June 28, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Last of Alferio five born Oct. 7 released from hospital Saturday

The Alferio family welcomed the last of their quintuplets home for the holidays Saturday.

Born Oct. 7 to parents Leann and Jacob Alferio of Medina, the five babies were about eight weeks premature and came home from the hospital gradually.

The Alferio family, of Medina, gathered their quintuplets at Fairview Hospital in Cleveland on Saturday to bring home the last one. From left, Leann Alferio 31, holds Leighton and Kensley; Leann’s daughter, Lexi Pullum, 10, holds Brooklynn; and Jacob Alferio, 28, holds Giovanni and Jade. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY KIERA MANION-FISCHER)

The family took the four infants already home — Giovanni, a boy, and girls Kensley, Brooklynn and Jade — back to Fairview Hospital on Saturday to join their sibling, Leighton, a boy, for a celebration with the medical staff.

“I can’t talk, I’m too excited,” Leann said through happy tears.

Jacob said he was happy the daily drives to the hospital were over.

Of course, with five infants at home, he said, “The madness is really going to start now.”

Saturday was a double celebration: It was the birthday of the quints’ big sister, Lexi Pullum, who turned 10.

She said things were crazy at home, but “it’s going to be fun.”

Dr. Jalal Abu-Shaweesh, medical director of the neonatal intensive care unit at Fairview Hospital, said each of the babies had to be eating well before they could be permitted to go home from the hospital.

Leighton was the last home because he had a hernia operation earlier in the week, Abu-Shaweesh said.

Leighton also was the smallest when he was born.

“You could fit him in the palm of your hand,” the doctor said.

Abu-Shaweesh said premature and multiple births could come with health risks and complications for both mother and children, so to have five healthy babies is “very lucky.”

Leann had tried to get pregnant for more than a year using different fertility methods and finally succeeded.

Leann and Jacob both teach at Brunswick middle schools and met through work. Leann teaches seventh- and eighth-grade special education at Visintainer, and Jacob teaches eighth-grade language arts at Willetts.

Leann said she’s already back to teaching part time. She said she was able to go back to work so quickly because of help from a team of volunteers who have donated their time to help out with the babies.

The Brunswick schools community collected more than 12,000 diapers for the family.

She also thanked the community for its support.

“We’re very grateful, this is impossible to do on our own,” she said.

When they were born, the babies ranged from 2 pounds, 6.5 ounces, to 3 pounds, 6 ounces. Now, at a little over 2 months old, they all weigh more than 5 pounds. Giovanni, the first to come home, is the biggest at 7 pounds, 5 ounces.

Cortney Gibson, owner of Dallas-based Gibson Newborn Services, a company that specializes in caring for multiples, manages the volunteers.

She said more are needed.

“There are never going to be enough hands,” she said.

Gibson said donations of formula are still very much needed, and those interested in helping out can fill out a form on her website, http://gibsonnewbornservices.com/baby-dream-team/alferio.

Leann has been posting updates on the babies’ progress on her blog, which can be found at http://thealferio5.weebly.com.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.