Last December, Jenny and Pete Ferrill welcomed quintuplets Landyn Konner, Layne Mykel, Drayden Karter, Irelyn Kadyn and Kieran Skye.
Jenny was admitted to hospital on Oct. 30, 2006 in her 22nd week of pregnancy and stayed on bed rest until the babies were successfully delivered in her 31st week just 4 days before Christmas.
The combined weight of the babies was 17lbs with Irelyn weighing 3.4lbs, Landyn 3.15lbs, Layne 3.24lbs, Kieran 3.25lbs and Drayden 3.35lbs.
This series follows the family through their experience in the NICU and goes into detail about preemie procedures, health risks and expectations that the babies must meet in order to go home.
There is a section in this show that was very interesting to me. It was when the doctor described a condition they call protective child syndrome. This is when the parents become overprotective of their preemie and create what they call ‘a cocoon around the baby’. He goes on to say that parents sometimes overstep their role and can be disruptive to the baby’s social development.
After spending 4 months in the NICU with my own baby, I know why this can sometimes happen. When your child spends the first 14 weeks of their life attached to a machine, a monitor and an IV pump, it is hard to stop analyzing what is happening with them once the machines are turned off. Because most babies will have a spell that causes the whole team to arrive with oxygen bag in hand, parents want to see on a monitor that their baby is breathing OK and that their heart is beating at the right rate.
Multiply this by 5 and that is what this mom was experiencing. This type of setting can turn a parent into a micro manager, with them going as far as picking the nurses that they believe give the best care to only work with their child.
It really takes a special team of people to get the babies to the point they need to be at, in order to go home and it is hard sometimes for the professionals to understand how the parents are feeling. This couple should feel very blessed, from the tearful goodbyes, it appears the team they had in place was very good.
It might actually be possible that every nurse in that intensive care unit watched one of more of these babies at some point during their 9 week stay.
I like that the cameras were able to follow the couple through their time in the NICU and carry on filming after they came home.
When a family is expecting this many babies, the whole world goes crazy with excitement, forgetting that each child has their own needs. Trying to give quality time to this many babies is not only challenging, but it is tiring. Jenny actually says at one point that she feels like ‘meals on wheels’ as she goes from room to room in the NICU to breastfeed her preemies.
I look forward to seeing next weeks episode because the babies are home now and need lots of attention.
Most families who have more than three babies usually rely on nurse organizations or volunteers to help keep their bunch happy and fed. It will be interesting to see how this family keeps things on track.
PHOTOCREDIT: THE FERRILL QUINTUPLET SITE