The newborn Derrico quintuplets should be grateful one of them isn’t named Diaper.
Their parents, Deon and Evonne Derrico, knew early in their relationship they wanted their children’s names to start with “D.” The first four kids were easy: 7-year-old Darian, 3-year-old Derrick, and 1-year-old twins Denver and Dallas.
“Not having an idea that we would have five, we thought we had it in the bag,” Deon said Friday. “We got to the end and it’s like we ran out of names… We got to the point almost where we would have accepted the name being Diaper.”
Instead, they went with Daiten for their youngest daughter, who now weighs in at a whopping 2 pounds, 5 ounces.
The oldest of the five babies, Deneeko, weighed 2 pounds, 15 ounces on Friday, along with his younger siblings Deonee and Daician. Dariz, the second-oldest of the bunch, is 3 pounds, 6 ounces.
They’re “very healthy,” according to Dr. Martha Knutsen, director of the neonatal intensive care unit at Summerlin Hospital Medical Center. Knutsen expects the quintuplets to remain at the hospital for another month. They arrived throughout the day on Friday, having taken three flights from the Arizona hospital where they were delivered Sept. 6.
Evonne Derrico carried the babies for eight months, about four weeks longer than the national average for quintuplets, and delivered them by Caesarean section. The family moved to Arizona 22 weeks into her pregnancy to be closer to a specialist in multiple births.
Evonne has previously said she cried the first time she saw the babies. For Deon, the most memorable experience was the first time he walked into the neonatal intensive care unit.
“We walk in and a whole pod was filled with only our babies, and that for me was just absolutely surreal,” he said. “I told the nurses I love them, ‘You’re taking care of me; that’s me in there.’ That was my biggest ‘aha’ moment.”
It’s been a whirlwind experience for the Derricos, who nearly doubled the size of their family overnight. But Deon said he had not only Summerlin Hospital and Aetna, his insurance provider, to thank — well-wishers from around the valley have helped lessen the chaos.
“I absolutely love this city,” Deon said. “There is no place like home, the way we were welcomed back to Nevada, welcomed back to Las Vegas. You’re blessings for us have done us some good. We have five healthy babies.”
The help from friends and strangers has let the family focus on just that: being a family. Darian is “very excited” about her new siblings, Deon said. He and Evonne tried to help 3-year-old Derrick understand what to expect from early in the pregnancy, telling him, “Mommy has five babies in her belly.”
“We’d get out in public and he’d see another woman and point and say, ‘Five babies in there,’ and we’d say, ‘Nooo, no,’” Deon said.
The next step is to get them all in one place. Aetna flew the quints back to Las Vegas from Mesa, Ariz., on three separate flights on Friday because there was not enough room on the private plane to fly the entire family home at once. Evonne’s mother and Deon each flew with a pair on the first two flights. Evonne flew in Friday evening with the last quintuplet.
“There were two in each capsule, foot to foot,” Deon said. “It reminded me of the capsule on ‘Planet of the Apes.’”
Deon and Evonne can visit their babies as often as they like, but Deon said they don’t have someone there 24 hours a day.
“We visit every day and throughout the day, but we don’t feel the need to be there 24/7 because this hospital has been very good to us. We trust them.”
As the quintuplets spend the next month at Summerlin, their parents will “ready the nest” for the new arrivals, moving all the children into a bonus room to clear two bedrooms for friends and family who will be staying over to help.
Space constraints aren’t the only things on the mind of the Derricos. The family’s minivan doesn’t have room for everyone, and a family trip planned for early next year just got a lot more expensive. And the couple gave up celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary on May 1 because there was just too much going on.
“I was going to get her a new wedding ring,” Deon said. “It just ended up being, ‘Let’s get everyone home safely and that’s your present.’”
There’s a lot to prepare for that you don’t even think about, he said. But it all comes back to diapers.
“I thought, ‘Oh, my god, what are we going to do about diapers?’ because we don’t just have one poopy diaper, we have five,” Deon said. “But I know how to take care of children. I know how to love children. The fear is gone, and I’m just anxious. This is what God gave us, now let’s get on with it.”