Newest Sextuplet Parents Join Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women
Experts to Provide Insights, First Images of Newborns
HOUSTON, May 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The world’s newest parents of sextuplets, Lauren and David Perkins, spoke publically today for the first time about the birth of their sextuplets ten days ago at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, one of the nation’s premier facilities for women’s, fetal and newborn health. The couple was joined by hospital experts who provided additional medical background on the delivery and care of the newborns at a news conference held at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women.
“We are overjoyed to have finally met our six children and are comforted knowing that they are growing stronger and healthier each day. We are also very thankful for the physicians and staff at the Pavilion for Women who cared for me throughout my pregnancy, delivered our babies safely and continue to provide the best care for our little ones as they grow and thrive in the NICU,” said Lauren Perkins of Pearland, TX. “We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our friends, family and well wishers from around the world and want to thank everyone. We are touched that our children have received such a warm welcome into the world.”
The Perkins’ sextuplets, Andrew Noah, Benjamin Luke, Levi Thomas, Allison Kate, Caroline Grace and Leah Michelle, weighed between 1 pound 10 ounces and 2 pounds 15 ounces at birth and are doing as well as can be expected for premature babies born at 30 weeks, according to Dr. Stephen Welty, head of the neonatology section at Texas Children’s Hospital and professor of neonatology at Baylor College of Medicine. The babies, who have been improving consistently over the past week, continue to receive around-the-clock care at the Pavilion in three adjoining private Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) rooms specifically designed to accommodate twins and even higher order multiples.
Five of the babies responded well to therapy directed at improving their lungs and were taken off of mechanical ventilation within two days after the delivery. They are doing well and breathing on their own, Welty said. The smallest baby, Leah, continues to face greater challenges than her siblings and has required significant treatment to support her lungs and circulation. She had a setback on Monday and had to undergo surgery to repair a portion of her bowel, but is recovering well and continues to make incremental improvements daily. Welty added that the babies will likely remain in the hospital for several weeks to months for continued specialty care and observation.
“Delivering high order multiples is always a high-risk situation for both mom and newborns and, at this early stage, the babies require constant observation and care. In their first weeks of life, the Perkins sextuplets have been progressing well and overcoming many of the challenges that face premature babies,” said Welty. “Complicated cases, such as this one, are exactly why the Pavilion for Women was created — to have an experienced team and state-of-the-art facility ready to handle the most high-risk births. We are glad we could be here for the Perkins family.”
Welty, and the Perkins’ OB/GYN physician, Dr. Robert Carpenter, along with an experienced team of medical professionals, spent over a month finalizing the delivery plan for the sextuplets and conducted two simulations as part of the preparations. There were 35 participants in the Perkins’ cesarean section delivery including physicians, neonatologists, nurses, nurse practitioners and anesthesiologists. Each baby had a dedicated medical team to assess its health needs and respond immediately following the delivery. Premature babies, especially multiples, are at a particularly high risk for complications because of undeveloped organ systems that are not yet prepared to support life outside of the womb.
“Lauren and I first met when she was nine weeks pregnant,” said Carpenter, a maternal fetal medicine specialist. “Together we created a plan intended to help her carry her babies as long as possible. Through closely-monitored check-ups, she carried her six babies for 30 weeks and 1 day gestation, which is excellent for a pregnancy with sextuplets.”
Carpenter explained that he has managed many high-order multiple pregnancies and that one of the main issues he sees is dilation of the cervix. Placing a cervical cerclage, which is stitching the cervix closed to hold the babies in, is an important factor in extending the pregnancy, he said. Perkins underwent this procedure and Carpenter believes it should be mandatory for anyone carrying four babies or more. He said that another important factor in the pregnancy was that Perkins began to contract at 20 weeks gestation, and the contractions were stopped using medicines while closely monitoring her condition.
“Every multiples pregnancy that I manage, I tell my patients that the most important thing they can do is follow Carpenter’s mantra: ‘Decreased stress! Increased rest!’,” he said. For the entire pregnancy, Lauren was probably one of the calmest and most laid-back people I had ever seen. Lauren was an excellent mom throughout her pregnancy and I give her all the credit for her efforts in getting the pregnancy so far along.”
Both Lauren and David have been spending quality time over the last week with their babies and getting to know each of their tiny distinct characteristics. During the next few months the Perkins will be able to stay with their babies at the Pavilion in its private NICU rooms, which are designed to promote family-centered care, an evidence-based care model that integrates the family and that Texas Children’s experts say improves outcomes.
“We love being able to stay close to our babies during this time and feel so blessed that they are growing stronger each day,” said David Perkins.
The state-of-the-art Texas Children’s Hospital Pavilion for Women, which opened at the end of March 2012, provides comprehensive care for women and newborns with a special focus on multiple births and high-risk pregnancies. During her first trimester, Lauren Perkins participated in the Program for Multiples at Texas Children’s Maternal and Fetal Center, the only program of its kind in the world, which provides the highest level of obstetrical guidance to moms expecting multiples. The program combines genetic counseling, fetal imaging, maternal fetal medicine expertise and nutritional guidance to produce a highly specific “road map” that helps each patient manage her complicated pregnancy.
Situated in the heart of the Texas Medical Center, the 15-story Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women is designed to care for a woman throughout her life and offers a full range of obstetrical and gynecological services, beginning before conception and continuing after delivery. The Pavilion is one of the few hospitals worldwide to offer a full spectrum of maternal and fetal medicine services including an array of fetal diagnostic procedures and highly specialized fetal surgeries for a number of congenital malformations. Level II and Level III NICU care is provided in 36 private rooms, four of which are specifically designed to accommodate multiples. A two-story circular sky bridge connects the Pavilion to Texas Children’s West Tower and Clinical Care facilities, enhancing patient care by providing physicians, staff and patient families with rapid access to all patient care facilities.
For more information on Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, visit women.texaschildrens.org.
About Texas Children’s Hospital
Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit organization, is committed to creating a community of healthy children through excellence in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked among the top children’s hospitals in the nation, Texas Children’s has recognized Centers of Excellence in multiple pediatric subspecialties including the Cancer and Heart Centers, and operates the largest primary pediatric care network in the country. Texas Children’s recently completed a $1.5 billion expansion, which includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; and Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston. For more information on Texas Children’s, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news from Texas Children’s by visiting the online newsroom and on Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.
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SOURCE Texas Children’s Hospital