Sextuplets born at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children
The first sextuplets born in Alabama since 2011 were delivered at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children on Dec. 11, 2017.
David L. Rushing, MD, of the Clinic For Women, delivered the Waldrop sextuplets by Cesarean section with help from a team of about 40 labor and delivery nurses, neonatal intensive care nurses, neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners, anesthesiologists and surgical assistants.
The fraternal sextuplets – three boys and three girls – were born at just under 30 weeks’ gestation. The babies ranged in weight from 2 pounds, 4 ounces to 2 pounds, 14 ounces. They are all in good condition but will require several weeks of specialized care in Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) before going home with parents Eric and Courtney Waldrop of Albertville, Ala.
Courtney is expected to be released from the hospital in the coming days.
Sextuplets are exceedingly rare. This is the first sextuplet delivery in the history of Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children, the first sextuplet birth in Alabama since 2011, and the first time sextuplets have been born in the state outside of Birmingham.
Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children is the only hospital in North Alabama with the specialized services to perform a sextuplet delivery, including a Level III NICU and maternal-fetal medicine physicians – obstetricians with special training in high-risk pregnancies.
“Our obstetrics and neonatal teams have been preparing for this delivery for months. The level of detailed planning and coordination is truly impressive,” said Paula Lucas, vice president of Women and Children Services. “While we’re honored to be a part of each of our patients’ deliveries, we’re especially proud to have the physician specialties and hospital services needed to safely deliver the Waldrop sextuplets.”
Employees from the NICU, Labor & Delivery Unit, Mother Baby and other clinical departments held multiple drills to practice every aspect of the sextuplets’ delivery and first minutes of care. Nurses and physicians were divided into six color-coded care teams: yellow, purple, red, green, orange and blue.
Each team was responsible for a specific baby immediately after the birth – performing an initial checkup, recording the weight and other vital statistics, and getting the baby settled in a portable neonatal incubator for the short trip upstairs to the NICU.
There were just 24 quintuplet or sextuplet deliveries out of 3.9 million total births nationwide in 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available. The only other surviving sextuplets born in the United States this year were delivered in May in Richmond, Va.
Underscoring the rarity of sextuplet births, TLC will feature the Waldrop family in a documentary slated to air in 2018. Part of the show was filmed at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children and will follow the Waldrops’ life-changing journey every step of the way – from Courtney’s high-risk pregnancy to how they’ll adjust to becoming a family of 11.
The Waldrops have three other children, including five-year-old twin boys.
Photo credits: Courtney Neill Williams Photography and Mona Smith