World’s First Surviving Septuplets – Look at Them 20 Years Later

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The chances of having seven babies from one mother are a rarity. But that actually happened to the McCaughey couple two decades ago. Now, they and their kids want to show you they are fine, they’re healthy, and they survived. Hailing from Des Moines, Iowa, Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey did not think they would have seven children when they decided to add one more baby to their family. Back then, it was just them and little Mikayla Marie. Though they knew know that something called multiple births occur whenever an egg splits in two or more embryos, or when more than a single egg becomes fertilized in the womb, they didn’t know that it will produce seven kids. All the couple wanted was a sibling for their first-born. But they got more than they wanted besides a big family, they also got to meet the US president and TV talk show queen Oprah Winfrey.


Mommy Bobbi and Daddy Kenny McCaughey


Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey were happy parents when their first baby, Mikayla Marie, was born on January 1996. Mikayla’s birth was a miracle in itself as Bobbi’s pituitary gland was malfunctioning. For many years, Bobbi had experienced fertility issues. Still, this did not stop the couple from wanting to have more children. They considered numerous paths just so their little Mikayla would have another brother or sister to play with. The couple never thought they would have multiple births. Twins are the most common multiple births in America followed by triplets. The odds of having quadruplets are slim, while the chances of giving birth to quintuplets are a lot slimmer. Plus, the more babies a mother’s womb is carrying, the chances of complications also increase. Seeing successful multiple births is rare, making the McCaughey family story one for the books.


Taking hormone therapy treatment


Bobbi and Kenny finally decided to have a go at hormone therapy. They utilized Metrodin, a fertility medicine. This specific medication helps stimulate ovulation. It also assists those with fertility issues and helps them to easily become pregnant. Bobbi and Kenny wanted to add a new baby to their family they were willing to try anything. And so they did. After which, Bobbi went on with her life and received regular check-ups. She kept her fingers crossed while hoping that a little bundle of joy would be seen living inside her. Imagine her surprise when the doctor saw not just one, or two, or three, but seven embryos inside her womb. Though multiple births have been seen in women who took Metrodin, seven was a rarity.


News quickly spread


When Bobbi and Kenny learned of the seven babies they now have, they were advised to go through selective reduction in order to give their babies a good chance to survive. However, the couple declined. They decided to allow God to determine their kids’ fate. News of their septuplets spread like wildfire. The family was thrust in the limelight. They received attention from the media. Some painted them in a bad light specially when they refused to go through selective reduction. But the couple took all the attention in stride. Besides attention, the couple also received love and donations. Everyone wanted to see them and their would-be kids well.


A relatively easy birth


Kenny and Bobbi were worried about the birth of their babies. They made sure they spent a ton of time asking doctors on how to decide what is the best thing to do given their circumstances. Then, it finally happened. All seven babies of Bobbi and Kenni were born on November 19, 1997. All the babies came out nine weeks early. Bobbi went through caesarean operation and each bundle of joy was delivered six minutes apart. Their weights ranged from 2 pounds and 5 oz to as much as 3 pounds and 4 oz. All the babies were seen to be healthy.


Donations pour in


Well-wishers and donations poured in when news of the babies’ birth spread. The McCaughey family received a slew of donations. They were even gifted with a 5,000 square foot house, a free one year’s worth of mac and cheese, nanny services, tons of diapers, as well as a van. Bobbi and Kenny were speechless at everyone’s generosity. The babies were more than ready to be welcomed by everyone. Four of the babies were boys, three were girls. Bobbi and Kenny made sure they have a list of names to give their little bundles of joys. Kenneth Robert was the baby who weighed the heaviest. The other babies were named Alexis May, Nathan Roy, Natalie Sue, Brandon James, Joel Steven. Kelsey Ann was the baby who weighed the lightest.

Everyone wanted to meet the septupletss

The adorable babes were garnering a ton of attention. The septuplets were even featured in Time Magazine a mere month after being born. Then President Bill Clinton even called Bobbi and Kenny to greet and wish them well. President George W Bush met the family. The babies also made an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. It was later discovered that two of the babies had cerebral palsy. Specifically, Nathan and Alexis had their movement and coordination affected by this medical condition. They had difficulty walking and both of them required assistance. Otherwise, the two were generally healthy. Still, their condition of being squeezed into the womb yet managing to survive through infancy is a miracle in itself.


The family stayed low key


When the buzz about the McCaughey septupletss quieted down, the family smartly decided to live a life away from the spotlight. They made sure they kept themselves out of the public’s attention. At times, Bobbi would post updates on how the kids were doing specifically around the kids’ birthdays. Otherwise, the entire McCaughey clan kept to themselves and lived a life as any normal family would. It seems they were well advised to do so. Reportedly, the popular Dionne quintuplets sent a letter to the McCaughey couple advising them to stay away from the pitfalls most parents fell into when they are in the public eye. Fortunately, Bobbi and Kenny took heed, and their kids and their whole family are all better for it.


Diapers, food and money


With a lot of babies come a lot of responsibilities. During the initial months, all seven babies were going through as much as fifty-two diapers each day. Plus, the babies were consuming forty-two milk bottles per day. Thankfully, the McCaughey couple knew what to do. Bobbi and Kenny knew that donations will not be forever. When these slowly decreased and the freebies similarly disappeared, the couple resorted to purchasing products in bulk. For instance, Bobbi bought sixty pounds of hamburgers as these were on discount. This resulted to them spending approximately $300 per month in grocery items. They also grew their own produce.


An average day in the McCaughey household


According to Daddy Kenny, an average day in their house is as normal as it can get. The family wakes up at seven in the morning and leave for school an hour later. Once school ends, the kids start to arrive at three in the afternoon. After which, everyone settles down and starts on their homework. The kids also work on Awana verses. These are texts centered on the Bible which are usually presented in children’s and youth ministry. Once these are done, the children are allowed to play until it was time for supper, which is usually six in the evening. Bedtime is at 730pm. At that time, the kids brush their teeth and get their pyjamas.


Dividing the household chores


Mommy Bobbi is proud to say that the McCaughey kids do their own chores. Even Nathan and Alexis have a specific responsibility at home. Despite their physical limitation, Nathan and Alexis make their own beds. Though the sheets need not be perfectly smooth, they are able to pull up the blankets. They could also wipe the cupboards in the kitchen as well as put the silverware away from the dishwasher. The kids also liked to do the dishes and preferred to wash the cups and plastic plates. Bobbi makes sure they do not treat Nathan and Alexis differently. Though Nathan and Alexis require walkers and braces, they do not feel at all different from the rest of their siblings.


The family that eats together stays together


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Besides growing their own vegetable garden, the McCaughey family also grew their own fruits. This ensured that their grocery bill is as low as possible. Feeding seven kids is also not easy. Cooking could also be a nightmare. It is therefore usual for mealtimes to be very hectic. Fortunately, Bobbi and Kenny managed to think of an efficient way to feed the entire family. The couple decided to serve the meals buffet style. Bobbi will dish up a ton of food, at times with the kids’ help, and everyone simply helped themselves to the meals. This set-up allowed the entire family to sit around the table and talk about their day.


The septupletss turned 13


When the McCaughey septupletss turned thirteen years old back in 2010, TLC made a special documentary about the family. The Today Show’s Ann Curry followed the lives of the seven siblings and made a documentary titled America’s Septuplets Turn 13. The feature was seen on TLC in December 2010. The show saw the septuplets blow all their 91 candles. Despite their popularity, the siblings did their best to live a normal teen life. This included high school. All the siblings went to Carlisle High School, Iowa. Despite their identity being strongly linked to them being septuplets, all of them did well during high school. They were also able to prove themselves individually.


Nathan and Alexis


Having cerebral palsy, Nathan and Alexis needed to use walkers most of their lives in order for them to move around on their own. But Nathan wanted more. He taught himself to walk unaided by a walker. Each day, he made sure he pushed himself to be better. He explained that he needed to learn how to walk because he wanted very much to learn. He adds that since he pushed himself to walk on his own, his skills have been improving. Meanwhile, though Alexis still uses a walker, she did not let this slow her down. Their dedication and effort to better themselves are admirable enough.


Alexis joined beauty pageants


Alexis did not let her physical condition wear her down. Though she has cerebral palsy, she did not let this decide how her life will run. Alexis joined beauty pageants. Specifically, she joined contests for kids with special needs. Her dedication paid off. In 2013, Alexis won the Teen Miss Dreams Made True award. She was also an academically excellent student as she finished in the top fifteen percent of her class. She is definitely a role model anyone can look up to. Her perseverance shines through. She is proof that physical limitation is not an excuse to achieve one’s goals.


Time to get a job

Kenny was adamant to teach all of his kids the value of working hard specially when all kids were already in high school. Though the couple made sure they were well provided for, anything the kids wanted to have needed to be worked for. Most of the seven kids had part time jobs when they were in high school. This allowed the kids to buy stuff they wanted such as tablets, gadgets or cell phones. When interviewed by NBC news, Kenny Jr described how he was reared, “We were taught if we want something, we have to work for it.”

 

Sweet 16

Despite the siblings’ low profile, they were again seen publicly during specific milestones in their life. The press had to ask the septuplets for updates. A few of them were learning how to drive. Some even fell in love or were in relationships. The kids were also busy doing their own thing. Everyone of them engaged in hobbies they liked. Some enjoyed cross country while a few were singing in the choir. One liked to wrestle, and another preferred soccer. One of the kids participated in speech contests. Having seen her kids grow up enjoying themselves in their own skin while doing what they love, Bobbi was keen to exclaim, “It’s fun to see the work pay off.”


High school graduation

High school graduation marked the start of the siblings’ entry into adulthood. School was coming to an end. Plus, each of the kids wanted to be their own person. Bobbi and Kenny watched as the septuplets started to make their own decisions specially on what they intend to do in the future. Some had a set goal and aspiration while others were still unsure. When the septuplets all turned 18 years old in 2015, they all blew out 126 candles. Essentially, the kids grew up well behaved. Plus, they were all in the school band. All seven were seen playing during halftime in the school’s football matches.


Back in the limelight

The media once again wanted to cover the septuplets’ life journey when they graduated from high school back in May 2016. Their mother Bobbi admitted to feeling nostalgic as she saw her kids wear the traditional black and red graduation gowns. It was as if only yesterday when all seven were little babies. Bobbi and Kenny described the pang of sadness she felt to see her kids all grown up. Yet she feels happy that all seven are keen to become responsible citizens. All seven siblings have specific aspirations and goals. Nathan’s interest lies in science and he hopes to pursue a career within that field. Meanwhile, Alexis wants to be a teacher. Kelsey’s passion lies in music. All seven are keen to pursue a specific goal for their future.


Scholarship for the septuplets

When the septuplets were born, all of them were offered an opportunity to study for free at Hannibal-LaGrange University in Missouri. Full scholarships were offered by the State of Iowa to the siblings. All seven can select any state university they liked. However, only four of them accepted Hannibal-La Grange’s offer. Nathan, Natalie, Joel, and Kelsey are now diligently studying to achieve their aspirations. Joel intends to work in the computer science field. Meanwhile, Kenny Jr prefers to immerse himself in the construction industry. Kenny and Alexis chose a local college in Des Moines to study in. Despite her cerebral palsy, Alexis graduated at the top of her high school and aims to become a teacher.


Brandon joins the military


Brandon didn’t take the full scholarship offered to the septuplets as he has his sights set on joining the military. From the age of three, Brandon has been interested in all things related to the Army. He enlisted in the US Army instead of accepting the scholarship. He has been training and taking a career path that is different from his siblings. All the septuplets are now twenty years old. All of them have expressed their preference to not talk about their upbringing unless asked. All seven wanted to pave their own identity without their being septuplets the focus of the conversation. In a few years, most of the siblings will have graduated from college and will be full-fledged adults.


Bobbi and Kenny’s empty nest


Now that all of the McCaughey kids are leaving the house to forge a life of their own, parents Bobbi and Kenny are trying their best to adjust to the empty nest they are set to experience. Gone are the days of them struggling to feed seven to eight hungry kids. Gone are the days of buying a slew of toiletries and groceries. Though life may be relatively easier now for the couple, they admit that their situation is now more difficult as they worry for their kids. The topic of selective reduction is similarly brought up when they were asked if they ever considered it. Kenny does not agree with selective reduction and challenges people to come to their home and choose which four he shouldn’t have had.


The septupletss are ready to go out into the world


Now that they are to embark on lives of their own, the septuplets were asked if they are sad to see each other leave, and would they miss each other. All the siblings responded that they are not at all worried. They explained that they have been with each other every day, all of them are eager to go into the world to pursue their own careers. Plus, all of them have cell phones anyway and family group chat is readily available. The septuplets declared they grew up in a house with a lot of people they enjoyed hanging out and playing with that they never felt they were too closed in or had little space. They enjoyed each other’s company and all are now moving forward to what life has to offer all seven of them.


The eldest child Mikayla and the rest of the family


McCaughey’s oldest child, Mikayla, is now happily married and has her first child. Her social media accounts reveal she studied in Des Moines Area Community College and Arizona State University. She also maintains a close relationship with all her siblings. One of the septuplets, Kenny Jr, is currently deep into knowing the in’s and out’s of carpentry. He is interested in knowing all the tools he needs to create the furniture he wants. His effort has paid off as he created an entire table for the kitchen as well as benches for his sister Mikayla and Mikayla’s bundle of joy. Meanwhile, Brandon – the sibling who enlisted in the Army – is now a US Army Ranger who is an expert in pistol and carbine shooting.


Daddy Kenny is busy


Since Kenny became an empty nester and feels complete after rearing all his kids, he now has a lot of time in his hands. He purchased a motorcycle and decided to ride across America. His social media profile shows he has been travelling in every part of the country. He was recently seen in South Dakota’s Mt Rushmore. Kenny reportedly has plans too of selling the house. Now that the kids have left, all the space and square footage in his home are now empty. Kenny might have to think hard though as the house, though received as a gift, might be a good place to collect all the grandkids he is set to have soon.


Kelsey and Lexi are having fun away from home


Kelsey seems to be having a ton of fun at Hannibal’s LaGrange University. Based on her social media page, she has been picking pumpkins and hanging out with her friends. She even has a new beau. Mommy Bobbi and Kenny need not be worried though as a bit of harmless romance didn’t hurt anyone. What’s college without some fun? Kelsey is also taking her studies seriously. Meanwhile, Lexi is slowly fulfilling her dream to work in early childhood education. Her social media page is similarly filled with how she seems to be doing well. It helps that all the sisters get together often to similarly have family fun.


Don’t forget Natalie


Natalie is also enjoying life in Missorui’s LaGrange University. Along with her sister, she is doing tons of work at the local child care center. She is also having a good time with her friends. Plus, Natalie loves the outdoors. She likes to hike. She similarly hikes with her family around Iowa as well as in numerous places in America’s mid-west. Natalie, along with her siblings, have been described by people they have come in contact with at Hannibal La Grange University as the kindest, sweetest, well-mannered, down-to-earth students they have ever met. Natalie, along with her sister Kelsey, has been described as very outgoing.


Reality television is a no-no


Large families who were featured in the news usually went the reality TV show route. They usually enjoyed some stardom and some lucrative income at the expense of their privacy. Remember the Gosselins and the Duggars? Though they enjoyed fame during the early part of their reality TV show, the family later suffered from their own success. The Gosselins divorced while the Duggars are now infamous for tolerating abuse within their family. But the McCaugheys are different. Bobbi and Kenny never wanted their kids to be exposed to cameras 24/7. The septuplets never found themselves in any reality TV show. When asked why, Kenny responded that he wanted his children to grow up normally.


Will any of the McCaughey kids have twins?


Many people are curious on whether any of the septuplets will similarly have twins or multiple births of their own or will they have single children? The likely answer is probably no. The McCaughey septuplets were not produced due to a rare genetic condition that has been passed from one generation to another. The siblings were produced via in vitro fertilization wherein numerous eggs were fertilized with the intent that one of them would bear a child. Remarkably, all the eggs fertilized did produce a child. The eldest of the siblings, Mikayla, was born a year before the septuplets. She is currently married to a pastor. They reportedly have a child together.


Daddy Kenny recalls the media frenzy


When the septuplets were born, the McCaughey family received tons of media attention. They also received letters. Most were congratulating them and wishing them well. Some even generously provided them with the things they need to rear their babies. But Kenny Sr reveals that not all letters they received were nice. He recalls that for every ten letters they received that expressed the sender’s joy for the McCaughey family, they similarly received one that accuses them of exploiting their own children. He adds that one even told them they were selfish for wasting the resources of the world for their big family. He also revealed that his neighbours were polite enough to not gawk at them. The family received the privacy they needed. The only odd thing they experienced were strangers who knocked at their back door asking if they could hold a baby.


The McCaugheys are grateful for everyone’s support


The McCaugheys are very lucky indeed. The family received a ton of support once news of the septuplets’ birth spread. A lot of people from their own community came on their own to care for the babies. The web of support and assistance the couple received were astounding. At one time, there were as much as 35 people who volunteered their time to care for the babies. All of them worked on rotating shifts for about four to five hours. The McCaugheys needed all the help they can get considering that two of the babies needed to be fed by tube. Natalie had severe acid reflux thus causing her pain whenever she ate. Meanwhile, Lexi’s muscular disorder made it difficult for her to eat.



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