If there’s one thing Karlie Jessop has an abundance of, it’s mother figures. The 21-year-old daughter of polygamist Brady Williams, star of TLC’s My Five Wives, grew up in a family that practiced a so-called “plural” lifestyle. She is the daughter of his first wife Paulie, but also has four other mothers — Nonie, Rosemary, Rhonda, and Robyn. Now Karlie is a mom herself, welcoming baby Huck prematurely with her husband Jake on Oct. 29.
Unfortunately, Jessop went into labor just 25 weeks into her pregnancy. Born in October at 2 pounds 1 ounce, Huck is known as a micro preemie baby, and was still in the hospital six weeks later, when Us Weekly spoke to the family.
Jessop first knew something was wrong when she started experiencing severe lower back pain at dinner. Once she made it to the hospital, things started progressing very quickly. She went from being five centimeters dilated to eight in less than 45 minutes.
“They told me that I would have him that night,” Jessop told Us Weekly. “There was really no chance of him staying inside of me.”
By her side was her husband Jake, 23, and her parents.
“I was just heartsick,” Brady recalled to Us. “I was just standing at the head of the bed just holding Karlie’s hand and just trying to pray and hope for the best. Karlie was obviously really scared. She was scared she was going to die and her baby was going to die. I was just trying to be her dad and support her.”
In the time since little Huck was born, the Williams family been unable to visit Karlie as she struggles with seeing her infant son go through risky surgeries or even meet their newest addition.
“Hospital policy is just four visitors besides Jake and I. None of the aunts or uncles except for [my younger sister] Madeline has been able to come in and see him,” Jessop said. “None of the other moms, just my mom, my dad, and my sister. All of my moms let me know they’re thinking of us and praying for us and they always send their love.”
Though Williams is dad to 24 kids, Huck is his first grandchild.
“It’s been really hard on all the siblings and the other mothers because they just want to run down here and help out in any way they can, but they know there’s nothing they can really do,” he said. “You don’t want to spread any germs. It would be horrible if Karlie got a cold because she wouldn’t be allowed in to her baby so Karlie’s really had to isolate herself and get love from afar.”
It has been an emotional journey for the family thus far, and it’s important to Karlie to let other mothers struggling with the premature birth of their children know they are not alone.
“For me that was the big thing, was having other moms reach out to me and sharing their stories,” she explained. “It was really helpful so I just want to reach out in my own way to let other moms know they’re not alone in what they’re going through. And also just to say thank you to all of our fans for the tremendous amount of love and support and prayers we have received through them.”
Though she grew up in a family that openly practiced a plural lifestyle, Jessop and her husband have a monogamous relationship. However, she says her extended family will help raise baby Huck.
“There’s more aunts and uncles to love on him,” she said. With her dad adding, “I can guarantee that’s going to be the most spoiled grandchild there ever was.”
The Dec. 21 finale of My Five Wives was taped prior to Jessop going into labor, but an emotional update on baby Huck’s condition and footage from the days following his early birth will air following the episode.