Fairmont’s Kueker quadruplets graduating
Bella and Cora Kueker are often asked by people, “Are you twins?” To which they reply, “No. We’re quads.”
The sisters, along with their brothers, Darrian and Ethan, are fraternal quadruplets. The four of them are set to graduate from Fairmont High School in less than two weeks and will be going their separate ways after the summer.
The Kuekers, now 18, are from Fairmont, though they were born in Rochester due to the special pregnancy. Their parents, Jamie and Nicole, have three other children and two foster children as well.
When asked if they wanted a big family, Nicole said, “That was never the plan but you never know what God has in store for you so it’s fun to find out.”
The Kuekers realize how rare they are, but don’t see themselves as being particularly special, but just like other teenagers.
“It’s interesting there’s not a lot of quadruplets, but there are a lot more triplets and twins,” Cora said.
Statistics prove this to be true. 2017 data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show just 193 quadruplet births in the country, more rare than triplet births, which clocked in at 3,675.
A Sentinel article was written in December 2000 when Nicole was pregnant. It noted she had used a fertility drug.
“Going into it, we knew there was a small chance for twins but never expected to have more than that,” Nicole said.
The quads were born about two months premature on March 26, 2001.
After weeks in the hospital, the quads were able to come home. However, during the first few months there weren’t many visitors in the house because of a high risk for infection.
“In June, a member of our church asked if we’d ever want some extra hands in the house. She set up some retired teachers and teachers who were off for the summer who would come in and give me a little break so I could nap and get some things done,” said Nicole, explaining that her husband was working rotating shifts at the time.
In the beginning, they were in touch with a few other families that have quadruplets in order to ask some questions and know what to expect.
“We were first talking to a lady from New Zealand because there was no one else in the area,” Nicole said. “A few years after we had ours there was somebody in Iowa that had a set that we were in contact with a little bit.”
Nicole stayed at home until the quads were 14. She said the have had extra helping hands throughout the years.
“You hear the saying it takes a village to raise a child and that’s so true, especially when there’s multiples involved,” said Nicole, laughing.
While the quads aren’t identical, many around Fairmont know they are quadruplets. But when they go other places, some people are skeptical.
“People don’t believe us, we usually have to pull up photos,” Ethan said.
“Their personalities and activities definitely show that they’re four individual, strong-willed children,” Nicole said.
Ethan manages the boys soccer team, is in choir and takes part in Civic Summer Theater. Darrian is on the track and cross country teams and in choir. Cora is in soccer, orchestra, choir and Civic Summer Theater, and Bella is in dance and choir.
Like any other siblings, the quads haven’t always gotten along, but they definitely have a strong connection.
“We catch ourselves saying the same things at the same time. We could just look at each other and just know,” Cora explained.
“We all share some of the same friends,” Bella said.
“Which makes it hard sometimes,” Cora added.
The quads have shared a lot besides friends over the years. One obvious thing is a birthday, so their parties are ones to remember.
“In third and fourth and fifth grade we had the big parties,” Ethan noted.
“Our mom went all out for them,” Cora added.
Now at 18, the quads say they are excited and nervous to go off to college, as it will be their first time separated.
Bella is going to SMSU in Marshall and plans to major in early childhood education and minor in special education. Cora is going to Riverland in Austin for cosmetology. Darrian is going to Iowa Lakes for aviation, and Ethan is also going to SMSU for secondary education with a minor in music and history.
Their parents have mixed feelings about the quads going off to college.
“The question that was always asked to me is, ‘How do you do it? How do you have time?’ And I always said, ‘It’s just like having four kids in the home, it doesn’t matter what their age is.’ But I’ve realized these last few weeks that it’s different because they’re all four leaving at one time now,” Nicole said.
“Not only have Jamie and I equipped them for life, but everybody who’s touched their lives throughout the years in the community have given them ways to be successful in what they’re going to be going out and doing,” she said.