by Maria Vitale, Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
March 12, 2005
Detroit, MI (LifeNews.com) — Amy and Ben Van Houten are counting their blessings–all six of them. More than a year ago, Amy gave birth to sextuplets, the only set of sextuplets in Michigan and one of a dozen around the nation.
The couple rejected “fetal reduction,” a process in which one or more unborn babies is aborted, ostensibly to increase the chances of survival for the remaining babies.
"The Lord wanted us to take them," Amy told the Detroit News. "He didn’t create life for us to destroy it."
Raising sextuplets has not been without its challenges. The couple has little in the way of privacy, money, or free time, and two of the babies have major medical problems. One has undergone four surgeries on his eyes, another is fed through a feeding tube.
Still, Amy, 27, considers the babies her little brood of miracles.
“I just feel like I’ve been blessed from the beginning," Amy told the Detroit News.
Her husband is equally optimistic.
"They all beat the odds. They’ve blown through everything," Ben added.
The first baby, John, was born nearly four months premature. He was followed nine days later by Gerrit, Samantha, Nolan, and Peyton and, after midnight, by sister Kennedy.
At the time of their birth, the babies were only a little bigger than a Barbie doll. The smallest weighed a minuscule 1 pound, 4 ounces. Altogether, the babies weighed about as much as an average single newborn.
They spent their first few months of life in the intensive care unit of DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids.
Amy says that, when raising sextuplets, it helps to be organized and have lots of friends. An army of 20 volunteers helps to care for the babies, cook, and shop.
“Every stage, I was prepared for it getting harder,” Amy told the Detroit News. “But every stage is easier than I anticipated.”
"You really don’t know what the Lord has planned for you every day," Ben told the Detroit News. "Sometimes he puts trials in your life, sometimes joy and happiness. But we’ve never looked at this as a negative."