Sleep will probably be fleeting when a Hamlin couple’s five new arrivals finally come home.
Marisol and Carlos Barreiro’s quintuplets have been cared for in the neonatal intensive-care unit at Strong Memorial Hospital’s Golisano Children’s Hospital since their birth Dec. 7. They may be released as early as February.
As much as she wants her babies at home, Marisol Barreiro, 32, said she hopes they aren’t all released on the same day.
“I just don’t know how I’d deal with them all at once,” she said with a smile. “I need to adjust, you know.”
The family’s roller-coaster ride began last June when a blood test indicated Marisol was carrying more than one baby. At first, they thought twins. Then her doctor, Rosalind Hayes, said triplets. A couple of weeks later, the Barreiros found out they were actually adding five babies to their family of three. The couple — high-school sweethearts who have been married for 13 years — also have a 4-year-old daughter, Soleemar.
Carlos Barreiro, 33, said he remains as shocked as he was when he first heard the news about triplets, let alone quintuplets.
“I’m excited, really excited,” he said during an interview in late December at the couple’s Hamlin home, where the family’s Christmas tree featured photos of the babies wearing red and green knitted caps on Christmas Day.
Marisol said her family’s reaction to the news was the same as hers and her husband’s.
“They laughed,” she said. “I mean we laughed after (the doctor) told us there were two more because there was nothing else we could do. We were already in shock that there were triplets. So, they just laughed and said, ‘OK, I guess you’re going to have a big family now.'”
The babies were delivered by Caesarean section at 26 weeks of gestation, weighing between 1 pound, 1.5 ounces and 1 pound, 14 ounces, Marisol said. By the end of December, they were all thriving and weighed more than 2 pounds. The lungs are among the last organs to mature, and once the babies can eat and breathe without assistance, they will be released from the hospital, she added.
Elias Rodriquez, Marisol’s father, said people throughout the community have been offering congratulations since the births were announced.
“We’re celebrities, I guess,” said Rodriquez of Evergreen Street in Rochester. His recent retirement from Eastman Kodak Co. has allowed him time to help care for Soleemar while his daughter was on bed rest before and after the babies’ births.
The Barreiros also have received assistance from St. Michael’s Church on North Clinton Avenue, where Marisol and her family have been parishioners for decades. St. Michael’s and Our Lady of Perpetual Help churches are serving as a clearinghouse for gifts and donations, said Deacon Dan Hurley, pastoral administrator. The two parishes raised more than $500 for the family in a second collection held during Masses on the first weekend in January, he said.
“This is big-time stuff,” Deacon Hurley said. “It doesn’t happen too often. … On the other hand, it’s a bit scary. You need five of everything: crib, car seats, everything.”
Marisol said she does have one of most baby items since the couple kept them after Soleemar’s birth. People have donated clothes and blankets, and she may have another crib on the way. OLPH also gave them $1,000 from a donation by an anonymous benefactor.
But the family only has a mini-van and a car, so if they travel anywhere as a family, they will need both vehicles, she said.
And she’s not sure if their split-level, three-bedroom home will be big enough to house them all once the children get a little older. If they are not able to buy a bigger house, Marisol said with a chuckle, “We’ll knock some walls down and do I don’t know what.”
As the babies continue their hospital stay, though, what the family wishes for most in 2006 is good health for all.
“They tell you from the beginning that they can have their good days and they can have their bad days,” Marisol said of the babies. “But every time I get a phone call, if they tell me that (one of the babies) has an infection, I say OK, but at the same time I’m worried. … (But) we can see they’re growing. They’re getting longer. They’re getting fatter.”
For more information or to drop off donations, contact St. Michael’s Church, 869 N. Clinton Ave., at 585/325-4040, or Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 1089 Joseph Ave., at 585/467-2725.