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Septuplets are thriving, family rejoicing

SHARE Septuplets are thriving, family rejoicing

The seven little McCaugheys were doing well Thursday - astonishing doctors who say the day-old septuplets' condition is virtually unheard of. Their beaming father's first public comment - "Wow."

The babies born Wednesday to 29-year-old Bobbi McCaughey and her husband, Kenny, 27 - four boys and three girls - are only the second set of sep-tuplets born alive and, if they live, would be the first ever to survive.The family was showered with gifts, including free diapers and free groceries.

"The size of the babies is wonderful. Each weighs in a normal range for babies this age, which is virtually unheard of" in a multiple pregnancy, Dr. Paula Mahone, who helped deliver them by Caesarean, said on NBC's "Today" show. The babies all did well overnight, she said.

Earlier, she had said the babies were "so well-grown, so well-developed, it just strikes me as a miracle."

The babies' deeply religious family - who had rejected suggestions to abort some of the fetuses to give the others a better chance - rejoiced.

"Wow! I want to welcome you here to the Lord's house," McCaughey told a news conference Thursday at Missionary Baptist Church in the family hometown of Carlisle. "I want to say this is one of the most blessed events that I have ever encountered. We were just ecstatic."

When their daughter, nearly 2, saw the babies, "She just sat there in my arms and said, `Baby, baby.' "

Among the gifts pledged to the family: a new van from McCaughey's boss, a Chevrolet dealer; car seats and strollers; a lifetime supply of disposable diapers; and even a new home.

But McCaughey cautioned that the couple was determined to raise the babies "in a normal, Christian home" and their lives would not be turned into "a big show. We're not here on display," he said.

He was asked if they would ever have more children: "No, no, no! Medically that has been taken care of," he said, throwing up his arms and shaking his head with a wide grin.

Bobbi McCaughey is a seamstress, and her husband is a billing clerk at the dealership.

The children were in serious condition Thursday - considered normal for a multiple birth - in the neonatal intensive care unit of Blank Children's Hospital. Joel Steven, the last to arrive, was listed as critical for several hours before his condition was upgraded. All were placed on ventilators to aid their breathing.

Hospital officials said Bobbi McCaughey was resting comfortably. The focus now is on her recovery and the babies' continued health, Mahone said.

"We want to make sure they breathe on their own eventually, that they're eating well. We're monitoring for bleeding into the brain and also watching their digestive system," she said.

The pregnancy of Bobbi McCaughey, who was taking a fertility drug, had long been known in the family's tiny hometown of Carlisle, a bedroom community 10 miles outside Des Moines. But friends and neighbors there kept the secret from the outside world for months.

Once news began trickling out, the couple found themselves the center of worldwide attention.

"God gave us those kids," McCaughey said last month. "He wants us to raise them."

Kenneth Robert, the first born, was nicknamed Hercules by the doctors because he held his siblings in a pyramid formation in the womb, said Mahone, who helped perform the delivery.

He came into the world at 12:48 p.m., weighing 3 pounds, 4 ounces. His siblings were born a minute apart: Alexis May at 2 pounds, 11 ounces, followed by Natalie Sue, 2 pounds, 10 ounces; Kelsey Ann, 2 pounds, 5 ounces; Brandon James, 3 pounds, 3 ounces; Nathanial Roy, 2 pounds, 14 ounces; and lastly, at 12:54 p.m., Joel Steven, at 2 pounds, 15 ounces.

Doctors could not determine whether any of the infants were identical.

Bobbi McCaughey gained just 25 pounds during the pregnancy, or just 5 pounds more than the babies weighed. Mahone said she had been in bed for a long time and lost muscle mass.