Sextuplet parents: 'It's very overwhelming'
The parents of sextuplets born in Houston talked to the media for the first time Wednesday since their six-pack was born last week.
- SLIDESHOW: Pictures of sextuplets
Lauren Perkins, 28, and David Perkins, 29, had trouble conceiving, which led to fertility treatment and the surprise of expecting six babies.
"We're just an ordinary couple entrusted by God with an extraordinary responsibility and extraordinary blessing," David Perkins said. "I'd say the emotion that we feel more than any other is gratitude. I'm thankful that Lauren was healthy going into this pregnancy."
The couple said they did consider selective reduction, but could not bring themselves to do it.
"You see their heartbeats on the ultrasound and you don't want to choose. How do you choose? So we ultimately decided to go for it and trust that God would lead us through," Lauren Perkins said.
"This has been a very overwhelming experience for us. We've gotten a lot of attention -- a lot more and a lot quicker than we were expecting," Lauren said. "We are really so appreciative of all the support and all the prayers that we've received from around the world. Our church, family and friends have really stepped up from day 1 helping us out."
The sextuplets were born to the Pearland couple on April 23 at the Texas Children's Pavilion for Women. The three boys and three girls weighed between 1.10 pounds to 2.15 pounds at birth.
"We spend a lot of time holding them. We are able to hold five of the six. The nurses let us do practice. We've done diaper changes, taking their temperature, and cleaning their eyes and mouth -- anything they'll let us do," Lauren Perkins said.
A total of 35 people were in the operating room when the babies were delivered by C-section in just under 4 minutes.
"We had outstanding prenatal care in the first trimester, which is critical," said Dr. Stephen Welty, with TCH Neonatology.
Lauren was put on bed rest at 18 weeks.
"They were always ready to do the right thing for the babies," Welty said.
David Perkins credits his wife's active lifestyle for keeping the babies healthy in the womb.
"She was a big runner -- ran 40 to 50 miles a week. We know that contributed to her keeping the babies to 30 weeks," David Perkins said.
When they were born, each newborn had their own team ready to care for them.
"We did more than one simulation to make sure everyone was prepared to do what happened when the six babies were born," Welty said.
Five of the six babies were born healthy. A girl, Leah, had medical issues, but the family said the newborn was getting better.
"All the babies, for their age, are doing as well as can be expected. All the babies are following an expected path," said Dr. Charles Hankins with Texas Children's Hospital.
"Leah is still a very sick little girl. She's struggling but we believe she's hanging in there and staying strong," Lauren Perkins said. "She's had quite a few setbacks, including an emergency surgery a couple of days ago. But, other than that, she's stable."
The children have been named Andrew Noah, Benjamin Luke, Levi Thomas, Allison Kate, Carolina Grace, and Leah Michelle.
"We look forward to bringing them home in less than 3 months," Lauren Perkins said. "We have the babies' room set up at home. We have three cribs in there, so two babies in a crib for as long as we can manage that."
Doctors said the couple may be able to bring the babies home by the end of June.
The couple wants to live a private life with their new family.
"After today, we'll ask for more privacy and want to spend as much time with our kids as we can," Lauren Perkins said.
The Perkins have been married for four years.