Seconds into Taylah's 8-week ultrasound, the technician gasped.

As Taylah Tudehope-Glachan lay on the bed in the sonographer's office, she looked toward the screen, bracing herself for the first glimpse at her longed-for baby.

That’s when the sonographer gasped.

It had been a nervous two weeks since the fertility clinic called to tell her and her husband, Sean Glachan, that their first round of IVF had been successful. They’d been thrilled to receive the news. But the years of fertility struggles, with all their heartache and false hope, left what-ifs circling through Taylah’s mind. So many what-ifs. 

Yet as the sonographer glided the ultrasound wand over Taylah’s eight-week-pregnant belly, she realised there was one possibility she had never considered…

“The sonographer just held my leg,” the 28-year-old tells Mamamia, “and she said, 'Taylah, I'm just letting you know that you have multiple babies in there, to the point where I actually have to count how many.’”

Taylah burst into tears. She looked at Sean, his eyes wide, as she started to count. “One. Two. Three. Four…” 

@theglachanquadsquad Part 1 of reactions to the news of our Quadruplets. ⚠️ LANGUAGE WARNING!!!! We are so glad we csptured these pure moments 🥰#quadruplets #havingababy #pregnancytiktok #pregnancyjourney #ivfsuccess #quadrupletsoftiktok #pregnancyannouncement #ivfbaby #ivfpregnancy #pregnant #growing #reaction #reactions #pregnancyreaction #multiplepregnancy #multiplepregnancyreactions ♬ original sound - The Glachan Quad Squad

Four babies. Four healthy heartbeats. After just one embryo being transferred. 

'Stop saying "times four"; think four squared.' The cost of quadruplets.

Quadruplets are rare. Among the more than 300,000 babies born in Australia each year, there are typically just three sets of quads.

Yet as remarkable as Taylah and Sean’s family is, the pair have been struck by just how little additional support is available to them as parents of multiples.

Now 30 weeks into the pregnancy, these teachers from Bluff Point on the NSW Central Coast are facing the overwhelming prospect of caring for four newborns at once and all the financial, logistical, physical, and emotional demands that come with it.


“I was a bit naive at the start,” Taylah said. “I was thinking, ‘Oh, we're such a rarity. Hardly any people would go through this. So we're going to get a lot of support.’ And unfortunately, it's just not that case.”

In a report released in March, the Australian Multiple Birth Association found that, among the 38 OECD nations, Australia offers the lowest level of support to families of multiples.

Parents of multiples receive no additional parental leave, for example. 

“I have some friends that have gone on maternity leave and, before even returning back to work, they've fallen pregnant again and they get access to another lot of maternity leave. But since we're having our babies all at once, we just get one lot,” Taylah said.

There is a fortnightly Multiple Birth Allowance (MBA) available via Centrelink. It is means tested and stands at roughly $4,800 a year for triplets or $6,400 a year for quadruplets or more. Parents of twins are not eligible.

Speaking to Mamamia, director of the Australian Multiple Birth Association Silje Andersen-Cooke said that fewer than two per cent of parents of multiples are able to access the MBA. For those who can, the payments account for just seven per cent of the differential costs.

“Triplets or [higher-order multiples] can cost up to 13 times more than a singleton, and twins five times more,” Silje said. “And yet there is a lack of consideration of these additional challenges by the Government.”

That substantial cost increase comes from a range of factors. There’s the obvious extras like nappies and clothing, as well as simultaneous childcare costs, car upgrades, and home modifications. Then there’s specialist equipment, like prams, which typically have to be sourced overseas. On top of that, multiples are also more likely to be born prematurely, which is often associated with increased medical costs and income loss for parents or caregivers.


Then there’s the emotional toll. According to the AMBA, parents of multiples are nine times more likely to experience disabling exhaustion.

“These families desperately need more financial and in-home support services and we are calling on the Government to engage in a meaningful discussion with AMBA about additional support for multiple birth families, including additional parental leave, in-home support, and equitable access to the MBA,” Silje said.

In a statement to Mamamia, a spokesperson for the Department of Social Services said, "While there is no extra payment for parents of multiple births under Paid Parental Leave scheme, parents of two or more children benefit from additional flexibility in accessing their payment that parents can discuss with Services Australia."

The spokesperson added, "From July 1, 2024, the Paid Parental Leave scheme will be progressively expanded to 26 weeks by 2026. These changes will provide more Paid Parental Leave for all eligible families, including those with multiple births."

Taylah and Sean are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their quadruplets. But the entirely unforeseen costs associated with having four babies at once are weighing heavily on them.

“We think about it every single day,” Taylah said.


Due to the high-risk nature of such pregnancies, quads are typically delivered at around 30 weeks via c-section and spend the remainder of the gestation period in neonatal intensive care. 

Taylah stopped work at 23 weeks in order to give herself adequate time to prepare for the babies and because of the strain the pregnancy is putting on her body and was admitted to hospital at 24 weeks and two days for close monitoring. 

Despite having recently completed her teaching internship, she’ll be putting her career on hold once the babies arrive; the cost of childcare is simply out of their family’s reach.

Especially given that they need a new car that can accommodate four child seats, plus modifications to their 2.5 bedroom home. That’s as well as two twin prams. Four cots. Linen. High chairs. Clothing. Blankets. Nappies. Wipes. Cream. Bottles. And all the rest.

“Our doctor said to us at the start, ‘Stop saying times four; think four squared. Because this is above and beyond,’” Taylah said.

Image: Instagram.


Family, friends and their local community have proven critical to helping the Glachans prepare for what’s to come. Many people have donated clothes, and there’s a local fundraising event on the calendar, as well an online fundraiser via GoFundMe.

“Without all of that help, I literally don't know what we would do,” Taylah said. “And that's what breaks my heart — to think that there are people that will potentially be in our situation and they might not have that support network.”

Though Taylah worries about what’s ahead, she knows it will all be worth it when she and Sean hold their children.

“It gets me a bit teary to be honest, because it's something we worked so hard for,” she said. “I can't even fathom the emotion that we'll be overwhelmed with. We just look forward to each day that they're healthy, meaning that we're getting a step closer to meeting them.”

Feature Image: Instagram

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