St. Mary's prepares for historic births

Reporter: Shannon Samson
New Media Producer: Rachel Beavin

St. Mary's Hospital for Women and Children is preparing for an historic event, the birth of quintuplets. The staff has already delivered two sets of quadruplets and a set of triplets on Friday, but five babies is unprecedented and requires a lot of preparations.

Emily Wright's pregnancy is now in its 25th week and the staff at St. Mary's is breathing a collective sigh of relief. That's because after 24 weeks, the odds are much better that each of the quints will survive. Emily and her husband Rob used artificial semination to help them start a family and were shocked when five eggs were fertilized. Their due date is May 11th, but since this is an extremely high risk pregnancy, the big day could be any day now.

"Team Quintuplet" consists of 5 RN's, 5 respiratory therapists and up to 4 neonatalogists from the NICU, another 5 RN's and 2 surgery techs from labor and delivery, plus 3 obstetricians and one anesthesiologist.

Dr. Mureena Turnquest-Wells says she is confident, "A C-section is a C-section and it's just instead of delivering three or four, we're now delivery five, so it's really not that big of a challenge."

Dr. Turnquest-Wells will determine when the time is right. She'll first call the NICU Director Cheri Wood, who's already put her staff on alert. Wood says, "We have at least 2 or 3 transport nurses on call and then we have RN's ourselves that are on call, that we can call in. We have at least 8 to 9 people on staff, so if there are other deliveries and all the other babies, they will be taken care of, also."

The NICU staff has already set up warmers labeled a through e. They've even done some drills so they know exactly how long it will take to wheel them over to the operating room.

The room isn't big enough for 30 doctors, nurses, support staff, five babies and one mom. So, the plan is for mom and two babies to stay in one room and then the three other babies will be brought into another. Hopefully, they won't have to stay here for very long, just to be stabilized before they're transported to the neo-natal intensive care unit.

From then on, the babies will have at least three staff members with them at all times.

Labor and Delivery Director Jenny Brewer RN says everyone will also be looking out for Emily, "we also want to make sure that after delivery that we're also taking care of that mom. All the focus gets moved to the babies after delivery, well then it's our responsibility to make sure mom gets what she needs from us."

There is also, of course, a plan b. Director of Neonatology Dr. Myles Grant says the plan b is ready, "The next step is with an emergency situation which would be much more difficult, but we've planned for that as well."

For mom, the potential complications are serious. Doctors will make sure there's plenty of blood in the OR for a transfusion in case she hemorrhages.

As for the babies, they may have trouble breathing because their lungs will likely be underdeveloped. The doctors have ventilators ready but if they can just stay in there for three more weeks, the risks go down considerably.

The couple is having three boys, two girls.