Photography by Kristen Duke.
Have you ever heard people question why we don’t have miracles today like we did in the time of Jesus or Joseph Smith? The answer is, of course, that we do, but unless we are directly involved we often don’t hear anything about them.
I just returned home from spending a week helping my niece Rachelle Wilkinson with her quintuplets. An article was written by her husband Jayson in May when she was 24 weeks along (see “LDS Family Prepares for Quintuplets“); I thought it was time to update everyone on this amazing story of faith and miracles.
Rachelle spoke recently at a stake Relief Society conference in Cedar Park, Texas. The theme for the conference was “His Love Will I Know through Motherhood.” I can’t think of a better person to address that topic.
During her presentation, she mentioned that she had been pretty frightened at first and as they were listening to April 2007, conference it seemed that Elder Richard G. Scott spoke directly to her on the importance of prayer to help in times of worry and stress. He said:
I wonder if we can ever really fathom the immense power of prayer until we encounter an overpowering, urgent problem and realize that we are powerless to resolve it. Then we will turn to our Father in humble recognition of our total dependence on Him. .
Be thankful that sometimes God lets you struggle for a long time before that answer comes. Your character will grow; your faith will increase. There is a relationship between those two: the greater your faith, the stronger your character; and increased character enhances your ability to exercise even greater faith.
As she has applied these principles of faith and prayer in her situation she found much strength, help and guidance through her pregnancy and after as she has cared for five premature babies.
Rachelle never complained through the whole process. Even the doctors and nurses were amazed by her great attitude and good humor. Her waistline grew to 54″ before she delivered, and that is quite a lot on her 5’2″ frame. At the end she couldn’t even sit up, but the only thing I ever heard her say was that things were getting a little tight.
Rachelle, shortly before delivery.
Her doctor wanted her to go to at least 34 weeks, which she was able to do – a great miracle in itself as the average gestation for quintuplets is 29 weeks. She only spent about three weeks in the hospital before the birth, another miracle.
The babies were born on July 31 st , about six weeks early. Their combined weight, 21 pounds 7.6 ounces, broke the record for birth weight for quintuplets. Each baby was healthy; even the smallest, Kaydence, was hungry and looking around from the minute she was born. Their weights were from 3 pounds 6 ounces for the smallest to 5 pounds 1 ounce for the largest. There were a few minor problems at first, but all of them were home within the month. Their names are Rustin, Ryder, Kassidy, Kaydence, and Kyndall.
Moroni said that it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men. From the time that the Wilkinsons found that they were expecting quintuplets until now, angels have appeared in many forms to help.
There have been many donations of everything from diapers to baby equipment and clothes. Rachelle’s old employer purchased a quintuplet stroller for them. Jayson’s employer, National Instruments, donated a new 12-passenger van, and Enfamil donated a year’s worth of formula – no small donation because the babies needed the most expensive one made for premature babies. Her mother gave her a year’s worth of a house cleaning service, and other family members gave her a new large-capacity washer and dryer.
Of course that is only the beginning. There have been countless hours donated by ward and stake members, family, friends, and even perfect strangers in helping to care for the babies. It takes a lot of loving arms to feed, change and cuddle five little ones. They had round the clock help at first with people even staying overnight to help so Rachelle could sleep. She has since done sleep training with the babies, and they no longer need the night nannies.
A Laundry List of Miracles
A few years ago our family put together a miracle book for a family reunion. It contained miracle stories from each member; we felt that these amazing things should be written down for posterity. Rachelle said that at the time she didn’t feel that she had anything to contribute, but since then, because of her experience with quintuplets, she has had many, large and small. I asked her to list some of them. Here is what she wrote:
- The largest and most important miracles are of course the five healthy quintuplets. The doctors said at their six-month checkup that the babies are all doing great. The doctors are amazed at how healthy the babies are and at how wonderfully they are progressing. Developmentally, they are all right on track – doing things that full-term babies of the same age are doing. Growth-wise they are catching up as well.
- The babies are now seven months old, and I have never had to take them to the doctor for anything other than regular checkups. With Riley and Kaiya both bringing home germs from school and the many people that come in and out, I consider it a big miracle that our worst ailments have been some runny noses and little coughs.
- Several times we have been shorthanded, the babies have been screaming, and someone will just show up – unscheduled and unexpected – right when we need them. This happened many times when the babies were younger.
- Kaiya (age 5) got into a preschool after the year started and it ended up being the same preschool as some kids in our ward who live nearby. The other parents give her rides every time. It also is less expensive than other preschools, which is a big help. On the same lines, The Goddard School opened up, and someone from the school contacted me and let her come for free on the days she doesn’t have her regular preschool.
- The doctor told us that 80-90% of premature babies end up with reflux. I only had one out of five that had reflux.
- The formula donation from Enfamil was a miracle. It would have been a terrible expense, but it was something that the babies would have needed despite the cost.
- All the dinners we have received are miracles to me. One sister showed up at the door with a dozen homemade frozen dinners. Many others have just dropped by with a meal, “just in case you are too busy.”
- Jayson got a raise soon after the babies were born that helps cover the extra expenses.
- The house has been a huge miracle. [They felt impressed to buy this house before Rachelle became pregnant, but felt a little guilty because it was so big. Since the babies were born they have found out just how perfect it is. For example, the family dining room is large enough that all five high chairs fit along one wall perfectly. The living room has been perfect for a baby care room, with two changing stations, shelves, three rockers and a play area. The office across the hall from there is the perfect size for five cribs. The overall size of the house is perfect for a family of nine. Heavenly Father was helping them prepare even before they knew.]
As her aunt, I went to “help out,” but as in most cases of serving was more than rewarded with being a witness to these miracles. One of the most amazing things I observed while there was how the babies were put to bed each night.
Every night at 6:30 p.m. was family dance time; the babies were laid on a quilt on the floor and the music was turned on while Mom and Dad, Riley and Kaiya all had fun dancing and playing with the babies.
At seven o’clock, the music was changed to soft baby classics. The older kids went to their rooms to read in bed; the babies were taken to the care room and fed a bottle. The lights were low and voices were soft. The babies were then undressed and their diapers changed. They received a baby massage with a lotion that had lavender in it to help soothe them. They especially loved having their feet rubbed.
Their pajamas were put on and they were wrapped in a blanket, cuddled for a few minutes and placed in their beds. By 7:30, all five were settled and asleep. Now, that is a miracle!
To end this article I thought it would be appropriate to copy a small section from Rachelle’s blog:
When I found out I was pregnant with quints, I thought for sure God had made a mistake. The five babies were supposed to go to someone who majored in family science (I have a masters degree in statistics), and who always wanted to run a daycare out of their home?
Now that the babies are here, I realize that God did know what he was doing after all. He knew I was a “numbers” person and was just trying to give me a bigger sample size! There is an amazing amount of data involved when you have quints. We keep track of what time they eat, how much they eat, when they take baths, what medications they take, how much they weigh, how often they puke and what type of messy diaper they have.
My house is the ultimate test site for baby stuff. I have tried several baby products many times on multiple babies. With all these data, I could do some great analysis and make some terrific looking graphs – if only I had the time!
A Day with the Quints “By the Numbers”
3 baby girls
2 baby boys
120-150 ounces of formula
40-50 dirty diapers
1-2 loads of baby laundry
10 ears to wash behind
2 changing tables
3 rocking chairs
40 burp cloths
5-10 daytime volunteers
50 fingers to hold mine
50 toes to kiss
5 beautiful smiles