Carrie’s pregnancy progressed without complication until she started contracting at 26 weeks in August. The average gestational period for quintuplets is 29 weeks. She went into labor a little under two weeks later.
“We knew that it wasn’t a good sign that I hadn’t even made it to 29 weeks,” Carrie said. “I just didn’t have any idea of how severe the problems could be.”
Each of the five babies, three boys and two girls, had to remain in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at UT Southwestern’s St. Paul University Hospital for extended periods of time, the briefest of which was a two-and-a-half month stay. All, though, seemed to progress on the normal developmental and health arc for children born that prematurely, except for one boy, Seth.
“He had severe lung disease,” Carrie said. “His little lungs were just not ready to be breathing air.”
The physicians who cared for the quintuplets at St. Paul told the Joneses that Seth’s best chance for survival was to go to Children’s Medical Center.
“They told us, ‘Children’s NICU has the specialized care that he needs with people who treat babies like Seth all the time,’” Gavin said. “So, we transferred Seth to Children’s when he was two-and-a-half months old.”
The Children’s NICU is a Level IV NICU, which means that its doctors, nurses and staff are equipped to treat any baby, regardless of the complexity of their condition. Its state of the art, 36-bed unit is the premiere referral unit in North Texas. Under the supervision of faculty members from the Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at UT Southwestern, the NICU staff is experienced in caring for a wide-array of neonatal disorders, both medical and surgical.
“Children’s was the best possible place for Seth to be,” Carrie said. “But getting through his time there still required a lot of prayer.”
At one point, the Joneses received a call to quickly come to the NICU because Seth had to be placed on 98 percent oxygen support. “On our drive there, we were expecting to say ‘goodbye’ to him,” Carrie said. What they found upon their arrival shocked them.
“One of Seth’s nurses came running up to us and said, ‘You’ve got to come see him. He’s only needing 75 percent oxygen support now,’” Gavin said. The expert NICU team not only had kept Seth alive, but had given him a chance to heal and thrive. “From that point on, it was all downhill.”
Seth remained in the Children’s NICU for three months. By the beginning of 2013, he and his siblings were at home and stable. None have any significant long-term health concerns.
“That’s a testament to God’ grace shown through Children’s,” Gavin said. “They saved our boy’s life.”