Psalm 139:13-14

PSALM 139:13-14
"For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well."

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

GRACE has arrived!!

Meryl woke up yesterday at 5:15am when one of the baby's water broke and immediately called me to let me know to get on a plane ASAP.  I had just arrived back home in CA the night before, and I was able to book a 6:30am flight and got on it right as they were closing the door to take off from LA.  Thank you Lord. 

Throughout the morning, Meryl had strong contractions and the doctors pushed up the delivery time once all the key players had arrived at the hospital.  With around 24 people or so in the Operating room, and another 40-50 people in the baby recovery room ready to receive the babies once they were pulled out, it was game time. 

Dr. Elliott and team were great and they got all 5 babies out in less than 3 minutes.  The babies are all doing fabulous.  Dr. Elliott told me yesterday that after he performed surgery on Meryl to save the pregnancy at 18 weeks (June 12th), he didn't think the babies would last more than a week.  He said that if you would have told him that she would have made it this far, he would not have believed you.  He said Meryl did the best he has seen from where she started.  Thank you Meryl for being a fighter until the end and giving an olympic-type performance.  Many will never know how much you sacrificed and struggled to give our babies the best chance at a quality life physically and mentally.  I want to say "Thank you" and that I am very, very proud of you.

Here is part of the press release released yesterday. 

More than 30 Banner staff and clinicians came together to assist in the delivery of the "Fabulous Five" - a set of quints born to California residents Meryl and John Ferraro under the care of perinatologist and multiple birth specialist John Elliott, MD.

The quintuplets were born at Banner Desert Medical Center on Sept. 26. This is the second set of out-of-state quintuplets that have been delivered by Dr. Elliott in recent weeks.  The delivery went wonderfully because of the excellent teamwork and coordination of the Banner Desert Labor and Delivery and Cardon Children's NICU staff. Making the successful delivery possible were:
  • 15 registered nurses
  • 9 doctors and nurse practitioner
  • 5 respiratory therapists
  • 5 healthy babies
  • 2 happy parents
Ms. Ferraro, 39, came to Mesa in order to receive the highest level of care for her high-risk pregnancy. Ferraro and her husband, John, chose to temporarily relocate after learning of Dr. Elliott via online research, and later interviewing him.
Ms. Ferraro is in good condition at Banner Desert, and her five babies are receiving care in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Cardon Children’s Medical Center.
The Ferraro babies – three girls and two boys – were born between 11:01 and 11:04 a.m., on Wednesday, September 26, following a pregnancy of 32 weeks and five days. The national average gestation for quintuplets is 28 to 29 weeks.

Ms. Ferraro and John additionally have a 2-year-old daughter, Gianna. The family plans to return home to Fullerton, Calif. once all the babies have been discharged from the NICU. You can visit their blog, “G.R.A.C.E. Plus One” for updates on the babies progress at

Now introducing.....Gabrielle Ann Ferraro

Gabrielle "Gabby" Ann Ferraro (baby A) was born first.  She was the one who started the day's action when her water broke at around 5:15am.  She was on the bottom of the pile and finally decided it was time for everyone to come out.  She is our little leader of the pack.  I was able to give her a bath and change her 1st diaper last night before holding her for about 45 minutes.  She didn't need any CPAP assistance with breathing and has already started small feedings (2-5 ml per feed - about 1/2 to 1 tsp per feeding).

Stats: Gabby was born at 11:01am, weighing 3 lbs, 7 oz and measuring 17 inches.

Great job Gabby!!

Now introducing....Riley Daniel Ferraro

Riley "Ry" Daniel Ferraro (baby B) was born second.  He was the biggest of the group and the first boy.  He was situated in the middle right inside Meryl.  He was the hardest one to get out because his arm kept getting in the way when the doctor was pulling him out of Meryl.  I think he liked the comfort of the womb.  He is pretty mellow so far and seems to be taking advantage of a lot of sleep.  Today, I got to hold him for about an hour (see picture below).  When he came out, he needed CPAP assistance to breath for about 24 hours.  But, he is off the CPAP and doing great now.  He has already started small feedings (2-5 ml per feed - about 1/2 to 1 tsp per feeding).

Stats: Riley was born at 11:02am, weighing 4 lbs, 6 oz and measuring 17 1/4 inches.

Great job Ry!!

Now introducing.....Cooper Elliott Ferraro

Cooper "Coop" Elliott Ferraro (baby C) was born third.  He was the most active inside the womb and is still the most active of the bunch displaying a lot of energy.  He was situated in the middle left inside Meryl.  As you can see from the picture below, he is the only one still on a Nasal CPAP machine.  He also got a picc line put in today to help with feeding him until he is able to breathe on his own.  Currently, the NICU team thinks he will be the last one to leave the hospital in about 4-5 weeks.  When Gianna saw Cooper with his CPAP and struggling a little bit, she said, "It's ok Cooper...It's ok."  He is a fighter destined for great things like his namesake Dr. John Elliott.  I am hoping to hold Cooper for the first time later tonight.  He got the first dose of breast milk to help with his recovery.  He is the only baby who has not already started feedings.  They are feeding him directly through a tube into his tummy.  But, we expect a full recovery for little Cooper in the next few days.

Stats: Cooper was born at 11:03am, weighing 3 lbs, 12 oz and measuring 16 inches.

Fight on Cooper!!

Now introducing....Emerson Joy Ferraro

Emerson "Emmy" Joy Ferraro (baby E) was born fourth.  She was the biggest of the girls and she was situated on the top left inside Meryl.  When she first came out, she struggled the most to start the breathing process.  But, she had the most experienced team of doctors and specialists working with her to get her going.  She was the last baby out of recovery and the first baby I got to hold for a quick video op.  She is a sweetheart, but she was a little fiesty when I changed her diaper last night.  I got to hold her again last night for about 45 minutes.  She needed CPAP assistance to breath for about 24 hours.  But, she is off the CPAP and doing great now.  She has already started small feedings (2-5 ml per feed - about 1/2 to 1 tsp per feeding).

Stats: Emerson was born at 11:03am, weighing 3 lbs, 13 oz and measuring 16 1/4 inches.

Great job Emmy!!

Now introducing....Addison Faith Ferraro

Addison "Addy" Faith Ferraro (baby D) was born last.  She was located on the top right under Meryl's ribcage.  She is the smallest of the group.  Her arm is slightly bigger than my index finger.  But, make no mistake about it, she is strong.  She had to fight the most inside the womb to get nutrients since she had the slowest cord blood flow.  But, upon arrival, she was doing the best of them all.  She didn't need any assistance breathing with a CPAP, and she was the first to suck a pacifier.  She also has the biggest eyes and always opens them to look at me when I hold her hand.  I am planning on spending some quality time holding her later tonight.  She has already started small feedings (2-5 ml per feed - about 1/2 to 1 tsp per feeding).

Stats: Addison was born at 11:04am, weighing 3 lbs, 1 oz and measuring 16 inches.

Great job Addy!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

32 weeks

I met my "Silver" goal! I can't believe I have 20 days left before my delivery date! One of my dr's was saying today that there were 4 other c-sections scheduled that day, but they graciously let me go first on the schedule so I can get my 10/11/12 date.

I had my growth scan and here are the babies weights:

Gabby: 3 lbs 9 oz
Riley: 4 lbs 1oz
Addy: 2 lbs 9oz
Cooper: 3 lbs 9 oz
Emmy: 3 lbs 10 oz

I've started drinking smoothies with protein powder to help get more calories in. My weight gain is slow and fluctuating. I'd feel better if I could gain 4 more lbs, but we'll see how it goes in the next 3 weeks. They will do one more growth scan the day before my c-section.

Dr. E was a little concerned about Addy, "D" baby, so I had to go back for a doppler on her. Her pressure wasn't too abnormal. She is just taking a little longer to catch up in weight.

At this point, I am so itchy that I'm not getting much sleep at night. I'm on a medication for the itching and usually during the night my nurse has to come in to rub oil or cream on my lower legs to help relieve the itching.  I can only sleep/lay on one side at this point. I will be starting my steroid treatment on Monday and will be in L& D for 2 days with an insulin drip and possibly go on magnesium sulfate, which could potentially send me into pre-term labor. I'm praying this doesn't happen.  Thankfully John will be with me this weekend and G will be in CA with my parents so I can just rest and not worry about her seeing me look like I'm miserable.

My belly isn't centered anymore. It leans to the left, which is totally trippy! When I have ultrasounds, they have to put the siderail up on the gurney and wedge a pillow under the left side of my belly so that I don't feel like I'm falling off.

I am very thankful that aside from the itching and physical discomfort, I have no other issues at this point. Everyone involved in my care is surprised how well I've been doing so far.

Update more next week.....

Saturday, September 15, 2012

31 Weeks

The babies are all doing well. Growing bigger and moving around ALOT more. Especially at night when I'm trying to go to sleep. The body parts and sticking out more and when I lie down for ultrasounds, my belly leans to the left instead of sticking straight up like it used to.

I didn't get a chance to post yesterday because I wasn't feeling well. I think I had eaten something bad Thursday and early Friday am, it gave me a stomach ache. I also woke up early because I was hungry so after they took my blood sugar, I had a little cereal which made my stomach hurt more. Everything came out.  I didn't want to order breakfast, but the dr. rounding that day said she'd have to put me on an IV if I stopped eating. Well that motivated me so I ordered toast and a boiled egg and it seemed to sit in my stomach. I then slept all day until G and my parents came to visit.

I am really getting tired these days.  All I want to do is knock out all my treatments in the morning and then sleep. I don't know if I mentioned before, but I start my day at 6am. Depending when they put me on the monitor, I take a mid morning nap for an hour while I'm on it. Go to ultrasound then order lunch. Ultrasounds aren't as fun as they used to be anymore because my stomach is so distended that it hurts when they push with the probe. I'm over it. As long as I know that their hearts are beating and fluids good, I don't really want to lie there while the tech keeps looking around. The ultrasound techs are all quick except one, so on Mon and Thurs when I have BPP's (biophysical profiles....heart tones, doppler (Mon), fluids, movement, practice breathing), I request the faster ones. When John was with me last Monday, I had the slow tech and I was starting to get annoyed towards the end.

I tend to get really annoyed fast these days and don't want management staff for visitors anymore. I used to always keep my door open a little, but most days now I have it shut with a "Do not disturb" sign on it so I can nap throughout the day. I am just trying to survive these last few weeks. I can't believe I only have 27 (?) days left to gestate my little peeps!

So when these blog entries start to get shorter, you'll know why. As my belly gets bigger, the tray table gets further and further away and it's hard to type.

Speaking of bigger bellies. I used to use a wash cloth as a bib. Then it went to 2-3 wash cloths,  and now I'm up to a full size towel. It's pretty pathetic.

Time to go on the monitor....write more next week.

Friday, September 7, 2012

30 weeks

It's all fun and games until you hit 30 weeks. Normally women do not like talking about their weight, but I am pretty proud to admit that I'm 202 lbs now. If I can gain 6 more then I won't feel bad if I stop eating and just do protein shakes and supplemental drinks. You would think that I'd be starving all the time, but my intestines are so squished, I'm lucky if I can eat as much as Gianna on any given meal.

Physically, it's very uncomfortable and I don't expect it to get better until I have my C-section on 10/11/12 which will put me at 34 wks 6 days. Hopefully I can make it that far without putting the babies or myself in danger.  I am carrying 54 lbs just in my belly and my legs are starting to have a hard time supporting all that weight. As of last week, there was about 13 lbs of baby.

I got my first incentive =). One of my dr's wife made me middle eastern food. Soooo good! He said @ 32 weeks, he'll ask her to make Brazilian food for me. Hopefully I can still enjoy it then. My main doc, Dr. Elliott brings me Dunkin' Donuts every weekend. Of course I can only eat like 1-2 in a day, but they are still yummy.

All the babies scored an 8/8 yesterday for fluid levels, heart tones, practice breathing, and movement.

The boys and Gabby and pretty low and VERY active. Riley's still lying transverse (sideways) in my lower left abdomen. He likes to kick a lot when I sleep on my left side at night. Gabby is still breech with Cooper head down on top of her. Emmy is top left abdomen with her legs going to in a diagonal to midline abdomen, while Addy is on the opposite end, top right abdomen, with her body going under Emmy's and her legs going diagonal towards midline abdomen.  I feel her elbow, knee, or heel poking out a lot!

So here's to reaching the Bronze medal milestone! Just taking one day at a time til I make it to the Silver. Thank you for all of your prayers and words of encouragement! I so appreciate it =)