Lucky 7: The McCaughey Septuplets

Many new parents find the arrival of a new baby overwhelming. Can you picture what it’s like for a multiple birth? We’re not talking about twins, but septuplets. You heard us correctly, seven babies from one pregnancy.

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The likelihood of babies making it through that pregnancy is incredibly low, but sometimes with professional help and close care, these babies are brought to term and into the world. Fertility treatments often help women conceive their babies, so let’s dive into this story.

Introducing The Parents

Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey had been married for years before starting a family. Then, in 1996, the couple was blessed with the arrival of their healthy baby daughter. They named her Mikayla Marie McCaughey.

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The McCaugheys thought that their new baby girl was a miraculous gift. They had been trying for some time when they discovered that Bobbi suffered from problems with her pituitary gland, which can cause issues with fertility. After Mikayla’s birth, they were already excited for their next child.

Fertility Assistance

Despite Mikayla being born perfectly healthy, her mom Bobbi really jumped through hoops to deliver the baby. Since they had such a difficult time conceiving Mikayla, the McCaugheys chose to pursue fertility treatment options for their next baby.

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Bobbi’s doctor prescribed her a medication called Metrodin, which is supposed to assist with ovulation, which is crucial and necessary for a woman to have a child. Bobbi started to take the medication right away, and the couple made plans for their second baby.

Exceeding Expectations

After religiously taking her medication and following her doctor’s instructions, Bobbi went in for a scan at her doctor’s practice. What should have been a normal, run-of-the-mill scan turned out to be completely life-changing for the family.

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The scan showed that she was pregnant! And not just with one baby, but seven babies. This was not only giant news that they would be going from a family of 3 to 10 people, but this pregnancy also kind of dangerous for Bobbi.

Considering a Controversial Process

Multiple births can create a complicated pregnancy for both the babies and their mother. There can be complications during any stage of the pregnancy, including after the birth. In the case of Bobbi McCaughey, her body was already under monumental strain from being pregnant with seven fetuses’.

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The doctors suggested that Bobby and Kenny consider a specific process called “selected reduction.” This process focuses on providing protection to the fetuses’ most likely to make it to full term. This strategy essentially aborts the babies who aren’t as likely to survive.

Rarity of Septuplets

After fully considering the risks involved in such a complicated pregnancy and having a healthy daughter in Mikayla, Bobby and Kenny concluded that they did not want to choose some babies above others and wanted to continue with the pregnancy as natural as possible.

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Worldwide, there have been only about 40-50 births that have come from a pregnancy of seven babies. Even though most septuplets haven’t made it through birth and infancy, at least three sets of septuplets, and lived past infancy.

Gaining National Attention

Once they had finalized their decision and moved forward with the seven-fetus pregnancy, news started to spread of this sensational pregnancy. People in the media and across the country found the story of this small family and their septuplets fascinating.

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Though a rare and fascinating human story, not everyone who heard the news was supportive of keeping all seven of the babies. Despite the hate they got, Bobbi and Kenny were confident in their choice that everything would work out for them.

Help From Anyone and Everyone

The McCaughey family received help from people they know and total strangers. Keep in mind, having seven children at once is an uncommon event in any family. The family was so grateful for the generosity of all those that offered their help and resources.

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Kraft gifted the family a year supply of “man n cheese,” they received many boxes of diapers, some offered services as a babysitter or nanny, and to top it all off, a 5,000 square foot house was given to the family. It truly takes a village to raise children!

The Gifts Just Keep On Coming

The McCaugheys were overwhelmed with gratitude at the amount of kindness that was exhibited and directed at them as they prepared for their new arrivals. But the donations weren’t done yet! The family continued to receive donations, including a brand-new van. The best part? It was big enough to fit all of their children!

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One of the wildest donations that the family received was that someone donated a full year’s worth of groceries to the family. That’s groceries enough for 10 mouths! All of these blessings and the babies hadn’t even arrived yet.

Not so Smooth Sailing

The time leading up to the birth was not only thrilling but frightening and fittingly stressful! They knew from the beginning of this pregnancy that there were a lot of risk factors and that things could change in a second.

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Bobbi had to try and stay relaxed and calm because the doctors were nervous that the stress of the upcoming births might push her to early labor. In the back of their heads, Bobbi and Kenny knew that there were real risks, but they tried to stay optimistic and believe everything would work itself out.

Early Bird Gets the Worm

With multiple-birth pregnancy, they’re an entirely different ballgame than a typical pregnancy. So when Bobbi and Kenny got the news that they would need to go to the hospital at only 31 weeks to deliver their babies by caesarian section, they were taken a bit off guard.

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However, they trusted their team of medical professionals, and on November 19, 1997, all seven babies were born in the span of under six and half minutes. The McCaugheys were officially a family of 10!

Meet The McCaugheys

The McCaugheys had four boys and three girls, making up the septuplet set. Blessed with seven healthy babies, Bobbi and Kenny just needed to give each baby a name. Naming one baby already takes a lot of work, can’t imagine how long it took them to decide on these monikers!

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The girls were named Natalie Sue, Alexis May, and Kelsey Ann, who was the lightest at birth. The boys were named Nathan Roy, Joel Steven, Brandon James, and Kenny (Kenneth), who was the heaviest at birth.

The Medical Team

The McCaughey babies were delivered with the help of a team of hospital staff. All of the nurses, doctors, and maternity staff knew that they were making American history by being a part of the delivery of the first healthy set of septuplets.

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Shortly after the septuplet’s births, every member of the medical team that was involved in the delivery got together for a group picture. We are positive that the photo hung somewhere in the McCaughey house!

Delivering in Des Moines

Bobbi and Kenny were instructed to come to the hospital nine weeks before Bobbi’s due date to deliver the septuplets. This change in scheduling left news channels completely oblivious that the births were happening at the Iowa Methodist Hospital Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

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Every news outlet wanted to get the first photo of the septuplets. However, they would soon find out that they would have to wait for a little bit for them to get a glimpse at the newborns.

Heading Home

Since the septuplets were delivered so early, they spent some time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The babies needed a lot of care early on, but after three months and 10 days, all of the babies were healthy enough to be discharged.

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Bobbi and Kenny managed to load all seven babies into their new donated van. Finally, the journalists and news outlets got a picture of the septuplets with their parents. There were smiles, laughs, and some tears as the McCaugheys drove home.

Safety First

The arrival of the septuplets sent people into a frenzy. To make sure that the family would be able to arrive at their home safely, the authorities set up a security post. The post was placed outside the McCaughey house so that the family was able to arrive at home without being disturbed.

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The septuplets were initially brought back to Bobbi and Kenny’s former house, but it was only temporary because, before long, they would be transitioning into their brand-new home.

All Moved In

It would take a little bit of time before their new house was ready for the family to move all of their stuff in. But once it was all ready, a small ceremony was held to present them with the keys to their 5,500 square foot house.

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The ceremony featured Lloyd Clarke, the chairman of Clarke Companies giving Bobbi and Kenny the keys to their new house in the garage of the home. There was excitement in the air as the McCaugheys took their first steps into their house as new homeowners.

Time Magazine

With a human story piece as interesting as septuplets, it’s no surprise that the McCaughneys were a hot commodity. There was a lot of interest in the McCaughey family, and initially, Bobbi and Kenny thought it was just local news channels who were sharing their family’s story.

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Good news travels fast, so more and more people became intrigued with the story of the septuplets. In December 1997, a little over a month after the septuplets were born, Bobbi and Kenny were photographed and highlighted on the front cover of Time Magazine.

ABC Interview

If the McCaugheys thought that their Time Magazine cover was going to be the end of their story coverage, they were sorely mistaken. ABC News Prime Time was the first network to gain a full opportunity to interview the family in detail and be featured on the news.

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There had been so much coverage of the septuplet’s births, but much of that reporting had been reporters retelling what other stations had already said about the McCaughey family. ABC was the original channel to sit down for an actual interview with the family.

Haters Can’t Get Them Down

While the majority of the stories written about the septuplets were positive and supported the family, there were also some negative perspectives that were shared with various news channels.

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The family was called irresponsible for having that large number of kids and that the amount of waste generated by so many children could be bad for the environment. It didn’t faze the McCaugheys, though. Nothing could take away their excitement from having seven newborns.

Private as Possible

Eventually, the frenzy surrounding the birth of the septuplets started to decline, and the McCaugheys started to just focus on raising their eight kids. They spoke with another family with a multiple-birth for tips on moving forward.

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Dionne family, who had quintuplets, served as the McCaugheys’ model when it came to their decision to keep the majority of their family life as private as possible. They made one exception to this, which involved an annual public appearance for the baby’s birthday.

The Dionne Quints

The Dionne quintuplets were born in 1934 and were born in Ontario, Canada. Their mother was Elzire Dionne, who was heavily criticized for her parenting style. The kids were the subject of much media attention, which was often described to be similar to a circus.

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The quintuplets, who were mature adults by the time the septuplets were born, warned the McCaugheys against heavy press involvement in kids’ lives and encouraged Kenny and Bobbi to attempt to be as private as possible.

Endless Loads

One baby generates a ton of dirty clothes. Now think about that mess and multiple it by seven. The McCaugheys were said to have done an average of 17 loads of laundry a week.

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Since they had attempted to have a private life, it meant many of the chores around the house had been done by themselves. Fortunately, they had two washing machines and two dryers to help with the towering piles of laundry.

Bulk for the Babies

Seven babies don’t just have piles of laundry but were using an average of 52 diapers daily between them and going through almost 42 bottles as well. That is a lot of things that aren’t even reusable.

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This was costing the McCaugheys too much of their money and eventually got to the point where Bobbi and Kenny decided they needed to come up with a new game plan for managing their large family and large finances.

Got Milk?

After careful and thoughtful consideration, Bobbi decided that she wasn’t going to give formula milk to her babies. As a result, this left her no choice but to pump breast milk for the first couple of months of the baby’s life.

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Babies’ entire diets consist of milk, so one baby drinks a lot of milk in the first three months. Between the seven new McCaugheys, they would go through anywhere from four to five gallons of milk per week.

Potty Time

Potty training children is, more often than not, a tough and challenging process for any parent. Bobbi and Kenny knew it was going to be a lengthy challenge. With their first daughter Mikayla, they figured out how to potty train her within four days.

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Though trying to potty train seven kids all at the same time proved to be more difficult. They assumed it would take them a lot longer, maybe even a couple of months, to get them all successfully potty trained.

Giant Volunteer Team

People say it takes a village to raise a kid, and this was especially the case with the septuplets. The McCaugheys would have nearly 70 volunteers helping with chores around the house in addition to caring for the little ones.

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The team had to divide and conquer to get everything done. There would be about eight or nine people taking care of diapers, preparing and feeding them their meals, and generally making sure the babies were good and cared for.

Generous Public

Everyone who was fortunate enough to cross paths with the McCaugheys wanted to assist and care for the babies. Even the construction workers who were building their new home wanted in on the action.

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In this picture, we can see these construction workers holding the babies for an adorable photo that is just being asked to be hung on the McCaugheys’ fridge. We can only stop and wonder how long they remained in this position with the septuplets after the picture was taken?

We Are Family

It was not solely assistance from volunteers and other people in the community. The McCaugheys’ also received a good amount of help from their family members. Lucky for Bobbi and Kenny, they had plenty of siblings step up and offer their time.

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Here we have a photograph of Bobbi’s sister, Michelle, having a bonding moment with one of the septuplets. The help Bobbi and Kenny got from their loved ones was beyond what they could’ve imagined, and they could not have accomplished it without them.

Sister to Seven Siblings

Of all of the family members and friends of the family that stepped up to help Bobbi and Kenny, there was one member of the family in particular who wanted to offer her help wherever possible.

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Big sister Mikayla always did her best to be on hand to play with the septuplets, assist when it was time for meals, and generally help her parents wherever and whenever she could with her seven younger brothers and sisters.

‘B’ Is for Bulk

We stated earlier that the McCaugheys discussed that they needed a better strategy to keep their expenses to a minimum. They started with a few easy tricks. The most effective was buying in bulk, with so many kids they figured they would need it eventually.

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They also began researching special deals at their local grocery stores. Once, Bobbi purchased 60 lbs of hamburgers. They were able to bring their monthly spending down to about $300 a month, which was a great reduction from their previous bills.

Attention-Grabbing Strollers

It’s not totally weird to spot twin strollers around town, but the McCaugheys needed two sets of strollers, each with four seats. Now, this was not something that a lot of people had ever observed before.

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This caught people’s attention whenever they would leave for a stroll around their neighborhood. This still happened even though most of their neighbors knew about the babies. These septuplets couldn’t help but grab the attention of people around them.

Alternative Money Saving Tricks

The McCaugheys had another way to help reduce their monthly expenditure. The family started their own garden to grow fruits and vegetables, which were both free and organic! Much better for the wallet than the grocery store equivalent.

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These fresh fruits and vegetables were also available in their backyard; it was so natural for them to pick and tend to. It helped reduce the cost of grocery shopping and was great for the environment. It’s just a shame they could have a cow too.

Checking in With Doctors

Having only one baby requires a lot of care and attention, making sure that they are eating enough food and getting a normal amount of sleep. With seven babies at once, all of that care and attention needs to split amongst them as cleaning and changing the babies is hard work.

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The septuplets also needed to go for regular doctor appointment check-ups. There weren’t always seven doctors available to have all seven babies checked at once, so it would often take a good chunk of time.

Breakfast Time!

Food and nutrients are crucial for a baby as their body continues to strengthen and grow. The septuplets were always eager and ready for mealtime. They all especially enjoyed their breakfasts, which is encouraging to hear since it is the most important meal of the day.

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Whether it was store-bought baby food, organic food from their family’s garden, or some combination of both, the McCaugheys must have required massive amounts of whatever food they were serving the family.

A Secret Language

Being one of seven siblings born at the same time is something incredibly special. There was an unmistakable bond between all of the septuplets, and as they aged into toddlers, they began to make their own secret language.

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This phenomenon is not entirely unique to the McCaugheys. It is something that happens pretty often with twins and triplets, or even brothers and sisters who are of similar ages. The phenomenon is called cryptophasia, and the septuplets also spoke English.

Big Birthday Bash

A typical family with multiple children will celebrate everyone’s birthday throughout the year, but that was not the case with the McCaugheys. Every year as they reached another birthday, the family took advantage of the opportunity to celebrate the septuplets.

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It was also a chance to reflect on all the people and things to be grateful for: helping the babies, those who helped support the McCaugheys when they had made the decision to keep all of their babies. After all, look at their beautiful family.

Group Outfits

What’s the best part of multiple births? Matching group outfits! As the McCaughey kids grew older, they grew at different rates. Some were bigger, some shorter, but most important for us to remember – never compare the children to each other.

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Regardless of this, Bobbi and Kenny chose to dress the four boys alike and the three girls in the same clothes. However, the kids did not all have the same shoe size, so they all required shoes based on their individual sizes.

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Seven kids need a lot of clothing, and affording all of those clothes was costing the McCaugheys’ large sums of money. They were doing the best they could be; they knew that they needed a better long-term solution. Then something truly miraculous happened.

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Carters, the kids’ clothing brand, declared that they would supply clothes for all of the septuplets until they were five years old. This was yet another example of the level of generosity shown to Bobbi, Kenny, and their family.

Presidential Stamp of Approval

The McCaugheys were the talk of the town before the babies were born and only drew more fame after their births. News of the septuplets reached the highest of heights. When the babies were born, the President of the United States in 1997, Bill Clinton, called the family with his well wishes.

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Across media outlets and prominent magazines, the septuplets were young but definitely known nationwide. Years later, the kids would get the chance to meet the next President, George W. Bush.

Compliments From Clinton

When Bobbi gave birth to the septuplets, she received a surprising phone call. The President of the United States, Bill Clinton, called to congratulate the new parents. Initially taken aback by who called her, Bobbi was even more surprised when he paid her a big compliment.

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He told her that when the seven kids finally go to school, Bobbi will be able to get a job being in charge of a major corporation in America. President Clinton commented that Bobbi would be one of the most organized managers in the country.

The Governor Stops By

The McCaughey septuplets were well-known babies, and even before they joined us earthside, everybody was talking about them. Everyone from college students to families in the suburbs everyone was curious about this family.

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It came as no surprise that after they were born, it seemed like everybody who was anybody wanted to meet them – no matter if they were locally or nationally known. Here in this photo, we see baby Kenny getting a smooch on the cheek from Iowa’s Governor, Terry Branstad.

Sharing is Caring

Having lots of children means that the kids need to learn how to share. They were taught this skill from an early age, and this was the most tested on their birthdays. This photo is from their fourth birthday, but they didn’t make seven separate cakes or put 28 candles.

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Instead, the McCaugheys’ have tried to come up with more economically responsible solutions. and given the kids one birthday cake between them, with four candles. They don’t seem phased by it since the cake is big enough for everybody to get a slice.

Growing Into Their Own

As the McCaughey septuplets began to grow older, they developed their own distinct personalities that differed from one to the next. This just goes to show that despite the matching outfits, even multiple births result in individuals.

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Not only do the septuplets have different personalities, but they are so different! Brandon is the brave one of the group and even a little bit stubborn. Kenny Junior is the comedian among the group, whereas Natalie and Joel would rather sit quietly and read.

The Mischief Maker

Kenny Junior isn’t just the “class clown” type with an adventurous streak but also likes to be the mischief-maker. With a silly reputation like that, Kenny Junior earned a name from his family. His mom refers to him as the “pint-sized explorer.”

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Being a parent is a stressful job that can often lead to wanting to control their children. So it is so nice and refreshing to see that each kid is given a supportive space to grow and develop into whatever person they wish to become.

Taking Time for Themselves

With a house packed with eight kids, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself and your relationship. You prioritize the kids and their care before even thinking of the things you need to do for yourself.

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Bobbi and Kenny just seem to be hitting it out of the park as far as couples go. Not only did they raise quality kids, but they thought it was imperative to save one night a week for them to spend some quality alone time together. Friday night served as their date night.

A Parent Knows

Each of the McCaughey septuplets had its own unique personality traits. Bobbi and Kenny were able to use their parental intuition to pick up on each of these characteristics. The parents noticed that though all seven have some overlap, everyone is their own person.

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Nathan is strong-willed, while Kelsey is a sporty fashionista. Joel is reserved and studious, who is pretty similar to Alexis, who is kind and observant. Brandon is approachable and athletic. Natalie is a high-achieving idealist, and Kenny Jr is a motivated mischief-maker.

A Disneyworld Trip

Families are chaotic, and maybe the McCaugheys were more chaotic than most families. In spite of all of that, it’s still important to make time for outings as a family, spending time together, and having a break from everyday stresses.

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There are few places that families love more than Disneyworld and Disneyland. The whole McCaughey family, including big sister Mikayla, were taken on a family vacation to Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida. I bet they took up the whole line for the rides!

Cover Spread

Bobbi and Kenny made a decision when the kids were young that they would shy away from media exposure, with the exception of the septuplets’ birthday. For their eighth birthday, the kids were on the cover of Ladies’ Home Journal.

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The magazine not only had photos of the children, now a number of years older but also featured an article on the family where Bobbi and Kenny responded to questions which they hoped would help new parents who are looking for guidance.

President George W. Bush

In 2001, four years after the septuplets were born, the McCaughey family was invited to meet with President George W. Bush. This was a huge deal for Bobbi and Kenny, so they made sure that they and all the kids were appropriately dressed.

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As is typical with children, they’re easily distracted by people. Such is the way with young kids; some of the McCaugheys were more intrigued than others, though we doubt they really understood who they were meeting with at the time.

Media Attention

There was a high volume of media attention when the septuplets were born, and Bobbi and Kenny could have chosen to be featured on a reality television show to be filmed about their lives, as is the case in other families with lots of kids or different sets of kids.

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But the McCaughey family chose to decline the offers. There were, however, times when the kids were featured in magazines, newspapers, and on television. But this exposure was limited by their parents.

Another Year Older

For every rule, there are exceptions, and while, in general, the McCaughey family did not want strangers with cameras in their house, the exception was for the kids’ birthday. And even then, their parents limited their exposure.

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For their 13th birthday, Bobbi and Kenny allowed the Today Show’s Ann Curry to come and meet the kids for a special birthday interview. For this birthday they all got individual cakes with 13 candles on each. That’s a total of 91 birthday candles!

Time For High School

For being so famous as babies, it’s hard to imagine the septuplets growing up. In 2012, the McCaughey siblings began high school altogether, following in big sister Mikayla’s footsteps. The whole family was enrolled at the Carlisle High School in Carlisle, Iowa.

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As with almost anything that they do, the McCaugheys got a lot of attention on their first day from other students, teachers, and even administration. But as the school year went on and each of them settled in, they began to succeed in their studies.

Band Of Siblings

Seeing the McCaugheys at school certainly drew attention when they moved from class to lunch or just down the hallways, but they got more attention when all of them chose to join the school band and perform together at the school’s sports games.

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No one had issues telling them apart since they all had their own instruments and distinct personalities. This may have been surprising to strangers, but to people who knew the family knew that it was typical for the McCaugheys.

Their Own Interests

The septuplets didn’t just play in the school band. Each and every one of them had their own capabilities and specified interests. Within the group of seven, some became members of the wrestling team, and some of the other siblings joined the cross-country team.

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The ones who were less into sports joined other clubs like the choir and the speech society. They would enter competitive tournaments where they would have to create and convey their speeches. The McCaugheys were obviously talented kids.

Serving Style

Feeding any sized family takes a lot of work, especially when it’s not solely milk. Feeding septuplets plus an older sibling takes a lot of forethought. Bobbi and Kenny had to come up with a plan and began serving the family meals buffet style.

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This took one less job off of whoever cooked the meal since everyone served themselves. The array was impressive. As the kids got older, they also helped prepare the food. They were proving that there can’t be too many cooks in the kitchen!

Encountering Hardships

Carrying a baby to full-term takes a total of 40 weeks. When a baby is prematurely, especially as early as the septuplets were, the development of the kids is often affected. In the case of the McCaugheys, two of the kids were both born with cerebral palsy.

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Nathan and Alexis both have to live with the condition that affects their coordination and movement abilities. These difficulties, in turn, cause them to have a tough time walking and require the assistance of walking aids.

One Small Step for Man

Nathan was strong-willed and focused on walking without an aid, which up to this point, he had no other option. He felt that he didn’t desire to be restricted by his cerebral palsy and taught himself how to get around without the assistance of his walker.

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Every day he got a bit further, and with this level of stubbornness, he was determined to succeed. Speaking about his goals, he said that he had taught himself how to walk because he desired to learn – his progress improving all the time.

Making A Difference

Alexis was also not going just to roll over and let her condition define her. She may still have difficulties from walking, but she is not confined by it and is a kid with many talents. She chooses to focus on her strengths and rather than focus on what she can’t do.

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In 2013, Alexis was awarded the “Teens Miss Dreams Come True” award. This feat proved that she was gifted on many levels. Alexis was also academically gifted and completed that school year in the top 15% of her grade.

The Seven Turn Sixteen

When the septuplets turned sixteen, the news outlets, magazines, and the world wanted to see the kind of people they had become, know how their lives were going, and what kinds of people they were turning into.

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Sixteen is a major age for parents and children. It is the age at which kids can obtain their driver’s licenses after completing driving lessons, but those can be costly. Not wanting to deprive any of their kids of this milestone, they found a solution to make it happen.

Hard Work Pays Off

Always a firm believer in hard work, Kenny Sr. had taught this belief and discipline to all of his eight kids. In an interview with NBC News, Kenny told them that he and Bobbi wanted to instill the idea that wanting something had to be earned by working towards it.

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When they were teenagers, Kenny Sr and Bobbi were adamant that should their kids want something that was out of the normal realm of everyday items, they needed to work for it.

Normalcy

When the septuplets were old enough to vote at age 18, the media took an interest and wanted to capture this milestone in their graduation year. It turns out they were all painfully regular teenagers.

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Some of them were in their first romantic relationships, others were in driving lessons, and some were working in part-time jobs to achieve their goals. No matter what was at the forefront of their minds, the McCaugheys, now nearing years of adulthood, still remained a very tight-knit group.

Finally Legal

On the actual day of their eighteenth birthday, there was an overwhelming sense of relief, not just coming from the kids, who were no longer legally kids, but from their parents as well.

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Of course, Bobbi and Kenny would still always be available to give advice and support them however they could, but offering advice to a teenager is an easy task. Imagine giving advice to seven teenagers all at the same time, and each with their own individualized needs.

So Long, High School!

One of the numerous days worth celebrating for this special family: graduation day. After years of stellar academic performances and club memberships, then came time for the septuplets’ high school graduation. All seven of the McCaugheys graduated in May of 2016.

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This was an incredible achievement for the entire family. They were able to reflect on how far they had all come. They could reflect on what a fantastic job these parents had done to bring up these seven babies, and now they had grown into inspiring young adults.

Circle of Life

Being a mom and having children creates a special, unbreakable bond. Being pregnant with septuplets came with high risks. So having the chance to see seven of her kids graduate from high school at the same ceremony must have been very emotional for Bobbi.

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She can recall seeing them all dressed in their graduation cap and gown with a school emblem on them. She remembers reminding them that it is hard to see things come to an end but that there will be plenty of “firsts” coming.

Locally Grown

The question on everyone’s mind then became what were the McCaughey septuplets going to do next? Two of the septuplets, Kenny Jr. and Alexis, start at a local college in Des Moines, which was great for Bobbi and Kenny as it meant they were nearby.

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Alexis dreams of becoming an educator, and she has worked exceptionally hard while completing her college degree and graduated at the top of her class. With dedication and determination like hers, the world is her oyster!

Entering the Draft

The U.S. military recruits from high schools nationwide. For Brandon, his post-high school graduation path led him to draft into the U.S. Army. This was something he had been thinking about doing since he was three years old.

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Brandon will be successful in whatever he decides as he is clearly intelligent, having been offered a hefty scholarship to study at a local university. Brandon chose instead to pursue a military career and is now an expert in carbon shooting and pistols.

Military Service

Brandon is finally living out a dream that he has been imagined himself in for a very long time. Brandon continues to serve his country as a member of the 75th Rangers Regiment of the United States Armed Corp.

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Following his heart and passions has also led him to find love. From being part of a team of 10 to now being a part of the army, we can only hope that he continues to chase his dreams and fulfill his soul’s desires.

Love of Carpentry

Unlike the school band, not all of the septuplets were going to draft into the United States military. For Kenny Jr, there was a different and more fitting career for him. As with all of the McCaughey siblings, they all have their personal personalities and identities.

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Kenny Jr. desired to pursue a profession as a carpenter and, so far, has been especially profitable at it. Besides being successful at his craft, his devotion to carpentry went alongside his generous spirit.

Work For Family

For Kenny Jr, there was an alternative path. As with all of the McCaughey septuplets, they all have their own quirks and talents. Some of them were inspired by what they learned in school, and others followed creative passions.

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For Kenny, he wanted to pursue a carpentry career and build furniture for the people in his community. It served as both a practical and creative outlet for him. So far, he has had a successful run. His love for carpentry went alongside his selflessness.

Memorable Gift

The McCaugheys are a big group, which means that their kids are going to be born with lots of loving aunts and uncles. When big sister Mikayla had her first kid, Kenny Jr. took it upon himself to build a present for her growing family, which she would be able to use forever.

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This was not some tiny, wrapped gift but was, in fact, an intricately designed kitchen table with benches to go along with it. This is something out of the ordinary but will be used often when they host family dinners. An impressive gift from a little brother.

The Teacher

When the septuplets were born, the family was overwhelmed with the amount of public donations and generosity they were shown. One act of generosity was from the State of Iowa, guaranteeing each kid a college education at any state school they wanted.

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Natalie, Nathan, Kelsey, and Joel all started studying at the Hannibal-LaGrange University in Missouri, taking the state up on their offer. Even though they were not close to home, Bobbi and Kenny could be comforted that they had family at school.

Education

Alexis, mostly referred to as Lexi as she is known to her friends, always dreamed of working with children as an educator, and she continues to work towards realizing that dream. She is seeking to redefine what it means to live with cerebral palsy.

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We can see from her social media accounts and presence that she is doing well in her classes and is working to achieve her goal, and we are positive she will have a positive impact on the children she has in her future classroom.

Nathan the Science Guy

Many of the McCaughey siblings pursued physical and creative fields when they graduated high school. Nathan knew that his interests and skills were in the world of science. His parents Bobbi and Kenny Sr., must be so proud of their son.

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He is still choosing which area of science he would like to follow through with as a career, and as of late, that remains unclear, but we are positive he will flourish in whatever field of science he decides to specialize in.

Sound of Music

As we said earlier, each of the septuplets brings different talents and personalities to the table. Kelsey, who is enrolled at Hannibal-LaGrange University, chose to specialize as a music major. She is bright and very talented, and we look forward to seeing what she achieves.

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The music felt like her passion, and if she’s serious about it, we believe that anyone will be able to see that in her performances. Plus, with her musical talents, she can offer to perform at every single family gathering when she’s home from college.

Computer Science

From carpenters to musicians, the McCaughey septuplets have a plethora of skills that they’re bringing to the workforce. Joel, who is akin to his slightly older sibling Nathan, has also chosen something technical but in a separate field as he is pursuing a degree in computer science.

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He has proven with his academic records and dedication to his degree that he is serious about this career. He has the dedication and the skills to go far in this field and make a triumph of everything he works on.

Importance of Educators

We know that all seven of the siblings are different but what are the odds two of them have the same major?! Natalie, slightly similar to her sister Alexis, isn’t completing the exact same route. Whereas Alexis has decided to specialize in early childhood education, Natalie is focused on elementary school education.

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They may both have decided on careers as teachers, but each brings their own unique spin to it. They will have separate skills and talents fitting for teaching different age groups.

Close Bond

After their high school graduation, the septuplets appeared in a special television interview, a departure from their “birthday only” media appearance rule up until that point. Quite comfortable with the media and the inquiries, they were questioned if they were worried about losing their closeness when they all went off to school.

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The McCaugheys did not even need to have an answer prepared for this question. They confidently responded by stating that as septuplets, they have a bond that is unaffected by distance, so they will always have close relationships.

Empty Nesters

When all the kids had left the house to pursue whatever it is they had chosen they desired to do, Bobbi and Kenny looked around their empty home and felt how different things would be from without the children running around and filling the hallways with noise.

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They would not have tried to hold any of their kids back from going after their dreams, but the lack of noise was a strange side effect of being empty nesters that they would require them to get used to.

The Eldest Child

Yes, the septuplets made the family a well-known name, but who could overlook who made Bobbi and Kenny Sr. parents? We could not forget about big sister Mikayla. Despite being less famous than her siblings, she was also adored and encouraged, like her seven siblings, to seek her dreams.

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Mikayla started her studies at Des Moines College and then continued at Arizona State University. Mikayla is got married and now has a kid of her own. We’re curious whether or not septuplets run in the family.

Sister Gets Married

The day Mikayla got married was a memorable day for the McCaughey family. She was enveloped by her younger sisters, who were by her side as her bridesmaids, and her younger brothers were also a part of the wedding party.

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Mikayla never felt ignored by her siblings and was always included as one of them. They all figured out how to fit into one picture of all the siblings. Fun to think how the family photos will grow as the siblings build their own families!

Father Knows Best

Living in a house without children and tons of free time, some parents find this transition sad. Kenny McCaughey rejected this notion and saw this was a great chance to take up a new pastime in taking care of motorcycles.

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Kenny would take them and then rigorously rebuild the bikes. He also took the opportunity to ride around the United States and is preparing himself to explore more places in the future. Maybe he can build a sidecar for his bike to bring Bobbi along for a trip!

Huge House

The house, which was a donation to the family when the septuplets were born, is now way too huge for only Kenny and Bobbi to live in. Based on the fact that they no longer needed such a big space, it seems like they may choose to sell and downsize to a smaller home.

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We are curious what will happen if all of the kids want to come home and stay for a weekend, but we are certain that they will figure out a quick fix.

Selling a House

It took a long time, and only in February of this year did the McCaugheys find a buyer for their huge seven-bedroom, five-bathroom family house. The fortuitous new owners will be receiving a home that was filled with affection and joy.

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Now that the house has new owners, Bobbi and Kenny Sr. can get their new house set up as well. They have the chance to set up their own space for just the two of them. But there is a slight twist.

Donating Back to the Community

Having been gifted something so fantastic when their pregnancy turned out to be septuplets, Bobbi and Kenny chose to sell their house to an organization called Ruth Harbor, which is a non-profit that assists young women with unplanned pregnancies.

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The McCaugheys were questioned about the sale of the home and responded by saying that they had been so fortunate to receive such a generous gift and that they saw no better use for it in the future than to pay it forward and help supply a place for those in the future.

Truly Blessed

When Bobbi and Kenny reflect back at that tough decision they had to make with respect to selective reduction, they can’t help but feel so lucky at having seven (plus big sister Mikayla) healthy kids who have all grown up to be incredible, independent adults.

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They sought out fertility treatment for their plethora of reasons and looked at all of the wonderful things that they have received as a result of this medical miracle. A truly blessed family with so many things to be thankful for.

Advocacy

It would be a tough choice for any parent to make, and it was a small miracle that they were all born at all, but you have to give credit where credit is due and say that it was brave of Bobbi and Kenny to proceed with all seven babies.

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Now that the kids are older and have their own personalities, it’s impossible to imagine going through with it. Every time that Kenny is questioned about it, he invites people over to tell him which four out of seven should’ve been terminated.

Authors

A little while after the septuplets were born, the McCaugheys determined that they wanted to write and put out a book depicting and describing their day-to-day experiences. They figured that their story was so unique that others would be interested.

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The book “Seven from Heaven” had a major theme that is obvious throughout, which is Bobbi and Kenny’s religious belief and faith in God. You get a sense that religion had played a large role in bringing them hope and joy when the odds weren’t in their favor.

Birthday Collection

It was concluded early on that the kids shouldn’t be in the public eye too much. Despite saying that, they made a deal with Gamma Press in 2001 that they could photograph the kids annually on their birthdays as a way to record their progress.

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This was a smart deal as the family can look back on each year’s birthday picture. The honorable job was then passed on to Polaris Images. It makes us wonder why Bobbi and Kenny Sr. didn’t want matching family outfits for the photos.

For the Memories

There were only certain people that Bobbi and Kenny Sr. wanted to open their doors and lives to. These photographers that were given the privilege of capturing the photos of the kids each year were Andrea Mendez, Holly McQueen, and Rodney White.

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They were eager to capture the septuplets in a normal everyday outfit. Nowadays, these pictures are an incredible record of the septuplets’ lives in addition to becoming part of American history. Plus, they always got a family holiday card out of it!

Solo Shots

In addition to the group photos, As well as the group shots, each kid had an annual solo shot done, which was a way of documenting the big moments. Though they’re not identical, can you go through all the portraits and identify who is who in the pictures?

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Ok, fine, you’ve convinced us, we’ll tell you. On the top row, from right to left is big sister Mikayla, Natalie, Kenny Jr., and Kelsey. On the bottom row from right to left are Joel, Nathan, Brandon, and Alexis.

Balls of Energy

These pictures were not an easy job to get done, never mind getting it done well. It is kind of true that you should think twice before working with animals or children. And you must have a lot of patience. Now try to imagine all of that while working with seven children.

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The photographers were eager to make sure that the picture still had a natural feel to them while also addressing the difficulty of getting seven children camera-ready simultaneously.

Adventures Outside

Being a septuplet is not a normal thing, so it is hard for people outside of the family to imagine what it must be like for the family. Several people often inquired if they had a typical childhood. Well, they were encouraged to be creative, had an affectionate family house, and played with each other.

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Sometimes they would just want to play outside in the family garden or bring their toys outside, but that’s typical for any kid. Probably the biggest factor that would be different from another person’s childhood is that the McCaugheys simply had more playmates at home.

Video Games Obsession

Like most young children, some of the septuplets liked playing video games and were able to sit there for numerous hours, getting enjoyment out of one of the games progressing throughout the multilevel games.

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As many parents do, Bobbi and Kenny might have hoped their children would grow out of this craze for video games, but unfortunately, this was not the situation here. On the bright side, playing hours of video games may have inspired Joel to study computer science.

Still Obsessed With Video Games

As we stated earlier, Ann Curry had the honor of reporting on the story of the McCaughey septuplets’ birth on the Today Show network. This was a coveted spot, and lucky for Ann, she had scored herself an 18-year spanning story.

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Ann would visit to observe the McCaugheys and watch how they had grown at various points throughout their lives. The world was consistently curious to see what they were doing in their lives every time Ann came for a visit, and there were always updates.

Multiple Births

We bet you are curious if multiple births are common in this family. Especially as they’re getting older and starting their own families, I can’t help but think if any of them would have their own septuplets!

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The answer is that it is pretty unlikely, as Bobbi and Kenny acquired their miracle septuplets by enduring fertility treatment. Because of the treatment, this won’t have an impact on the genetic makeup of each kid, and they are more likely to go on to have straightforward pregnancies.

Valuable Life Lesson

If you were to question the McCaugheys if they would alter anything about having septuplets, the answer would be, no way. They feel like they were given a gift, and even though things may have been difficult, they never shied away from their commitments or obligations.

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They would tell anyone who asked them, if you want something, then you should go after it, and nothing is ever certain, so you may end up with more than what you bargained for.