The Famous Octuplets And Septuplets Stories
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The Famous Octuplets And Septuplets Stories

Living on your own is hard enough, and living with a partner is harder – with kids?! Don’t get me started. But these two stories top it all. The first story is about a mom who had eight kids (EIGHT kids in one pregnancy!) and another mom had seven twin kids.

When the kids were born they became famous at once. But now, a few years have passed. What’s up with them today?

I’m sure at one point or another you have heard of Octomom, the woman who had a whopping eight babies in one pregnancy! It sounds too farfetched to be true but its true. Nadya Suleman took the world by storm in January 2009 when she gave birth. But many people raised eyebrows at the methods she went about getting pregnant with her eight children.

A Mix Of Criticism And Admiration

Of course, with something like having eight children you will have people who criticize your life decisions and people who praise you- and such was the mixed reactions to Nadya’s life choices. Read on to find out about the highs and lows of the woman many call a supermom.

Big Dreams

Ever since she was a little girl, Nadya knew she wanted a large family. Born to immigrants, her father Iraqi and her mother Lithuanian, Nadya was an only child who craved an emotional connection and couldn’t wait to start a big family of her own.

Without siblings and with working parents, all she wanted was other people to connect to. Suleman couldn’t have foreseen the event that would flip her life upside down and prove miraculous and contentious.

Journey Toward Motherhood

Being the unique spirit that Nadya is, she had no desire to wait for a man in her life to start her family and as soon as she was old enough to make her own decisions, she started her quest to grow her family as a single mum.

Although once she graduated high school in Southern California she had planned to go to college, her desire to become a mother trumped anything else.

Many would later argue that the methods she used to fulfil her dream were questionable, but a young and many would argue, naïve Nadya went ahead with it.

Her First Love

The first love interest in young Nadya’s life was Marcos Gutierrez, a produce manager whom she met in her early twenties. The two had great chemistry and fell deeply in love in no time.

Despite her romance, Nadya was always loud and clear about her number one priority being having children. However, this didn’t seem to matter since Gutierrez too seemed interested in having children with her!

Little did either know that there was not a chance that these two would have a family and children together.

A Dangerous Job

The multi-talented Nadya married Marcos Gutierrez the same year that she earned a psychiatric technician license from Mt. San Antonio College. Her goal of being a mother was always at the forefront of her mind, but Nadya also desired to have a fulfilling job and she began working at t Metropolitan State Hospital, a psychiatric facility in Norwalk, California.

As you can imagine, working with mentally trouble patients has high highs and low lows. Although it was very rewarding, it also came with a price and ended in a harrowing experience that would be one factor which defined the course of young Nadya’s life.

Disaster Strikes

It was on September 18, 1999, when the event occurred at the psychiatric facility. Twenty patients began a riot, and an always helpful Nadya found herself in the middle of it trying to calm everyone down. However, during the chaos, one patient flipped over a wooden desk which landed on Nadya’s back.

The desk caused quite a lot of damage and resulted in a herniated disk injury. Nadya filed for workers compensation benefits after the traumatic event and was rewarded $170,000 which helped her get by as she recovered. But all this action was actually the furthest thing from Nadya’s mind at the time…

A Dream Postponed

Although post-accident Nadya was forced to take leave from work and went through tremendous physical pain, she hardly cared since there was a more pressing matter at hand, her ultimate goal to start a family.

Nadya and her husband of now three years, Marcos, had been trying actively to start a family with no success, something that deeply bothered both of them.

Their next course of action was to visit a doctor and see what they could do to help increase their chances of falling pregnant.

Bad News

Nadya and Marcos went to doctor after doctor collecting tips to increase the chances of conceiving and fighting determinedly to start the family they desperately wanted,

But with each new method came each new failure, it was so frustrating for Nadya whose primary dream since she was a girl was to be a mother, that she dell into a depression,

Eventually, the bitter truth came to light- Marcos was sterile and conceiving a baby with him was an impossibility.

The two were faced with this hard reality and had to decide what their next plan of action was going to be to make their dream a reality.

The Last Straw

Nadya was ready to turn to alternative options of conceiving if she and Marcos could not have children the traditional way, she was happy to try an alternative method. However, this was not an option Marcos considered valid.

Their arguments about pregnancy began to drive them further and further apart.

For some unknown reason, Marcos was vehemently against any alternative form of falling pregnant, and when Nadya suggested IVF, the procedure through which an egg is fertilized outside of the body, usually in a test tube Marcos threatened to leave her if she went through with it.

An Impossible Decision

As unfair as this was of her husband, Nadya was left with a huge dilemma. Does she stay with her husband, the man she loves and forgoese her dream of motherhood? Or does she risk ending her marriage to fulfil he lifelong dream?

At the end of the da,y Nadya knew she would never forgive herself for giving up on motherhood and she left her husband to pursue having kids through IVF.

With high hope,s she began to do research, but things were not so smooth sailing for the newly divorced Nadya.

Nothing Comes Free

In vitro fertilization is the incredible method that has allowed women worldwide struggling with falling pregnant to realize their dream. However, it does not have a 100 percent success rate and on top of that, it is an incredibly expensive procedure.

However, Nadya was sick of obstacles getting in her way and was determined to find a way. Medical experts usually recommend including several eggs during IVF in case some of them don’t succeed during the fertilization process. Due to this, Nadya was faced with another risk that was particularly relevant in her case…

Worth The Risk

As a single mom, Nadya had to consider that, since many eggs are put into the mother’s uterus since there is no 100 percent success rate, she could land up giving birth to more than one child. For many women this possibility, especially when you are on your own, could be daunting.

But not for Nadya who dreamt of having a big family her entire life! she stood by her motto “the more the merrier” and was happy to go through with the procedure.

Little did she know what was about to come.

Welcome, Baby Elijah!

While Nadya Suleman welcomes the possibility of having twins or triplets, it was not something she expected. But the results of her IVF would eventually lead her to a life of motherhood that would fascinate the world to no end.

Her first IVF procedure was successful, and she was blessed with her firstborn child. It was the year 2001 when Nadya gave birth to an adorable boy named Elijah- and with that, her lifelong dream of motherhood was finally a reality. But as we know, the story is far from over.

Babies, Babies, Babies!

For many women, even having a baby through IVF can be a struggle, but luckily for Nadya, her body took extremely well to the procedure and the very next year she gave birth to her first daughter named Amerah!

Her thirst for motherhood and a big family was nowhere near quenched. After these two positive experienced Nadya went on to have more IVF treatments resulting in fraternal twins and two more children

That’s a total of six kids so far, all very young! Many people would be overwhelmed with such a number of children, especially as a single mom! But the unique Nadya felt that even six was not enough. her next move would land up baffling millions.

A Ceiling-Shattering Decision

In 2008, Nadya would make the decision that would change her life forever and result in her becoming a media sensation.

She wanted more children after her first six and returned to her doctor, Dr. Michael Kamrava, the man responsible for the success of her previous treatments, for yet another IVF treatment.

Nadya is extremely pro-life, and since there were six eggs left over from her previous treatment, she wanted all six plus more to be inserted into her uterus…as you can imagine, this is far from a normal request.

Six More Babies?

As you can imagine, Dr. Michael Kamrava was not so eager to do as Nadya wished at first, after all, no doctor ever inserts that many eggs at once! But with Nadya’s insistence, he eventually relented. Nadya was determined not to let even one embryo go to waste, even if that meant she would have many babies at once.

What is still a source of bewilderment for everyone is that the first-skeptical Dr. Kamrava landed up injecting not six, but twelve eggs in total! Which is ten more than the recommended amount of two.

What would result from this decision would be life-changing for Nadya and shock the world.

Octuplets On The Way

While Dr. Kamrava’s decision to insert than many eggs was questionable within the medical community, Nadya did not mind one bit and was excited about what was to come.

While others would be petrified of the possibility of carrying so many babies at once, Nadya welcomed it. And low and behold, soon Nadya found out she was pregnant with eight babies!!!

Nadya was ecstatic, but the question remained, is any women physically strong and capable enough of carrying that many lives at once? Nadya was ready for the challenge.

Octomom

as soon as people started hearing about a woman that was pregnant with eight children, the media started to catch on and she became a viral sensation practically overnight! It was not long before her nickname “Octomom”  was born,

While a single mother’s pregnancy is usually not something that causes such media coverage, the world was curious, shocked, and intrigued by this woman who was carrying eight children at once,

Nadya’s record-breaking pregnancy would end up having serious effects on her life, and while many were positive, some were more destructive.

Successful Delivery

The world was totally stuck on the miracle of Nadya’s childbirth. Questions like how was she able to fall pregnant with eight children? How was she able to give birth to all of them at once? Were going around and around.

It wasn’t yet common knowledge that DR. Kamrava was responsible for Nadya’s IVF treatments, in the beginning all people could focus on was the miracle that a woman’s body was capable of such a pregnancy.

. Shortly after she gave birth to eight adorable babies, doctors all over were trying to get a piece of her, but with that came researched begin to look back and understand Nadya’s case fully.

Attention On Octomom

The world was totally stuck on the miracle of Nadya’s childbirth. Questions like how was she able to fall pregnant with eight children? How was she able to give birth to all of them at once? Were going around and around.

It wasn’t yet common knowledge that DR. Kamrava was responsible for Nadya’s IVF treatments, in the beginning all people could focus on was the miracle that a woman’s body was capable of such a pregnancy.

. Shortly after she gave birth to eight adorable babies, doctors all over were trying to get a piece of her, but with that came researched begin to look back and understand Nadya’s case fully.

A Media Sensation

By the time she took her eight newly born babies’ home, she was already a media sensation and whole not everyone knew her real name, her moniker ‘octomom’ was known by the world.

Nadya understood that media can be positive and negative, and her goal was to control the narrative. She also intended to use the media coverage for her benefit. After all, not only is she an only mom needing to support her 14 kids, but she went through the sweat and toil why should she not benefit?

Nadya made the wise decision of hiring a publicist so she could dictate her own story however, that later proved not to be enough…

An All-Consuming Persona

Fame is not something everyone could handle, and with the never-ending stream of attention the new mom was receiving, stories began to swirl. Some even proposed that the only reason Nadya even ever had her children was in order to be in the spotlight!

Many Californians accused Nadya of embodying taxpayer waste, irresponsibility and basically everything wrong with contemporary American society.

Imagine all this happening while Nadya was trying to balance and control her persona of octomom and simultaneously raising 1r4 children! She even received threats! However, it was not all negative and many adored her and her family.

It Weighed On Her

Nadya realized that even though she had tried her hardest to control her narrative, the coverage and the cruel caricature of the person she was was getting out of hand,

She decided to take a new approach and be more open about her struggles. In an interview with People magazine, Nadia Suleman reacted to the public caricature of her. “I don’t get much sleep, about two or three hours a night,” she said, “But I’m continuing to move forward with my life and trying to be the best mother I can be.”

Despite her seeming honestly, the skepticism of Octomom continued

A Low Point

Years passed after her giving birth, and the people of America still could not let go of their fascination with Octomom. However, the spotlight, much of it negative, was really getting to Nadya and bringing her to a low-point in life.

Nadya was struggling to financially support her 14 children as a single mom and had to accept welfare, she felt like she was fighting a war against the world, and soon found herself in another position, one where even the government could not intervene wit.

Trouble At Home

Like with any famous person, nasty rumors started to spread about Nadya, especially that she was mistreating her children. Many could not understand how a single mom could possibly take care of fourteen children and provide them with all they need.

When it comes to children claims are taken seriously so Child Protective Services decided to look into the home situation of Octomom and make sure there was no neglect.

Finally, the rumors were put to rest when they checked out her property and established that her home and her care was perfectly suitable for her children ad there was no basis for these rumors.

While she got that off her back, there were more difficulties for Octomom to come.

Eviction Notice

The one person with the power to effect Nadya on a concrete level was her landlord, and he was adamant that Nadya has violated her lease agreement.

He brought attention to these issues in the media, and eventually even got Nadya evicted from her home. With fourteen children and no place to call home anymore, Nadya was faced with a desperate situation.

Desperate Times

Although Nadya tried her best to convince her landlord to not go through with the eviction, he was adamant. Nadya had to find a place for her children and herself and fast.

Although Nkadya was only the caricature of octomom’ to the world, her private life, one in which she was first and foremost a loving mother, was falling apart. Nadya simply did not have enough funds to support her family and find them a new home.

She started to dabble in other careers- she tried her hand in acting and even tried to break it into the music world, but was it enough?

A New Beginning

Nadya realised that what she had become to the rest of the world- a caricature to spread rumors about, was far from who she really was.

She decided to take a few steps back from the spotlight and focus on her family and her own happiness. The first step she made to try turn her life around was changing her name to Natalie, as a symbolic new start.

She also finished her college degree and started to work as a part rime family therapist.  The kids too were affected by these positive changes.

The Kids Today

Today Nadya’s octuplets are nine years old and growing up into healthy children, they are all on a strictly vegan diet, something you can imagine is not so simple for children who dream of candy and chocolate. However, they seem to have embraced this lifestyle.

Nadya, now knows as Natalie has always believed in being as transparent and open as possible with her children and they all know about her journey and struggle at time in the media spotlight.

She is adamant that everything she has done on her journey, no matter how strange, has always been for the good of her children,

She has also become increasingly open with the public about her new lifestyle and has an Instagram account, the Solomon Family, on which she shows what she had been up to ads an unemployed mother of 14.

A Guardian Angel

Natalie Suleman has not had it easy in the journey of raising and affording 14 children and there were times when she admit she was not her best self and had some questionable jobs, however, now, in her early 40’s, she has found herself on a healthier path once more and thanks her “guardian angel” who gave her the strength she needed to ditch the “seedy” life and put her best foot forward.

According to Natalie it was in February 2013 when a tall man walked into the club she was working at in Florida.

“He walked straight to me and looked straight into my eyes. He took my hand and grabbed my arm and said in a very gentle, but firm way: ‘You don’t have to do this.’ He repeated it gives times.”

This proved to be a defining moment in her life. it was at this moment that she decided a change was needed. “I knew I had to be my healthy self again.”

Reflecting Back

Since that pivotal moment in 2013 Natalie has made a lot of changes and done a lot of reflecting, including admitting that she as very “foolish, immature and selfish” to bring so ,many children into the world when she had not thought long-term about supporting them and herself.

However, there are zero regrets and Natalie’s number one love and priority is raising her beautiful 14 children. She is singularly focussed on instilling in them important values and has put her search for love aside while she focused on raising her kids.

Its easy to see this spectacular change she has made by following her Instagram and seeing her with her children.

A Modest Life

As you can imagine, raising 14 kids alone is no easy task. And Natalie doesn’t have enough time to work as she has to give her children full attention. But she is doing an admirable job living from pay check to pay check and food stamps.

She has a two-bedroom apartment and changed her office into a third and despite the modest home she told Daily Mail that she now feels “at peace” after the struggles she has had raising her family.

She also uses her experiences and hardships as a platform to talk to other woman and give them advice to make the right decisions. Natalie is also adamant that she despises the name ‘octomom’, the persona people depicted her as for years. She claims this caricature stripped her from her name and almost destroyed her she says “I didn’t want to live. I felt less than human as that character I was pretending to be, to survive and provide for my family.”

Sacrificing The Social Life

Nowadays Natalie’s central focus is spending quality time with her octuplets, Makai, Josiah, Isaiah, Jonah, Maliyah, Jeremiah, Nariyah, and Noah. Her main goal is to create a healthy and warm environment for them and make her kids proud.

Gone are the days when she was boxed into the ‘octomom’ persona. “I was forced into doing things I didn’t want to do because I was so terrified, I couldn’t support them and give them the life I deserved,” she lamented to Daily Mail.

Natalie has found happiness after overcoming the many trials and tribulations she faced while coming to peace with her role as a mom of 14. She enjoys very second with her eight vegan octuplets as well as her six children from previous round of IFV (17), Amerah (16), Joshua (14), Aiden (12), and 11-year old twins Alyssa and Caleb — who she dubs “omnivores.”

Another move Natalie made to create a more stable life for her children is moving back to Laguna in Orange Country Lake. This is the place she grew up and where she believes she can give her children the best upbringing.

Live, Fight, Play

Natalie is a hands-on mother, and when you have fourteen children, that means absolutely no social life. she spends all her time bonding with her little ones and knows each of them back to front.

They fight, play, fight and play again like any normal family,” she related to Daily Mail. She went on to say that some of her kids are shy and keep to themselves just like their mother, while others are more outgoing.

Aiden is also autistic, but this challenge does not affect his relationship with his siblings who make it a priority to care for him. Aiden and Makai also have an incredibly strong bond and are always found side by side.

Her children are all old enough to recognise that their home environment in incredibly unique, but Natalie is sure to teach them that being different is something to be proud of and celebrate. And this is not the only lesson she has taught her children.

Holiday Season Fun

With all the hardships and financial difficulties Nadya has endured, she still makes sure to bring magic and happiness to her kid’s lives and Christmas is the perfect time for that.

Natalie is adamant to teach her kids the value of every little thing and how to work for things rather than demand them. She gives each child one Christmas gift to help instil this lesson.

Her financial situation is another reason why their holiday festivities are rather modest, but Natalie feels totally spoilt with how extraordinary all her children are- they are the biggest gift of all.

Schooling

As you can imagine, the first day of school is a whole lot more stressful when you’re sending 14 kids off! Here the 43-year-old mom shared a picture of her octuplets on their way to the first day and shared her extreme anxiety with her followers.

The caption read: “Any other parents exceptionally stressed and overwhelmed by the first week back to school?” She dubs herself the “official bus driver” and claims that most of her day is made up of dropping and fetching her kids at different times of the da!

You can see only her octuplets are captured in this school-pic, she joked that her six older kids weren’t having it and refused to pose for their first day back at school no matter how much she begged. Luckily, she convinces them to pose at other special moments.

De-Stressing

Having fourteen children is bound to be one stressful job. Natalie is aware of this and tries her best to cope with her stress in the healthiest way possible- primarily staying active!

She tries to steal one to two hours a day to workout at the gym. She posted the image of herself on her Instagram with the status “I would like to share about how I cope with inordinate stress, after being asked how I stay sane lol.”

For Natalie, working out has always been an important exercise for staying calm, “The stress literally drips off of me, as I’m drenched in the end.

Being physical has significantly helped me cope with so many challenges I’ve struggled with throughout my life, ” she added.

Spa Night

While Natalie has no problem being strict at times and setting borders and boundaries for her kids, she also knows when to let loose and have some fun, one activity she loves to do with her children is spa night!

On these nights she gathers her daughters together and they all try on different facemasks and skin products.

You can imagine as a mother of 14 its hard to give each child individual attention, but with activities such as spa night to scary-movie night with her sons, Natalie tries her best to spread her attention.

A Chat With Dr. Oz

In May 2018 Natalie was invited to the Dr. Oz show to share her IVF story and detail how she went from having 12 implanted embryos, to raising  fourteen children.

Natalie was also open about her journey and how she went from Nadya, to Octomom, to the healthier version of herself as Natalie Suleman. She detailed her self-made path and her transformation from desperate single mom to being a happy mother raising her 14 kids,

Natalie also spoke about the YouTube channel she started with her 14 children.

Luck Of The Draw

Genetics are a fascinating and mysterious thing, and many of Natalie’s 14 children look absolutely nothing alike! After all, when you have 14 children with IVF, its likely that many will look totally different!

Take these two, Naryah and Nah, both part of the octuplets and they couldn’t look more distinct. Natalie loves this about her diverse family and is beyond proud of the dichotomous genes expressed throughout her big family

Active Kiddos

Not only are Natalie’s octuplets all raw vegans, but they are also all incredibly active, another way Natalie ensures her family is living the healthiest lifestyle possible. Above you can see Natalie’s set of eight after completing the Russ Miller Memorial 5k race in February 2018.

Being part of races like these which raise money for charity and other initiatives is one method Natalie uses to instil good values into her family. As you can see, they all look happy and proud upon the completion of their race! But running races is not the only thing they get up to.

Modern Day Heroes

When the octuplets aren’t running races for charity, they are doing their part to better the world in other ways as well as working hard for school.

This picture shows all the kids with their projects about their heroes. Natalie is not one to boast about the talents of her children, but she recognises that her fans enjoy seeing what they get up to and regularly shares photos of their activities.

Natalie also shares pictures like these to prove that raising 14 happy kids is in fact possible! Her children are her number one supporters and its clear they appreciate all her hard work judging by what they made for her next

Putting Pen To Paper

It is no secret that the life Natalie Suleman has chosen is not the easiest, but the overflowing love she receives from her children makes every second worth it. Here we see a snap of all the handmade cards and gifts that her 144 ids presented to her on Mother’s Day. Who wouldn’t feel blessed receiving these!

And while her children are happy to pout pen to paper to express the love they have for their supermom, she is also putting pen to paper and has started writing a book about raising her son Aiden who is autistic.

Twelve-year-old Aiden has the mind of an 18-month-old and is still in diapers. Natalie has always been open with her other children about autism and is constantly teaching them about it.

She hopes to get the book she is writing published as she told Daily Mail, “It’s a story that needs to be told and I think it will encourage a lot of women to draw up strength that didn’t know they had, ”

Sister Act

This precious picture is one of all Natalie’s daughters with her. Out of her 14 children, four of them are girls and she just loves making special girl time for them to bond. It is also quite remarkable how they all like so similar!  Amerah (16), Calyssa (11), and Maliah and Nariyah (9) love spending time together despite their age differences.

This particular photo was taken on Amerah’s birthday. While Natalie like to have special time with her boys and her girls, her favorite is having them all bond together, which isn’t always possible when there are fourteen of them!

Family Traditions

Something Natalie hold close to her heart is traditions, and her favorite is the Saturday night time she spends with her kids.

The tradition was formed by Natalie Suleman and her kids and they have dubbed it “family fun night”. Each Saturday night they gather together and either watch scary movies, documentaries, or have discussions and play board games. ‘

Although Natalie’s older kids who are now teens cringe at the tradition and spend their time at friends, her ten youngest children cherish the nights in with the fam as much as Natalie does.

Dress Up Time

As we know, Natalie Suleman has quite the unique family, but the octuplets embrace their differences and enjoy regular things like school activities just like all other children. In fact, they are talented kids!

Here we see them posing for their roles in their school play in Orange County. While this picture is precious, usually the photos of them not posing make for the best and most raw memories!

Going Raw

Although Natalie’s oldest six children are not vegan, her octuplets have embraced the raw vegan life along with their mother Natalie grew up an ethical vegetarian herself making the transition to veganism much easier.

She started becoming a vegan to help her with the health problems she experienced while carrying eight babies to almost eight months.

The octuplets enjoy a raw vegan diet consisting of health shakes, organic kale, chard, collard greens, bell peppers, and red or golden beets. They also love home cooked vegan meals consisting of quinoa and sprouted lentils and don’t forget the dessert which usually consists of green apple with raw almond butter.

She is a strong believer that this way of life is worth it and makes family treat/ cheat meals all the more enjoyable.

The Whole Familia

Here we have a rare photo of all 11 of the 14 kids with mama bear Natalie Suleman. Its not always easy to get all fourteen to cooperate and smile for a photo so this is one for the books!

She posted this to her Instagram with her caption h, “So THIS is what happened when we attempted to take a fun family photo with as many family members as possible. Per usual, Elijah, Amerah, and JJ are absent from the pic.”

Natalie’s Instagram page has given her a platform to share not only photos like these, but also the raw moments of everyday life of what it’s like being a mother of 14!

YouTubing Away

Natalie is not only a mother, but she is a self-made, part-tune counsellor focussing on helping people with substance abuse. She created a YouTube channel to assist her in reaching more people in need of help.

The first video she posted was a six-minute clip of her eldest daughter Amerah reading a letter she wrote to her mother for Mother’s Day at a women’s event in Long Beach, California. This is followed by each one of her children giving her their own gift!

While she claims her YouTube, channel is like her life testimony, she also wants to let her kids help manage it and vlog the fun activities they get up to, grocery shopping, vegan food challenges, and any creative ideas they come up with.

20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets

Unexpectedly Expecting

The McCaughey family from Des Moines Iowa was struggling. They had wanted to expand their family for a while after they had their first child, Mikayla Marie on January 3, 1993 but they seemingly could not get pregnant once more. They decided to go for fertility treatments and after weeks and weeks they did their routine hospital check-up- to fund very surprising results.

The doctor discovered that not only was Bobby pregnant, but the ultrasound showed a total of seven embryos!!! Clearly her body had responded quote remarkably to the IVF treatment and medication. While it is common for woman using IVF treatment to have twins or triplets, seven embryos is fascinating!

The Shock Of Seven

As you can imagine, Bobby and Kenny were rather shocked. Yes, they wanted kids, but they hadn’t signed up for expanding their family by seven!!

While at first Kenny took it quite badly, they soon settled into the fact that their family was about to increase dramatically.

20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets

Watching And Waiting

Even in her first pregnancy Bobby and Kenny struggles to conceive one child, so they were especially concerned for Bobby to conceive a second time round- this time with seven on the way.

Bobby’s belly expanded at a rapid rate, and soon she was limited in her movement with her huge belly getting bigger every day. “It was scary, you know, watching the stretch marks go ever so higher and wider and just thinking, how much longer can this body keep going?” but it was only just the beginning as Bobby would have to go through much more

Praying Parents

While the expecting parents were excited, they were also understandably concerned and nervous for the task of carrying and bringing seven lives into the world. They turned to prayer and tried to have faith through their concerns carrying even one baby can cause aches and pains for a mother, so for Bobby who was carrying seven, the physical issues of her pregnancy began to get serious.

Physical difficulties aside, another worry looming in the back of the parent’s mind was the financial situation needed to raise septuplets. They were not prepared, and the McCaughey family were unsure about what the future would bring,

20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets

High-Risk Pregnancy

Bobby fully understood that carrying seven is not only high risk for herself, but high risk for the babies too. Due to her unique situation, the doctors offered for her to have selective reduction,

As soon as mainstream media caught whiff of this story- a woman carrying seven babies, they couldn’t get enough. all at once Bobby and Kenny were thrust into the limelight and everyone who’s anyone had an opinion about the McCaughey’s decision regarding selective reduction.

In God’s Hands

The selective reduction option given to Bobby meant that a few of the embryos would be terminated by the doctor ensuring the definite survival of the rest. But in Bobby’s mind that meant taking away lives.

As religious and dedicated Christians who attend Baptist Church,  they did not feel that they could possibly be at peace choosing selective reduction and decided to keep all seven embryos believing the rest was ”in God’s hands”. they wanted to give a chance to all seven fetuses to make it into this world.

20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets

Prenatal Debate

Like all people under media scrutiny, there were those supporting there decision not to undergo selective reduction and those against it. some even claimed the parents were being selfish for not ensuring at least some of the babies would survive since the selective reduction rout meant a better chance for the remaining babies to have a healthy life.

“In the beginning, for every ten letters we would get that were happy for us, we’d get one letter accusing us of exploiting the kids and being selfish to waste the world’s resources on a family this big,” Bobbi explained.

Incredible Outpouring

While being in the public eye meant criticism from some people, it also meant some incredible acts of kindness. The news of the McCaughey spread like wildfire, and a lot of people jumped into action to help this family, Large amount of donations started flooding in.

The McCaughey family received all kinds of donations, from a 5,000 square foot house, to nanny  services, diapers, a large van and a years’ worth of free macaroni and cheese from Kraft! One organisation went to far as to promise them a year’s supply of groceries!!  Bobby and Kenny were truly overwhelmed with the kindness surrounding the. They had not even had the septuplets yet and the gifts and donations didn’t stop flooding in.

20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets

Rushed To The Hospital

The couple was realistically concerned about the upcoming birth, and much of the time in the last few weeks they spent consulting with doctors on the best way forward and how to ensure the least risk possible, they determined that a C-section was the most viable option.

It was on November 19, 1997 when at 30 weeks into her pregnancy, Bobby was rushed off to the hospital for  a quick delivery.

Going Into Labor

With her doctor doctor Paula Mahone and Karen Drake by her side, not to mention a 40-memer team of medical specialists in the delivery room, Bobby gave birth, 9 weeks prior to her due date on November 19, 1997.

As discussed, she had ac-section and each baby was delivered within six minutes of the other. The babies weights a range between 2lb 5oz up to 3lb 4oz but most importantly, everyone took a huge sigh of relief as the babies all seemed healthy!

20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets

Seven Little Bundles Of Joy

The seven little bundles of joy were not only all healthy, but they were all adorable! With four boys and four girls, the couple didn’t need to think much about names as they had already decided weeks before. In order of their birth, they were: Kenny Jr. (who was the heaviest baby), Alexis, Natalie, Kelsey (was the lightest baby), Nathan, Brandon, and Joel.

Although the babies were healthy, they were all premature as Bobby was rushed to the hospital over two months before her due date. As such, all babies were put in intensive care to ensure this rare childbirth would be looked after  properly before the babies were sent home

Heading Home

The babies were in intensive care for a total of three months and ten days before finally being sent home, news got around and camera crews and reporters flooded the hospital site to catch a glimpse at the septuplets heading home.

The babies were very premature, which often leads to other medical issues. Both Alexis and Nathan were born with cerebral palsy, a condition that affects movement and coordination. It leads to difficulty walking unassisted. But besides for that, the babies were healthy as could be.

20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets

Making History

It was the first surviving septuplets ever born, so everyone wanted a piece of Bobby and Kenny’s little angels, medical experts had warned that it was not possible for all seven babies to survive, and they were proved wrong which just led to more media attention.

The family went on to appear in Time Magazine, Newsweek, and was pretty much the cover on every magazine at the time! the successful birth seemed to be of national significance, president at the time Bill Clinton called them up to congratulate the new parents and on their first birthday the septuplets met George W. Bush! But the best was their appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show- just look at that adorable picture!

Endless Diapers

Having a newborn requires endless work and endless energy…having seven new-borns is a WHOLE different level. The babies were not only going through a significant amount of food, but they used up a crazy total of 52 diapers daily!!!

52 diapers, and 42 bottles every day. The responsibility of feeding, burping, changing and more was daunting for the young couple, and they would soon develop a strategy that would help them through the challenging time.

20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets

Feeding The Family

Supporting eight growing kids is no easy task and the McCaughey parents soon realized if they did not exercise serious budgeting and frugality, they would not be able to support their family’s basic needs.

They started to be way more conscious of their spending, buying everything in bulk and managed to cut down their costs and spend as much as a family of four would in a month! They would spend only about $300 on groceries each month. Bobbi even managed to buy 60 pounds of hamburgers, simply because they were at a discounted price.

Resourceful Remedies

But never mind the cost of raising a family of eight, it also can take endless energy and time looking after the needs of their children. The McCaughey’s were lucky enough to be surrounded by people willing to help. About seventy volunteers, including family and friends and people from their community and beyond offered a hand to the family.

The parents really were resourceful, on top of buying in bulk, they also decided to grow their own produce in the backyard of their garden resulting in them no longer needing to buy many fresh groceries!

20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets

Rejecting Reality TV

Although we know the McCaughey’s attracted serious media attention from the time of pregnancy, by the time the kids had turned ten they tried their hardest to maintain their privacy, even rejecting multiple interviews. They had made the decision to maintain their private lives away from prying eyes.

One of the reasons for doing so is the letter they received from the famous Dionne quintuplets early on, urging them to avoid the pitfalls of fame that they had experienced.  The couple heeded the warning and started to steer clear of the spotlight.

Keeping Up With The McCaugheys

The family had worked on, and achieved steering clear of the public eye, but one thing Bobby would do is post a public update in her kids every year on their birthday about how the family was doing

So, while generally media attention was a no-no, every year once a year the parents allowed for a Dateline birthday special which provided a brief glimpse into their lives.

20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets

Milestone Movie

One of the most memorable yearly updates was when the septuplets entered teenagerhood on their thirteenth birthday I 2010. TLC documentary special, America’s Septuplets Turn 13 aired which gave the country a glimpse and to how the kids had grown.

It aired on December 28th, 2010 a month after the septuplets collectively blew out their 91 candles to mark their thirteenth birthday.

Pushing Through

As we mentioned, two of the seven septuplets Nathan and Alex were born with the disease of cerebral palsy which affected their movement throughout their childhood. Both needed walkers in order to move around.

Nathan was determined to walk on his own and was not satisfied relying on his walker. He pushed himself throughout the years to learn how to walk independently. I taught myself how to walk because I really wanted to learn. It’s just been getting better and better,” he said.

20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets

Pageant Winner

Alexis also did not let her disability slow her down in the slightest. Despite still relying on a walker, she has never let her cerebral palsy stopping her from doing what she wants, she takes part in beauty pageants specifically for children with special needs and has had some major success.

In 2013 she even won the Teen Miss Dream Made True always! Beautiful inside and out and with brains!  Alexis finished high school in the top 15% of the class and has been a positive role model throughout

Becoming Individuals

The septuplets were home-schooled by their parents for kindergarten and the values of hard work and the essentials of life were instilled with them. Some of the kids had part-time jobs to make up for their extra needs.

Later on, all seven attended school and were put into different classes which allowed them to start developing individually and making their own friends in their own spaces.

20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets

High School

it was hard for the  McCaughey  parents to send all the seven children to high school together at once. In 2012, all seven of the siblings attended Carlisle High School in Carlisle, Iowa.

As it happens with unique and extraordinary situations, the septuplets were the centre of attention in their high school from day one. Teacher and students alike found it hard to remember all their names. But nothing would deter the septuplets who took the attention in their stride and all proved themselves as capable individuals. For this reason, 2012 became a milestone for the McCaughey kids.

Independent Aspirations

They may be septuplets who were raised under the same circumstances in the same house, but each had their own distinctive personality.

Kenny Jr. was the joker, Kelsey and Brandon were great and dedicated to athletics. While Alexis is known as the bookworm of the bunch, of the 7 kids Brandon was seen as the bravest and the most stubborn. These super seven would soon go on to show that they could work together as a team and as bandmates!

20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets

From Womb Mates To Bandmates

The McCaughey septuplets fit in great in their school surroundings, they even formed their own band with their siblings and would perform for school football matches.

They also involved themselves in other school activities, some were in the choir, some the drama group, and some chose to be soccer players.

112 Candles

Although they always tried to avoid media, when the septuplets turned 16, they couldn’t help that attention, the world wanted to know just how and where these guys were at 16 years old!

All of them had reached those ‘grown up’  years where you start wanted fancy things like phones or cars. The dad made it clear that they should all get jobs if they wanted these things, and off they went!

20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets

Home Life

The septuplets were going through the normal highs and lows of teenage life. some were learning to drive, some were falling in love, and some were just excited to get throughs school! And bobby and Kenny? They are just proud and happy watching their kids on their journeys.

The proud parents are impressed at how far they have come, “It’s fun to see the work pay off,’ Bobbi said when asked about them.

The Septuplets’ Elder Sister

With all the media attention on the seven youngest, its easy for the elder sister Mikayla or be forgotten! (in fact, we bet you forgot about her too). But Mikayla was only to happy to avoid the media frenzy and established herself in a private way.

Mikayla has bene on her own journey including studying at both Des Moines Area Community College and Arizona State University. She has also tied the knot and had her first child! Thorough it all she’s remined very close to her seven siblings and made all three of her sisters’ bridesmaids when she got married.

20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets

Group Graduation

As the years rolled along, the septuplets turned 18 with graduation around the corner! The blew out all 126 candles and had to start thinking about their futures, what career paths they would pursue, which colleges to choose etc.

The McCaughey parents had a bitter sweet time watching their kids graduate, “It’s sad to see things end, “Bobbi said, “but there will be lots of firsts coming.” Still, 18 years later the septuplets were making headings and their graduation was splashed on the headlines of magazines around America.

College

Remember the donations the family received when the kids were on their way? Well they still hadn’t stopped coming! One invaluable gift was an open invitation to all the septuplets to study in any state school in Iowa with free intuition. Hannibal-LaGrange University in Missouri also offered the septuplets full scholarships, while the State of Iowa offered scholarships to any state university of their choice. Without these generous offers it would be impossible for the parents to afford a college education for all seven of them!

Natalie, Nathan, Kelsey, and Joel took the Hannibal-LaGrange University scholarship and studied their own degrees while Kenny Jr. and Alexis chose to remain in Iowa with heir parents and pursue their college education at DesMoines Area Community College. Brandon opted for a totally different career path.

20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets

Military Man

Unlike the rest of his siblings, Brandon decided to enrol in the U,S, Army straight after high school which didn’t surprise his family who recognised his interest in the military since he was young.

Brandon worked hard to achieve his goal and became a United States Army Ranger and an expert in pistol shooting and carbine shooting.

Goals And Dreams

The septuplets are now 20 years old and have gone from a medical miracle to young adults building their lives and realizing their dreams in their respective careers. Although they may never be able to cut off from their group legacy, it’s never deterred them from going for their individual goals.

An update on all seven of them? Well, Kenny Jr. has launched his own carpentry business, Brandon is still in the military and engaged, Alexis is a childhood educator Kelsey is studying music and Natalie is studying for her teachers! Interestingly both Joel and Nathan are scientists who have a love and passion for computer science.

20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets

Always Connected

When college time came, it was going to be the very first time that the world’s first septuplets would be separated with large distance put between them. What was on everyone’s mind is how they would deal with being far apart and how each would grow in their own way without the influence of the group.

While all the septuplets were only too happy to have their own space for once, they admitted they missed each other terribly, the McCaughey sister’s felt this especially and decided to create a unique way of meeting up regularly.

Enjoyed Their Upbringing

In a recent interview given by the septuplets, they expressed their appreciation for their parents and reflected in their 20 years of growing up side by side.

“You’re never alone,” Kenny Jr. told reporters. “There’s always someone to talk to and hang out with. That’s what I think is the best.” Meanwhile, Kelsey had similar sentiments. “I don’t think there’s a worst part,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed it all.”

20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets

Future Families

As the septuplets grew older people started to wonder about when they would start having kids and if the chance of multiple birthday would be higher for them. However, doctors responded that there is little chance.

Since the reason Bobby had so many kids was only due to IVF, there is no natural genetics that should cause them to have many kids.

No Regrets

Looking back and thinking about that option of selective reduction, the McCaughey family has zero regrets and are thankful for their big happy family.

The couple would have never chosen otherwise, as Bobbi said. “Well, come to our house, and tell me which four I shouldn’t have had!”

20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets

Their Own Callings

After dedicated 20 of their years primarily to raising and looking after their eight children, Bobby and Kenny are now going after their own dreams as their septuplets are off at college or the army and doing their own thing.

Their father Kenny who has been working nonstop at supporting hs family now gets to live out his second dream-   purchasing a motorcycle and riding around the country, god knows he deserves it!

Empty Nesters

As any parent could imagine, when your kids leave the house there is a lot of adjusting to do and it’s not easy parting from your little ones, it was difficult for the McCaughey to see all their kids leave the house at once after years of getting glued to their children.

The couple began to adjust e two and one step was recognizing that their house, which was big enough for ten of them, was way too big for just the two parents!

20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets

Downsizing

One of the most incredible donations the family received when their pregnancy was announced was their 5,000-square-meter, seven-bedroom, five-bathroom house as a donation from the Clark Company for the large family. They decided to put up the house for sale which was worth approximately $370,000, as their kids had moved out and it was too large for just the two of them.

“As our kids are leaving the nest, it seems to be the right time to start a new chapter,” said Bobbi McCaughey and was tremendously grateful for the generous gift that housed and nurtured their eight kids  over the years.

Giving Back

They later sold their house to Ruth Harbor a Non-Profit organization that gives support to young women with unplanned pregnancy “We have been blessed to receive such a wonderful gift, and nothing would please us more than the idea of our home being used as a place of refuge to others in need,” was Bobby’s words regarding the decision of selling the house

“It’s a pretty good size house that met our needs pretty well. We thought we would pass that down to someone else who could use it,” Kenny said. The couple is very happy knowing it will go forward in assisting the community which gave them so much when they were in need

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