DELPHOS — For Delphos native Leann Alferio, 32, everything involved in taking care of a baby comes with an amplified feeling.
Five times the work, five times the stress, and most of all, five times the love.
Alferio and her husband, Jacob, 29, are in their second year with Giovanni, Brooklynn, Jade, Kensley, and Leighton, their quintuplets who were born Oct. 7, 2012.
The trip has not been an easy one for the Alferios to say the least. Leann Alferio has an 11-year-old child from a previous relationship, and the couple began seeing a fertility to expert in an effort to have their first child together. Leann Alferio was at first worried about her pregnancy when she made her first ultrasound visit in March 2012.
“The person doing the ultrasound said, ‘This is bad,’” Leann Alferio said. “Plenty of things went through my mind. I thought maybe I wasn’t pregnant, or something was wrong with the baby. I was kind of taken aback.”
The news turned out to be none of the fears that first came to Luann Alferio’s mind. The nurse informed her that there were five babies.
“We knew there was the strong possibility of having a multiple birth,” Leann Alferio said. “We were simply amazed.”
Because of health risks, the obstetrician recommended terminating some of the pregnancies to reduce the risks. The couple would have none of it and quickly changed doctors.
“We knew we were given five for a reason,” Leann Alferio said. “We would have none of it.”
The couple quickly got in touch with Dr. Yogesh Shah at Fairview Hospital in Cleveland. The new doctor told the couple, “If you want to have five babies, were going to have five babies.”
The decision kicked off a pregnancy that featured frequent appointments.
“It was a phenomenon for the doctors so we always had a room full of doctors,” Leann Alferio said. “The pregnancy was normal except the doctor visits were more frequent because it was such a high-risk pregnancy.”
Leann Alferio went on bed rest five months into the pregnancy. Two operating rooms and a large team of doctors were set aside for the delivery. However, the Alferios had one more hurdle to overcome. Shah was out of town when Leann Alferio went into labor, and Dr. Abdelaziz Saleh filled in at Fairview. The delivery went as smooth as could be expected, with five doctors assigned to each baby, and Leann Alferio delivered all five babies in two minutes. Giovanni was the first, and Brooklynn, Jade, Kensley and Leighton followed in that order.
“It was all worth it,” Leann Alferio said. “We had five very healthy babies.”
It was several hours before the couple were able to hold their children, but Leann Alferio said there is now plenty of time for that.
“The biggest challenge is that it can be so exhausting,” she said. “The bed and bath routine can take a couple of hours. Two of them are walking a little on their own now and they are into everything. It is exhausting, but so much fun.”
Both of the Alferios teach for Medina schools, so Leann Alferio’s mother, Sandy Miller, of Delphos, spends much of her time helping out while they are at work. The couple now just take it a day at a time to enjoy being parents.
“We are so fortunate,” Leann Alferio said. “We were told in the biginning that it was impossible and that I was too tiny to have quintuplets. We are looking forward to them beginning school.”
The Alferios’ experiences can be followed at their website at http://thealferio5.weebly.com.