Scott and Michelle Johanneck of Redwood Falls were married in 2013.
Early on they were ready to start a family, but complications prevented that from happening.
“We started talking about the possibility of adoption or in vitro,” said Michelle, adding they opted for the second option.
Complications continued, and the couple was down to its last three fertilized eggs, which were implanted.
That is when the miracle happened.
“We didn’t think all of them would stick,” said Michelle.
They did…and more.
Three eggs turned into four babies, as one egg became identical twins.
That, said Michelle, was a pretty big surprise for them.
Following the ultrasound at the eight-week mark it was determined that the Johannecks would continue their prenatal care at a larger venue with specialists who deal with multiples.
Things continued to check out well with each ensuing ultrasound, and by 20 weeks Michelle said it was confirmed they were going to have four little girls.
It was at the 23-week mark when it was observed that one of the babies was smaller than the others, and concerns meant making a trip to the cities every week, and at 29 weeks the Johanneck family moved into the hospital.
“Being we were so far away, they thought it would be better if we were there just in case I went into labor,” said Michelle.
The decision was made to bring the Johanneck girls into the world at 32 weeks, and that is when Harper Drew (1.9 pounds), Haven Alee (3.8 pounds), Emma Victoria (3.7 pounds) and Taylee Rebecca (2.12 pounds) were born.
Their birthday is Aug. 2, and that is when a family of two suddenly became a family of six.
Being first-time parents of one baby can be enough of a challenge, and so Scott and Michelle know that a daunting task lies ahead for them.
Others recognized it, too, and many in the community, including family, friends, neighbors and even complete strangers began working on a plan to help them out as life continues.
The community will have its opportunity to help with what has become Juggling 4 Johannecks when a fundraising event is held this coming Tuesday (Aug. 21) at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church in Redwood Falls.
According to Cindy LaBrie, who is helping to coordinate the fundraiser, the event is being held from 4:30-7:30 p.m.
The unexpected blessing of four babies at once results in some needs Scott and Michelle weren’t anticipating and this fundraiser will help meet those needs.
Duffy’s Riverside Saloon is providing a taco bar meal for a free will donation.
In addition, there is a silent auction, baked goods and fresh garden produce sale, raffle tickets and a “Change for Good” collection of spare change. Bring your loose change to help fill the jug.
As one might imagine, hoping and praying for one child and getting four instead was both amazing and shocking.
According to LaBrie, the Johannecks are talking with other families of multiples and learning many tips and tricks on how to manage this life-changing event. They see that their lives are about to get very, very busy. These parents advise accepting help with daily household chores, care for the babies, lawn maintenance, pet care and other activities.
In addition to these basic needs, housing and transportation are an issue. Their home is a little rambler with a one-car garage.
Scott has remodeled much of the house and created a lovely home for their family, but space is an issue.
The nursery has room for only two cribs, and the rest of the home is a very tight squeeze for a family of six.
An addition is planned to provide more space for bedrooms, laundry, kitchen/dining and an attached garage. Neither family vehicle will hold all six of them, so addressing that is also a priority.
A grassroots community group called the Juggling 4 Johannecks Quad Squad formed to help the family with these needs.
The group is asking for everyone’s support to help make these plans a reality for the Johanneck family. Proceeds from fundraisers supply materials for the addition, purchase a larger vehicle and support other expenses.
Many volunteers are needed for construction and volunteers of all skill levels can contribute. More information will be available at the benefit and at www.facebook.com/J4JQuadSquad.
To learn more about the Johanneck family’s story, follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Juggling4Js.
Michelle expressed her appreciation for the overwhelming support they have received from the community and having the chance to just be with them in the hospital.
“We are falling in love with them more every single day,” she said.
All four continue to make progress, but Michelle said it will still be some time before they are able to come home. For now they are taking their new normal one day at a time.