Inside 'Jon and Kate Plus 8'

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Discovery Channel/Gilles Mingasson

One new baby at a time is a handful for most parents, so the thought of bringing home six infants -- when you already have twin toddlers -- is downright terrifying, from the cost of formula and diapers to the logistics of multiple 2 a.m. feedings. But even if you don't envy Jon and Kate Gosselin, the often-overwhelmed parents of this young octet, their unusual circumstances are undeniably fascinating, and great fodder for TV. "Jon & Kate Plus 8," the docu-series that has followed the Gosselins for four seasons, is TLC's most popular program.

So how did this Pennsylvania couple end up with two sets of multiples, and how do they manage eight rambunctious kids, now aged eight (twins Madelyn and Cara) and four (sextuplets Alexis, Aaden, Collin, Leah, Hannah and Joel, in order of their birth)? And how do they keep their marriage from collapsing under the strain? As you'd expect, it's not easy, but as the title of their family biography (written with Beth Carson) would suggest, the Gosselins view their lot as "Multiple Bles8ings."

"It's what God wants for us," believes Kate. "It's stressful, but I do love it." Nevertheless, as we'll explain in the next section, that doesn't mean she wasn't completely shocked when she discovered she was pregnant with six babies, the result of fertility treatments