A Dream Full-Filled

One minute, thirty five seconds-it's the time it takes to microwave a frozen burrito, the least amount of time you're suppose to spend brushing your teeth, and half the average length of commercial time in between segments of a TV show. But that's how long it took to deliver the Shier quintuplets on January 23, 1996.
Not a very long time, especially in comparison to the 5 years it took for fulfillment of Scot and Patty Shier's dream to have children. Little did they know that the dream entailed five children...ALL AT ONCE!
Scot and Patty had been married 2 years when they were ready to hear the patter of little feet. They were also searching for a church family. Patty was invited to a women's luncheon at Hope Chapel Foursquare Church in Hermosa Beach, California. As Patty heard the speaker's testimony about a difficult pregnancy, she was moved to tears. The worship leader, Kelley Mayeda, had been 4 months pregnant when she received word that her baby was developing without a brain. The doctors had advised an immediate abortion, but the Mayedas had decided to go on with the pregnancy. The child lived only 7 days after birth, but Kelley was still able to obey and praise God. Scot and Patty began attending the church.
Over the next three years, the Shiers' hope for a natural pregnancy slowly diminished as each attempt and procedure failed. They sought medical help and discovered that Patty's fallopian tubes were irreparably blocked. If they were to have biological children, only one option remained - in-vitro fertilization. But after much prayer and three failed attempts, the Shiers took six months off to search for God's will. Adoption was considered, but discouragingly, the doors were shut.
A decision was made to try once more. And on July 4, 1995, the phone rang. It was the doctor stating in a somber voice, "You are pregnant, but I'm very concerned as you may be pregnant with multiples." At an ultrasound, three weeks later, the doctor began counting and came up with the number "5." While Scot and Patty were awestruck, the doctor immediately advised "selective reduction," a nice term meaning the abortion of 2 of the 5 babies. It was his opinion that carrying them all was an impossibility, for Patty was only 5'4" and 115 pounds.
Always vocal against abortion, Scot and Patty's faith was being put to the test. Scot admits, "For a moment, we thought we would have to reduce, because that[base ']s what the doctor said." He phoned Pastor Guy Takashima at Hope Chapel who encouraged the Shiers to do what God would want: "My ways are not your ways, my thoughts are not your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8).
Patty remembered Kelley Mayeda's testimony: "I felt that God was clearly impressing on me that if I was obedient to Him, He would honor this situation." The doctors thought she was crazy.
Eight weeks into the pregnancy, Patty felt something was terribly wrong. At home, one baby passed out of her. The doctor had felt that all the fetuses would be lost, but an ultrasound showed 4 perfectly healthy developing babies. Scot and Patty set their sights on quadruplets.
At 10 weeks pregnant, the Shiers were referred to Dr. Craig Towers in Long Beach, California, a perinatologist who "coincidentally" was Christian. Another ultrasound revealed not 4 but 5 babies. Patty reminded him, "I told you I had lost a baby. You must be mistaken." But Dr. Towers assured her there was no mistake.
The greatest challenge was for Patty to ingest enough calories and protein each day. Then, at the 18th week, there was full bed rest at home, and at the 27th week she went on full bed rest in the hospital. While at the hospital, the doctors were amazed at the development of the 5 babies. In each case, the Shiers pointed to God and the prayers of many faithful friends at church.
Patty had begun attending a Wednesday morning Bible study for ladies who came to her rescue. When Patty's bed rest began, they prayed for her and sent weekly gift baskets full of personal items - note cards, audio tapes, bubble bath, fuzzy socks - items to make her life more enjoyable. Her freezer was stocked with 2 months' worth of meals.
Finally, the day arrived. With a Cesarean section scheduled, 35 medical personnel assembled for "Operation Rainbow." In the 95 seconds that ensued, each baby was designated a different color and was taken care of by a color-coded delivery team. The babies, 3 girls and 2 boys, all perfectly formed, ranged in weight from 3 pounds 5 ounces to 4 pounds 5 ounces. They are recorded as having the longest gestation, largest birth weights, and being the healthiest quintuplets in the United States...ever!
The Shiers named their precious little ones: Sarah, Hannah, Rachel, Joshua and Jonathan. The girls were named after women of the Bible who had been barren, but beseeched the Lord for children and whose wombs were opened miraculously. The boys were named after two Old Testament mighty men who did what God said, even though it seemed impossible.
Due to their incredible health, the babies came home at 4 weeks after birth, much earlier than initially anticipated. "Scot and I took a Preparation for Parenting class offered at Hope Chapel," Patty says. "I was so thankful to have a Godly plan for raising our children." Thankfully, the quints slept though the night at 3 months and have averaged 11 hours per night of sleep since 4 months of age.
More than Patty's stomach and faith have been stretched. She grew up being a very private person. Both she and Scot were the only child in their families. Now her home is opened daily to volunteers. Nearly 150 people from Hope Chapel, the community and Patty's work assist with housecleaning, laundry, yard work, diaper and clothing donations, etc. Several "mini-churches" gathered to do painting and garage cleaning. Junior highers volunteered to help with cleaning duties. Meals from church members have been planned through July. Thirty-five Godly women from this list volunteered for a weekly time slot to help with feeding, changing, bathing, cuddling and loving the babies.
"I have the privilege of having more Godly women in my life than ever before," Patty muses. "And though it's the babies they feed physically, it's me they feed spiritually." One of the volunteers, Madhu Chopra says, "I know I go to help with the babies, but each week when I leave the Shiers' house, I feel strengthened as a Christian." Another committed volunteer, Linda Bargmann, admits, "I am addicted to these babies. Since I am a new Christian, I have learned so much about serving the Lord and the importance and blessings of serving each other."
Of course, the media loves the Shier family. Theirs is a feel-good, newsworthy item, and these two don't often go hand in hand. Many of the media personnel tell Patty that her home is more peaceful with 5 babies than theirs with only one child. Patty responds, "It's the peace that passes all understanding."
The Shiers have appeared on national television and various news segments and newspaper articles throughout the world. They currently appear weekly on the Home and Family Show on the Family Channel.
Opportunities grow by the day. For Scot, it is to be a light for Jesus and to stand as a Godly man while dealing with the media regarding his family. For Patty, it is to counsel women contemplating "selective reduction" and to let her gentleness be evident to all. For both, it is to raise their children in a Godly fashion and train them in righteousness.
The Shiers' wildest dreams could never have imagined all of this. But their dream to have children has been "FULL-FILLED." And so has their mini-van.