David and Kelly Plus Four
These days, raising one or two kids can tax parents to their limits. Four kids can be over the top. Chores times four. Doctor visits times four. Meals times four. Dirty diapers times four. Homework help times four. Clothing times four. Many parents say that having three kids is like having five kids. Follow the math. Having four kids must feel like raising eight. But Kelly and David VanMeter, Edmond parents of quadruplets, also know there’s an upside to the numbers – joy times four.
Kelly remembers her first thought when her quadruplets were born: “How are we going to afford shoes for four people?” Not diapers, not formula – shoes.
Kelly was a happy, outgoing girl. Although only five feet two inches, she was high-energy and athletic – a star cheerleader. David was the boy with big dreams and the drive and determination to get them. When Kelly and David fell in love and David asked Kelly to spend the rest of her life with him, he told her he wanted a big family – more specifically, two boys and two girls. Never in their wildest dreams did they imagine the kids would all come at once.
Kelly was teaching school and coaching the cheerleading squad when she and David decided it was time to start a family. They lived on Kelly’s salary in a little two bedroom house. They’d been married for four years and David, a future attorney, was studying for the bar exam. Then they learned Kelly was pregnant.
At eight weeks along, they went for their first visit to the doctor. Intrigued, David watched right along with the technician as they looked for a heartbeat. Then David began to count – one, two, three, four. Turning to Kelly, he announced there were not one, but four heartbeats.
Kelly’s education began immediately. Through her doctor, she was put in touch with a local support group for multiple births. She learned that in order to deliver four healthy babies, nutrition and rest were imperative. She was dedicated and determined to do whatever it took from the very beginning.
She’d always planned to be a stay-at-home mom when her first child was born. But those plans started early when she was put on bed rest the last three months of her pregnancy.
At 32 weeks, she delivered four healthy babies – two boys and two girls. Zachary, Ethan, Hannah and Emily, with Emily being the smallest at 1 pound, 14 ounces.
David and Kelly were committed to raising a family of well-mannered and respectful children. The early years were difficult, pushing them to their limits, but Kelly says by age five their efforts paid off. The children were well-disciplined and a joy to be around.
Kelly made time for each child by taking them to Mother’s Day Out each week, but keeping one child to spend the day with her. David rotated date nights with the children and exposed them to his loves – plays, art museums and music.
People ask Kelly how raising four children is different from what she expected. Her answer: she never knew anything else.
Some of her funniest memories involve grocery shopping. Nothing came easy with quads. With no extended family close by, Kelly couldn’t just drop off the children and shop. Grocery trips required two baskets, one with all four children and one for the things she needed to buy. The trips were always an adventure.
The greatest fear about having quads was their health – from the time they were born. Although they’ve all had the usual experiences of most children, none of them have had major health issues. In fact, Kelly says that out of four children there was only one cavity in all these years.
These four children are as exceptional as their story. Not one of them has ever made a B in school – ever. They’re all straight A students, each with their own set of gifts.
Zachary is very outgoing, making friends easily. He’s very artistic, blessed with a great voice and holds first chair on the french horn at his school.
Ethan’s the shy, quiet type. His nickname is “Brainiac.” He also plays soccer and has an artistic side.
Emily’s quiet and meek. Her first love is reading, but she also loves vocal competition and recently began learning how to play the guitar.
Hannah’s the mother hen of the four. She’s a confident leader. She’s belongs to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and was recently elected student council president at Edmond Memorial.
Although these four children are incredibly gifted, they’re also very down-to-earth, humble kids. Their only real comment on what they would change growing up together is not having to share a room.
When Kelly and David look back on their lives, never would they have imagined a family of quads. However, they’ll tell you it’s been the greatest joy of their lives.
In one short year, Kelly and David will be on the way to a new, empty nest life as the kids head to college. When asked how she’ll deal with that, Kelly says she’s already back working at school again. Children have always been her love, and now her life has come full circle.