Family welcomes 14th son: ‘I can’t imagine not doing this’
Courtesy Jay Schwandt(ROCKFORD, Mich.) — For many parents, the idea of 14 children might seem too overwhelming. But one Rockford, Michigan, family, says they were “destined” to have the family they do.
Jay and Kateri Schwandt welcomed a son — their 14th — to their family on Wednesday. And Dad could not be more proud.
The family, with boys ranging in age from 25 years to 2 days, did not know the baby’s gender prior to the birth, In fact, Jay Schwandt said, the couple has never known ahead of time. “That’s like opening your Christmas presents on Thanksgiving.”
The 13 older boys were “pretty split” on whether they wanted to have another brother or a little girl. And even though this was his 14th time experiencing the birth of a child, it was “just as exciting the 14th time around.”
“We really savored this one,” he said, noting that the high school sweethearts are realistically at the end of their baby-making days. “Every little kick, every moment felt special.”
As for a name, baby Schwandt doesn’t have one — yet. “We’ve narrowed it down to just a couple,” Schwandt said. “After 13 boys, we’ve really had to start getting creative.” He said the baby’s names would ultimately be left up to a vote of the older boys. They’re all coming today to meet their little brother, including the ones who are living on their own and off to college.
“I’m kind of the leader of this pack and it’s very rewarding,” he said. “It’s times 14 to set a good example, be a good role model. I’m very proud.”
Today, there’s 11 Schwandt boys still living with the parents. Jay Schwandt said though that it’s his wife who is the “glue that holds the family together. She’s an awesome mom.”
Kateri Schwandt herself is one of 14 kids — seven boys and seven girls.
And since the five older boys all have girlfriends, there are females around that “feel like part of the family,” said Jay Schwandt. The whole clan 13 boys, two parents and five girlfriends recent;y took a vacation prior to baby’s birth. That’s not unusual, Jay Schwandt said, noting that the family does many activities as a group.
“There’s plenty of attention to go around,” Jay Schwandt said when asked what advice he would give to a couple who wants a larger family than is seen as typical.
“We love this,” Jay Schwandt said. “I can’t imagine not doing this.”
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