(Photo: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center)
Four out of five quintuplets born to a missionary couple are now home with their parents after overcoming medical issues stemming from their premature births.
The children – three boys and two girls – were born to Gavin and Carrie Jones in August at the University of Texas South Western Medical Center, where a staff of over 50 people played a role in their successful births. Afterward, the children – who weighed between 1 lb. 12 oz. and 2 lbs. 11 oz. when they were first born – were cared for at St. Paul University Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit until they reached health markers that signaled their time to go home.
"They were born almost 13 weeks early, so they were expected to have lots of physical problems and challenges," Gavin told The Christian Post on Thursday.
The children are named Will Edward, David Stephen, Marcie Jane, Seth Jared and Grace Elise. Will was the fourth baby to arrive at the Jones household just two days before Thanksgiving, and Seth is still under St. Paul's care.
All five of the children had to overcome issues with their lungs, as their premature bodies weren't yet prepared to breathe on their own. David was diagnosed with a dangerous bowel condition, but it was caught early and doctors were able to effectively treat it.
Seth's hospital stay has been the longest because of continued lung issues, though doctors say he is doing well, and babies in his condition usually have a host of other problems.
"But overall the doctors have said, considering the fact that they're quintuplets and that they were born that early, it is really incredible that they have not had much more significant issues," said Gavin.
Gavin and Carrie were married in 1999, and they have another son, Isaac, who was born in 2004, the family's blog says. In 2005 they began serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators as missionaries to Papau New Guinea, where Gavin works as a helicopter pilot and mechanic, and Carrie is a public health worker.
The couple supports Wycliffe translators as they work to provide the Bible to natives of the South Pacific nation in their own languages. According to the Jones family, there are still over 200 languages in the nation that do not yet have their own translation of the Christian Scriptures.
Now that they have the quintuplets, the missionary couple is facing some major financial challenges.
"There's not much we could do other than just telling people please pray for the Lord to provide however he chooses to. And he has been providing: people have been sending us gifts and just helping us out," said Gavin.
His family's medical bills have been "astronomical," he says, but a government program that helps the families of babies with low birth weights has helped them to cover the costs. They are also accepting donations through the family blog.
Money isn't the only thing they are in need of, however. Between 75 and 100 volunteers have been helping the Jones family with everything from laundry to making meals to feeding the babies during the last several weeks.
When asked if his family, which is currently living in Carrie's parents' house in Texas, would return to the mission field, Gavin said there are no current plans but they do have a desire to return.
"We have strong desires...Our hearts are still in Papau New Guinea and the work there and the work of Wycliffe. And so we have no plans at all to be stopping that, but we're just taking things a day at a time and, in the Lord's timing, we'll head back over there," he said.