ST. LOUIS – On Friday morning, Jenny Ferrill held one of her newborn quintuplets for the first time.
"For me, it was just very special to see her interact with her new babies," said her husband, Pete Ferrill, who was by her side through the birth, through their first night as parents in a St. Louis hospital and again Friday morning, holding her hand and wheeling her around as they saw each baby, one at a time, in their separate hospital rooms.
Jenny Ferrill of Danville underwent a Caesarean section Thursday afternoon after an almost two-month stay in the hospital, where a specialist and team of medical professionals closely monitored her through the multiple-birth, high-risk pregnancy.
All five babies, and mom, are healthy and doing very well, a relief to the Ferrills, who learned earlier this year that they were expecting quintuplets – after finishing the process to adopt a child.
"We're just very fortunate and blessed to have five healthy babies," said Pete Ferrill, standing in the hospital hallway near "the quints," as he refers to them.
Although several weeks premature, their tiny hands, arms and legs jostled just like any newborn's. One of the girls' tiny cries could be heard in the hallway, where Pete Ferrill stood, a little short on sleep, with his left wrist wrapped by five hospital bands, each representing one of the babies.
Pete Ferrill, a social worker at Center for Childrens Services in Danville, said his wife was tired but doing well. She was eager to get out of her room today and see the babies, he said.
All five weigh just over three pounds, which is a testament to Jenny Ferrill's ability to carry them to the 31-week target date, he said.
"This is something that has been our focus ever since we got married," Pete Ferrill said of having children of their own. "Yesterday was the best day of our lives."
The C-section began at 2 p.m. Thursday, and the babies "came quickly" about 20 minutes later, according to hospital officials.
Pete Ferrill, who was in the delivery room along with his mother-in-law, Karen Butikas, described it as overwhelming.
In addition to the team of about 30 medical professionals, a documentary camera crew was there. They've been following the Ferrills for weeks, filming for The Learning Channel.
First came one of the girls, Irelyn Kadyn, then a boy, Landyn Konner, followed by a brother, Layne Mykel, another sister, Kieran Skye, and another brother, Drayden Karter.
"He's the special one who turned this into quints," Pete Ferrill said, referring to Drayden.
When the Ferrills first learned they were pregnant, they were told twins. Then, it was quadruplets. Two weeks later, Pete Ferrill said, an ultrasound revealed a fifth baby hiding behind the others. It was a boy, Drayden, the fifth born.
His name means "serious calm."
Pete Ferrill said they wanted the babies' names to be very special, choosing them by the sound as well as the meaning. On Friday, Pete Ferrill carried in his pocket slips of paper with the babies' first and last names typed out and the meanings of each.
Two middle names on the list, "Konner and Kadyn," carried a little more meaning. Since 2004, the Ferrills had suffered two miscarriages. Konner and Kadyn were the names they had chosen during those pregnancies.
Already, Pete Ferrill said he could see different personalities in the babies, and although so tiny, mom and dad saw some of their features in each one.
Looking at them, he said, their thoughts do drift to the future and what it will be like to raise quintuplets. But Pete Ferrill said they are concentrating on the present.
"We try not to look too far forward," he said.