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Earlier this month, Margaret and Michael Baudinet welcomed their five firstborns. The tiny miracles became the first set of quintuplets born at St. Joseph’s in the hospital’s 121-year history.
The Baudinets’ dreams of being parents seemed impossible. But, on Dec. 4, Margaret gave birth at St. Joseph’s to Ava, Clara, Camille, Luke and Isabelle Baudinet.
“This is an incredible time for the Baudinet family and for the hospital,” said Patty White, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s “They are now a part of the rich history here at St. Joseph’s.”
After two miscarriages, the Baudinets decided to try fertility treatments. Upon learning the treatment was successful, the young couple recalls feeling a mixture of shock and joy alongside a healthy dose of fear and anxiety.
“Going to our first ultrasound, I was worried it would result in yet another miscarriage,’” said Margaret, 31, who manages College Solutions, a private college counseling firm in Richmond, Virginia. “Then, I remember the nurse started to giggle as she performed the sonogram. She told us she saw at least four heart beats. We immediately went into shock which was only furthered when we later learned that I was actually carrying five babies.”
While complications can happen with any pregnancy, Margaret’s pregnancy would pose higher risks for prematurity, low birth weight, sight and hearing deficiencies, underdeveloped lungs and cerebral palsy, among other risks. Quintuplets are rare, occurring only once in several million pregnancies.
“I was prepared for two or three children, and always thought it would be fun to have twins. I wasn’t at all prepared for five children all at once. Still, after all we’ve been through, it wasn’t until about 24-weeks gestation that we actually started to feel excited,” said Michael, 34, a lawyer at McGuireWoods LLP in Richmond.
After a lot of research, Margaret ant Michael spoke with renowned perinatologist John Elliott, MD, in Phoenix. Following a phone consultation, they decided to move temporarily from their Virginia home to Phoenix to work with Dr. Elliott. The plan included delivering the babies at St. Joseph’s where they would then be cared for in a nursery intensive care unit (NyICU) which provides for nearly 600 ill and premature newborns each year.
“Like many patients who call, they were scared and looking for answers,” said Dr. Elliott, who specializes in high-risk pregnancies and has delivered more sets of quintuplets than any doctor in the world. “Our goal is to give them a program; a blueprint to help them feel more in control and more optimistic for success. We are very determined to prevent complications and treat them swiftly if they do occur.”
The pregnancy would be a lot of work for Margaret. Among endless doctor’s appointments, she worked to stay fit by doing light swimming exercises every day, and, under doctor’s orders, gained 80 to 100 lbs. by eating at least 4,500 calories per day.
On average, quintuplets are born less than 27 weeks into pregnancy. Because higher-order multiples—three or more babies in a single pregnancy—are often born prematurely with higher than average risk factors, they also require a stay in the NyICU before going home.
The Baudinet quintuplets were born at 32-weeks via cesarean section. Delivering the five babies took the 24-person team at St. Joseph’s just 17 minutes. Despite their early arrival and sharing the womb, the five babies had better than anticipated weights ranging from three to four pounds.
Ava, Clara, Camille, Luke and Isabelle are all doing well and will spend their first Christmas continuing to grow in St. Joseph’s NyICU. Margaret and Michael are eager for the time early in the New Year when they will travel back to their home in Virginia and have a big family homecoming.
“We will be glad to be home, but our experience at St. Joseph’s has been above and beyond our expectations,” says Margaret. “The team caring for me and our little babies is just another miracle on our list.”
The Baudinets have chronicled their pregnancy and the births on their blog, A Bundle of Baudinets, which has links to a Go Fund Me campaign and other baby registries.
“We are very grateful to our friends and family for all their love and prayers and to McGuireWoods for all the support it has provided us,” Michael said.