• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Quints’ mom thankful for much

JORDAN AND BRIANA DRISKELL posed Sunday with their quintuplets, from left, Zoey, Asher, Dakota, Gavin and Hollyn. Of her difficult pregnancy and the problems posed by their premature births, Briana said, “They’re miracles from God, that’s for sure.” (Photo courtesy Sweetlilpics by Ashley Childress)

This Thanksgiving, Briana and Jordan Driskell will celebrate the holiday at home. With Zoey. And Asher. And Dakota. And Gavin. And Hollyn. And a few close family members. The Driskell children were born May 2, but they’re not typical nearly-seven-month-old children. For one thing, as much of America knows, they’re quintuplets. More important, because they were born two-and-a-half months prematurely, their physical development, particularly their lungs and immune systems, are those of much younger infants. Briana Driskell said her children are especially susceptible to RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), for which they’ll take monthly vaccinations at least through March and the flu. Until their first birthday, she and her husband will have a no-visitor policy. “We do have a select few that are completely up-to-date with vaccinations and who were around them in the NICU (neonatal intensive care nursery) that are allowed to be around but that’s pretty much it,” she said. “We’re not allowing just random people to come around them. It’s not worth it. They’ve been through so much and come so far, it’s not worth that risk.” The risk was great for them, and for their mother, whose fertility treatments made her susceptible to not only multiple births, but also a life-threatening illness that would be cured only after she delivered. Their journey, however, was difficult even before then. When the Driskells learned Briana was pregnant, she said doctors at a Cincinnati fertility clinic suggested an option they called “selective reduction.” Her life, and some of the babies, would be in less jeopardy if she gave up one or more of them, they said. She never considered that option, but that doesn’t mean she was always confident that they’d all make it home. “Honestly, I didn’t know what to think. I tried not to think negative, but of course, there’s always that worry that something might happen,” Briana Driskell said. The quints aren’t crawling yet, but, judging by the noises on her end of the phone during an interview with The Sun, at least some of them are plenty vocal. They’d just received their six-month vaccinations and are beginning to teethe. “Of course, that’s not much fun around here. They’re all extremely fussy and not feeling good with fevers so it’s been a little crazy,” she said. Driskell said she had no idea what to expect from a house full of babies (the last out of the hospital was Asher on July 15). “I’ve never had children before. I’ve never done this, so honestly, I don’t know any different than complete chaos all the time,” she said with a laugh. She had to give up her job at UK Chandler Hospital, but Jordan went back to work at Link Belt shortly after the quintuplets were born, and she’s asked him whether they can switch jobs for a day – or two, or three. “Absolutely. I say that often,” she said. “We’re doing the best we can, that’s for sure. It’s crazy – all the time, there’s always somebody screaming. Lots of drool, lots of Tylenol. We’ve been through several bottles of Tylenol,” she said. Asked whether the Tylenol was for the babies or their parents, Driskell chuckled and said, “Both.” Still, pictures of the quintuplets posted on their Facebook page (Driskell Quints) show healthy, happy babies, and aside for a cold here and a stomach bug there, that’s what they are. It has been, to say the least, a learning experience, sometimes painfully so. “Patience – not quite as much as I need to, but I’m working on it. I’ve had to give up control over a lot of things. Just try to survive every day, that’s pretty much all I can do, is try to survive,” she said with a laugh. After a slew of national television and other media appearances, Driskell said they’ve given up such things for now. She’s often asked when they’ll start showing their children off in public and wants people to know that they will, eventually. “It’s not that we want to keep people away from the babies, but right now their health and well-being is what comes first …” she said. “They just have to be patient with us.” This Thanksgiving, you won’t need to ask the Driskells for what they’re most thankful. “I still can’t believe it, you know? It’s crazy. They’re miracles from God, that’s for sure,” she said.

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