Look at the Septuplets Whose Parents Didn’t Listen to Doctors 20 Years Ago and Decided to Have Them
Doctors were sure that this wonder wouldn’t happen: there were too many risks in a multiple pregnancy. But Bobbi McCaughey had septuplets, she gave birth to them and raised every single one of them despite all the negative predictions. The first septuplets in the world have grown up together and they turned 21 in November of 2018.
Bright Side learned more about the childhood of these children and the difficulties Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey had to go through.
Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey. Scientists calculated that Bobbi McCaughey was more likely to die because of an asteroid than to be able to have septuplets.
The parents and their septuplets are a regular American family. 27-year-old Kenny and 29-year-old Bobbi McCaughey were already raising a daughter, Mikayla, but they wanted to have another child, and that’s when they found out they were going to need some help getting pregnant. During the fertilization process, the couple was warned that there was a chance they could have a “multiple” pregnancy, and Bobbi said she was mentally ready to have 2 more children. But her guesstimate was a little off.
Kenny remembers the day when he called his wife and asked her what the ultrasound scan showed. His wife’s voice was strange and Kenny was trying to get a clear answer from her about how many. She answered, “7.” From that moment, all they could think of was how they were going to feed all these children and get them everything they needed.
Bobbi admits that she will always remember the day when she found out about the septuplets. “It wasn’t like ‘Woohoo!’ There were so many doubts.” Doctors didn’t know what to do and they insisted on removing at least some of the fetuses which would give a chance to the other kids to survive. The future mother was completely against this option and she decided she would go ahead and try to have the children.
The McCaugheys at a press conference 2 days after the birth of their septuplets on November 21, 1997.
According to an estimate by experts, even when a woman is pregnant with triplets, the chances of having a healthy child (without neurological or physiological problems) is 50%. Almost half of all multiple pregnancies end in a miscarriage.
Doctors that specialize in difficult pregnancies observed the pregnancy. Right until the very late stages, they were convinced that something was about to go wrong. But nothing went wrong. The future mother felt great despite the fact that her belly alone weighed 15 lbs.
The labor took place in a medical center in Iowa. There were 40 experts in the room: perinatologists, neonatologists, breathing therapists, nurses, and anesthetists.
The children were born 9 weeks before the due date but all of them survived: 4 boys and 3 girls. Bobbi had a C-section and the children remained in the hospital for about 2 months.
Bobbi’s sister put her college education on hold to help the McCaughey family raise their children.
After the tired and shocked mother and her children were sent home, she had a huge load of work. Every day, the children needed 42 bottles of food and 52 diapers. Bobbi said that in the beginning relatives helped her a lot. There was always someone she could rely on.
The US president at the time, Bill Clinton, called the family personally and congratulated them. Non-profit organizations gave the McCaughey family a 2-year supply of diapers, a lot of food, a huge house, and a guarantee of a free education in any college in Iowa.
President George Bush meets 2 of the 7 McCaughey septuplets at his arrival to the Iowa airport, 2002
Not everyone supported the couple: for every 10 good letters, there was at least one where someone judged the family, and accused them of exploiting the children and wasting the resources of the world on just one huge family. Other people would show up at their house and ask to hold their children. The family continued to try to live a normal life in the spotlight of journalist’s attention and this really intense atmosphere.
2 of the septuplets were born with cerebral palsy and during their lives, they have had several surgeries — now they can walk without any outside help. One of the siblings, Alexis, even took part in a beauty contest for children with special needs.
During their first years, volunteers and babysitters helped the family. Over time, once the parents didn’t need to change hundreds of diapers and they had some more free time, Bobbi started working but only part-time in the beginning. Kenny McCaughey worked in a factory that paints metal constructions.
Here, the children are 6 years old: Bobbi, Alexis May, Natalie Sue, Kelsey Ann, Nathan Roy, Brandon James, and Joel Steven. The older girl is Mikayla.
When the children got a bit older, they started helping Bobbi: “The girls help a lot in the kitchen. They like to do the cooking — and it’s mostly edible! And their dad’s really keen for the boys to know that you can’t go through life being given everything. Even if it’s just raking leaves or washing the car, there’s always something they can be doing.”
When the children were 10 years old, the family ate about 4 loaves of bread, 11 liters of milk, and 6 packs of cereal per week. Bobbi McCaughey tries to buy food in advance to save money. The everyday life of a family of 10 people is a never-ending routine. So, now the McCaughey family has 2 ovens, 2 microwave ovens, 2 dishwashers, 2 washing machines and dryers, and their own land in the backyard for growing vegetables.
These siblings grew up unspoiled and used to hard work. All the children did pretty well in school and all of them played sports. Kelsey, Natalie, Alexis, Nathan, and Joel are studying at Hannibal-Lagrange University, Kenny goes to college, and Brandon chose a military career and is going to get married soon. Kelsey is studying public relations, Alexis is studying preschool education, Natalie is into sports, and Joel and Nathan are into computer science. Kenneth got his trade diploma in construction.
The McCaughey septuplets graduating from school. Who would have thought that the biggest of the children that were born 9 weeks before the due date, weighed only 3 lbs 4 oz, and 2 of them couldn’t walk without outside help?
Kenny and Bobbi decided to move into a smaller apartment and the house with 7 rooms where their children grew up was given to an organization that helps young mothers.
Naturally, over time, the attention to the McCaughey family disappeared and journalists stopped bothering them. But we still remember the brave thing this young couple did when they disagreed with the medical advice that was presented to them and decided to have their 7 children anyway. And we have no idea how many sleepless nights Bobbi McCaughey had, how many pieces of homework she had to check, or how she managed to buy Christmas presents for every child.
What do you think of the story of the family that was able to raise 7 children no matter what?
Preview photo credit Ambassador / Contributor / Getty Images