A handful of happiness

In an age where the typical American family averages only 1.4 children, Patrick and Penny Wiedemeier are happy to celebrate their handful.

On April 10, Trina Wiedemeier made her debut into this world and increased the family’s presence on Earth to six children.

In addition, Trina’s arrival marked a milestone for Patrick’s mother, Peg Wiedemeier of Carroll, Iowa.

“She is the 75th grandchild for my mother and probably the last for us,” said Patrick Weidemeir, 49.

At age 41, Penny Weidemeier is above the average age percentile for women having children. The Central for Disease Control and the Mayo Clinic list the average age of childbearing between 20 to 35 years of age.

But older women giving birth runs in her family.

“My grandmother had her last baby at 41,” she said.

The Wiedemeier’s other five children are thrilled to be willing helpers with Trina, said Penny.

“They always say, have your teenagers first,” she explained because there is always someone willing to help with the baby.

Big sister Julia and youngest sister Margaret not only searched the attic for the stored box of girls’ baby clothes, but they also got to witness the birth.

“Everybody knows how to change a diaper and help in the kitchen,” said Penny Weidemeier of her five other children. Their older children include Julia, 17; Lucas, 16; Katherine, 12; Margaret , 9 and Clark, 2.

“The kids are having a blast,” said Wiedemeier. “You have to stand in line to hold her.”

A pregnancy later in life sometimes holds risks, but an added concern was when Penny fell off a horse when she was only five weeks along.

“We thought we were going to lose her,” she said. “But she definitely has a purpose. God wanted her to be here.”

The Wiedemeiers have a busy household. In addition to serving as the pastor at First Baptist Church in Webster City, Patrick Wiedemeier is also a custom hog farmer. The family raises purebred Wheaten Terriers, dairy goats, horses and chickens.

Working with all those animals has given the Wiedemeier children the opportunity to witness the miracle of birth. So Clark, their second youngest child, anticipated the arrival of his baby sister as much as the rest of the family, said Wiedemeier. Recounting his experience with birth and delivery, he reported on the gender of his mother’s baby to church members.

“He said, ‘She didn’t have a puppy. She had a baby girl,'” said Wiedemeier.

The Wiedemeier children have proven to be a blessing not only to the family, but to the First Baptist congregation, said the pastor and father.

During her pregnancy, Penny had been directing the nursery/child care during the church’s Wednesday family night. Soon, expectant mothers and mothers with babies started joining her. The group became so popular, that a Bible Study for mothers with children was formed. Eventually, several other women joined the group.

“There are now 25 women in fellowship,” said the pastor. “This baby is having an indirect impact on church growth. That’s what happens when you have children. They are a package from heaven.”

The Wiedemeiers cannot say enough good things about the birthing experience at Van Diest Medical Center and the midwife service offered by Jamie Jackson.

“We had the best of both worlds,” said Wiedemeier, who noted that their first four children were born in the hospital and the youngest two were born with assistance from the midwife.

Trina, even as a late-in-life addition for the Wiedemeiers, is a celebrated addition to the family.

“This has been so much fun,” said Wiedemeier. “The Lord has blessed us in so many ways”.