The father of the Pisner quintuplets said yesterday his wife will return to her job as a government secretary next fall while he stays home to rear the children.
Daniel Pisner, 29, of Olney, Md., unemployed since he was laid off last year from a management consulting firm in Rockville, said he has received several job offers after the births of his daughter and four sons last Tuesday, but he rejected them all for the role of househusband.
"When we first found Pam was pregnant, she decided she wanted to return to work, and I decided to stay home and raise the babies," Pisner said. "It's an experience few fathers have."
Pisner, still ebullient over what he called "the most extraordinary event in our lives" appeared with his wife to answer press queries that have showered the couple during the past week.
"We are not public people," he said. "All we want to do now is to raise our children in as much privacy as possible. . . . A major concern is that our babies aren't exploited."
Pam Pisner, a 28-year-old secretary for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, acknowledged, however, that "concern about the financial burden" prompted her and her husband to send out a series of letters to various firms and merchants inquiring about possible financial assistance.
They have also sold their story to Washingtonian magazine, she said, but declined to say for how much.
A spokesman for Washingtonian also declined comment.
The quints themselves, delivered seven weeks early by cesarean section, continue to make excellent progress, the couple said.
Though still in incubators, they have all dispensed with supplementary oxygen and have even been held by the grandparents of the children.
"We expect to start taking them home as soon as the doctors say, . . . which should be in about six weeks or so," Pisner said.
"Hopefully by the end of the summer all of them will be home."
Pisner said she will probably go home to Olney within a few days, though she won't return to work until November. The Pisners said they expect to have enough indulgent grandparents, great-grand parents and friends around to help provide the quints with "all the love and attention they deserve." They themselves have had no difficulty so far in telling the five of them apart, they said, in part because of differences in size between the children. But they are considering name bracelets to make it easier at home. Mrs. Pisner said she had no regrets about having taken the fertility drug Pergonal, which often triggers multiple births, though she remembers "bouncing off the walls" when she learned she was pregnant with quintuplets.
"At the beginning," she said, "my major concern was whether I could carry five healthy babies full term," but doctors told her it was possible with proper care.
Then, she said, she and her husband turned to the challenges of raising quintuplets. At one point, she said, they visited the parents of the Kienast quintuplets in Bernards Township, N.J., "who encouraged us that it can be done--without losing your mind--and that the children can be healthy and well-adjusted."
They have also become friendly with a local family which has triplets, she said, "and we've gotten a lot of help from them."
She said she and her husband are determined that the children will be raised as individuals.
"We're not going to dress them all alike," she said. "We plan to take them out separately or a few at a time and see that, as much as possible, each has some special time" with its parents.
They are not, however, planning any more children, though they are looking toward a bigger house.
Pisner termed his atypical househusband role at one point "a challenge to astronaut Sally Ride," but his wife said it was really less a matter of sexual politics than of common sense.
"We can't afford for both of us not to work," she said. "I've had a job for 10 years, and I love it."
In addition to looking after the quintuplets, Pisner said, he hopes to supplement the family income by working up marketable programs on a home computer and is also investigating "several other business opportunities."