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Grandmother as surrogate gives birth to triplets



Published: Wed, November 12, 2008 @ 12:00 a.m.

Each baby weighed less than 3 pounds at birth.

CLEVELAND (AP) — Jaci Dalenberg decided that if she could help her daughter have a baby, she would do it. But at 56, Dalenberg was an unlikely person to serve as a pregnancy surrogate, and she didn’t anticipate three babies all at once.

Now, a month after three baby girls were born, Dalenberg is recovering from a Caesarean section and proud to call the triplets she carried her granddaughters. Two of them are identical twins.

Dalenberg, of Mansfield in central Ohio, had to be closely monitored because of her age.

“I felt great. I didn’t feel pregnant with three until I’d feel three kicking at the same time,” she said.

The girls were born Oct. 11 — more than two months premature — and each weighed less than 3 pounds.

One of the infants might be home by Friday, Dalenberg and her daughter, Kim Coseno, said in an interview Tuesday at Cleveland Clinic Hillcrest Hospital in the Cleveland suburb Mayfield Heights. The newborns have been in neonatal intensive care at the hospital.

“I’m glad that we did it and that we’ve had a happy outcome,” Coseno said. “We’re thrilled.”

Coseno, 36, has two children, now 18 and 13, from a previous marriage. She and husband Joe Coseno, 29, an Ashland firefighter, were unable to have a baby together because she’s had a hysterectomy.

Her ovaries could produce eggs, so the couple agreed to try in-vitro fertilization. The embryos were implanted in Dalenberg’s uterus.

Dalenberg was happy to keep the births all in the family.

“I wasn’t real comfortable about going outside of the family for a surrogate,” Dalenberg said. “Joe’s such a great guy, so I told Kim I’d do it for Joe.” The couple have been married three years.

A 56-year-old carrier is highly unusual, said Dr. Robert Kiwi, who monitored the pregnancy after he worked with Dr. James Goldfarb on the in-vitro fertilization. A typical carrier is a young, healthy woman who had a baby previously, said Kiwi, who was the doctor for the births.

Dalenberg underwent hormonal therapy to strengthen her uterus, Kiwi said.

Delivery at 31 weeks was necessary when one of the girls appeared not to be growing appropriately, he said.

“So we acted fairly rapidly based [on] information we had,” Kiwi said. “All three are doing great.”

Dalenberg said she wasn’t frightened to be pregnant at her age.

“I’ve always been really healthy. I did get medical clearance, including psychological testing,” said Dalenberg.

“When we found out it was triplets, I did get really nervous for about four days, but that passed real soon.”

The twins are Gabriella Claire and Carmina Ann. Their sister is Elizabeth Jacilyn, who is expected to be the first to go home.

Dalenberg, who has four daughters, ages 31 to 36, said she would have preferred to try natural childbirth, but Kiwi told her that was out of the question.

“I’m fine. I feel great,” Dalenberg said. “Knowing the outcome, I would do it over again, but ... I’m not going to do it again,” she said with a chuckle.

“We wouldn’t do that to her again,” her daughter said, smiling.


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