Katie Schaftlein always wanted five children.
Talk about having dreams come true.
On Nov. 11, Katie and her husband Lucas became the parents of five early, but healthy, babies delivered and given immediate intensive care by an army of medical professionals at the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital.
UK had not delivered quintuplets for a dozen years. Obstetrician Dr. Wendy Hansen had never delivered quintuplets.
The new Schaftleins include four girls — Sadie, Scarlett, Sofia, Savannah — and a boy, Lucas. All five were delivered on Katie Schaftlein’s 26th birthday and are spending the next few weeks at UK’s neonatal intensive care unit.
At a press event at UK on Thursday, Katie Schaftlein said she got to know her children while they were in the womb. Sadie, described by her mother as “probably the feistiest,” weighed in at 1.96 pounds, while the more sedate Scarlett was at the top of the weights at 2 pounds, 7 ounces.
Katie and Lucas Schaftlein met in college at UK. She has a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and a master’s in special education, while he studied mechanical engineering.
Lucas Schaftlein, 27, works as a mechanical engineer for the Toyota plant in Georgetown.
The Schaftleins had trouble conceiving, so they were using a fertility drug when Katie became pregnant. Soon they knew something was unusual about the pregnancy. A blood test revealed an unusually high amount of HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, in Katie Schaftlein’s blood, indicating the possibility of multiple fetuses.
An initial ultrasound revealed four babies. A week later, an ultrasound showed five.
Lucas Schaftlein joked that he feared the next ultrasound would show six.
The Centers for Disease Control reported 47 national cases of quintuplets or higher-order multiple births in 2014.
With such a large number of babies, the goal was to sustain the pregnancy through 28 weeks. A standard pregnancy is 40 weeks.
Katie Schaftlein went into the hospital at 22 weeks and stayed until the babies were delivered at 29 weeks. The caesarean started at 11:30 p.m. on Nov. 11, and the last baby was delivered at 11:56 p.m.
The babies’ maternal grandparents are in Lexington, while the paternal grandparents live in La Grange.
Rita Schaftlein, clearly proud of her daughter-in-law, said “Let me tell you, she was born to be a mother.”
Katie Schaftlein is a planner, her husband said, so the nursery is ready. The Schaftleins will be using Fresh Fannies Diaper Service to provide them with cloth diapers. The service will only charge them for three babies’ worth of diapers.
The Schaftleins are also going to need to get a bigger vehicle for all those infant car seats.
But they also want to share their good fortune with others, so the Schaftleins ask that those who want to contribute to their family instead donate to the Ronald McDonald House in Lexington or Lifehouse Maternity Home in Louisville.
Nov. 11 will no longer be important to Katie Schaftlein as her own birthday, she said, “but it’s going to be important that it’s their birthday.”