Eight is Surely Enough: The Gosselins
By Heather Boyd
The 700 Club
Jon and Kate Gosselin knew they wanted children. When they weren’t able to get pregnant, they turned to fertility treatments and they got more than they bargained for.
“We always knew that we wanted kids, it was just a matter of how many. I said three, he said two. But we got eight, so neither of us won,” Kate said.
For Jon and Kate Gosselin, raising eight children is a monumental task. Their days are filled with toddler tiffs and parental squabbles. Still, beneath the stress of living life Gosselin-style, lies a miracle of multiple blessings.
“My greatest dream was to be a mom,” Kate said. “And I actually used to say to my mom when I was very young, ‘Mommy, what if when I get older I can’t have babies?’”
Her childhood fears later became a reality.
“I have polycystic ovarian syndrome, and that is a very common fertility issue,” Kate said.
Despite the diagnosis, Jon and Kate’s dreams came true. Seven months following a successful round of infertility treatments, Kate gave birth to beautiful twin girls.
“Jon was happy with 2 kids,” Kate said. “We were having a blast. It was awesome with twins; I mean honestly like a dream come true.”
Even though the potential to conceive a second time was slim, Kate couldn’t shake the desire to try for just one more baby.
“I wanted to know what it was like to have one baby. Knowing that we were doing fertility, obviously I couldn’t be guaranteed that I would have one baby,” Kate said.
The Gosselins faced many discouraging situations during their journey, but in the midst of it all, God always gave them encouragement.
“I had received a phone call. I was crying. I wasn’t pregnant and I was upset,” Kate said. “Mady came up the stairs; and she did not hear the conversation and she said, ‘Mommy, why are you crying?’”
“And I didn’t get the chance to answer her. She said, ‘is it about a brother or a sister?’ And I said, ‘yes,’ and I was already thinking, ‘how do you know this?’ And she rubbed my leg and she said, ‘it’ll be soon. It’ll be soon.’ I was like - it gave me chills. How does a 3-year-old know to say that? So, that really comforted me because I felt like it was God’s prophecy through her,” Kate said.
After two grueling cycles of artificial insemination, the Gosselins got the much awaited news.
“I could never wait for them to tell me, so I always took home pregnancy tests,” Kate said. “I had taken so many that were negative; I wanted to see positive. And, it was way before I should have known that I was pregnant; I took a test and it was positive.”
They also knew that multiple babies would be a possibility, but in their minds multiples meant twins.
“To be honest, twins would have been just fine, because by then I was used to grabbing two outfits, two diapers, two whatever,” Kate said. “I even found myself grabbing two things for me (laughs).”
Little did they know a mine field of surprises awaited them.
“As soon as it flashed up on the screen, I went into complete shock because I saw all the circles,” Kate said. “But I told myself, ‘that can’t be babies. There’s just too many to count in one glance. My entire life flashed before my eyes. I knew no matter the outcome, at that moment, whether I have all of them, lose all of them, or end up with some of them, my life would never be the same.”
Jon was even more shocked than Kate.
“I looked over at him at some point to regain some strength, or for him to say it’ll be okay, and he was biting his lip,” Kate said. “He was pale. He actually bent down at one point because he said, ‘if I don’t, I’m going to pass out.’ Then I knew it was bad, really bad.”
Her pregnancy was exhausting. Her doctors put her on complete bed rest early in her first trimester and she endured twenty weeks in the hospital.
“My body was failing. I remember feeling, ‘I can feel it; it’s giving up.’ It was everything I could do just to hang on to them,” Kate said.
On May 10th, 2004, 30 weeks into the pregnancy, Kate went into labor.
“I was wheeled in that morning, and I kind of wish now I would have stopped and just really reveled in that moment, like ‘it’s over. Like yesterday was the last day of this,'" Kate said.
"I just sobbed through the whole preparation time and I remember saying to them, ‘I’m sorry, I just I don’t have any more strength left,’” Kate said. “And they said that was OK. It was difficult. I call it torture chamber. It was really difficult. They wanted to put me under; we had this argument on-going during the hospitalization. They wanted to put me under for the delivery, and I knew we wouldn’t be allowed to videotape or take pictures. And so I argued with them and made a huge fuss about it, telling my doctor, ‘they’re not putting me under. I didn’t go through this not to hear them cry and to see their little faces.’”
Despite the potential complications, at 7:51 that morning, the tiny but healthy Gosselin sextuplets were born by caesarean.
“They pulled Alexis out and I’ll never forget that because it was like 50 or 75 people who broke into applause,” Kate said. “She gave a really loud awesome cry. Each baby after that they pulled out, it was awesome to hear them and to know that they were OK. There was no time to pause to show them to me. So, I was trying to watch them as they went by. But that was the torture chamber, the experience of them pulling them out. I remember saying to Jon, ‘it feels like they’re pulling each of my organs out one at a time.’ I could actually feel it.”
Life in the Gosselin household changed forever that day. The next year proved to be a challenge.
“Did you ever read that stress chart? Pretty much, honestly, every one on there: a move or two, birth of six babies - not just one, Jon’s dad passed away; he was our most involved grandparent. That was a big blow. Jon was unemployed this entire time; couldn’t pay our bills, tougher - I mean, he stood in line at the Salvation Army for heating assistance; a lot of guilt because we couldn’t afford two kids, let alone eight. Were we the right choice for this?”
This difficult time was especially hard on Jon.
“He was trying to hang on. He aged a lot that year; certainly a lot more than any 27-year old should,” Kate said.
Their bleak financial situation finally came to an end when the Gosselins received the best Christmas gift of all - Jon got a job at the state capital.
“By God’s grace, we survived that year. It was extremely, extremely difficult,” Kate said.
The Gosselins became one of America’s favorite families when a TV special on surviving sextuplets turned into their weekly series on TLC. Jon and Kate detail the ups and downs of their daily life in the spotlight, in their latest book, Multiple Blessings.
“I just think it’s an amazing journey,” Kate said. “And when I look at it, and when I read it; that’s our story that we lived, but it’s God’s story that he gave to us. So, if I can encourage one mom to just keep going, I think it’s worth it.”
Being a parent of eight children has changed Kate’s perception of the Lord.
“When I was growing up, I thought of God as someone who is all around, who is waiting to strike you when you do something bad, when you get out of line,” Kate said “I think through this experience, without a doubt, we’ve come out of it realizing how much he loves us and how much he wants to bless us; if we just choose what he wants for us. That’s what he wants to do. He wants to take care of us and love us and shape us to be what he wants us to be. So, my view has totally and completely changed. It’s like night and day. It’s amazing. We’re very blessed and we’re very glad, at this point, that we were chosen for this, for whatever his reason was. You know, whatever he wants us to do, that’s what I want to do.”
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