(Photos courtesy of Banner Health)
"Preparation was key," said Kathy Walker, RN, BSN, MS, senior nursing director of women’s and infants services and neonatal intensive care at Banner Desert and Cardon Children’s Medical Center. "It was well-coordinated and a beautiful thing to watch."
Soon after learning perinatologist and multiple-birth specialist John Elliott, MD, had joined the Banner Desert staff, nurses at the hospital and at Cardon Children’s began preparing for deliveries of multiples, and it has paid off with two sets of healthy quintuplets delivered within a few weeks of each other. The nurses mapped out the logistics and determined placement of equipment and staff required. Then they conducted a mock delivery and ran through multiple what-if scenarios to prepare for emergencies.
"We prepared for months," said Juli Edge, RN, BSN, a NICU nurse at Cardon, who "caught" one of the babies in the second delivery. "Patient safety was first and foremost. We worked with labor and delivery and came up with a strategy of what would be smooth for the mom and babies."
"All roles were outlined, so there was no question about who would do what," said Katie Holtz, RN, BSN, a labor-and-delivery nurse at Banner Desert.
For the first set of quints, the hospital scheduled nurses who wanted to take part in the scheduled event. Those nurses practiced together and then debriefed after Carmen Milam Matthews, 33, delivered on Sept. 6, but they did not find much to change.
But the second patient, California resident Meryl Ferraro, 39, did not make it to her scheduled delivery. She had spent nine weeks on the antepartum unit on bed rest, occasionally getting up in a wheelchair.
"We became like a surrogate family," said Barbara Islas, RN,C-OB, BSN, an antepartum nurse at Banner Desert. "We use a team approach. ... We work with the families to provide holistic care."
On the morning of Sept. 26, Ferraro announced her water broke, with the quints at 32 weeks gestation.
"To see five babies born is a miracle," Edge said. "[The parents] struggled to have children. To share that happiness and celebration with them is rewarding as a nurse."
For updates on the babies’ progress, visit the parents’ blog at www.SoCalQuints.com.
For a photo gallery of the delivery, visit www.Nurse.com/Gallery/Quints.
Debra Anscombe Wood, RN, is a freelance writer. Send letters to editorWest@nurse.com or post a comment below.