Briana and Jordan Driskell’s first time celebrating Mother’s Day as parents will be a big one.
On May 2, they had five babies in about four minutes at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital.
Briana Driskell, 29, was three days into the 28th week of her pregnancy when she gave birth by cesarean section. The quintuplets are in the neonatal intensive care unit, but they are growing and doing well, said Dr. Peter Gianonne, chief of neonatal medicine at UK.
Even now, Driskell said, she has a hard time believing that they fit inside her before birth.
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“You have to think, not only were there five babies; they each had their own placenta, amniotic fluid sacks, five chords, and yes, I got big, but not what you’d think for five babies,” she said. “I look at them every day in awe.”
Pregnancies with multiple babies can be complicated, and Driskell had several shorter stays in the hospital before being admitted at 22 weeks of pregnancy. Altogether, she spent 10 weeks in the hospital.
“The first born was Zoey Hart. She was named after my grandmother, who was very little and very feisty, and she follows her footsteps very well,” Driskell said Friday at a media event.
Then there was a boy, Asher Blaze, who is a little less energetic than Zoey, but more upbeat than his only brother, Gavin Lane, Driskell said. There’s also Dakota Faith, who so far has been pretty relaxed, and Hollyn Grace, who has been known to try to wriggle out of her swaddling.
During their stay in the hospital, the Versailles couple began to consider the nurses and doctors who cared for them as family, Briana Driskell said. Obstetrics fellow Quinetta Johnson in particular spent a lot of time with the couple.
“I was just really lucky in being able to participate in Briana’s care, not only from the medical standpoint, but as an emotional support person,” Johnson said. She would sit with Driskell for thirty minutes or “an hour, just laughing, just trying to make her smile.”
“That was my highlight of the day,” Driskell said.
This is the second quintuplet birth at UK Hospital in less than a year, said Wendy Hansen, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at UK. The first was in November, when Katie and Lucas Schaftlein, a mechanical engineer for Toyota in Georgetown, had Sadie, Scarlett, Sofia, Savannah and Lucas.
Hansen said that knowing what the medical staff was in for made organization a little easier the second time. Doctors and nurses in obstetrics and neonatal care had a call schedule as soon as Driskell was in her 23rd week of pregnancy.
The teams had to reorganize the hospital birthing space.
“Just imagine the space you need for five separate babies and teams,” she said.
There was an attendant on call for each newborn.
“In our eyes, it was kind of a breath of fresh air, because we knew that they were taking care of business, and we didn’t have to worry,” said Jordan Driskell, 26.
After the birth, some complications with the cesarean section prevented Briana Driskell from seeing her babies until the next day.
“Waking up, knowing that everybody had seen my babies before I did, it was very emotional for me,” she said.
“They say you never know love until you’ve had a child, and wow, especially having five, I mean it’s five times over. I just cried and cried,” she said. “I couldn’t even speak. It was unreal.”
She said she’s trying to live in the moment, but she can’t help but look forward to bringing the babies home. The family has set up two nurseries and has a bed ready for each baby. It’s not clear how long the infants will remain in the hospital.
The couple has watched a few reality shows that feature families who have been through births with multiple children. They said it has been nice to get an idea of what they’re in for, but they don’t anticipate being featured in a show of their own.
“We’ve been offered a few shows that we declined. Not really our cup of tea,” Driskell said.
This pregnancy occurred during the couple’s fifth fertility treatment.
“We ended up getting one baby for every treatment that we tried,” Driskell said. “We got our money’s worth; it just took us a little longer than we expected.”
How to help?
You can donate to the family through a Gofundme page, Gofundme.com/driskell-quints.