Octomom And Her Kids – Where Are They Now?By Jennifer Snow
We have stories of these two moms. One mom had eight twin kids (let me say that again – EIGHT kids born at the same time) 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?
Pieces Of Eight
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 it’s 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. So how did she manage? And how are her many kids doing nowadays?
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 people call a supermom.
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 to find 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 fulfill 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 of bearing 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.
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.
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 fell 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.
A Turning Point
Nadya was ready to turn to alternative options of conceiving if she and Marcos could not have children the traditional way. 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, 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.
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 forgoes her dream of motherhood? Or does she risk ending her marriage to fulfill her lifelong dream?
At the end of the day 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 leftover 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 were 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.
The Name Was Born
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 not so much.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Nadya 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 realized 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 to 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 a 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 admitted 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 to 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.”
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.
It’s 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 paycheck to paycheck 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 women and give them the 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 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 every second with her eight vegan octuplets as well as her six children from a 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 recognize that their home environment is 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 instill 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.
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 day!
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.
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.
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 is 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, it is 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.
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 instill 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 recognizes 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 it’s 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 put 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 [the] strength that didn’t know they had.”
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 likes 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!
Something Natalie holds 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 a 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!
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. It’s 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!
Natalie is not only a mother, but she is a self-made, part-tune counselor 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.
Always On The Go
So what is life like for Octomom nowadays? The busy mom reports that most of her time is spent driving her kids around, and she lovingly jokes that she is a bus driver.
Natalie apparently starts her day at 6:20 a.m. and each day she has to do six separate school drop-offs and pickups! The proud mom reports that her eight 10-year-olds are “model fourth-graders.”
Cozy And Happy
The large family still resides in Orange County, California, in their modest three-bedroom house. As you can imagine, it’s definitely a crowded home, and some of the kids have to sleep on the couch.
In order to manage their space & time most effectively, they have devised a system – they even eat in shifts! Somehow, they make it work.
A Unique Experience
What is it like to grow up with so many siblings around? Joshua, 15, admits that “Some of my friends don’t have any siblings, so they want to know what it’s like. It’s nice to have someone to play with, but it can be overwhelming at times.” We can imagine.
“She’s been fighting for our family for 10 years now,” Amerah, 16, shared. “No matter what, she’s never going to give up and I know that.”
20 Years On, The World’s First Surviving Septuplets
The McCaughey family of Des Moines, Iowa was hoping to expand their family after they had given birth to their first child Mikayla Marie on January 3, 1996. And after years of hoping for a child, they decided to have fertility treatments done.
After weeks of treatment, Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey then went to the hospital for a routine checkup when the doctors discovered Bobbi was pregnant.
The resulting Ultrasound Test did not only show just one embryo but seven embryos! The method in medications she had received for the fertility treatments had assisted her to stimulate ovulation.
While twins and other forms of multiple births are quite common for those undergoing fertility treatments, septuplets are extremely unusual.
The Shock Of Seven
The news was hard to take for the couple, and the husband Kenny McCaughey could hardly believe the shocking news at first. Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey definitely had got much more than what they asked for, and they were expecting seven children.
Multiple births definitely are not common especially when it involves giving birth to seven children and the reality of giving birth to septuplets begins to set in for the couple.
Watching And Waiting
After all the troubles Bobbi and Kenny went through to conceive their first daughter, Mikayla. The couple were concerned about conceiving seven the second time around. With Bobbi growing faster than she had in her previous pregnancy.
Soon, when the expectant mother of seven, Bobbi was in a sitting position, her pregnant belly was very low. “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?”
Still, no one could have guessed just what she’d go through.
As the joy, the elation, the slight concern, and nervousness continue to set in, the McCaughey’s took to prayer to guide them through their rare situation.
While carrying one baby causes a significant amount of changes and aches for an expecting mother, Bobbi McCaughey was carrying seven. The Physical challenge of the pregnancy on Bobbi became an issue.
There were also concerns about the financial responsibilities that will be required from such septuplets to be born, tensions began to grow with the McCaughey family. Unsure of what the future would hold.
Giving birth to so many babies was both risky to Bobbi and to all the 7 babies. The information was a bit hard for Bobbi to swallow, so she was offered an alternative. She was told about the option of selective reduction.
The McCaughey family was quickly thrust into the limelight and when the mainstream media caught wind of their story, everyone rushed to cover it and bring the family’s tale to their readers and viewers.
Everyone had an opinion on the family, especially when it came to Kenny and Bobbi’s decision on selective reduction.
In God’s Hands
The doctor explained to the couple the selective reduction option that they will have to terminate a number of the embryos in order to give the others a definite chance of survival, which meant taking away several lives.
The religious couple and devoted Christians who attend Baptists church decided to decline the selective reduction option and instead chose to keep all the seven babies, saying it was “in God’s hands.” They thought that if all the seven fetuses could make it, they didn’t want to take that away.
The parents received plenty of media attention from the press and became under scrutiny due to their decision to neglect the selective reduction process.
Many were supportive on their decision while some criticize them saying they were being selfish for not taking the selective reduction route, as it meant that there would be a better chance of all the remaining babies to live healthy lives.
“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.
The amazing news of the McCaughey continues to grow and was widely spread, and it seemed like everyone wanted to help in some way. The family became a national sensation and they were amazed when they started receiving an incredible amount of donations.
The McCaughey family received different kinds of donations. Some of these included a 5,000 square foot house, nanny services, a year’s worth of free macaroni and cheese from Kraft, diapers, a large van they never expected and another organization planned to donate a year’s supply of groceries for the family.
Everyone wanted to help the McCaughey family and the gifts and donations kept coming even though their septuplets hadn’t even been born yet.
Rushed To The Hospital
The couple were worried about the upcoming birth and in weeks leading to the pregnancy due date they spent a lot of time with doctors, discussing the best way forward and what the expectations and chances were and after consulting with their doctors.
It was determined that a C-section would be the best route to go.
On November 19, 1997, Bobbi was 30 weeks into her extraordinary pregnancy with septuplets. She was 55 inches around the waist when she was suddenly rushed to the hospital for quick delivery.
Going Into Labor
With the help of Doctor Paula Mahone and Karen Drake along with 40-member team of medical specialist in the delivery room, Bobbi gave birth to the septuplets on November 19, 1997, 9 weeks before Bobbi’s due date after being rushed to the hospital.
The birth took place via cesarean section as expected, and all the seven babies were delivered within six minutes of each other. The newborn babies ranged in weight from 2lb 5oz up to 3lb 4oz, however all appeared healthy enough once the cesarean delivery was over.
Seven Little Bundles Of Joy
All the seven babies had successfully made it through childbirth and appeared healthy. The septuplets were made up of four boys and three girls.
The couple already had already picked a list of names – and 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.
The tiny newborns were premature and with weight ranging from 3 lbs 4 oz to 2 lbs 5 oz. They would be needing special medical attention, and as such were placed in the neonatal intensive care unit.
It was a rare childbirth, and therefore it took a while for the babies to be healthy enough to go home.
After three months and 10 days of intensive care at Iowa Methodist Hospital Center in Des Moines, where the septuplets were born, they were discharged from the hospital.
Camera crews and reporters swarmed to the Hospital, all hoping to get the story of the amazing septuplets back to their headquarters.
Unfortunately, as often happens with premature babies, not all of the McCaughey newborn babies were healthy as both Alexis and Nathan were born with cerebral palsy, which is a group of conditions that can affect both movement and coordination.
Both Alexis and Nathan will find it difficult to walk unaided but were healthy in every other way.
After the world’s first surviving septuplets were born, even though medical experts had warned its possible not all the babies will survive. The family garnered even additional media attention.
They went on to feature in Time magazine and Newsweek and was on the covers of most magazines and newspapers at the time. The U. S president at the time Bill Clinton, even called them up to congratulate the new parents and they later met George W. Bush. to mark their first birthday.
They also appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show at the time.
Taking care of the septuplets at once became a challenge for Bobbi and Kenny as they all required a significant amount of food and maintenance, and the babies were also getting through 52 diapers every single day.
Not only that, but the septuplets were also drinking 42 bottles every day. With the lots of responsibilities of feeding the babies, changing diapers and caring for them. The parents will soon develop a strategy.
Feeding The Family
McCaughey family found life difficult trying to support eight growing children, and it became quickly apparent to the couple that if they didn’t exercise frugality, they would not be able to afford to feed, clothe, and raise their big family.
They became more conscious about their spending then resorted to buying everything they could buy in bulk. With careful planning, they would spend only about as much as a family of four would over the course of a month.
And with their careful money management, they were able to achieve the feat and were able to 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.
Taking care of the large family became something the couple were furious about, due to the lack of sleep and the need to work to cater for the family.
The McCaughey, however, was fortunate enough to have about seventy volunteers to help them with many offering help on a daily basis including family members and neighbors. They had folks from everywhere around the community and beyond.
Buying in bulk was not the only part of their solution to cutting down costs. They also cultivated the garden at the backyard of their house and grew fresh produce, such as fruit and vegetables, and it kept them from having to buy many of their fresh produce and fruit items at the store.
The family decided to keep out of the public eye by the time the septuplets had reached the age of 10, the family made the decision to turn down most of the media’s interview requests. They wouldn’t want to share their lives with strangers.
With the fame and media attention, the McCaughey had experienced, they had received a letter from the famous Dionne quintuplets, who urged the parents to avoid the pitfalls of fame that they had experienced in the public eye. Which they obliged to and they kept a private life as much as possible.
Keeping Up With The McCaughey’s
Avoiding being constantly in front of the camera and consistent involvement with the media was something the Family of 10 achieved. But there were exceptions such as birthdays, as Bobbi would always post an update on how the children were doing.
Although the McCaughey generally avoided media attention, they would let the media check in every few years to see how the family was doing. Every year the family allowed for a Dateline birthday special that provided a brief glimpse into their extraordinary lives.
This was the case when the septuplets turned 13 in 2010 and became teenagers. TLC’s documentary special, America’s Septuplets Turn 13, allowed the country to see how the kids had grown.
Ann Curry hosted the TLC production that documented their lives. The documentary titled America’s Septuplets Turn 13 aired on December 28, 2010, a month after the septuplets blew out their collective 91 candles on their 13th birthday.
Two of the septuplets, Alexis and Nathan, were born with cerebral palsy which had a negative effect on their coordination and movement for most of their time as childhoods. And as such, they needed walkers to move around.
Two of the septuplets, Alexis and Nathan, were born with cerebral palsy which had a negative effect on their coordination and movement for most of their time as childhoods. And as such, they needed walkers to move around.
Alexis has also not let her disability slow her down, despite still using a walker. She may suffer from cerebral palsy, but she hasn’t let her ruin her life and as such, she started taking part in beauty pageants specifically for children with special needs.
And In 2013, she won the Teen Miss Dreams Made True award in Carroll. She also did extremely well in high school, finishing in the top 15% of the class and she has been a role model and motivational leader all along.
The septuplets were homeschooled by their parents in kindergarten, the McCaughey’s had homeschooled the septuplets in kindergarten and they had taught them the basic essentials of life and the value of hard work.
As some of them had to get part-time jobs in other to make up for their extra needs.
The septuplets later went to school and were even placed in different classes, where they made their own friends and developed individually as a person.
It must have been difficult for the McCaughey 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.
They became the center of attention at their high school from day 1, that even their teachers and classmates find it hard to remember all of their names.
However, the McCaughey septuplets all did well in high school and proved themselves as individuals. Hence 2012 became a milestone in their lives and one to remember.
Even though the septuplets learned and grew up together they had their own unique personality and traits.
Kenny Jr. was recognized as the joker, Kelsey and Brandon were known to be good in athletics. While Alexis is known as the bookworm, of the 7 kids Brandon was seen as the bravest and the most stubborn. The amazing 7 would go on to show their unity as bandmates.
From Womb Mates To Bandmates
The McCaughey septuplets wanted to be involved in the majority of the activities in high school and as such formed a musical band together and they did make an amazing band together and would perform together during halftime at football matches.
The McCaughey kids also engaged themselves with other activities while in high school, and some were in choir, drama group, while some chose to be a soccer player.
When the septuplets turned 16, they all hit the headlines again. After trying to keep a more private life throughout the majority of their lives, they could not keep the focus of media away on them turning 16.
Now all grown-ups who wanted the best things of life, It was around this time that their father told them all they could get jobs, especially if they wanted good things for themselves like phones and cars.
The septuplets enjoyed their teenage life with some were learning to drive, others had fallen in love and were in relationships. Their parents, on the other hand, had joy seeing them grow and have always come across as a pretty perfect family despite their struggles.
The proud parents were always happy about how far they’ve come when interviewed. “It’s fun to see the work pay off,’ Bobbi said when asked about them.
The Septuplets’ Elder Sister
With all the media attention and focus on the McCaughey septuplets, people wondered what had become of the McCaughey eldest child, Mikayla. As she was rarely seen on the headlines, she, however, seems not to fancy the headlines and instead established herself in a more private way.
Mikayla went to study at both Des Moines Area Community College and Arizona State University before she got married and had her first child.
Over the years, she had managed to be a good elder sister and stayed close to her septuplets siblings, and even made all her 3 sisters her bridesmaid on her wedding.
The septuplets turned 18 and blew out 126 candles to celebrate their birthday on November 19, 2015.
And around that time their High school graduation was right around the corner and they now have decisions to make about their futures and choose a career path with their guidance of their parents though.
The McCaughey couple couldn’t help but express their feelings when their beloved septuplets graduated from Carlisle High School, Carlisle, Iowa, in May 2016, “It’s sad to see things end, “Bobbi said, “but there will be lots of firsts coming.”
The graduation of the first surviving septuplets from High School was once again on the pages and headlines of magazines.
Among the gift that was given to the McCaughey was an open invitation to go to any state school in Iowa with free tuition, 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.
Natalie, Nathan, Kelsey, and Joel took the Hannibal-LaGrange University scholarship and went on to study their preferred course of study While Kenny Jr. and Alexis decided to stay in Iowa with their parents and further their education at DesMoines Area Community College and Brandon chose a different career path entirely.
Brandon chose a different route, different from his siblings and enrolled in the U.S. Army right after high school. And it’s not surprising to his family as he has been interested in the military since when he was young.
The hard work later paid off for Brandon and he achieved his ultimate goal when he became a United States, Army Ranger. And became an expert in pistol shooting and carbine shooting.
Goals And Dreams
The celebrated septuplets of the McCaughey’s are now 20 years old and have managed to make history as the first surviving septuplets.
They are now realizing their dream in their respective careers even though the septuplets may never be able to completely distance themselves from their collective legacy, but that hasn’t stopped them from pursuing their individual lives.
With Kenny Jr. launching a carpentry business and had shown his potentials when he built a kitchen table and two benches for their eldest sister, Mikayla when she gave birth. Brandon is in the military and engaged, Alexis a childhood educator.
While Kelsey is studying music and Natalie is studying to be a teacher, Joel and Nathan are scientists and have a passion for computer science.
There will soon be distance among the McCaughey septuplets after growing up together and spending so much of their lives together, everybody wondered how they would deal with the distance the will grow between then when they go their different ways.
The septuplets expressed they were happy to each have their own space but admitted they’d miss each other, and The McCaughey sisters do create a unique way of meeting up often.
Enjoyed Their Upbringing
The seven siblings reflected on their bringing up after 20 years of growing up and were grateful to their parents in a recent interview.
“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 best.” Meanwhile, Kelsey had similar sentiments. “I don’t think there’s the worst part,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed it all.”
There were questions regarding the offspring of the surviving septuplets. Doctors couldn’t tell whether they will have multiple births themselves. And the response from medical practitioners was that there was little chance that they will have multiple births.
The condition surrounding their existence was due to the fertility treatment their parents opted for, and was not a natural cause and as such the probability will below.
The McCaughey family looking back had no regrets about not adopting the selective reduction option, and are always thankful for all the seven kids.
After all these years, the couple wouldn’t have chosen otherwise and are against selective reduction as Bobbi said, “Well, come to our house, and tell me which four I shouldn’t have had!”
Their Own Callings
The McCaughey parents have had time to follow their dreams after years of tending to their eight wonderful kids. As the septuplets and their eldest sister are each exploring their lives and enjoying their individual freedoms. Their parents as well get busy with themselves.
Their father Kenny now has time to fulfill his dreams of purchasing a motorcycle and rode around the country. He wouldn’t have to worry about diapers to change, who would blame him!
As any parent could imagine, it was difficult for the McCaughey to see all their kids leave the house at once after years of getting glued to their children and having to look after them. They now have to adjust to a new way of life.
The couple began to adjust and the reality of the fact that a large family of 10 had been reduced to just the two of them with a house that largely began to set in, nonetheless they have new concerns for their children as they’ve gone off into becoming adults.
About 20 years ago when the McCaughey family welcomed the septuplets, they received 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 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 grateful for the generous gift that housed their family over the years.
The house was later sold to Ruth Harbor a Non-Profit organization that gives support to young women with an 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,” Bobbi McCaughey said in announcing the sale of 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 was happy because the house will soon become a place of abode to help and assist people in the community.