ST. LOUIS – When she's able to sleep, Jenny Ferrill has dreamed about holding her quintuplets.
Thursday, that dream becomes reality.
"I can't even imagine what it will be like," said Ferrill of Danville. "It will be the most amazing experience ever."
Since late October, Ferrill has been in a St. Louis hospital for close monitoring by a team of medical professionals until the quintuplets – three boys and two girls – are delivered by Caesarean section.
Originally, the birth date was Christmas Day, but doctors moved it up a few days. Ferrill is now scheduled to give birth at 2 p.m. Thursday.
Ferrill, speaking from her hospital room in St. Louis, said doctors wanted to ensure there would be enough personnel on hand for the birth, so they moved the procedure to Thursday.
The medical personnel are all on alert and have their beepers, said Karen Butikas of Westville, Ferrill's mother, who traveled Sunday to be with her daughter.
"She's increasingly more nauseated and has headaches," Butikas said. "It's difficult for her to do just about anything."
But Ferrill said she's hanging in there, and she's so excited for Thursday.
"It's also kind of surreal. It doesn't feel like I've been here (for almost two months). I miss everyone at home terribly," said Ferrill, who works for Catholic Social Services and lives in Danville with her husband, Pete Ferrill, who works for the Center for Children's Services.
In the summer, the Ferrills learned they were expecting quintuplets, and none of them identical. They had been about to begin the adoption process. Jenny Ferrill had suffered two miscarriages since July 2004 and then tried a fertility drug that wasn't supposed to result in a multiple-birth pregnancy.
By Sept. 1, Ferrill was confined to her home, simply because of the risks associated with a multiple-birth pregnancy. In late October, she was admitted to the hospital until the births, separating her from her friends, family and husband, who traveled to St. Louis whenever he could.
On Monday, Pete Ferrill finished up his last day of work for the week and on Tuesday, made the trip to St. Louis.
A convoy of other relatives and friends, including Pete Ferrill's parents, Don and Fran Ferrill of Clinton, will follow.
Pete Ferrill said Jenny's been phenomenal through the difficult pregnancy that has created a lot of discomfort for her, especially in the last four weeks.
"As we've gotten closer to the target week, we've just been more and more concerned about Jenny," he said. "I'm just very proud of her. Her strength is really just awesome."
Jenny Ferrill said she has been having quite a bit of pain and a lot of difficulty sleeping, but she's not complaining.
"That's just preparing me for what it's going to be like when they're born," she joked.
The babies are doing well, and doctors expect all five of them to weigh about 3 pounds when they're born, she said.
Jenny Ferrill will be in the hospital for about six to seven days after the birth, and then she'll stay at the Ronald McDonald house until the babies are ready to come home, which may be as long as 10 weeks.
She said they hope it's less, but at this point, they're focusing on the birth.
"I just want to make it through Thursday and see that everything's OK," said Jenny Ferrill, who added that this will be the best Christmas ever.
Pete Ferrill said having the quintuplets so close to Christmas makes all of it even more special.
"That's what this whole season is about – it's all about hope and life and births, and we're right here with a very, very special one," he said.