Texans Casey and Ethan Jones had worked very hard through a fertility treatment to add a daughter, Eliot, to the family. Then they decided that Eliot needed a brother or sister and returned to the same procedure.
Only this time, it produced fraternal quintuplets -- four girls and a boy.
The family's story is told in "Quints by Surprise," a special airing on Monday, Aug. 30, with a spinoff series premiering on Sept. 6.
"Having multiple is always a possibility with the procedure that we did," says Ethan Jones, an Austin-area homebuilder, "and that was explained to us both times. But the odds of having five is so incredibly low that it is really not brought up much.
"Our doctor was very apologetic to us when he gave us the news of the quints, but we knew it wasn't his hand that created those babies.
God had other plans than all of us, I guess!"
The quints were born in January 2009, and the Jones family first appeared in a Discovery Health Channel special called "Too Many Babies?" which aired in March of this year. Retitled "Quintuplet Surprise," it later reaired on TLC, which decided to do the follow-up special "Quints by Surprise" and picked it up as a series.
Reality TV watchers know of the travails of the Gosselin clan of TLC's "Jon & Kate Plus 8," including the parents' split.
"In spite of the negativity that has swirled around some of the other stories," says Ethan Jones, "it like there could still be some greater good that could be accomplished by allowing the cameras into our lives. We had a really good feeling about the guys who are putting the shows together after we first met, and so we decided it was worth the risk."
The special also deals with the Joneses' financial problems, as the real estate bust hits Ethan hard, and they must put their large home on the market and downsize.
"A few of our regular volunteers," says Ethan, "have jumped in for extra shifts to take care of the babies, so we can get out and find our next home."