Joyce Bowman gave birth to 13 pounds and 11 ounces of baby Thursday morning, in five separate packages.
Clint Eugene, Randi Michelle, Sierra Nicole, Rachel Elizabeth and Danielle Marie are believed to be the first set of live quintuplets born in Washington state.
They were delivered by Caesarean section at Sacred Heart Medical Center after 30 weeks in the womb. Almost 30 staff members helped in the birth while the stunned father sat in the background, watching from his wheelchair.
“They were pulling kids out right and left,” said Roger Bowman, 37, a quadriplegic who was still wearing a blue hospital gown during a news conference Thursday afternoon. “I had a flood of emotions, from the joy of five kids being born to the concern over the wife.”
The wife was fine after the birth of three babies at 10:57 a.m. and two more at 10:58 a.m. When her husband visited her later, she floated in and out of consciousness, still feeling the effects of general anesthesia.
The babies, ranging in weight from 1 pound, 11 ounces to 3 pounds, 12 ounces, were listed in serious but stable condition in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. All but the smallest baby, Sierra Nicole, were hooked to ventilators.
Doctors said Sierra’s lungs might be more mature than her siblings because of fighting for room in a tight womb.
The medical staff and doctors at Sacred Heart have delivered four sets of quadruplets, but this is their first set of five babies. They were thrilled that Joyce Bowman carried the babies to 30 weeks.
“It’s just remarkable,” said Dr. Richard Kates, the perinatologist.
Barring complications, the babies should be released in six to eight weeks.
Joyce Bowman, 39, will probably be released in the next week. Then the parents can get their Richland home ready for five new residents.
On Thursday, Roger Bowman wore the hospital wristbands for his five babies, a group of bracelets that stretched up his right arm.
“I get to wear these until the kids are released from the hospital,” he said. “They’re kind of my badges of honor.”
They’ve been a long time coming. Roger and Joyce Bowman met on June 15, 1981, when the mother of Roger’s close friend invited a niece to dinner. That niece was Joyce.
Eight days later, 6-foot-10-inch Roger Bowman broke his neck in a motorcycle accident. Joyce visited him almost every day. They were married that December.
Ever since, the couple has struggled to have children. They adopted a boy, Matthew, after one pregnancy ended in miscarriage.
The Bowmans then opted for an advanced in-vitro fertilization method performed at the University of Washington Medical Center. Nine of Joyce Bowman’s eggs were injected with her husband’s sperm. Five were implanted in her womb, because 62 percent of women fail to become pregnant through this method.
Joyce Bowman wasn’t most women.
At first, the Bowmans thought they were having twins. Roger Bowman kept an ultrasound picture on his desk at Westinghouse Hanford Co., where he’s an engineer leading a team of 11.
“I kept saying, ‘Here’s one, and here’s the other one,”’ said Bowman, pointing at babies in the air. “‘And here’s something down here. We don’t know what that is.”’
It was three more babies. They were discovered in an ultrasound April 17 - after Joyce Bowman’s baby shower delivered gifts for twins.