Wednesday, January 19, 2000

Five bundles of joy arrive


Prognosis good for quints born to Sidney couple

BY JANET C. WETZEL
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        DAYTON, Ohio — It's easy to see why Michael and and Michelle DiLullo seem a bit dazed these days. They're seeing everything in quintuplet.

        Five strollers. Five car seats. Five college educations.

        On Tuesday, Mrs. DiLullo, 33, became the first woman in the United States to give birth to quints in the new millennium.

        It took just five minutes for the three boys and two girls to make their debut — 10 weeks prematurely — at Miami Valley Hospital.

        The Caesarean births began at 7:27 a.m. with Daniel Fred, followed by John David, Angelina Marie, Lauren Renee and James Andrew. They weighed from 2 pounds, 81/4 ounces, to 3 pounds, 31/2 ounces.

        The parents realize they're facing mountains of diapers, and may need a dairy farm to supply all the milk they'll need; but for now, they're just happy the family is well. “We're still kind of in shock,” Mr. DiLullo, 33, said after a press conference Tuesday, even though they've

        known for months about the multiple fetuses. “It's incredible, wonderful. We've been so blessed.”

        The first post-delivery words of Mrs. DiLullo, who has been hospitalized since Dec. 10, were, “We made it, it's over!” said Mr. DiLullo, who wore five plastic identification bracelets on his arm. His wife should be released in about three days, and is eager to stand up without help, walk through a door without turning sideways and be able to turn over in bed, he said.

        Doctors say the quints' prognosis is good, and they may be released by late March, Mr. DiLullo said. Many family members were at the hospital during the births.

        All the babies suffered respiratory distress, common in premature births, and were on respirators Tuesday, said Julie McEwan, media relations manager.

        Mr. DiLullo, a pharmacist, and his wife, a homemaker, live in Sidney, about 90 miles north of Cincinnati, with their son, Anthony, who'll be 2 on Thursday. Like their older brother, the quints were conceived after Mrs. DiLullo received a fertility treatment.

        The babies are the first quints ever born at Miami Valley Hospital, where more than 6,000 babies are born annually, and the first delivered by Dr. Parviz Daneshjoo, medical director of the hospital's fertility center.

        The delivery was “flawless,” said Dr. Daneshjoo. “We had no problems.”

        Mr. DiLullo said they had hoped to eventually have two or three children. Learning she was expecting five babies was a shock, because most times, fertility treatments result in multiple births in the first pregnancy, he said. But they never considered reducing the number of fetuses.

        “We felt we were very lucky to get pregnant,” he said. “We felt God was saying, "This is what I've given to you.' And we did not want to interfere. God will take care of our needs. Everything will fall into place.”

        Mr. DiLullo said their only immediate plans are to sell their home, with three tiny bedrooms, and look for one with at least four large bedrooms and a sizable basement or play area, and replace their minivan with a passenger van.

        Friends and church members have been helping baby sit, cooking and cleaning house.

        “It was just wonderful to see the outpouring of love and affection and support,” said The Rev. Jonathon Schriber, pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in Sidney, who married the DiLullos more than six years ago.

        The church has established a fund, many companies have committed to donations of goods as needed, and families from the church and community have offered various other services, Pastor Schriber said. The hospital is donating a six-month supply of disposable diapers, estimated to be about 9,000.

        Donations may be sent to a fund established by the church through Bank One, the DiLullo Five Fund, St. John's Lutheran Church, 120 W. Water Street, Sidney, Ohio 45365.

MORE MULTIPLE BIRTHS
        The number of triplets and other higher order multiple births has increased dramatically in the United States in the past two decades, mostly because of fertility-enhancing drugs and assisted reproductive techniques, such as in vitro fertilization.

        According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 34 of 100,000 births were higher order multiples just over 20 years ago. By 1994, that number had climbed to 116 of 100,000.

        Between 1989 and 1991, only 15 sets of quints were born, and that number nearly doubled over the next three years.

        There are now about 15 to 19 sets of quints born each year in the United States. Only two sets in this country have been conceived spontaneously.

        As of December 1998, there were 53 sets of surviving quints in the country. Two sets of surviving quints were born in Ohio.

       



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