HUNTSVILLE Ala. – A mother from Alabama gave birth to six precious and small bundles of joy at Huntsville Hospital, the first sextuplets to be delivered there.
"It was amazing to get to see them, and see how they are, how small they are," Mother Courtney Waldrop told WHNT. "I mean they are perfect in every way, although they are very small, they are perfect."
Waldrop sextuplets are the first to be born in Alabama since 2011. Doctors said babies are doing very well and getting stronger every day. Each baby weighed less than three pounds when they were born, approximately ten weeks before.
"That sounds like a lot, but it's remarkable from mom, who was able to get these babies here," said Dr. Lee D. Morris, a neonatologist.
The doctors said that the delivery was fluid and that the six babies remained stable and cried at the time of delivery. They said it was so good because of the team work in the hospital, preparing and practicing for the delivery of sextuplets.
"Many people do not realize what it takes to prepare for an event like this, it was a phenomenal undertaking, and it was worth it," said Dr. Antonio González-Ruiz, a specialist in maternal-fetal medicine.
A team of about 40 people from different departments of the hospital worked together for the delivery and the exercises and preparations that were made.
"All the key players sat down, we made a list of the anticipated needs," said Jade LeCroix, director of the nursing unit. "Even in terms of having security available on the floor to make sure there is crowd control because we knew that a lot of people would be involved in the delivery."
The staff had to gather equipment, prepare the blood bank and use drills to practice the delivery. A team of 40 people, from different departments, waited for the alert of a code six, named for the six babies. Each baby had its own team of staff and the color of its own team. They used the order of colors of the rainbow ROY G. BIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet). Each baby was assigned a color according to the order in which he was born.
In place of the babies, the staff used intravenous bags during the delivery exercises.
"Every time we went through the drill, a nurse was delivered, the baby, then we grabbed the baby, we captured it, we delivered it, we determined if we needed to resuscitate," said Cheryl Case, director of neonatal and intensive care. "We passed that role through all the different multidisciplinary departments, we just made sure we had all the key people in place."
Case said that the teams provided the same level of care to sextuplets as any baby in the facility would receive, but the workload six times required choreography. He executed the simulation twelve times before birth. For the day of delivery, LeCroix said the team was excited and ready.
"We're prepared, and we know what to anticipate, but we're excited that this time it's real," LeCroix said. "So there was that nervous energy, but everyone was full of anticipation, it was electrifying."
They said that the actual birth was even smoother than the exercises and was much faster.
"We anticipated about six, seven minutes, and Dr. Rushing had the babies out in four minutes," Case said.
She said that the success of the delivery should show the community that they can take care of any emergency that comes their way.
"I know I speak for many people that we could not be more proud of the work our teams put into this," LeCroix said.
When it comes to naming babies, Courtney says It was important to give babies names as unique and special as they are. The three guys are called Blu, Layke and Tag, and the three girls, Rawlings, Rayne and Rivers.
Courtney and her husband Eric have been together since the eighth grade. The sextuplets will join their three other children, Sailor, 8, and 5-year-old twins, Bridge and Wales.
"I think when we bring them home, and the six screams start in the middle of the night, that's when they really understand what this is about," said Father Eric Waldrop.
Photographer Ashley Sargent captured the journey of the sextuplets, breaking a color-coded memory of the sextuplets as newborns.
On February 21, the last of the Waldrop sextuplets had been welcomed home from Huntsville Hospital. Rivers and Rawlings were discharged two weeks ago. Rayne was released last week. Blu, Layke, and Tag were discharged on Wednesday.
From the oldest to the youngest, Waldrop sextuplets make an adorable rainbow.