MASSILLON, OH — There’s nothing like being home for the holidays.
Just ask Vince and Amie Spicocchi.
The Massillon couple will spend their first holiday with all of their children – including quintuplets Amie gave birth to by Cesarean in August – under one roof.
“It’s going to be fun,” Vince said.
“The only difference is we are not going to be leaving the house,” Amie added. “We normally visit Vince’s family on Christmas Eve and then my family on Christmas Day.”
Instead, a small gathering of family will join the Spicocchis at their home on Christmas Day to celebrate the babies’ first Christmas.
“This is the first time we are under the same roof for a holiday,” Vince said. “For Thanksgiving, Paige and Enzo were still in the hospital.”
Born nearly four months early at 24 weeks and three days, the quintuplets – Ilah, Paige, Enzo, Ellie and Gia – remained at Akron Children’s Hospital for the first few months of their life. Amie’s due date was Nov. 20.
In singles and pairs, the babies began coming home: Gia was the first on Nov. 10. Her sisters Ilah and Ellie followed on Nov. 12, Paige on Nov. 26, and finally Enzo on Nov. 29.
“I think they are growing very well,” said Amie, now a mother of seven, including the quints and 14-year-old Taylor and 5-year-old Grady. “(Doctors) are very happy with how they have gained (weight).”
Ellie weighs in at 10.1 pounds, followed by Enzo at 9.13 pounds, and the three girls each weigh 9.3 pounds.
“Their weight has been increasing since the time they were discharged,” Vince said. “They are doing what they are suppose to be doing.”
Considering they are multiples and were born premature, the Spicocchis say their babies are doing remarkably well, but they know they are not out of the woods.
“People don’t realize they were only given a 10 percent chance of making it when we found out (we were pregnant with quints),” Vince said. “Here we are now eight or nine months later, not only are they all here but they are doing well. You are humbled by that.”
“People talk about miracles,” Amie said. “The fact that all five of them were delivered is truly a miracle and we don’t take that for granted.”
Vince said the day the babies were born, doctors gave them a 50 percent survival rate.
“We’ve already beaten the odds,” Vince said.
“You are thankful for that each day,” Amie added.
A healthy, happy home
Keeping the babies healthy is of utmost importance.
To that end, house rules have been posted at the front door – the most important keeping hands washed and clean, and not allowing visitors who are sick or who live with someone who is sick.
Other rules: Don’t knock on the door – five babies are sleeping. No unannounced visitors. And no perfume around the babies.
Ellie, her parents say, appears to be coming down with what could be a cold.
“Something like that could knock them down,” Vince said. “You don’t want to introduce any unnecessary germs.”
A helping hand
Juggling five babies is no easy task, and the Spicocchis rely on family and friends to help keep the babies fed and happy.
The babies are fed seven times a day – that’s 35 bottles and about 50 diapers each day.
“The dietitian recently said we could skip one feeding, so we are skipping the 4:30 a.m. feeding,” Amie said.
Vince’s father and stepmother help with the 1:30 a.m. feeding.
“Sometimes it is just us and sometimes there is a person for each baby,” Vince said. “If we have two people show up, it makes it pretty easy.”
Even with extra sets of hands, it takes about an hour to feed all five babies.
“It’s kind of like the movie ‘Groundhog Day,’” Vince said noting once you finish changing, feeding and putting the babies to sleep, it is time to start all over.
The couple is sleeping in shifts, Vince said, joking he sometimes gets out of the 1:30 a.m. feeding if he has to work the next day. Vince is a Massillon firefighter and works a 24-hour shift.
“I try to get a good night sleep (before a shift),” he said.
To give their volunteers a break, they have enlisted the services of PINK – Postpartum Infant Nurturing Kare.
The Jackson Township-based group, Amie said, is not well-known in the area but travels out of state to provide their services.
PINK offers infant assistance for a seven-hour period one to two times a week.
“It gives us a chance to hang out with the other kids or to get some sleep,” Vince said. “They specialize in premature babies and multiples. It gives everyone a break so we don’t overtax our volunteers.”
While the quintuplets were born nearly five months ago – on Aug. 3 – doctors still consider them only four weeks old – their adjusted age based on Amie’s due date.
“Their age right now is four and half months but they don’t go by their actual age,” Vince explained. “They look at their level (based on their adjusted age) of around four weeks.
“They are preemie babies and they are still within in the normal range (for size) and are doing normal things. They act just like newborns.”
Adjusting to nine
All the preparation for bringing the babies home paid off, Vince said.
But one thing the couple wasn’t prepared for is the planning it takes just to make doctor visits.
“We’ve only had to take all five (at the same time) once,” he said. “But we really had to plan it out. You need one person inside (the doctor’s office), one person in the car and one person to carry them (into the office).”
After a little trial and error, Vince was able to fit all five of the babies’ car seats in their vehicle, but that only leaves room for two passengers – it doesn’t fit the entire family of nine.
Starting to smile
The couple said people visiting their home are surprised by how calm the environment is with five babies.
“They expect it to be a zoo and it can be,” Vince said.
“There are times when it is pretty crazy,” Amie said.
“It’s amazing how normal they are,” Vince said. “They are starting to smile.”
“It’s reassuring,” Amie said.
Amie and Vince continue to be thankful for the generosity of their family and friends and complete strangers.
“We want to thank everybody who has helped us,” Vince said. “The support from people we don’t know who send us cards and well wishes and donations. It’s overwhelming the support.”