Having septuplets is what you might call a rarity in the United States. Unfortunately, its even rarer for septuplets to all survive the journey into our world. To wit, a set of septuplets born in 1985 resulted in only three of them surviving. Luckily, this didn’t happen with the McCaughey septuplets. These are the odds that Bobbi McCaughey was facing when she learned that she was pregnant with seven babies. Twenty years after their fateful births, we’re looking back the hard road they’ve weathered and what they look like today.
Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey were simple folk living in Des Moines, Iowa. Before they were even married, they’ve had the aspiration of having children one day. Unfortunately for Bobbi, she was dealt a rough hand from birth; she had a malfunctioning pituitary gland. Her hormones were very weak as a result. Luckily, after a lot of planning, she finally got pregnant. For both of them, this was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives.
Bobbi was pregnant with her first child Mikayla Marie, who was brought into the world on January 3, 1996. After the years of wanting a child, the two parents were simply thankful for having someone to take care of at home. Bobbi, however, wanted more children in the house. She decided to get treatments to help her have additional kids. One day, a checkup at the hospital delivered some shocking news that would change everyone’s lives forever.
Bobbi received a shot of Metrodin, which helps raise hormones to their natural levels. Months later, she became pregnant, but this time, it was with multiple children. Bobbi and Kenny assumed they were going to get a couple more children, but doctors discovered that Bobbi’s womb was filled with seven embryos. This discovery caused a bit of a panic between the two parents. One option could’ve changed the landscape of Bobbi’s pregnancy.
While struggling to digest this information, Bobbi was offered a piece of advice. She was given the option of selective reduction. This procedure would’ve reduced the number of fetuses in her womb, which meant taking several lives away in the process. Bobbi decided to not go for it and simply let nature take its course. If all seven fetuses had a chance to survive, she didn’t want to take that from them. The next step was the roughest time in her life.
With the help of obstetricians Karen Drake and Paula Mahone, Bobbi was able to deliver seven children on November 19, 1997. All seven kids were born seven weeks prematurely, and that had a big effect on their health. Two of the children were born with cerebral palsy, which strongly affects their overall physical well being. The seven newborns became the first septuplets to survive childbirth. While they were the talk of the nation, other people were not amused.
As expected, the birth spawned a massive media blitz with appearances in Time Magazine and on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Some called the event a miracle. Others were shunning the parents for exploiting their children for magazine covers. Then-President Bill Clinton called up the parents to congratulate them on their successful births. The family received a ton of donations, including a house and free scholarships for their children. After a while, all the attention stopped being fun.
By the time the children turned 10 years old, the family stopped doing interviews altogether with the exception of a yearly Dateline NBC episode. The surviving members of the Dionne quintuplets told the parents about the pitfalls of putting everything in the papers. Many years have gone by since the nation last saw these seven kids. What they look like now will surprise everyone! The first one born is looking to work with his hands.
Kenneth Jr. was three pounds and four ounces when he was born. Before graduation, he decided to attend Des Moines Area Community College to get a degree in construction. He’s not sad about leaving his other siblings behind. “I honestly think it will be good for all of us to be on our separate ways. I am not worried about not seeing everyone that much,” he told NBC News. He won’t be alone in his new journey.
Alexis May, who is the first girl in the group, was a mere two pounds and 11 ounces at the time of birth. She is one of two children with cerebral palsy. Over the years, she had to use walkers to get around. Much like her brother Kenneth, she’s attending Des Moines Area Community College to work on her early childhood education major. She hopes to be a preschool teacher in the future. One child is looking to be a breakout music star.
Kelsey Ann, who is the last of the trio of girls born, weighed two pounds and five ounces at birth. Her time at Carlisle High School was spent on the all-girl choir. She’s attending Hannibal-LaGrange University, who offered free scholarships to the children when they were born. She pursuing a career in music, and she’s trying her best to be the next big singer. The next child is one of the brightest in the whole group.
Natalie Sue, who is the second of three girls, was born weighing two pounds and 11 ounces. In high school, she was in the top 15 percent of her class. Much like Kelsey Ann, she’s taking a free scholarship to Hannibal-LaGrange University. She’s majoring in elementary education, and just like Alexis May, she wants to be a preschool teacher. The next one has to go under the knife due to constant pain.
Nathan Roy, who is the fifth one, weighed around three pounds and three ounces at birth. Much like his sister Alexis May, he suffered from cerebral palsy growing up. In 2005, he underwent surgery on his spine to improve his walking. Nathan is attending Hannibal-LaGrange University with a major in computer science. “I’ve just always liked to do computer stuff,” he told KCCI 8. His brother has other things in mind besides school.
The second to last member of the group is Brandon James, who weighed two pounds and 14 ounces. After graduating high school, he didn’t take up a free scholarship or decide to pursue education elsewhere. Brandon decided to enlist in the Army. “My job is the infantry, so I’ll probably be gone most of the time because I’m going active duty for that,” he told KCCI 8. His youngest brother is also in the mood to work with electronics.
The youngest child out of the crew is Joel Steven, who was two pounds and 15 ounces at birth. Much like his brother Nathan Roy, he’s attending Hannibal-LaGrange University to learn more about computer science. “I’ve always thought that computers were really weird, but in a good way. I liked how they worked,” he told KCCI 8. With these seven kids finding their own spot in society, how do the parents feel?
Their parents are a bit sad that they’re no longer at the house, but they’re also relieved. Seeing their kids go off into their own journey in life has been their biggest goal in parenting. When it comes to advice, Kenny jokingly told KCCI 8, “Just have them one at a time. That’s the best way — just kidding.” One thing is certain: these seven adults will have a story to tell when they get older.