Jennifer Hanselman, her husband, Keith, their older son, Conner, and the sextuplets, Isabella, Sophia, Kyle, Logan, Alex, and Lucy, live in a normal looking house in a normal looking neighborhood. As far as I know, they don't have a TV reality show, body guards, or crooked little playhouses for each kid in their backyard.
Jennifer Hanselman has an amazing sense of humor when she shares her story through her talks and writings. I laugh out loud hysterically every time I read them.
One time my sister called me from her cell phone, laughing hysterically herself. She said she was in the parking lot at Wal*Mart watching "that family with all those kids" trying to get them into their van. While perhaps the Hanselman family didn't think the outing was so much fun, well, they'll have more perspective in about 20 years!
Seriously, I am so grateful for the witness of this family. They are Christians who sought fertility assistance so they could have a couple children. The first go-around resulted in their older son, Conner. Eighteen months later, they decided they wanted to try for another child. Using every available financial asset they had, they went for the same expensive treatments again. When the ultrasound showed six heartbeats, Jennifer's first reaction was something like "I don't want to be a headline!"
Her doctor used every persuasive argument to try to get the Hanselman's to use a procedure known as "selective reduction", where they would terminate the lives of three or four of the babies by injecting poison into their little beating hearts. Certainly there were very real risks for both mother and babies, and the doctor constantly put pressure on these parents not to try to carry all six babies.
Jennifer says, "The fertility doctor was very angry when I told him we were going for it, all or nothing. He increased the pressure at every visit, telling us more and more about the horrible things we could expect, but my heart told me to be strong and trust God. We prayed and tried to resign ourselves to whatever God had in store for us. We would keep as many as we were given, no matter what condition they were in." (Party of Nine, page 10) They ended up transferring to a different high-risk obstetrician who promised to do everything within his power to give all concerned the best chance possible.
All six babies were born safely by C-Section within the same minute at 28 weeks, weighing between 1# 9 oz. and 2# 10 oz. All were able to come home from the hospital over the course of three weeks. The Hanselman's were grateful for 70 regular volunteers they had from their church and community who gave them round-the-clock help in feeding and caring for the babies. Jennifer says, "One thing we never got accustomed to was the outpouring of support from all over the world. It especially touched us deeply that our community cared so much about our family and gave so many gifts and donations to help us provide for them." and "We tried to be as open as possible about our kids, hoping to share the joy of them with the thousands of people who had prayed for their safe delivery." (both quotes from Party of Nine, page 12)
I hope you will have a couple minutes to take a look at the website where you will find some pictures, and also give praise to the Lord for His goodness and mercy extended to this family. And if you need some good humor in your life, order the books...guaranteed you won't be disappointed! www.partyofninebook.com