Ann Arbor (WWJ) — In a first at the University of Michigan, five babies – a set of quintuplets – were born at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital on September 5.
Jessica Hicks, 28, and husband Robert Hicks, 31, of the Fenton-area in southeastern Michigan, are the overjoyed parents of three boys and two girls and all are doing well and staying in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Mott.
“This is an unusual birth here, and we’re so happy for the Hicks family. We’re pleased that the delivery went well and proud of our team of specialists – pediatricians, neonatologists, obstetricians, nurses and more – who made sure we were prepared to care for five tiny newborns all at once,” says Cosmas Vandeven , M.D., Hicks’ obstetrician and the J. Robert Willson Professor of Obstetrics.
“We have one of the leading high-risk pregnancy programs, so multiples aren’t uncommon. But handling five at once does take an additional level of planning. From the moment we started working with Jessica, we started to put into motion an all-bases-covered plan to ensure we were prepared for every contingency for her and her family.”
The babies weigh between 3 lbs. 7 ounces and 4 lbs. 6 ounces. The total weight of the babies is 19 lbs. 6 ounces.
After taking a fertility drug for treatment at a non- U-M facility, Hicks was told she was carrying quadruplets and was referred to U-M and Van De Ven. It was then discovered that rather than four little one, she was in fact carrying five.
“We were looking to try for one more child and God blessed us with five more instead,” says Hicks,. “There is always a chance of multiples when you get fertility treatments, but we thought twins, maybe triplets.”
U-M specialists began tracking the babies’ progress after Hicks’ initial appointment and assigned each an alphabetical letter in utero. Each baby also had a team of three specialists assigned to him or her, made up of a RN, respiratory therapist and a physician.
“We know how to take care of these babies, but the question was how do we take what we do and multiply it by five,” says Lisa O’Leary, clinical nursing supervisor in the Mott NICU.
“We focused on planning and making sure the resources we need were available and that all departments were on alert.”
Jessica and Robert, a fleet mechanic in Ypsilanti, have lived in the Fenton area for nine years. After finding out about the additional family members, they tried to prepare as best they could. Robert has spent the last four months working on finishing the basement by adding a small bedroom and living area to their two-bedroom ranch. They also worked on collecting the essentials.
“It’s hard to know what exactly you will need for five babies but we tried to get the larger items like cribs and car seats. Oh, and lots of diapers, I don’t think we can have enough of those.” Jessica Hicks says.
Hicks has a 3.5-year-old son, Colton, who was eagerly awaiting the arrival of his five brothers and sisters.
“We’ve gone through every emotion you can imagine,” says Hicks. “My son is excited, he loves talking to my belly. He tells them he’s the big brother and he has been a big help with helping me get my shoes on.”
The babies were born at 32.5 weeks of gestation. Initially, U-M caregivers set a goal for 28 weeks, but Hicks remained healthy enough to wait four weeks more. Full-term gestation is 40 weeks.
“I made a calendar when I get here to count down to my goal. The doctors told me 32 weeks would be a challenge but I was determined I could do it,” said Hicks who was admitted to Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital on Aug. 5. “The first week was a little discouraging thinking about how far I had to go but I kept telling myself that being pregnant is better for the babies and we hung on as long as we could.”