PASCAGOULA -- It started out as a routine visit to the doctor for Jeryn and Larry Bates of Pascagoula.
"I was having some cramps and I decided to go to the ER," Jeryn Bates said. "This was on our fourth anniversary, which was April 4 of 2014."
She said the ultrasound technician asked her if she was taking fertility drugs.
"I said, 'No,' and just went on talking to someone and not thinking anything about it," she said.
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Larry Bates said he was intrigued by the question.
"I paused and said, 'Wait, why are you asking this?" he said.
What happened next would change their lives.
A little more than two years later, they have a deeper appreciation for Mother's Day, which the nation is celebrating Sunday.
One, two, three, four
It was through that ER visit they learned Jeryn Bates was pregnant for the second time.
"When the technician turned the screen around and showed us the screen with four heartbeats, I thought it was an April Fool's joke, but it wasn't," she said. "So, I just laughed -- it's been a roller coaster ride since then."
Although she had no symptoms during her first pregnancy with her daughter Ella, who is now 5, Jeryn Bates said her pregnancy with the quadruplets was more difficult.
"I was put on bed rest at 24 weeks," she said. "It was a crazy pregnancy."
The miracle of births
The newest additions to the Bates family -- Loxley, Bryson, Brinkley and Lawson, two girls and two boys -- were born Sept. 16 at a hospital in Mobile.
The odds of having quadruplets without fertility drugs is about one in 800,000. Jeryn Bates said there are currently five sets of quadruplets on the Coast, including the Cochran quads of Jackson County.
"I couldn't believe we were having quads naturally and without any fertility drugs," Larry Bates said.
The babies finally made their way home in late November 2014. For Jeryn Bates, the timing was perfect.
"Larry teaches middle school, so he was able to be home with me most of the time when they first came home from the hospital," she said. "I had all of that time to get used to having five kids."
As she started to grow into her new role as the mother of five children and the stepmother to a 16-year-old, Jeryn Bates said she tried to get the babies on a schedule.
But with four children also comes four personalities.
"They remind me of the 'Peanuts' characters -- the littlest one is bossy like Lucy, one is rambunctious one like Charlie Brown and we have a Linus and a Sally," Larry Bates said.
Having four toddlers the same age also means quadruple the sickness.
"Ella brought a stomach bug home from school and the babies got it, at different times, and they were sick for about two weeks," she said.
Four times the hugs
Jeryn Bates is staying home with the quadruplets. She said their lives have changed dramatically since they were born.
"We don't go out a lot because it's such a task," she said.
And when they do go out, it's in a 16-passenger Ford Econoline Van.
"This is the only thing we could find that would carry four baby car seats," Larry Bates said. "Each seat takes up a lot of space."
The new responsibilities and lifestyle changes also mean more love for the Bates family.
"There's four times the hugs and four times the love," she said. "They all love me, and I couldn't ask for anything more."
Larry Bates also reiterated the love for the family by telling Jeryn Bates he loved her.
"You better," she said.