Evonne and Deon Derrico thought they were having twins. The Las Vegas-based couple has a history with sets of multiples -- their family has a long lineage of twins and triplets -- so the news wasn’t that surprising.
They already have a set of their own: 1-year-old twin boys, who are brothers to their 7- year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.
“We always wanted a big family, so when we were told we were having identical twin girls, we were thrilled,” remembers Deon. “But we were also in shock because it meant we were going to have two sets of twins back to back.”
The thought of adding two more kids to their family of six took some getting used to, but it wasn’t anything they felt they couldn’t handle. But more than two? That didn’t even cross their minds.
“We went in for a routine ultrasound last March and I clearly saw four sacks,” says Deon. “My wife Evonne couldn’t see the monitor, but the doctor and I could.”
Evonne remembers the doctor breaking the news to her: She was carrying four babies. But two days later, there was another surprise.
“We were at a follow-up ultrasound and the doctor calmly told us that they found another baby, and now there were five,” says Evonne. “I was in a daze and in complete disbelief, I needed someone to pick my jaw up from the floor! In hindsight, I realize that doctor was acting so calm because he knew there wasn’t a good chance we’d carry all of them to term so he didn’t want to react.”
“I was still in shock learning there were four babies instead of two,” recalls Deon, “so when we were told there was a fifth, I told the doctor to turn her upside down and inside out to make sure there weren’t any others!”
The pregnancy for Evonne was a natural one -- no fertility drugs -- and for the next six months, Evonne and Deon made it their goal to carry the quintuplets as close to full term as possible.
“Evonne had no complications, no preeclampsia, no high blood pressure, nothing,” says Deon. His wife even describes her pregnancy as fairly easy despite the usual morning sickness and growing pains.
Almost immediately after finding out she was carrying quintuplets, Evonne was moved to Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz., to wait out the rest of her pregnancy on bed rest under the supervision of a multiple birth specialist.
After 32 weeks gestation, the Derricos welcomed their five new babies into the world on Sept. 6: two boys and three girls, named Deniko, Dariz, Deonee, Daician and Daiten. (Names starting with a "D" are a tradition from Deon's side of the family.)
The babies weighed between 1 pound, 14 ounces; and 2 pounds, 15 ounces when they were born.
“Our babies were healthy and the doctor said that we proved him wrong time and time again. This whole experience has been one miracle after another,” says Deon. “It humbles me to know that people wish to be in our position.”
The Derricos are now coming to grips with adding five new family members to their household. On Sept. 20, the babies were transported back to Las Vegas on a medically staffed private plane provided by their insurance company. They’ll remain in a nearby neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) under observation for another month before they’re brought home for good.
“I say that Mommy is resting, Daddy is nesting,” said Deon, who is juggling his day job as a property manager with his at-home duties. “Luckily we have a couple spare bedrooms for family to come stay with us and help, but we’ll need to get a larger car to transport our nine kids to and from doctor’s appointments and such. This whole thing has been a shock but not a shock, because we don’t really feel like we have a normal life to begin with.”
“I’ve been given this gift and ability to have babies and this big family,” added Evonne. “It’s really unspeakable. It’s making me want to be a better person and a better mom all the way around.”
And as far as adding any more children in the future, this is it, right?
“We never anticipated anything past twins,” says Deon with a laugh. “So this definitely makes us slow down. We probably need to go on strike. Maybe not shut the factory down, but go on a strike for four to five years!”