TYRONE TOWNSHIP, MI – The Hicks family grew from three to eight within a matter of minutes.
On Sept. 5 around 10:40 a.m., Jessica Hicks, 28, gave birth to a set of quintuplets, three boys and two girls.
Parker was born at 10:38 a.m. Thursday at 4 pounds. Carol was born at 10:38 a.m. at 3 pounds 9 ounces. Emmett was at 10:39 a.m. at 3 pounds 7 ounces, followed by Nicole at 10:40 a.m. at 4 pounds. The last baby, Ryker, was born at 10:41 a.m. at 4 pounds 6 ounces.
"It was amazing just seeing all five of them all at once," said Robert Hicks, dad of the quintuplets. "We were all filled up with joy and tears and happiness."
Hicks is the first known mother to deliver quintuplets at Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where Hicks was admitted Aug. 5 to help ensure the babies grew as much as possible before delivery.
"I think I felt every emotion possible (when I found out there were five babies). I don't think I knew what to think the first few days," Jessica Hicks said a few weeks before giving birth. "We're blessed to have them, don't get me wrong. It's just a life changing experience. ... I think my mindset will be completely different (when I see them)."
So at the moment the five new additions to the Hicks family came into the world, history was made for the hospital and life became a lot busier for Jessica Hicks, who worked at a dental office in South Lyon, and Robert Hicks, 32, a mechanic and truck driver in Ypsilanti.
Out of 4 million babies born in the United States each year only 40 sets – 200 babies – are quintuplets, said Dr. Cosmas Vandeven, director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at University of Michigan Women's Hospital.
That is a 0.005 percent chance.
"It is very rare," Vandeven said. "She is doing great."
From three to eight
The couple, who tried to get pregnant for a year the first time before getting fertility treatment that resulted in their now 3-year-old son, went straight to treatment when they were ready for their second child.
With fertility treatments Jessica and Robert Hicks knew twins and triplets were a possibility, even more so because both sides of the family had sets of twins on them.
When trying to have their first child it took eight or nine rounds of treatment before Jessica got pregnant. With the set of quintuplets, it took only one try and in January they became pregnant with an initial due date of Oct. 26.
Early on in her pregnancy her ultrasounds showed was thought to be twins. One week later, two more babies were found and she was referred to University of Michigan. Three weeks later on March 20, the fifth baby was noticed.
"Three ultrasounds in a row they found more babies," Jessica Hicks said. "Once we finally grasped (the idea of) the four babies we came here and they found five. ... It's a pretty crazy emotional ride every day."
But a smile crept across the expecting mother's face when she talked about her unborn babies.
It's hard to explain how dad, Robert Hicks, felt when he heard the news.
"I was a little mind boggled. When they found the fifth one I was like, 'Oh my gosh, how am I supposed to hand this?" Robert Hicks said with a laugh. "It will be enjoyable but a headache at the same time."
She was admitted to the University of Michigan Women's Hospital to keep an eye on her and her babies. Each day that passed leading to her goal of Sept. 1 was crossed off on a calendar on the wall.
At 29 and a half weeks, Jessica sat in her hospital room counting down the days. She spent her time staying off her feet, sitting on a chair or in her bed with hands almost always holding her stomach.
"So now it's just a waiting game," she said on Aug. 14.
On Sept. 5 the wait finally came to an end.
The hospital staff also had to prepare for the arrival of five newborns at once. It was all about making sure the resources were there, said Lisa O'Leary, clinical nurse supervisor for the New Born Intensive Care Unit at Mott Children's Hospital.
The Newborn Evaluation, Stabilization and Treatment (NEST) area at Mott Children's Hospital was only set up for four newborns at a time. Staff had a fifth incubator standing by the fifth of the quintuplets. It would be kept in the operation room on delivery day.
"This is really exciting and we're ready for it," O'Leary said on Aug. 14. "We take care of babies all day long. That's what we do."
Each baby will be taken care of by three people, including a nurse, respiratory therapist and either a physician or neonatal nurse practitioner.
"(When I heard Jessica was having quintuplets) it was like wow, cool. This will be fun," O'Leary said. "It's history here."
Beating the odds
Vandeven said that Jessica Hicks did amazingly well during her pregnancy.
Eighty-five percent of quintuplets are born at a very low birth weight. The average birth weight of a quintuplet is 2 pounds 3 ounces. The Hicks babies are already bigger than 3 pounds each.
An average pregnancy for multiple babies is between 26 and 27 weeks and 100 percent of quintuplets are born prematurely at less than 37 weeks. More than 95 percent of quintuplets are born after less than 32 weeks.
Sept. 1 marked 32 weeks for Jessica Hicks. She and the babies were doing so well that doctors kept her pregnant past her goal date.
"She has beaten the odds. ... She again is way ahead of most average numbers that should be," Vandeven said. "She deserves all the credit for what she has done. She is unbelievable. ... I think it's a reflection of her incredibly positive attitude and good fortune that her body has accepted these five babies and not going into preterm labor. I think her positive attitude is a big part of that."
Although he couldn't always get to the hospital to see his wife every day, Robert Hicks said he's very proud of her.
"She's doing awesome. I can't believe," he said, adding that she walks around almost anywhere to get what she needs, which is impressive.
As prepared as they can be
How does a family get ready for the arrival of quintuplets? In the few weeks leading up to the birth of the babies, Jessica Hicks laughed and said she was trying to not think about it much.
But what's certain is that life is going to drastically change for the family.
The couple's Tyrone Township home, which is in Livingston County just outside the Genesee County border, has been turned a little upside down to accommodate the five new family members. The two bedroom, one bathroom house needed a little rearranging.
All the dressers from Jessica and Robert's bedroom were moved to the basement and the five cribs – donated by friends and families – were moved in. Eventually the basement will be remodeled and a bedroom will be added there.
Changes to the house will also include an updated laundry room with two washers and two dryers.
"Our whole living room is full of totes (of donations)," Jessica Hicks said. "We've been blessed with a lot of generous donations."
Sitting in their house is also a huge box of diapers that was donated, that unfortunately won't last very long, she said. She estimates that at first each baby will go through eight diapers a day.
Doing the math, that's almost 300 diapers a week.
"I don't even know how to prepare for five kids," Robert Hicks said.
Friends and family don't really know how to take it either, he said. The reaction to the news is usually the same.
"Usually I get the big dropped jaw and they repeat their reaction. 'Are you serious?'" Robert Hicks said. At some point throughout the pregnancy he just stopped telling people how many babies there were.
The family has three cars, all only fitting five at a time. That won't cut it, Jessica Hicks said jokingly.
"Oh my gosh, we're going to have to buy a cargo van," she said.
The couple isn't worried about how their 3-year-old Colton will do being a big brother.
"He loves babies. He talks to my belly, pats my belly," Jessica Hicks said. "He'll do fine."
Looking forward, it will just be waiting to take the babies home, which might not be all at once. It's possible the babies could be there until their original due date, in this case Oct. 26. Some will leave sooner, some later.
There's no turning back.
"It's going to be way different. I have to get back into newborn mode," Jessica Hicks said. "I like my sleep."
No matter how crazy things get, it's safe to say the couple will be very happy the day the babies are born.
Waiting for the babies to arrive, Robert Hicks was looking forward to one thing: holding the quintuplets.
"It will be really cool," he said a few weeks before the birth of the babies. "I'll be really excited to hold all five babies. I'm really looking forward to it."
From then on out life will be fun, exciting, hard and a hassle all at the same time, Robert Hicks said.
Their lifestyle, their sleeping patterns and their patience will all be tested.
"It's going to be a really crazy first year," Robert Hicks said.
Post by turtlegirl on Sept 6, 2013 17:06:13 GMT -5
OMG! I can't even imagine surviving the newborn stage with 5 babies! All the help and donations would be great in the beginning, but I still can't imagine being able to afford them as they got older. All doing school activities, needing braces, etc all at once!