PHOENIX - The first sextuplets to be successfully delivered in Arizona were in stable condition Tuesday, and doctors said their concerns have turned to the health of the mother.
Jenny Masche, 32, suffered acute heart failure several hours after giving birth to her three daughters and three sons Monday, Dr. John Elliott said.
"It's a mixed blessing," Elliott said at a news conference at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.
The heart problems were due to the huge volume of blood Masche was carrying in her body while pregnant. When the babies were delivered, some the extra blood flooded out of her uterus and "stretched her heart and blood vessels to a very, very critical level," Elliott said.
"So for a while she was very sick."
Doctors put Masche in the hospital's intensive care unit and gave her drugs to help her heart deal with the extra blood. Elliott said Masche is now stable and he expects her to be out of the hospital's ICU by Wednesday.
New father Bryan Masche joined doctors at the news conference to talk about his wife's health, and to gush over the six tiny additions to his family.
"They're amazing: 10 fingers, 10 toes," he said. "They have little finger nails and perfectly shaped little ears."
"If they ever pop off to her, they're going to get it," he added, laughing.
Exhausted and wiping tears from his eyes, Bryan Masche tried to explain how it felt to finally have children. After two miscarriages, the Masches tried artificial insemination. They learned on Dec. 29 that they were going to have not one but six children.
"To be so scared and so overwhelmed, months ago, with her health, with the health of these children, not knowing what kind of outcome we would get," he said. "Right now, I'm overwhelmed with joy."
The sextuplets were almost 10 weeks premature and weighed between 2 pounds, 1 ounce and 3 pounds.
After being born Monday morning by Caesarean section, five of the babies were placed on ventilators to help them breathe. Doctors said Tuesday that all but one are now breathing on their own.
The babies will be named Bailey Elizabeth, Savannah Jane, Molli Grace, Cole Robert, Blake Nickolas and Grant William. The Masches have yet to decide who gets which.
Masche, who works as a pharmaceutical salesman, said his fears about the pregnancy have now turned to worries about affording a bigger car, a bigger house, and enough food for six hungry babies.
His insurance will cover most of the hospital costs, but Masche estimates he'll still be left with thousands of dollars in medical bills.
"Whatever the bill is going to be, obviously, I'm not going to be able to pay for it," he said.
"I don't know. I'm hoping that a portion of this bill might be written off by the hospital, given the fact that this is the first time this has ever happened in the state of Arizona."
Hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Pool said she wasn't sure if Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center would give him a discount.
"The hospital will talk to him further about that," Pool said after the news conference.
The Masches said Bank of America already was accepting donations for them. They've also received diapers from an Internet diaper company, and Grand Canyon University in Phoenix offered the sextuplets full scholarships, a donation worth an estimated $1.2 million when they're college age in 2025.
The Masche sextuplets were one of two sets of sextuplets born in different states less than a day apart, a rare occurrence but one that fertility experts say could become increasingly common as more couples seek artificial methods of conceiving babies.
About 10 hours before the Masche's delivery, Brianna Morrison, 24, who used fertility drugs, gave birth just before midnight Sunday in Minneapolis.
"Since I'm a baby doctor, the more babies the better," said Dr. F. Sessions Cole, a pediatrics professor at Washington University in St. Louis. "On the other hand, human reproduction really is designed for (single) pregnancies."
Bryan Masche said after getting six kids in one day, he and his wife will leave the birthing records to someone else.
"This is it," he said. "I don't want any more kids."