"You never have to worry that you are alone."
On November 19, 1997 in Carlisle, Iowa Kenny, Kelsey, Natalie, Brandon, Alexis, Nathan and Joel were born to Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey. According to The Daily Mail, they were the world's first septuplets to survive infancy, marking a milestone and making national headlines.
"I will always remember the day we found out there were so many," Bobbi said. "It wasn't like 'yoohoo!' There were so many doubts. To a lot of people this might sound trite, but God determined the outcome."
At the time the children were conceived, Bobbi was taking treatments of Metrodin, an ovulation-stimulating drug. Though it usually takes repeated doses to get pregnant, Bobbi conceived the children after the first treatment. Doctors warned the already mother-of-one that none of the previous cases of delivering septuplets had been successful and suggested that Bobbi undergo selective reduction, a process that aborts several fetuses so that the others stand a chance of being born healthy. The McCaugheys refused.
Though all seven of the McCaughey children were born 9-weeks premature and two of the children were born with cerebral palsy, all seven are healthy and are currently attending a local high school.
The road hasn't always been easy, but with local media attention, including a phone call from President Bill Clinton to offer congratulations and an invitation from Oprah to come on her show, the family has received help from family, friends, and total strangers. The first few years they received a 5,500 square foot home, a year's worth of Kraft macaroni and cheese, a van, diapers for the first few years, and full scholarships for any state university in Iowa.
All donations were appreciated and helpful given that the children drank 42 bottles and used 52 diapers per day in the first few months.
Now the family is celebrating, discussing such things as college, cellphones, and cars (though Kenny says that the kids can forget driving until they get jobs).
Over the years the media attention as waned, but the children are not phased.
"It was kinda cool but in other ways I never liked it," Nathan, one of the seven, said. "All these cameras following you around everywhere."
Kenny, Kelsey, Natalie, Brandon, Alexis, Nathan and Joel are now considering their future paths. Kenny hopes to work in construction, Brandon plans on going into military service after school, Nathan into science, Joel into the world of computers, Alexis and Natalie into teaching, and Kelsey hopes to become a cosmetologist.
Happy Sweet Sixteen (to the seventh power) McCaugheys.
image via: The Daily Mail