing or two about having a busy home since they had seven kids of their own! Danielle told StyleBlueprint that her grandparents were "always a big part of my life" and that her grandmother "was a very good role model for being so graceful, putting others before herself, making sure all the kids and grandkids were prepared and were spoken the truth about life and God and the journey."
Unfortunately, her grandmother isn’t around to watch Blayke and the quints grow up, but it’s clear that Danielle is following in her grandmother’s footsteps and that her memory will live on in the Busby kids. "Seeing my life today with all these kids, I just think about her a lot," said Danielle. "She was amazing… she was a rockstar. She was always there for anyone in need in any way. I hope I take after her a little bit and be as graceful as she was."
The family even makes poop look cute
The Busbys are just too stinkin’ cute. The quints are definitely growing into their own personalities, and are proving to be have a quirky and unique sense of style. For their third birthday, they celebrated the day with a combined party featuring poop — the poop emoji, that is. It sounds gross, but the celebration was actually pretty adorable. At their poop emoji themed birthday party, the girls all wore shirts emblazoned with bow-wearing poop emojis.
Danielle explained the party theme to All the Moms. "So Blayke basically loves everything poop emoji," she said. "She had the idea of ‘don’t be a party pooper.’ When we decided to join the birthday parties, we thought, ‘Well, the quints are 3. And we’ve pretty much come to the end of potty training. So we’ll celebrate no more poop disasters.’ So it just blended well with the ‘don’t be a party pooper’ (theme)."
Here’s how to tell the quints apart
If you can’t tell the Busby quints apart, we can’t blame you. They’re equally adorable, and look quite a bit alike, but their mom and dad do have some foolproof ways of being able to tell them apart. For starters, most of them are fraternal. Only Olivia and Ava are identical. You can tell Olivia and Ava apart since Olivia wears circle earrings (the other quints wear stars) and Ava has longer hair with a more square-shaped face.
If you can tell Olivia and Ava apart, identifying the other three quints is a cakewalk. Hazel is the only sibling with red hair and she wears glasses. Riley’s eyes are the bluest, and she also has the smallest head and face. Parker is the tallest, and is also the only quint with straight hair.
Danielle and Adam are pros and can easily tell their beloved kids apart. The trickiest part for them is making sure that each of their six kids gets enough individual attention. "It will always be a challenge to balance six kids and make sure they each get one-on-one time," Danielle told CountryLiving.com.
Will they try for a boy? Adam says "the shop is closed"
Some couples might want to try to have at least one boy, but OutDaughtered parents say that they aren’t planning on having any more kids in the future. This is totally understandable — not only do they already have six children, but the process to conceive another child might not be so straightforward for them. They’ve openly discussed how they required fertility treatments for both of their pregnancies, and that process can be stressful, time-consuming, and quite expensive.
In an interview with KPLC a few months after the girls were born. Adam said that they have as many children as they need. "Our family is complete," he said. "All girls, not trying for a boy." He joked that if they tried, they’d probably just have a seventh girl. "So it’s over. The shop is closed!" While it would be interesting to see a little boy thrown into the mix, we can all agree that the Busby family is pretty perfect as it is.