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Parents of all-male quints relied on God for guidance

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (BP)–The parents of the nation’s only
all-male quintuplets hope their favorable public stance
toward multiple children will serve as a light to the world.
Amy Guttensohn, who gave birth to five boys in August
1996, said she learned recently about an expectant mother of
multiples reducing the number of fetuses she carried.
Her decision was primarily based because on feedback
from doctors. Such advice usually concerns increased chances
of healthy survival by the remaining fetuses, Guttensohn
“If you don’t have faith in God, you’re going to say,
‘Sure, let’s have healthy babies,'” said Amy, who was a
secretary at Taylor Road Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala.,
before giving birth.
“I had to draw on faith that tells me this is simple.
Satan tries to make it so complicated and it’s not. I was
thinking, ‘What should we do?’ and the thought hit me,
‘Selective reduction is not an option.’
“I got the conviction. It was like God saying, ‘Let me
handle this. This is bigger than you.'”
Amy and her husband, Eric, have recently been the
subjects of a new round of media interviews because of the
renewed interest in multiple births resulting from modern
reproductive technology after the birth of septuplets last
November to Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey of Iowa.
The Guttensohns reflect the same stance taken by the
McCaugheys, who also cited their faith in God in refusing to
eliminate any of the seven fetuses Bobbie was carrying.
But the media’s rekindled interest in the Guttensohns
hasn’t been entirely pleasant. Eric, who works as program
coordinator for a state education program for delinquent
youth, said they discovered the media usually wanted to
focus on the negative side of the issue.
“One news show tried to portray people as having
multiples because they only wanted money,” he said. “Then
USA Today ran a horrible story saying multiples are
terrible. The media don’t want to hear the good stories,
they only want to hear the bad.”
The Guttensohns’ unfavorable experiences included an
early December appearance on television’s syndicated “Montel
Williams Show.” Coming on for the last third of the program,
they were the only parents with positive comments about
multiple children.
The others, all parents of quadruplets, talked about
selective reduction and none said anything good about
parenting multiples, Eric said. Despite the show’s
atmosphere, he feels they made a positive impact, based on a
wave of favorable viewer calls sparked by their comments.
“We prayed hard about the Williams show before we went
on,” Eric said. “We felt we need to be salt and light about
the issue of selective reduction.
“One thing we’ve found out about parents who think it’s
hard is that people who concentrate on those things are
going to the wrong well — the well of their own strength.
It is hard. But when our well runs dry, we rely on God.”
The Lord was at the center of their decision to proceed
with five births, Amy said. She recalled the relief she felt
when they told their doctor they weren’t interested in
selective reduction and he replied, “OK, let’s get those
babies here.”
“Once we decided that, it felt like this big weight had
been lifted off our shoulders,” Amy said. “God knows which
babies will survive a pregnancy and which ones won’t.
“I know we’re in the minority with having healthy
(multiple) children,” she added. “Nothing sets us apart but
God’s grace.”

    About the Author

  • Ken Walker