Having a child is a life-changing moment that brings a lot of joy and a sense of excitement. Now think about how overwhelming it would be to add not one but seven new members to your family at the same time. It can only be called a miracle. This is exactly what Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey went through a long time ago, and they were forever changed by the experience. Fortunately, their sons and daughters lived healthy lives and ultimately became the first-ever septuplets to survive. Multiple births are rare. Medical history states that giving birth to triplets or more is highly unusual. According to the final birth data of 2019, the surviving ratio is 0.00087% in the triplet’s case. So, the survival of septuplets is a medical miracle. In this article, you will read about this unbelievable incident in history. Buckle up!
Meet the McCaugheys: The Incredible Parents of Septuplets
In 1996, Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey welcomed their first child, Mikayla Marie. Bobbi had trouble getting pregnant because of problems with her pituitary gland, which made the birth of their daughter seem even more miraculous. The McCaugheys wanted to raise more kids, so they considered the possibility of having another child.
Recognizing the challenges they had faced in conceiving their first child, Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey decided to turn to fertility treatment for their next. A specialist prescribed Metrodin, a medication that aids in ovulation, which Bobbi began taking as part of their plans for welcoming a second child into their family.
Blessed with Seven
When the couple visited the hospital for a checkup, they get an unexpected surprise. Bobbi was carrying seven babies in her womb. They were shocked. Multiple births can be dangerous for both mother and the babies. Bobbi’s body was very stressed because she was carrying seven babies.
As the pregnancy went on, the doctors gave the McCaugheys a hard choice to make. Due to the health risks of carrying more than one baby, they suggested that the couple think about “selected reduction.” In this process, some healthy unborn babies are killed to make sure that the others live. The couple couldn’t bear to think that they would have to choose between their own children. After a lot of thought, they decided to go ahead with the pregnancy, even though there were risks.
Getting Spotlight and Sympathy
People all over the country were entranced by the story of this brave couple and their seven babies, and their decision to continue with the high-risk pregnancy quickly became a national sensation. Everyone wanted to know more about this amazing family after the news went viral.
For some people, it was insanity to keep all seven babies; for others, it was fascinating. Their courage and determination were commendable. That is why even strangers were eager to help them. They got many presents.
Delivering the babies
The couple was thrilled and excited at the same time because the baby’s birth was getting close. Finally, doctors called them to the hospital on the 31st week of the pregnancy. It was November 19, 1997. Doctors told them that the caesarian section would deliver the babies. The couple was filled with worry, yet they had faith in the skills of the medical team. In a mere six minutes, Bobbi gave birth to a whopping seven little ones.
The couple’s hearts swelled with joy as they welcomed four bouncing baby boys and three precious girls into the world. The task at hand now was to bestow names upon the new additions to their family. The name of the healthiest boy was Robert. The other boys were Kenny Robert, Brandon James, Nathan Roy, and Joel Steven, while Robert was given to the baby that weighed the most. The daughters’ names were Kelsey Ann, Natalie Sue, and Alexis Mary. With seven mouths to feed and seven names to remember, it certainly proved to be a challenge. But as you read on, try to commit all of these names to memory. Can you rise to the challenge?
A Victory for Hospital Staff
The hospital staffs, which worked hard and were dedicated to their jobs, were really noteworthy in the births of seven babies. The health workers, nursing staff, and other people who worked in the maternity ward were overjoyed to have been a part of creating American history. In the days following the arrival of the septuplets, everyone got together to snap a picture of the group as a way to remember this amazing event.
News channels were unaware of the births, as it was nine weeks before the due date. But when they became aware that the deliveries were taking place at the Lowa Methodist Hospital Center in Des Moines, they started camping out to get the first pictures of the newborns.
Spending Extra Time under Observation
After Bobbi’s historic delivery of seven infants, the medical team deemed it necessary for her and her babies to remain under their care for a period of hundred days, to ensure the well-being of both mother and babies before they were all let go.
As the day of their departure approached, news of the McCaughey septuplets discharging from the hospital, spread like wildfire, drawing a throng of photographers and journalists eager to capture the momentous occasion. As the family made their way home, a mix of joyous smiles, enthusiastic cheers, and sentimental tears accompanied them, marking a memorable end to their hospital stay.
Getting Police Security and Protocol
The police had to set up a security post outside the home of the McCaugheys as they wanted to ensure that the couple reached their home without facing any trouble whatsoever. The babies were brought back to the couple’s old home, but they would be moving into their new home soon.
Once their new home was organized, a ceremony took place in which they handed over the keys to their new home. The ceremony involved the chairman of Clarke Companies, Lloyd Clarke. He gave the keys to the couple in the garage of the house. There was excitement in the air as the couple entered their new home.
From Local to National: The Story Goes Viral with ABC Interview
At first, the McCaugheys thought that their story would only be interesting to local reporters. However, they soon found out that their amazing septuplets had caught the attention of some of the biggest media outlets in the country. In December 1997, just one month after the septuplets were born, they were surprised to find themselves on the cover of Time magazine.
As the story of the McCaugheys’ septuplets gained widespread attention, ABC News Primetime was granted exclusive access to the family for an in-depth interview and feature story. While much of the media coverage at the time consisted of repeating information that had already been reported, the ABC interview delved into new and previously unexplored aspects of the family’s journey.
Facing Criticism and Managing Privacy
While the McCaugheys’ story inspired many, it also faced some negative backlash. Critics called the family irresponsible for having so many children. Despite the harsh words, the McCaugheys remained steadfast in their commitment to their growing family.
As time went on, the buzz about the septuplets died down. During this time, they encountered the Dionne family. This family had quintuplets, born in Ontario, Canada, in 1934 to Elzire Dionne. Elzire came under a lot of criticism for how her babies were raised.
Work Hustle and Need of a Strategy
Imagine a house full of 8 children, dirty clothes, and chaos. As the McCaugheys got used to their new life of raising septuplets, they quickly realized how important privacy was. This meant that they had to do most of the housework themselves, including a huge amount of laundry. Sources claim that the family did 17 loads of washing on average every week. For the never-ending pile of dirty clothes, they bought two washing machines and two dryers to keep up with the demand.
Besides laundry, there were other expenditures. For instance, milk and diapers were adding up to a significant amount of money. But the resourceful couple was determined to find a way to make it work, devising a clever strategy to keep costs under control.
Feeding and Cleaning
Bobbi decided that instead of giving her children formula milk, she would feed them pumped breast milk for the first three months. The four to five gallons of milk pumped would last seven babies for one week.
It is obvious that caring for the septuplets is not easy. It was a whole lot of hustle from feeding them to changing their diapers.
Help from Family, Volunteers, and Strangers
The family needed seventy helpers to do all daily tasks. But still, some volunteers were helping them with daily chores and taking proper care. It was great to see so many helping hands.
Anyone who came in contact with the family wanted to help them somehow. Other family members were also helping them. Mikayla was at the top of the list. She assisted in feeding and taking care. She was doing her utmost best. The couple was grateful for all the love and help.
Dealing with Financial Issues and Finding Creative Ways
The McCaugheys, faced with the difficult task of raising seven babies, devised a clever strategy to keep their expenses in check. They employed a number of cost-saving measures, such as mass buying to secure better deals on items and seeking out special offers. Through these efforts, they were able to keep their monthly expenses at a manageable $300. Additionally, they uniquely used strollers in a non-typical manner to further minimize their expenses.
Seeing twin strollers is common, but the McCaugheys required two sets of four-seater strollers to carry their babies around the town – something no one had ever seen before. It was also grabbing public attention.
Going Green and Eating a Healthy Diet
The McCaugheys, ever mindful of the costs of raising seven babies, knew they had to explore further cost-saving measures. They decided to cultivate their vegetables and fruits, a cost-effective and organic solution. By growing their own produce in their backyard, they reduced their grocery bill.
The septuplets relished in their fresh, organic meals and it was vital for their growth and development. As they were growing babies, they required large quantities of food on a daily basis, especially at breakfast.
Unique Bond Among Septuplets
As the kids were growing up, they were building an intimate bond with each other. They even started to talk in their own way, which is named Cryptophasia. This doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen with twins, triplets, and even siblings. Every year, as the seven babies got older; the family would celebrate their birthdays together to make memorable moments.
They celebrate these birthdays as a chance to thank God for helping them have these children and for helping them decide to keep all of them.
The Pinnacle of Shoes and Clothes for Septuplets
As each child grew at their own speed, some got stronger while others got weaker. But Bobbi and Kenny decided to dress their four boys the same, and three of their girls wore the same outfit. They needed help getting suitable shoe sizes.
Buying clothes for seven growing kids was costly. However, something amazing happened. A well-known children’s clothing brand, Carter’s, announced that it will give free clothing for all babies up to age five. It was just one of many kind gestures that folks did for Bobbi, Kenny, and their lovely family.
Meeting with Presidents
When the McCaughey septuplets were born, President Bill Clinton called the parents to extend his congratulations. He then told Bobbi that when her seven children were old enough to go to school, she would definitely be running a big American company. Clinton went on to say that her ability to organize would make her the finest manager in the US corporate sector. The McCaugheys were invited in 2001 to meet with President George W. Bush.
It was a great meet-up, and the kids were dressed in such a way that it attracted everyone’s attention within seconds of their arrival.
Everyone Wanted to Meet Them
It is no surprise that the septuplets were famous babies even before birth. Everyone was fascinated by them, and they were a favorite topic of most people.
Take this photo as an example. This is baby Kenny getting a kiss from the Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad.
Learning How to Share
Here in the photo, you can see there are just four candles for seven children. It is because the parents wanted to teach them the lesson of learning how to share.
The McCaugheys not only tried to be economical, but they also taught their children a lesson about sharing. It seems the children weren’t too worried about it. They are enjoying their birthdays.
Unique Identities and Personalities
As the seven babies reached adulthood, they each started to develop their own personality types. For example, Brandon was known for being brave and having a bit of a headstrong streak. Kenny Jr. stood out as the group’s class clown, while Natalie and Joel loved to read. Each of the septuplets had its own special qualities that set them apart from the others.
Although Kenny was always a well-mannered guy, his son, Kenny Junior, is known for causing mischief from time to time. That explains why Bobbi calls her son a “pint-sized explorer.” Each of the eight children has unique characteristics. For instance, Kelsey is a “sporty fashionista,” Nathan is “determined,” and Alexis is “sweet and perceptive.”
Sparing some Me-Time and Family Time
Taking care of kids and running a family is hectic, and yet you have to take out some time to spend quality time with your whole family. With eight children, the McCaugheys were finding it difficult. However, they still used to take some time out. Here is when the whole family went to Disney World in Orlando.
You always need a Me-Time moment. But if you have a house full of eight grown children, taking time for yourself can be difficult. That’s why the couple decided to set aside Friday as their date night so they could get much-needed alone time together.
Getting Back On the Cover
As the children celebrated their eighth birthday, they did it in style this time as they appeared on the cover of Ladies’ Home Journal.
There was also an article in the magazine that included Bobbi and Kenny answering different questions.
Getting Fame Like Celebrities
As there was already a lot of media attention before and after the children’s birth, the parents could have decided to allow a reality TV show about their lives, and it would not have been different. They made sure that it didn’t happen. Yet, occasionally, the children did a feature on TV or in the press.
One of the occasional times was the children’s birthday. So, on their 13th birthday, they allowed Ann Curry from the TodayShow to have a meet-up with the children. This time, all the kids had their cakes with 13 candles.
Starting High School and Joining the Band
The septuplets started high school in 2012 by enrolling in the Carlisle High School in Carlisle, Iowa. As expected, they received a lot of attention from everyone. But they handled it quite well (probably because they have been doing it their entire lives).
As if the septuplets weren’t already receiving much attention, they decided to raise the bar. They got into the school band and started playing together at the school’s sports matches.
Siblings with Different Interests and Talents
The septuplets didn’t just captivate everyone by featuring in a school band, but they also had their talents and interests. So they followed their interest beyond school.
Some of the septuplets joined the cross-country team, some joined the wrestling team, and the less sporty ones joined the choir and speech society.
When it comes to feeding eight growing mouths, it takes a lot to prepare just one meal. That’s why Bobbi and Kenny decided to serve meals in the house as buffets.
It turned out to be the best time in the house, and the kids started to help prepare the meals.
It Wasn’t All Sunshine and Rainbows
As you know, the premature birth of a child can affect development. In the case of septuplets, there were premature births, and it resulted in two children being born with cerebral palsy.
Nathan and Alexis both have cerebral palsy, which affects their movement and coordination. As both Alexis and Nathan have difficulty walking and require walking aids, Nathan was keen to walk without support. He taught himself how to walk without the help of his walker. “I taught myself how to walk because I really wanted to learn. It’s just been getting better and better,” he said.
Alexis Making Waves As Well
Just like her brother, Alexis didn’t want to get confined by her condition. Although she still needs aid to walk, she has shown her immense talent in many other areas, proving she is exceptional.
Alexis was given the prestigious “Teens Miss Dreams Come True” award in 2013. This was a sign of how talented and hardworking she was. She also did well in school, and when she graduated, she was in the top 15% of her class. Her success in both of these areas showed how hard she worked and how dedicated she was.
As the septuplets turned sixteen, they gained the attraction of the press and the world again. Everyone wanted to know what was going on in their lives and what kind of personalities they had.
As sixteen is the age when teenagers start their driving lessons, the McCaugheys knew that it could be costly. So, they came up with a different, affordable solution.
Work to Make Your Wishes Comes True
Kenny Sr. thinks that hard work is important and has made it a point to teach his children the same thing. In an interview with NBC, he said, “We were taught if you want something, you have to work for it.”
The couple wanted to teach their children a valuable lesson: if they wanted something special, they would have to work hard to get it. They made sure that their kids knew that there are no easy ways to be successful and that anything worth having takes hard work and determination. Through their advice and actions, they wanted to show their kids how to work hard for their goals and not give up.
Capturing the Milestone
As soon as the septuplets turned 18, the media was ready to capture the momentous occasion. For the teenagers, it was a very important year because they also graduated from high school.
Even though they were septuplets, they were still going through normal teen milestones and growing pains. Even though they were raised differently, they still went through what most teenagers do.
A New Beginning: The Septuplets Embrace Adulthood
As the septuplets reached adulthood, there was a distinct sense of relief in not just the children’s but also their parents’ eyes. While Bobbi and Kenny Sr. have been there for their children every step of the way, offering direction and support, it’s easy to envision the difficulties of addressing the demands of eight children at the same time. The septuplets graduated in May 2016, kicking off a new chapter in their life and a sense of success for both parents and children.
The septuplets’ graduation was a massive feat, and it showed how hard the couple had worked. Bobbi had been looking forward to this moment for a long time. She felt a mix of pride, happiness, and sadness. As she watched her beautiful children walk across the stage, she couldn’t help but feel a little sad that they were no longer kids. But as she looked ahead, she also knew that there would be a lot of exciting firsts in the future. She said, “It’s sad to see this chapter end, but there’s a lot more to look forward to.”
Start of Practical Life
Alexis and Kenny decided to enroll in their local college. In this way, they were close to their parents. It was a great thing for the couple. Alexis hopes to become a teacher, and I am sure one day she will become a great one (I can say it because she was a brilliant student.)
Brandon joined the United States Army. It gave Bobbi even more reason to be proud. Brandon has always wanted to join the military, and he has never changed his mind. His dream finally came true when he joined the 75th Ranger Regiment, and Bobbi is so happy and proud of her son. I hope he keeps working towards all of his goals and does the best job he can for his country.
Different Path for Kenny Jr
All of the septuplets were unique. That’s why they all find happiness in things that they love to do. Kenny Jr. wanted to become a carpenter. He was unique and special in his own way.
Later, when elder sister Mikayla was blessed with her first child, Kenny Jr. decided to create a memorable and long-lasting gift for his sister. He created a classic kitchen table with benches for his sister, and she felt super blessed and happy to have it. Can’t all sisters have a brother like Kenny Jr.?
College Education Promise
The state of Iowa promised to pay for each child’s college expenses at any university of their choosing at the time of the septuplets’ birth.
Natalie, Nathan, Joel, and Kelsey took up the offer and enrolled at Hannibal-LaGrange University in Missouri, and they are studying there right now. Although they are far from home, they get comfort from the fact that they are together.
Meet the Future Teachers and Scientist
Alexis has always dreamt of becoming a teacher and is currently pursuing her dream of becoming one. Alexis’s posts on social media show that she is determined to follow her dream and make a difference in the lives of the students she will teach in the future. I’m sure that all of her hard work and dedication will pay off, and that she’ll have a big impact on her students. Natalie is pursuing her career in education, just like her sister Alexis, but she is taking a different route. She is focusing on early-childhood education and is interested in elementary school education.
Nathan has always been interested in science. Even though he is still deciding which field of science he wants to work in, I am sure he will do well in it.
Meet the Next Musician and Computer Scientist
Kelsey went to Hannibal-LaGrange University, where she chose to major in music. Kelsey is a bright student, and I am excited to see her achieve success in this field. She has been passionate about music for as long as she can remember, and it won’t be long before you see her performances.
Just like Nathan, Joel chose something technical. However, his field is different. He wanted to become a computer scientist. In the picture above you can have a glimpse of a future computer scientist, and I hope to see him achieve great success in the upcoming years.
Inseparable Siblings, but Parents Felt Alone
The bond between siblings was unshakeable. On one particular question about their closeness, they answered that they have an unbreakable bond.
But as they all started their practical lives, it was difficult for them to spare some time for their parents. The couple looks at their empty house and misses them. But they’re trying to adjust to it because they know their kids are always with them, no matter how far away they are.
Elder Sister Mikayla
Do you remember elder sister Mikayla? She also started to pursue her dream and received constant encouragement and love from her younger siblings. She studied at Des Moines College and then went to Arizona State University. She is happily married and has a beautiful child. Bobbi and Kenny are happy grandparents.
The McCaugheys had many memorable moments, but one of the best was when Mikayla tied the knot. Her sisters were bridesmaids, and her brothers were quite important members of the wedding party. It was a heartwarming family event, and they will always remember that day.
Dad Keeping Himself Busy
When all your children live in different cities, you can find it depressing in your home.
However, Kenny McCaughey found an excellent opportunity to occupy his spare time. He has become passionate about his motorcycles. He scraps motorcycles and then carefully rebuilds them. He also takes rides on one of his bikes around the country.
Since all the children had left for college and moved out, the house seemed too big for just two members. So, it was a good decision to sell the house. Luckily, they found the buyer easily.
The new house owners were lucky as they owned a house filled with happiness and love. So, Bobbi and Kenny are settling into their new home. Oh wait, there’s a twist.
Giving Back To the Society
The couple could have easily sold their house for a lot of money, but instead, they gave it to a charity called Ruth Harbor. This non-profit organization helps and supports young women facing unplanned pregnancies. The McCaugheys’ donation will definitely make a big difference in the lives of the women the organization helps.
When the couple was asked about their generous decision, they said, “We have been blessed with wonderful gifts, and nothing would please us more than the idea of our home being used as a place of refuge for the needy ones.”
Looking Back and Feeling Lucky
Bobbi and Kenny felt happy and blessed to have made the correct option when they rejected the idea of selective reduction.
After all, opting for selective reduction would’ve meant a smaller family for the McCaugheys.
Creating Awareness and Writing a Book
Raising a baby is hard, but Bobbi and Kenny raised eight children. They experimented with a lot of stuff to manage their kids’ lives. They hope to create more awareness about it, and their eight kids show their success. It wasn’t long after the birth of the septuplets that the McCaugheys decided to write about their experiences and release their book, which would include their experiences.
The book’s primary theme is the couple’s belief in God. You’ll find that it was religion was a motivation and a key factor that gave them the power to raise their children.
A Deal with Press and Photographers
The couple tried to protect their children from the press. In 2001, the McCaugheys did a smart thing when they made a deal with Gamma Press to keep track of how their children grew and changed. Gamma Press would take a picture of the septuplets on their birthdays every year. This gave the family a visual record of how the children had grown. These pictures would be treasured keepsakes that the McCaugheys could use to remember those special times with warmth and longing.
A few lucky photographers had the privilege of taking photos of children each year. They were Rodney White, Holly McQueen, and Andrea Mendez. These photographers were keen on taking photos of the septuplets, and they were able to record the lives of septuplets as they became part of American history.
Documenting Each Milestone In A Special Way
As there were group photos of the septuplets, each child also get an individual portrait every year. The portrait helped document the crucial milestones of each child.
Here’s a little cheat sheet to help you navigate the sea of faces in this photograph. On the top row, from left to right, you’ll find Kelsey, Kenny Jr, Natalie, and eldest sibling Mikayla. On the bottom row, you’ll spot Alexis, Brandon, Nathan, and Joel. With this guide, you’ll be able to tell the septuplets apart with ease!
Too Much Happiness and Energy
This photo shows the calmness of Bobbi. But it is a challenging task to take pictures with energetic children.
Bobbi was able to take a relaxing photo with seven children. How cool is that, right?
Playing Together and Alone
As septuplets are not a regular occurrence, many people wondered if each child got to play with the other kids’ toys.
The truth is that they started to share at a very young age and could also play alone whenever they felt it.
The Craze for Video Games
Septuplets (especially the boys) enjoyed playing video games like other kids. They could sit for hours playing their favorite games. Although Bobbi and Kenny hoped that the kids would grow out of their craze one day, it didn’t happen (it usually doesn’t happen).
Even in adulthood, they have a craze for growing their favorite games. As I mentioned earlier, Ann Curry covered the story of septuplets on the Today Show. The world was always curious to see how the kids had progressed, and Ann showed glimpses of their progress from time to time.
Will It Happen Again?
If you’re wondering if the McCaughey family is likely to have another set of multiple births, the answer is no.
This is because Kenny and Bobbi’s septuplets were born after they went through fertility treatment. So, it looks like there isn’t much chance that this will happen again in the family.
Worth Following Lessons from McCaughey’s Story
This story is an inspiration for many. It teaches that with hard work and determination, you can achieve your dreams, no matter how big or small they may be. Kenny Sr. is a firm believer in hard work and has instilled this belief in his children. He has always been determined to provide for his family and make sure that his children’s future is secure. The McCaugheys faced many challenges but with courage and positivism, they were able to raise their septuplets in a loving and nurturing environment. The family’s willingness to make sacrifices for their children is admirable. Community support is also noticeable.
The McCaugheys’ story also teaches the importance of being grateful for what you have. They were blessed with septuplets and wouldn’t change a thing about it. They have learned to appreciate the joy and love that comes with raising a large family. In the end, if you desire something in your life, go for it, and don’t let anything stop you.