It happens, on average, 12 times per year in the United States: some lucky woman gives birth to five children, not spacing them comfortably over the course of several years but getting them out all at once.
It happened in the span of five minutes in Dallas on Thursday, when a team of 50 doctors, nurses, technicians and therapists at UT Southwestern delivered Carrie and Gavin Jones' five infants. The kids, named Will Edward, David Stephen, Marcie Jane, Seth Jared, and Grace Elise, weighed between 1 lb. 12 oz. and 2 lb. 11 oz. and are in stable condition at St. Paul University Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.
"The infants are doing as expected for quintuplets born at 27 weeks," said Dr. Gary Burgess, medical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, who is overseeing care for the five children.
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"All the babies are healthy and doing well, despite how they look (referring to the lines and tubes -- they're all beautifully formed!)," Gavin wrote on the family's blog. "We praise God for His mercy and love in bringing these 5 new lives into ours! The whole delivery went flawlessly from beginning to end."
The Joneses, along with their 8-year-old son Isaac, serve as missionaries in Papua New Guinea, providing support to an organization working to translate the Bible into some of the island nation's 200-plus languages. But they have spent the past several months stateside for prenatal care and to coordinate the delivery with the hospital.
This is the third set of quintuplets delivered by UT Southwestern's ob/gyn team in the past 37 years. A quick Google search brought a newspaper report of the first, in 1975, to 21-year-old Jerry Davis and his 20-year-old wife, Debbie.
"The children are the couple's first ... second, third, fourth and fifth," the paper reported. "Davis, who makes about $175 a week as a mechanic at a Dallas equipment company, described his condition as 'shocked.'"