SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It's a bittersweet time for a new mother of quintuplets who gave birth in the Valley.
She's flying home with her babies Wednesday morning, but with only four. One of the quintuplets didn't make it. But after struggling to have children for years, the Lucero family from Watertown, N.Y., is thrilled to welcome the little ones into the world.
It has been a long journey to have a family for Army Sgt. Esdras Lucero and his wife Jessica. He came home from Iraq and Afghanistan as a wounded soldier just to learn that his wife had lost twins and had a major health issue that would never allow children. It was truly a miracle for the family when Jessica became pregnant with quintuplets in July 2012.
They came out to the Valley to be under the care of perinatologist, Dr. John Elliot.
Elliot is known for successful multiple pregnancies and deliveries. She's been under his watch at Banner Desert Hospital in Mesa. Everything was going as planned, until last Christmas (one day before delivery), when Leila Maxine, the first of the five, died during delivery. The four other babies arrived and are now 6 weeks old.
Lucero said he and his wife wanted their children’s names "rooted in American history."
The children’s names are Adrian Normandy, after the D-Day landing site; Drew Neil, for astronaut Neil Armstrong; Amada Barbara, after the patron saint of field artillery, St. Barbara, and Pearl Harbor, for the Navy base in Hawaii attacked during World War II. Leila Maxine’s name was inspired by boxer Muhammad Ali’s daughter.
They four surviving babies -- two boys and two girls -- growing stronger every day and are ready to travel back to their hometown to be closer to their daddy. But then came the challenge of getting them home to New York.
"There has to be some how, some way that we can get our kids safely home without introducing them to a bunch of germs because they're preemies," said new mom, Jessica Neri-Lucero.
That's where Angel MedFlight answered their prayers. The Scottsdale-based company is taking care of all travel details and handling all insurance necessities to make sure the family can travel safely back home to New York.
They arrived in Watertown Wednesday afternoon.
The family was transported by ground ambulance to Samaritan Medical Center, which is near their home. It's not clear how long the babies will have to stay in the hospital.