Eric and Courtney Waldrop’s sextuplets have finally made it home, and photographer Ashley Sargent visited them in Boaz, Alabama, this week to take pictures of the newborns with their parents and three older brothers.
The Waldrops sextuplets—Rivers, Rayne, Rawlings, Blu, Tag and Layke—were born on December 11 at Huntsville Hospital in Alabama. The couple first announced their surprise pregnancy back in August, and revealed the babies’ genders later that month during a 5K run set up by their neighbors to help raise money for their expenses. The six babies join the couple’s three other children, sons Saylor, Wales and Bridge.
Sargent, of Ashley Sargent Photography, recently visited the hospital to take elegant photos of the newborns wrapped up in the individual colors of the rainbow, which will be featured in Huntsville Hospital’s magazine. To celebrate the newborn’s first trip home, the couple recruited Sargent once again to take family photos, this time, with the sextuplets’ older brothers included.
“It was a lot easier than I ever expected, I went into it knowing that whatever game plan I had, may not exactly go that way,” Sargent, 29, tells PEOPLE. “The hospital photo shoot was kind of a warm up to the big game, this big shoot.”
The photographs of the bundled-up babies took about three hours from start to finish, according to Sargent. The shoot was a team effort, she says, and there were about a dozen volunteers—made up of stylists, assistants, friends, and family—who helped out in different aspects of the project.
“I’m used to wrangling with kids—kids are my strong point, so I can get down on their level and be silly and goofy,” Sargent says. “It wasn’t bad, but it took several people to get the whole thing together.”
She also got an assist from companies who donated props to use in the shoot‚ such as the bed (donated by Jennley Studio Props) and the custom hats (made by KNOTS).
Luckily, the newborns fell asleep just before Sargent took the photographs of the older brothers and parents holding all six. (They also had a white noise machine playing in the background, to help keep the babies sleep with so much going on.) Yet, Sargent still had to move quickly to get everything finished.
“By the time I wrapped up each baby—and then finished with the individual shots—the first baby was then waking up because they had been asleep for an hour,” Sargent recalls. “So that was kinda the struggle, getting all the babies asleep in one shot.”
After photographing the babies so many times, Sargent noticed some of their personalities, especially in the third baby born, Rawlings.
“She’s gonna be the goofy one of the bunch, because every time I photographed her individually, she fights going to sleep and makes some of the goofiest faces!” Sargent says. “I had to pick the better pictures of her, but I think she’s going to be the entertainer.”
Sargent first became friends with Courtney—who used to be a photographer—when they consoled in each other about their struggles with infertility. Courtney told PEOPLE in August that she turned to fertility treatments to help become pregnant after she suffered multiple miscarriages. The treatment led to the birth of twins Wales and Bridge, and, later, the sextuplets.
Today, after struggling for four years with infertility, Sargent herself is now a mother. She used an adopted embryo to get pregnant, and her 1-year-old son, Sam, is a “snowflake baby.”
Sargent says she and the Waldrop family have gotten to know each other more and more with each photo shoot, and she says—even with all the attention—she foremost wanted to shoot the pictures to help bring a smile to the family.
“They’re like nothing I’ve ever met. Courtney is literally the most positive person you’ll ever meet,” Sargent says. “She just has a heart of gold. She’s definitely the perfect mom to handle all of this craziness.”