April Roth and her husband, Ryan, split feeding duties for their 21-month-old quadruplet sons, from left, Isaac, Simon, Caleb, and Eli.
"Before we had the boys, it was a hard day for me," said April Roth, adding that for so many other women, Mother's Day can remind them of the loss of a child. "It can be a day of mixed feelings."
Today, April and her husband, Ryan, are the happy, proud parents of not one, not two, not three, but four 21-month-old boys. Quadruplets. The Roth fraternal multiples in order of birth are Caleb, Isaac, Eli, and Simon.
But before the boys were born, Mrs. Roth had experienced four miscarriages. Plus, she had carried a child to almost six months gestation before that baby, named Anna Christine, succumbed to a brain disorder. Baby Anna was born and died on Oct. 13, 1998.
"She has changed who I am, and the boys have changed my life," explained Mrs. Roth. She said she is open about her feelings of both loss and joy to give hope to other mothers. The Roths continue to celebrate their daughter's memory.
After such an unthinkable loss, some women and couples might have given up hope.
But the Roths, who have been married six years, pressed on with efforts to conceive. The Toledo couple's latest attempt to have a child was fertility treatments.
"Nine months later, I was pregnant with four," said Mrs. Roth, who quit her job as office manager in a Bowling Green car dealership one month before the boys were born.
Mr. Roth is a surgery coordinator for an orthopedic surgeon, and plans to begin fall classes at the Medical College of Ohio to become a physician's assistant.
The biggest challenge of motherhood is not raising four babies at one time - which is what most people would think, said Mrs. Roth.
"The challenge is wanting your children to be good people, to be happy. Just because I'm raising four, I feel no different than any other mother," she added.
"I go through the same things as any other mother. My issues are just a little bit more intense. I have more things to do at a time, and I need much more help here and there, but our typical days are no different."
Helping the Roths care for the boys are nursing services, church members, and family members. Still, Mr. and Mrs. Roth provide the majority of their care.
"If you have a good mental state as a mother you're better off for your children, but the best thing is to love your spouse. Ryan is a wonderful man and a wonderful father. He works all day and comes home to relieve me. "I'm a lucky mother."