In-vitro triplets of mom, 51, go home

March 22, 1996|By Linell Smith | Linell Smith,SUN STAFF

Most new mothers don't take their babies home in a stretch limousine trailed by camera crews. Then again, most aren't 51 when they give birth to triplets.

When Vivian McDonnell and her husband, Sean, took their 2-week-old infants home from Union Memorial Hospital yesterday, they left in style after being applauded by a crowd that included a representative from the governor's office as well as local and national reporters.

The Bel Air couple made news March 4, when Vivian McDonnell became one of the oldest women in America to give birth. Because Mrs. McDonnell was post-menopausal, her 31-year-old daughter from a previous marriage donated eggs, which were fertilized and then implanted into Mrs. McDonnell's hormonally prepared uterus. The couple used Union Memorial's in-vitro fertilization program.

Mrs. McDonnell gave birth by Caesarean section when the babies were 32 weeks old.

Yesterday, first-time father Sean McDonnell said he was prepared to stay up all night to tend to the needs of his offspring.

"I'm getting into that bonding thing," he told his tiny son Cole as he rocked him. "Huh, pal? You think that's funny?"

The triplets, who are being fed formula, have regained at least their birth weights of 4 pounds, 3 1/4 ounces; 4 pounds, 7 3/4 ounces; and 3 pounds, 13 1/2 ounces after the normal initial weight loss. Baby Sean will require a heart monitor for several weeks to track his breathing patterns, said Dr. Ajay Verma, who treated the infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. The triplets will return to the hospital for a check-up next week.

Mr. McDonnell works as a mortgage banker for Integrity Mortgage Company; his wife works from home as a certified public accountant. They plan to take care of the babies themselves, without paid help.

"Everything that we've done from Day One in reference to this we've done together," Mrs. McDonnell said. "And we'll continue that pattern."

They do expect family members and friends to pitch in, however. Mrs. McDonnell said she has also picked up tips from triplet moms she has met through the hospital and national organizations.

Mr. McDonnell, who has described himself as "just a guy from Govans," often wrestled with his emotions.

When attorney Stuart Blatt announced the creation of a college tuition trust fund for the children, he jiggled one leg up and down like someone trying to conquer a big lump in his throat.

"I've said my wife's done something remarkable. And if it gives someone else an ounce of hope, it's worth it, he said, gazing at the sweet sleeping face of his daughter Harper. "Because this can happen."

Pub Date: 3/22/96

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