DALLAS (AP) — Their blog numbers reveal just how curiously fascinated the public is with Carrie and Gavin Jones: more than a million hits. That's what happens when you have five babies at once, the last of whom, Seth, finally was well enough for doctors to send home late last month.
"It's a little hectic," Carrie Jones, 35, said with newborns squealing in the background. "But we are just so happy, happy, happy to have Seth home; the hectic is OK."
The Dallas Morning News (http://dallasne.ws/WCAVc5 ) reports the couple also has an older son, Isaac, who turned 9 last month, and Mother Jones has even found a way to squeeze out an hour of volunteer time at his elementary school.
"That's my one act of service for the entire week," she said.
Gavin Jones, 35, summed up their suddenly chaotic life this way: "There's never a baby without a need. Every once in a while, we have one or two babies asleep, but it's never-ending neediness."
The Jones quintuplets arrived Aug. 9, the first ever born at St. Paul University Hospital, an extension of UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
Since then, the family has been on a virtual roller-coaster ride of emotions — from fear, frustration and anger to blissful joy and praise. Said Gavin Jones on gavincarrie.blogspot.com Jan. 29:
"A lot of water has gone under this bridge since then. What an amazing change our family has seen. Our prayer is that these 1 million hits and counting will be a web-portal-view of God's love, care, and wisdom."
Seth's homecoming — joining newborns Will, David, Marcie and Grace — was both a relief and a reality check.
Beset with severe breathing problems that aren't unusual for multiple, prematurely born babies, Seth had remained hospitalized in the neonatal intensive care unit at Children's Medical Center Dallas.
His soaring medical costs complicated the family's ability to bring him home. Before hospital officials realized the Joneses had "maxed out" their insurance for Seth, they were trying to line up eight-hour-a-day professional nursing care once the infant was released.
"Since October, in four months, he's cost $750,000 — well over $1 million since he was born," his father said.
Luckily, he said, the family qualified for Medicaid, which enabled them to bring their fifth newborn home to Duncanville.
Carrie Jones, in the days leading up to the homecoming, blogged her frustrations.
On Jan. 23, three days before Seth's release, she wrote:
"His needs are just too great for us to deal with on our own, especially on the weekends and in the evenings when help is more sparse and babies are more needy. :) He will also need regular home visits from the occupational, physical and speech therapists . as well as durable medical equipment provision and maintenance. Whew!"
When she was visiting Seth in the hospital that night, he was crying and vomiting "almost the whole time." The ordeal was draining.
"It was a hard evening. I kept remembering, though, that we begged for his life and have been given that, so these hard times are really a blessing since he's here with us to go through them together. We cannot praise and thank God enough for sparing our little boy."
Seth and his siblings still have a long road ahead, requiring more medical attention than usual.
But Dr. Rashmin Savani, divisional director of neonatal-perinatal medicine at UT Southwestern and Children's, said the quintuplets are making steady progress.
"The prognosis for all five of them is pretty good," he said.
The Joneses still are settling into a routine. And they've got 25 to 30 volunteers who come in regularly to help out.
Dad has returned to work locally with Florida-based Wycliffe Bible Translators. The couple hopes to return to missionary work in Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific as soon as their kids are healthy enough to relocate.
Meanwhile, Gavin Jones said his work and any time he can spend alone with his wife helps keep him grounded.
"Yesterday I was so done with taking care of babies," he said, "and all I wanted to do was get out of the house and do something else. And I love these babies."
The constant juggling act partly explains why the Joneses are getting about 2,000 hits a day on their website. Said Gavin Jones on Jan. 29:
"I never imagined that there would be any reason for this many people to be interested in our lives. God's pretty creative and has quite a sense of humor."