When a couple finds out that they are having twins, triplets, or quadruplets, it can be both thrilling and scary. When Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey found out that they were having seven babies, also known as septuplets, they thought that it was unimaginable. They were just planning to have a second child to join their daughter, and they ended up with the surprise of a lifetime.
Bobbi had fertility treatments to help her get pregnant. She knew that twins were common when you use fertility treatments, and they were preparing themselves for news of twins just in case. When Bobbi went to the doctor to check on her treatments, she was shocked when the doctor told her that she was carrying seven babies. Septuplets are extremely rare, and the couple had to make a difficult decision. This many babies was going to put a strain on the already petite Bobbi, and they were told that it was a very high-risk pregnancy. They told her early on that they could perform a selective reduction, which would reduce the number of babies in her womb.
In God’s Hand
By this time, the media caught wind of the couple’s situation, and many people were giving their opinion on selective reduction. In the end, they decided to put it off, regardless of the risks and put the pregnancy in God’s hands. Bobbi says that her maternal instincts wouldn’t allow her to do it. Bobbi says that for every ten letters they got from supporters, they got one from someone who accused them of exploiting their babies for selfish reasons.
Outpouring Of Donations
When Bobbi and Kenny decided against selective reduction, they wondered how they were going to handle seven babies. When the pregnancy got national attention, people started sending donations to the family. They received plenty of diapers, which they would certainly need. Kraft gave them a year supply of macaroni and cheese. Some offered nanny services, they got a large van, and someone even donated a 5,000-square foot house. The generosity of their supporters overcame them.
Everything was going smoothly with Bobbi’s pregnancy until she was 28-weeks. It was then that she started feeling strange. She knew that she wouldn’t be carrying her babies to term. On November 19, 1997, she was 30-weeks pregnant. Her waist was 55-inches, which is twice the normal size for this stage of pregnancy. It was then that she had to be rushed to the hospital.
There were 40 people working in the delivery room that day, and everyone was thrilled to be there. They were going to witness something so rare that most medical professionals will never witness it. The delivery went well. The seven babies were delivered via C-section, six minutes from one another. All seven babies were born healthy. They had four boys and three girls. They already had the names picked out, and they chose Kenny Jr, Alexis, Natalie, Kelsey, Nathan, Brandon, and Joel. Their weights ranged from 2-pounds, 5-ounces, to 3-pounds, 4-ounces. They were all placed in the neonatal unit, and it would be months before they would go home.
It was three months and ten days before the babies could come home. While all of the babies survived, Alexis and Nathan were born with cerebral palsy. They faced muscular disorders, which would make it hard for them to walk later in life. Bobbi and Kenny were just happy that they were bringing their babies home.
Raising a family of 10 is expensive. The family managed to keep their food budget down to $300 per month using creative couponing. They also grew a lot of their own food. When the babies were very young, they had 35 volunteers to help care for them during their infancy. The family did interviews early on, but when the kids were 10, they turned down offers from the media. They didn’t want to share their lives with strangers.
Certain Media Outlets
The family chose to open up to certain media outlets regularly. They did a yearly interview with Dateline. When the kids turned 13, the family agreed to do a TLC documentary hosted by Anne Curry, called America’s Septuplets Turn 13. Even though Nathan and Alexis had to struggle with cerebral palsy and had to use walkers, they didn’t let it get them down. Alexis often entered beauty pageants for kids with special needs. She chose to embrace her situation. In 2013, she won the Teen Miss Dream Made True pageant in Carroll, Iowa.
Famous septuplets 20 years later. Look what happened to them. When the babies were born, the family was given free college tuition. Hannibal-La Grange University in Missouri offered free college tuition, and the State of Iowa provided free college to any university of their choice. All of the kids went to college, except Brandon, who joined the Army right out of high school. Today, Kenny runs his own carpentry business, Brandon is in the army and engaged, and Alexis is pursuing a career in early childhood education. Kelsey and Natalie and still in college, and so are Nathan and Joel who are going to school for computer science. The kids say that they will always be connected.