ABINGTON, Pa (Reuters Life!) - Sextuplets born to a couple in Pennsylvania were listed in critical condition but were responding to treatment, doctors said on Monday.
At a press conference the parents of the babies and doctors at Abington Memorial Hospital spoke about the June 1 births for the first time.
"Their conditions are fragile and can change minute to minute," said Dr. Gerard Clearly, a neonatologist, adding they were expected to remain at the hospital for about three months.
The three girls and three boys, named Emma, Samantha, Olivia, John, Patrick and Connor, were born in less than eight minutes with the help of an enormous medical team, said Stephen Smith, a perinatologist, at a press conference.
Each weighed about 2 pounds (.91 kg), a size that carries with it a high mortality rate, but they have been responding well to ventilators and nutritional support.
The parents, Stacey, 33, and Brendan Carey, 41, live in a four-bedroom home in Feasterville, a Philadelphia suburb. They also have a daughter, Julianna, who is 16 months.
"Our family of nine is now complete," Stacey Carey said at the press conference. "We were not expecting a family this big."
Carey, who became pregnant after undergoing fertility treatments, said she was hospitalized about six weeks before the births.
"It's just been a long process," she said. "We have a long road ahead."
Dr. Smith said he first saw Carey when she was eight weeks pregnant and that she already knew by then that she was carrying six babies, an extremely rare occurrence.
Mathematically, less than one set of sextuplets are born in the United States each year.
Doctors said the babies were initially labeled A through F, each one was color coded for identification, and each had his or her own team of specialists. They were delivered by Caesarean section.
"We were very prepared and practiced drilling a number of times," Dr. Clearly said.
Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune