Just last week, Erin and Joe Perry's cozy family of three grew by leaps and bounds when Erin delivered sextuplets: three boys and three girls. Ian, Joshua, Madison, Olivia, Simon and Zoe came into the world with the help of 40 doctors and nurses.
After a 28-week pregnancy, their birth weights ranged from 1 pound, 9 ounces - in Madison's case - to 2-pound, 9-ounce Ian.
While Erin Perry, 33, recovered from the birth last Thursday, a team of physicians began working on the sextuplets, whose risk of medical complications could be two to three times greater than
those faced by infants born singly.
But Dr. Charles Bender, the medical director of the Neonatal Intensive
Care Unit at Magee-Womens Hospital, said, "All of the babies are making good progress. One of them is still in critical but stable condition, and all of the others are in stable condition."
Delivered by Caesarean section, the babies were born within a minute of each other, Dr. Bender said. "We had the advantage of a good bit of lead time to prepare and plan what we were going to do. For months, we had already set aside six sets of equipment, just to be always available for these babies. We had six complete teams, one for each baby in the delivery room. And each person had his or her assigned task and knew exactly what to do."
After carrying the babies for 28 weeks, the proud mother said on The Early Show that she is feeling much better. "A couple days after delivery, I'm feeling very good. Very good."
The news she was carrying six babies came as a shock, though the couple knew about the risks of having multiple births when using fertility drugs.
"It was a pleasant, wonderful shock," Mrs. Perry said, "Joe wanted to have a big family to begin with anyway, so we just got it with me being pregnant twice instead of seven times."
The couple also has a 3-year-old son who is now happy to be the big brother. "I don't think he quite understands that eventually they're all going to be at home," Mrs. Perry said.
Asked how he had prepared himself in the six months since learning the family would be growing exponentially, Joe Perry said, "Just trying to keep Erin healthy over the past several months has been our goal. Just try to stay focused on the task at hand."
He has busied himself in recent weeks by clearing space in his three-bedroom home in Ross Township outside Pittsburgh, Pa.
"One day at a time seems to be our slogan right now," Joe Perry said. "We will make due with what we have, if need be. When the babies start coming home, we'll have our largest bedroom ready for them. We're actually thinking three cribs to start with. They are multiples and they'll be infants for space issue early on. So we have room for rocking chairs, and some other furniture. But, we'll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it," he said.
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