The World’s Only Surviving Septuplets – Are All Grown Up Now!By Garrett Keyes
Adding a new family member is always an exciting time for a family, but the arrival of septuplets is an even more momentous occasion. The anticipation of welcoming seven newborn individuals into the family is both exhilarating, exciting, and nerve-wracking.
There is much to prepare for—like new daily routines and diaper changes! But the joy and love that come with this new addition to the family are immeasurable, and this is what Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey experienced years ago.
Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey’s Story
Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey met in high school and fell in love as teenagers. Their journey to parenthood was not easy, as they faced fertility struggles. However, they were eventually blessed with the news that they had conceived a baby girl naturally. Their daughter Mikayla was born in January 1996, bringing immense joy to the couple.
They felt that the birth of their first kid was an unexpected miracle, and they were excited about what the future might hold.
For couples facing fertility issues, like the McCaugheys, there can be several possible reasons. For example, age, as women’s fertility declines over time. Other factors, such as hormonal imbalances, ovulation disorders, and conditions like endometriosis, can also affect fertility. Lifestyle choices like smoking and alcohol consumption can play a role too.
Medical conditions or treatments like chemotherapy can damage a woman’s reproductive system. Exploring all possible causes and working with a healthcare provider to develop a solution is essential.
Fertility Struggles Take An Emotional Toll
Struggling with fertility can take a significant emotional toll on couples. Trying to conceive can be stressful and time-consuming, leading to frustration and disappointment when conception does not occur. Moreover, the uncertainty and financial burden that accompany fertility treatments can further exacerbate these emotions.
Couples, like the McCaugheys, may feel isolated and alone in their struggles—as it is a complex topic to discuss. The pressure from family and society to have children can also add to the emotional burden.
Pursuing Fertility Treatments
When couples struggle with fertility, much like Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey, they are forced to seek fertility treatments to overcome these obstacles and increase the chances of pregnancy. They may include medication to stimulate ovulation, intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), or other assisted reproductive technologies.
These solutions can offer hope for possibly starting or expanding their family. However, unfortunately, they’re only sometimes successful, and this depends on several factors, such as age and the individual’s overall health.
A Solution For The McCaugheys
Bobby and Kenny McCaughey decided to visit a fertility specialist who prescribed them Metrodin, a medication that helps stimulate ovulation. Like other couples experiencing infertility, they hoped the treatment would increase their chances of conceiving.
Metrodin has been prescribed to thousands of couples over the years, with varying levels of success. However, the McCaugheys would soon discover their use would result in a historic and life-changing event. They had no idea how much their lives were about to change!
Possible Side Effects
The medication that the McCaugheys were prescribed helps to stimulate ovulation in couples struggling with infertility. However, the drug can increase the risk of multiple pregnancies, which isn’t necessarily bad but can be risky for both mother and baby. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is also a possible side effect of the medication, which can cause swollen and painful ovaries.
Nevertheless, despite these risks, many couples continue to use this and other fertility treatments in the hopes of conceiving a child.
Planned For One, Got Seven
Despite the potential side effects of Metrodin, it proved to be a success for Bobbi and Kenny, whose dream of having a child was finally coming true when they realized they were expecting the first set of septuplets. It was an event that made headlines around the world.
While one should not ignore the risks associated with the medication, the benefits far outweigh any potential harm for the couple. Their miracle babies remain a testament to the treatment’s power.
A Tough Decision To Make
They were over the moon to discover they were expecting not one, not two, but seven babies! However, their joy was short-lived when the doctors advised them to consider “selected reduction,” a medical procedure to increase the chances of a healthy outcome.
After much deliberation, the couple decided to keep all seven babies, despite all the potential risks. Soon, the McCaughneys’ decision made headlines and sparked discussions about the ethics of selective reduction and the challenges of multiple pregnancies.
Ethics Of Selective Reduction
Selective reduction, which involves reducing the number of fetuses in multiple pregnancies through abortion, is a hot topic in reproductive ethics. Experts agree that the procedure can cause emotional distress for both the parents and the remaining fetuses. The process is not guaranteed to be completely safe.
The McCaughneys decided against it, opting for a high-risk pregnancy and giving birth to seven babies. A tough call, but every family has to make their own choices for pregnancy and parenting.
The Risk of Multiple Pregnancies
The McCaughneys’ decision to keep all seven babies undoubtedly captured the world’s attention, but it’s important to note that multiple embryos come with some dangers. Expectant mothers of twins or more are at higher risk for gestational diabetes, low birth weight, premature labor, and other complications.
It takes a lot of courage, determination, and resilience to navigate the challenges that can accompany multiple births. So this couple’s decision to keep all seven of their little ones was indeed brave!
Their decision to keep all seven babies caused a stir! Some people thought they were brave, praising them for their resilience. Unfortunately, others were quick to judge, calling their choice irresponsible and selfish. The family was suddenly thrust into the spotlight, receiving tons of media attention, scrutiny, and judgment.
However, not all attention was welcome; they faced harsh criticism and even death threats. At the end of the day, it’s essential to respect the tough decisions that families make.
Gifts Began Coming
Once the news broke, the McCaughey family began receiving gifts from all over. Friends and strangers alike sent them everything from baby clothes to strollers and diapers. And they kept pouring in as their story gained more attention.
Some people found fault in the family for accepting the gifts, but others saw it as a way to help out during a tough time. Just like anyone facing a hard time, they were grateful for the help they were getting.
More Criticism, And Curiosity
The story of septuplets brought in a flood of support from everywhere. But several people expressed doubts over the couple’s ability to care for and provide for so many children, both financially and emotionally. The high medical costs associated with the pregnancy and potential long-term health issues for the babies were all valid concerns.
Additionally, some also believed that the couple’s decision to keep all the babies was irresponsible and potentially dangerous for both the parents and the children.
People’s gifts included a 5000-square-foot home and a van. The residence was a spacious one with plenty of room for a large household. The van was also helpful and practical in transporting the family, which included parents Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey and their seven children, not forgetting their first daughter, who was slightly older.
These generous gifts undoubtedly provided much-needed relief for the couple, who had previously lived in a much smaller home and struggled to make ends meet.
Kraft came through with a year’s supply of macaroni and cheese for the McCaugheys. Of course, it wasn’t all just about the generosity – Kraft was also looking to capitalize on the attention and promote their brand. And hey, it worked! The media coverage helped shine the spotlight on the company.
Marketing aside, it was still a kind gesture that helped out a family in need. And let’s be honest, a year’s supply of macaroni and cheese sounds fantastic.
As the septuplet embryos continued to grow, it was clear that the pregnancy would require careful monitoring. Doctors decided to deliver the babies via c-section at only 31 weeks, a decision that was not without its dangers. However, the procedure was successful; all seven were born healthy and strong.
With the help of a dedicated medical team, the McCaughey family navigated the challenges of caring for seven premature babies, and they had to spend three months in the hospital.
The Challenge of Caring for ‘Premies’
Caring for premature babies is challenging, and the McCaughey family was no exception. The septuplets required constant care and attention, including round-the-clock feedings, monitoring, and medical treatments. Their family home was about to be transformed into a makeshift neonatal intensive care unit.
The couple had to quit their regular jobs to focus on their children’s care. While they received help from family, friends, and a dedicated medical team, the arduous task of caring for seven babies was still overwhelming.
News Outlets Wanted Pictures
News outlets around the country descended upon the hospital where the McCaugheys were, eager to capture images of the newborn miracle babies. The media frenzy was intense, and they suddenly found themselves thrust into the spotlight again. Despite the overwhelming attention, the couple used their platform to raise awareness about the challenges of caring for multiple premature babies.
Their story touched the hearts of people across the nation, and the couple became an inspiring symbol of hope and perseverance.
Leaving The Hospital
The babies’ low birth weight and underdeveloped organs meant a higher risk of complications, and therefore requiring specialized care and monitoring, while their mothers may require postpartum care. The McCaugheys stayed in the hospital for three months for intensive medical attention. The infants eventually left after the necessary medical care.
They were now ready to leave the hospital. They first took the babies to their old home before they could prepare the new house that someone had gifted them.
Security Is Provided For The McCaugheys
After their release from the hospital, the McCaugheys received heightened security due to the media attention surrounding their story. The family’s newfound fame made them vulnerable to unwanted attention, and they reportedly received threats from individuals seeking to exploit their situation.
As a result, measures were put in place to protect the household’s privacy and ensure their safety. The experience underscores the potential risks that come with public attention, particularly for families who may already be facing challenging circumstances.
A Ceremony For The New Home
The family held a heartfelt ceremony to mark the opening of their new home. Family members, friends, and well-wishers attended the event, gathered to celebrate this special occasion, and the chairman of Clarke Companies, Lloyd Clarke, officially handed them the keys to the house.
The McCaughneys gladly expressed their gratitude for the support and love they received from everyone present. They lit candles and shared their thoughts and emotions about the journey that led them to this magical moment.
Time Magazine Feature
A Time magazine story feature focused on their journey of keeping their septuplets, despite the risks and challenges that came with it. The family’s decision sparked a national conversation about the ethics of multiple pregnancies and the limits of medical intervention. The article also explored the household’s day-to-day life and the immense responsibility that comes with raising seven children simultaneously.
Their cover sparked widespread interest and admiration for the McCaughneys as an icon of perseverance, bravery, and family values.
Struggling To Keep Their Lives Private
Everyone was curious about this family that decided to keep septuplets. The McCaugheys were constantly in the spotlight, with journalists and photographers continually seeking their attention. Despite wanting privacy, balancing their need for normalcy with constant attention was an uphill challenge.
The couple tried hard to maintain a low profile, but with so much interest in their story, it wasn’t easy to stay out of the public eye. However, they remained steadfast in their commitment to their children’s well-being.
They Are Advised To Stay Out Of The Spotlight
The McCaugheys had to prioritize their privacy and stay out of the public eye. This advice came from the Dionne quintuplets, born in Ontario, Canada, in 1934 and faced exploitation and neglect due to their public notoriety. The quintuplets, who were adults by that time, helped the couple from their own experiences and urged them to avoid similar pitfalls.
Despite occasional updates, the McCaugheys decided to remain low-key and focus on raising their children in the best way possible.
Parenting Is A Full-Time Job
Parenting is challenging and demanding, requiring immense physical, emotional, and mental energy. However, caring for multiple babies simultaneously, like the McCaughneys, can be especially difficult due to the added responsibilities and workload. Parents of multiples must manage to feed, change, and soothe several infants, all while trying to balance their own self-care and other obligations.
Sleep deprivation and constant demands can lead to exhaustion and burnout, while the financial and logistical challenges of raising multiple children can be overwhelming.
A Strategy Is Needed
The McCaughey household must have been incredibly chaotic, with seven newborns to care for. Feeding, changing, and soothing seven babies would be a monumental task, not to mention managing the household and their firstborn child. To cope with the workload, the McCaugheys likely developed a careful strategy.
One report claimed they did an astonishing 17 loads of laundry every week, indicating the sheer labor required around the home. They were, however, determined to stay organized despite all the chaos.
The McCaughneys had no choice but to manage this responsibility. But no nannies. Instead took on most of the work themselves. While hiring help could have eased the workload, the McCaugheys wanted to keep their personal lives private and shield their children from the media attention that came with their rare and widely publicized births.
By choosing to do the majority of the work themselves, the McCaugheys were also able to maintain a sense of normalcy in their lives.
Expected Financial Strain
Many people expected that the McCaughey family would experience a significant financial strain after the birth of septuplets, which was evident in the daily consumption of baby essentials. The couple used an average of 52 diapers per day to accommodate the needs of their seven newborns and firstborn child.
Providing for the children’s necessities was a monumental task despite receiving financial assistance from supporters and well-wishers. Despite the challenges, they remained resolute in providing the best for their babies.
Bobbi Chose To Breastfeed
Bobbi decided to exclusively breastfeed her septuplets for the first three months of their lives. That must have taken an incredible amount of effort, as she would have needed to nurse each baby multiple times per day and maintain a consistent pumping schedule to ensure a healthy milk supply.
Despite the challenges, doctors cite numerous advantages to breastfeeding newborns, including providing them with crucial nutrients, boosting their immune systems, and promoting a solid emotional bond between mother and child.
Everybody Tried To Help
The McCaughey family’s story captured the world’s attention, and in response, a tremendous outpouring of support came flooding in. Friends and community members stepped up to help, donating money with baby essentials and volunteering their time. Even strangers from across the country offered a hand.
This support extended even to the laborers building their new house, pictured here holding the newborn septuplets. The sheer magnitude of support shown to the family is a testament to the compassion of humanity.
Even Big Sister Mikayla Offered To Help
As everybody else was chipping in to help, seeing that big sister Mikayla wasn’t left behind was heartwarming. Despite being just slightly older than her siblings, Mikayla was just as eager and helpful. She enthusiastically assisted with feeding and caring for her brothers and sisters and even entertained them with her playful antics—how precious and adorable!
It is indeed heartwarming to see the entire family, friends, and strangers come together to support each other during such a challenging time.
Implementing A Financial Strategy
The McCaughneys needed to be smart about their finances, given their circumstances. With eight children to raise, they faced significant financial challenges. In order to make ends meet, the family had to implement a financial strategy, which included buying all their supplies in bulk.
That allowed them to take advantage of discounts and save money in the long run. By being proactive and planning ahead, they could provide for their family’s basic needs without sacrificing their quality of life.
Growing Their Own Vegetables
Building on their previous strategy of buying supplies in bulk, the McCaughneys expanded their efforts to reduce their expenses by growing their vegetables. By doing so, they could save even more money on groceries. With a home garden, the household could enjoy fresh produce without needing to purchase it from the grocery store.
Farming their own produce provided not only financial benefits but also promoted healthy eating habits and brought the couple together in a fun and rewarding activity.
They Developed Cryptophasia
Cryptophasia is a term used to describe the phenomenon of twins or multiples developing their own private language that only they can understand. That happens because such siblings spend so much time together and become so attuned to each other’s needs that they develop a unique way of communicating before learning to talk.
The McCaughey septuplets’ development of Cryptophasia was an extraordinary example of the strong bonds that can form between multiples and the fascinating ways they can communicate.
Celebrating their birthday with family and loved ones was a significant occasion for the septuplets, which allowed media access during this time. Despite drawing attention from the press after their birth, the couple prioritized their children’s privacy and well-being. By limiting interviews, the McCauheys could protect their children and maintain a sense of normalcy.
The family’s dedication to their children’s privacy highlights the importance of protecting and valuing a child’s right to privacy, especially regarding their development and growth.
Clothing And Shoes Sizes
As the septuplets grew older, dressing them became a complicated affair. With eight children, ensuring they were well-dressed was a logistical and financial challenge. However, the family received a helping hand from Carter’s, a clothing store offering to clothe the children until they were five years old.
The store’s generosity significantly alleviated the family’s financial burden and made it easier to provide for their large household. Their story is a constant reminder that support can come from unexpected sources.
Even Presidents Took Note
Their story captured the nation’s attention, and very soon, the McCaugheys had many unique opportunities, including meeting multiple presidents. In 1998, they met president Bill Clinton, congratulating the family on their remarkable achievement. Later, they also had the chance to meet George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush in 2006.
The president’s interest in meeting the septuplets highlights the family’s impact on society and how their story touched people’s hearts. Their extraordinary journey continues to inspire people worldwide.
Everybody Wanted To Meet Them
Even years after their birth, their existence was a historic and rare event that captured the nation’s attention and beyond. The McCaugheys generated widespread excitement and curiosity, with many people eager to meet the septuplets even before their birth.
The story received continuous media coverage, and the family was inundated with letters, gifts, and support from around the world. Even the Governor of Iowa at the time, Terry Branstad, met the septuplets, highlighting the family’s significant impact on society.
They Learned How To Share
Teaching children to share is a challenging task that requires patience and persistence; they often struggle with sharing because they are naturally possessive of their belongings. It can be more demanding when teaching multiple children simultaneously, like the McCaughey septuplets.
The couple worked extra hard to teach their septuplets how to share, as they were all born and raised together. They used a variety of strategies, including setting up specific sharing rules, encouraging turn-taking, and praising positive sharing behaviors.
The Children Developed Different Personalities
The septuplets developed different personalities due to genetic and environmental factors. While their DNA was identical, their experiences, interactions with each other, and external influences shaped their characters. For instance, one septuplet might have had a closer bond with their mother during infancy; but another spent more time playing with their siblings, leading to differences in temperament and behavior.
Over time, these differences can often end up being reinforced through feedback from others or simply through accumulating unique experiences.
As the McCaughey septuplets joined high school, their sense of self began evolving further, each in unique ways. They found themselves in different social circles pursuing various interests, further differentiating their personalities. One septuplet excelled in sports and became popular, while another focused on academics and was relatively more of an introvert; some even joined a band.
The siblings also encountered new challenges and experiences that further shaped their personalities, such as managing time and responsibilities or navigating relationships.
Buffet Style Meals
At home, the family began serving meals buffet-style as a practical solution to accommodate their large household. With eight children to feed, including the septuplets, Bob and Kenny McCaughey found it challenging to serve everyone at the table and keep up with mealtime demands.
The buffet-style approach allowed each family member to serve themselves, choose their portion sizes, and pick whatever they wanted. This method also made mealtime more efficient, reducing the time needed for food preparation and cleanup.
There Were Some Challenges
Our story has mainly been positive so far, but the McCaugheys also faced other challenges. Two of the septuplets, Alexis and Nathan, were born with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects movement and coordination. As a result, they needed specialized care.
Bob and Kenny McCaughey worked hard to provide for their children, but it wasn’t always easy. They had to juggle the demands of caring for their children, including two with special needs, while also managing their careers.
In 2013, the septuplets turned 16 and celebrated their special day with a private gathering of family and friends. Despite their parents’ desire for privacy, media attention resurfaced, with many curious to know more about the septuplets and their lives.
Interestingly, all seven siblings participated in their high school’s cross-country team, with several of them achieving impressive times in competitions. In addition to athletic pursuits, they have been active in their church and have volunteered for various charitable causes.
They Are Adults Now
The septuplets, now adults, had come a long way since their highly publicized birth. They graduated high school thanks to the tireless efforts of their parents to ensure that they received a quality education. The occasion was emotional for Bobbi, who couldn’t believe that her babies had grown up but was encouraged to know many other firsts were coming.
Despite their challenges, the septuplets continued to be a fascinating topic for many people, who were undoubtedly rooting for them.
Naturally, Bobbi and Kenny beamed with pride as their children, the septuplets, ventured into their respective journeys after high school. While Alexis and Kenny enrolled in their local community college to further their education, Brandon joined the United States Army to serve his country. The septuplets’ diverse interests and pursuits reflected their personalities, talents, and passions.
For Bobbi and Kenny, seeing their children achieve their goals and chase their dreams was a momentous milestone in their journey as parents.
Brandon And Kenny Jr.
The septuplets’ diverse career paths were a testament to the couple’s good parenting. When Brandon joined the Army to serve his country, Kenny Jr. decided to become a carpenter, following his passion for woodworking.
When Mikayla, the septuplets’ oldest sibling, became a mom, her brother was quick to show his support. Kenny Jr. gifted her a custom-made kitchen table and benches that he had crafted himself, a testament to his skills and the strong bond all the siblings shared.
When they were born, the state of Iowa had promised to sponsor the McCaughey septuplets to attend a college of their choice. Natalie, Nathan, Joel, and Kelsey took up the offer and enrolled at Hannibal-LaGrange University in Missouri while their other siblings pursued their own careers.
Though the four siblings were far from their Iowa home, their parents, friends, and familiar surroundings, they were still able to experience college life together, creating new memories and strengthening their unbreakable bond.
Alexis And Natalie
Alexis and Natalie McCaughey both pursued their dreams of becoming teachers. They attended Hannibal-LaGrange University in Missouri, where they received an excellent education to help prepare them for their chosen career paths.
Natalie opted to become an elementary school teacher, eager to make a difference in the lives of young children. Meanwhile, Alexis became a high school teacher because she hoped to inspire and educate future students. The sisters were turning out to be not so different after all!
Kenny and Bobbi were now empty nesters as their children pursued their dreams and passions. While they were excited to begin the next chapter of their lives, they couldn’t help but feel lonely without the chaos and excitement of having eight children around.
The house was quieter now, and they missed the hustle and bustle of daily life with their kids. However, they were proud of their children’s accomplishments and excited to see what the future might bring them.
Big Sister Mikayla
Mikayla, the oldest of the McCaughey siblings, was only two years older than her septuplet brothers and sisters. She attended Des Moines College and Arizona State University, paving the way for her younger siblings’ college journeys.
Now happily married, Mikayla has a child of her own, bringing joy to Kenny and Bobbi as proud grandparents. Despite a different path from her septuplet siblings, Mikayla remained close to them, always being there for all of her younger brothers and sisters.
Who Needs Bridesmaids When You’ve Got Sisters?
When Mikayla was getting married, she didn’t need to search for bridesmaids. Her three sisters, Ashley, Kelsey, and Brittany, were her built-in best friends and the perfect fit for the role. They stood by her side during the ceremony, along with their brothers, Kenny, Brandon, and Nathan, who were also part of the bridal party.
The siblings’ bond was undeniably unbreakable as they celebrated Mikayla’s special day as one big, happy family. They could hardly fit in one photo!
Kenny Sr. Keeping Himself Busy
With all of the McCaughey kids grown and living in different cities, Kenny Sr. had plenty of free time. But he wasn’t simply content to just sit around; he poured his energy into his favorite hobby: scrapping motorcycles. Piece by piece, he dismantled old bikes, carefully cataloging and organizing each part.
And then, he’d reassemble them, creating a beautiful and functional ride. Once the project was complete, he’d hit the open road, touring the countryside on his latest masterpiece.
Downsizing: No Need For A Huge House
Bobbi and Kenny had raised their family in a large home, but with their children grown and gone, it was time to downsize. After putting their house up for sale, they soon found a buyer.
Instead of pocketing the money, they donated it to a non-profit called Ruth Harbor, which provides support and resources to young women facing unplanned pregnancies. They felt strongly about giving back, especially since Providence had blessed them with so much generosity over the years.
Kenny and Bobbi have remained famous for having the world’s first surviving birthing septuplets. They felt fortunate that they didn’t choose selective reduction during the pregnancy. They believed their lives were enriched with blessings and had no regrets about their decision.
If they were to go back in time, they would still make the same choice. The McCaugheys’ experience serves as a remarkable example of how faith and family can overcome daunting challenges. They also had plenty of help!
Their Lives Have Been Well-Documented
Despite Kenny and Bobbi’s commitment to keeping a low profile after the birth of their septuplets, the couple could not stay entirely out of the spotlight. However, they granted privileges to specific photographers whom they trusted, including Rodney White, Holly McQueen, and Andrea Mendez, to take pictures of the children.
The McCaugheys were always careful to maintain a delicate balance between protecting their family’s privacy and sharing their story to raise awareness about the challenges of raising multiple children.
Boys Will Be Boys
The McCaughey boys have had a passion for video games since their childhood. Research shows that boys are more drawn to video games because they offer a sense of accomplishment and mastery that is not always easily attainable in reality.
This hobby remained with the kids as they grew older, as evidenced by a photograph showing them playing video games together. The boys found joy in their shared interest in gaming and used it to bond with one another.
Are There Other Septuplets?
Like the McCaughey siblings, Septuplets are incredibly rare, with only a few sets ever born alive worldwide. The first recorded set of septuplets to survive infancy were born in the United States just months before the McCaugheys. Other septuplets have been birthed in various countries since then, including Saudi Arabia in 2015.
Unfortunately, not all such cases were successful; some babies have experienced complications due to premature births. The McCaugheys’ story continues inspiring couples, but such luck is rare.
The Septuplets Turn 25!
The McCaughey septuplets turned 25 years old in 2022, marking a milestone for this remarkable family. They are all grown up and pursuing their interests and careers. Interestingly, four of the seven siblings have pursued careers in the medical field, including nursing and physical therapy.
The McCaughey family’s journey has inspired countless people around the world, and their story serves as a reminder of the importance of faith, family, and resilience in overcoming even the most daunting of challenges.