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The Van Houten Sextuplets 7 Months Later

3:43 PM, Aug 17, 2004   |    comments
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Hamilton, MI-The last time we visited the Van Houten miracle babies, they were just a month old, and one of them wasn't even out of the hospital. As you can imagine, West Michigan's only set of sextuplets is growing. Four babies celebrated their seven month birthday August 16. The oldest passed the milestone back on the seventh, and the youngest, Kennedy, celebrate hers August 17. The Van Houtens invited us back into their home for an update. The Van Houten home is a learning experience in motion. Rocking, swinging, cooing, burping and even a few tears, times six. Amy Van Houten says,"We're just learning as we go. That's just how we operate." A lot of learning and growing. The sextuplets were born weighing about two pounds or less. Now Nolan, the biggest baby, tips the scale at 15 pounds. Samantha, the smallest, weighs 11. Still, she was first to roll over. It happened just last week. Amy says, "She did it twice in a row, it was pretty cool, she's pretty hot stuff." Amy Van Houten says as a new mom, she most enjoys watching their personalities take shape. Amy says,"Sammy here is our little spunky girl. Peyton is probably the most talkative. He and Kennedy fight for air time. Gerrit is probably our most cuddly. He just such a cuddler. Nolan is our happy boy." And the first born, John, born ten days before his other siblings, is already asserting his independence. Amy says,"He has a very very big temper, and he's also stubborn, he's fun too, he's very serious, he's the only one that hasn't smiled yet." The daily commotion includes feedings, prescribed exercises, and medicine. And the babies still have frequent doctors visits. John, born at just 24 weeks, needs eye drops. He received treatment for an eye condition in May. John also has sleep apnea and needs oxygen while sleeping. And Garrett isn't convinced about drinking from a bottle. He still uses a feeding tube. But mostly, the babies are like any other. Amy says,"Our little girls have some gas issues but I think we finally found the formula that's working, but the biggest problem we're dealing with is reflux." At night, Ben and Amy are lucky, the motion stops. Amy says,"Every once in a while we get up to put a pacifier in or check John's monitor if it's beeping but they'll sleep 12 hours if you let them." Ben and Amy are becoming parenting pros. And as the babies grow, Ben and Amy are learning their life in full motion has just begun. Ben say, "You never think it would matter when a kid eats, or what you take him to the doctor for, what you don't take him to the doctor for. Amy says,"I always knew I wanted to be a mom, so I'm doing it, times six." You may be surprised to learn while the family still has help Monday through Friday, the volunteers get the weekends off. That's when Ben and Amy learn what being the parents of six infants is really like.

Kim Covington

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