11-week-old quintuplets home from hospital in time for holidays

HONOLULU -- A Honolulu couple celebrated Christmas at home with their quintuplets, instead of in a hospital.

The four boys and one girl were born premature on Oct.

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10. Doctors expected the babies would need to remain in the hospital for up to three months to allow their lungs to fully develop.

Two of the babies went home on Dec. 13. Another went home Monday, and the final two were released from the hospital Thursday.

Identical boys Kapena, Kaolu, Keahi and Kupono and girl Kamalii are Hawaii's first surviving set of quintuplets, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

"It's definitely the best Christmas gift we could have gotten, to have them home for Christmas," mother Marcie Dela Cruz told reporters Thursday from Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children.

She and her husband, Ray, also have a 2-year-old son named Makaio. He was conceived through in vitro fertilization, and the couple set aside several frozen embryos. In April, they had two of the embryos transferred, hoping to give their son a sibling.

At first, they thought they were having twins. Then one of the embryos split in half and later in half again.

"We didn't set out to make history," the mother of six said. "We were just blessed with these babies, and they're doing so great."

The babies weighed less than 3 pounds each when they were born but are now up to between 5 and 8 pounds.

"It's just amazing to see this happen and to see the success," said Dr. Charles Neal, medical director of the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit. "The thing on everybody's mind in our (unit) was just get them the best outcome possible, and I think that's what we did."

The nurses and specialists who have been caring for the infants are "the mommies that the babies know," Dela Cruz said. "It's kind of bittersweet to take them all away from what they've known for the past two months. But they're my babies, so I can now be their mommy."



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