Adam and Danielle Busby married in 2006. A few years later, they decided they were ready to start a family. But after months of trying to conceive, the League City couple had no luck. They soon learned that his sperm count was low, and her ovulation cycle was irregular. After trying various expensive—and stressful—medications and procedures, the couple conceived using intrauterine insemination. In 2011 Danielle gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Blayke.
Some years later, wanting a sibling for their daughter, they used the method again and were overjoyed after a positive pregnancy test. But it wasn’t long before they got more news: Not only were the Busbys expecting, they were expecting quintuplets. In April 2015, 28 weeks and two days into Danielle’s pregnancy, Ava, Olivia, Hazel, Riley, and Parker arrived at the Women's Hospital of Texas. And after spending three months in the NICU, the five girls went home. They became the first surviving set of all-female quints in the entire United States. As for Blayke, she became a big sister.
“It’s a lot because she’s still a kid,” Danielle tells Houstonia outside her League City spin studio after a morning class, keeping one eye on Blayke as she chats. “But it’s just unbelievable how she’s adapted to and accepted her responsibility of being a big sister.”
From the start, the family captured the nation’s imagination. They soon signed on with TLC for a reality show, OutDaughtered, which the network recently announced has been picked up for a third season, set to air sometime this year. The show has chronicled much of the girls’ short lives—the chaos, the health issues, the family’s struggle to adjust and live as normal a life as possible, taking their kids to the dentist and on airplanes and to day care.
While nothing has been easy, the toughest days were the earliest ones. Danielle was discharged shortly after giving birth, but she and Adam visited their babies every day, traveling half an hour each way to be with them. “Adam would go to work and then to the hospital afterward to spend time with the quints,” Danielle remembers. “I’d bring Blayke to school, head to the hospital to be with the girls, drive back to pick up Blayke, then go home and make dinner.”
Parker was the first to be released, then Hazel, Olivia, Riley, and—last but not least—Ava. With the babies at home, Danielle, already an organized multi-tasker, put her know-how to use. “I used those skills, just very differently, in my past career as managing operations team leader,” she says, “but I think they just bloomed.”
Reminiscing about near-constant preemie feeding schedules and going through roughly 40 bottles and 60 diapers per day, Danielle says every day was—and remains—ruled by a schedule. “Having a routine is probably the only functional way you can get through the day,” she says, adding that she and Adam have relied on the help of family, friends, and their church community. “It’s just beautiful how everyone pitched in where they could, whether it was with feedings, laundry, or bringing us a meal.”
There were other challenges, too. Adam found himself suffering from post-baby blues, something he’s been candid about on OutDaughtered. “Having a baby is hard, but it’s hard on dads, too,” says Danielle. “I think he felt like there was a lot on his shoulders and that was scary for him.” The Busbys learned that paternal postpartum depression affects 10 percent of new dads, although it’s not discussed much—something Adam is trying to change.
Staying healthy, mentally and physically, is important to the Busbys, who are both into fitness. They recently pooled resources with some close friends to open a spin-studio franchise, Rush Cycle. “It’s been such a joy to build something,” says Danielle, “and see it come to life and see how it’s impacting the community down here.”
Blayke and the quints all had birthdays in April. She’s now 7, and they’re 3. To celebrate, the family had a poop-emoji-themed joint birthday party, partly because everyone is finally potty-trained, partly because Blayke loves the emoji and wanted a “don’t-be-a-party-pooper” theme.
As for Danielle and Adam, they’ll celebrate 12 years of marriage in July. Their regimented weekly schedule, she says, always includes a date night. “We might not know where we’re going or what we’re doing, but we always have a sitter set up. You have to make time for what’s important to you, and our marriage is important to us.”
And while the couple’s hands are full—with little princess Blayke, mama’s girl Ava, goofball Olivia, free-spirited Hazel, attention hog Riley, and daddy’s girl Parker—they wouldn’t have it any other way. “I put my trust in my faith,” says Danielle, “and know that it will guide us every day on the path of raising these six beautiful girls.”