Every couple dreams of having a big booming happy family. But, for this couple, it seemed that The Almighty focused on the aspect of their family being ‘big’ quite seriously. I am saying this because the couple gave birth to seven kids that too at all of them together. The way the parents managed to give their kids a normal life is quite astonishing and inspiring. Let’s have a look at this family’s amazing journey.
Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey had their first child on January 3, 1996. Their little girl was named Mikayla Marie and was a little bit of a miracle. Bobbi was born with a malfunctioning pituitary gland which had caused fertility problems over the years. To have Mikayla Marie was a little bit of a dream come true, but still, they wanted to expand their family. They had to consider different ways to help them have another child after Mikayla Marie was born.
Kenny and Bobbi decided the best way to have another child was to take hormone therapy, using the fertility medicine Metrodin. This treatment stimulates ovulation and can help those with fertility problems become pregnant. As they were desperate to add another baby to their little family, Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey were more than happy to try anything they could. Little did they know that they were soon to have a much bigger family…
When Bobbi went for her regular checkup and scan, the doctors found something quite incredible in her womb. Not one, not two, not three, but seven embryos. There were seven children growing inside Bobbi McCaughey. The world couldn’t believe it! However, multiple births are quite common when taking fertility treatment (although 7 was almost unheard of). Kenny and Bobbi declined selective reduction to give their babies a better chance, saying they would put the decision in ’s hands.
Of course, when news like this breaks, it quickly spreads. The McCaughey family were quickly thrust into the limelight. The parents received plenty of media attention from the press, some positive and some negative. Some people thought they were selfish for not taking the selective reduction route, as it meant that there would be a better chance of all the remaining babies to live healthy lives. Bobbi and Kenny took it all in their stride, however.
After news of the birth spread, and during the first years of the babies’ lives, the McCaughey family would receive an incredible amount of donations from well-wishers. Some of these included a 5,000 square foot house, nanny services, a year’s worth of free mac and cheese from Kraft, diapers, and a van. Bobbi and Kenny couldn’t believe how generous everyone had been, after breaking the news that they were having septuplets.
A Quick and Easy Birthing Process
Understandably, both Kenny and Bobbi were worried about the upcoming birth. They spent a lot of time with doctors, discussing the best way forward. On November 19, 1997, all seven babies were born 9-weeks early. The birth took place via cesarean, and each baby was delivered within six minutes of each other. They ranged in weight from 2lb 5oz up to 3lb 4oz, but all seemed healthy enough after the C-section. Only time would tell what would happen.
All seven babies made it through the birth; four boys and three girls. Luckily, Bobbi and Kenny were armed with a list of names for their new brood. In order, we have Kenny (Kenneth) Robert who was the heaviest baby, Alexis May, Natalie Sue, Kelsey Ann (the lightest baby), Nathan Roy, Brandon James, and Joel Steven. Phew! We have a feeling they had to raid a baby name book for all of those!
Getting to know famous people and celebrities alike
This birth had made The McCaughey family the talk of the town. From getting invited on The Oprah Winfrey show to getting featured in the December 1997 edition of the Time magazine this family experienced it all. They even met President George W. Bush and Mr. Bill Clinton called them to wish them a happy life. It was something that they had not thought of even in their wildest dreams.
Cerebral palsy affected two of the seven kids
But, not all was something to be happy about for the family. Two of their seven children, Alexis and Nathan had cerebral palsy, a condition which inhibits a person’s movement and coordination. Still, the fact that seven children were born majority of which were completely healthy was still not less than a magic. These children are the first of their kind to survive in through infancy.
Learning to walk and improve his ability to move
Both Nathan and Alexis had to use walkers throughout the majority of their life, in order to be able to move around. However, Nathan wanted to teach himself how to walk. Every single day he would push himself to try and get better. He said, “I taught myself how to walk because I really wanted to learn. It’s just been getting better and better.” That’s dedication! Alexis has also not let her disability slow her down, despite still using a walker.
Beauty pageants and a young role model
Alexis may suffer from cerebral palsy, but she hasn’t let her ruin her life. She started taking part in beauty pageants specifically for children with special needs. In 2013, she won the Teen Miss Dreams Made True award in Carroll. She also did extremely well in high school, finishing in the top 15% of the class. Alexis is definitely the kind of girl that other young women need to look up to, as a role model.
Staying out of the public eye
After the famous Dionne quintuplets adviced Bobbi and Kenny not to expose themselves and their children to this sudden fame, the parents tried to maintain a low profile. Apart from updating people on their children’s birthday, the couple would try everything possible to keep their family out of the public eye. It proved to be a good advice which Bobby and Kenny made sure to follow.
So many diapers, only one mother
Apart from giving birth, handling seven babies together was a completely uphill task altogether. It would be a little hard to believe the fact that because of the babies the parents had to change 52 diapers in a day and pay the milkman a hefty amount as the babies drank 42 bottles every day. Surely their bank balance would have been impacted a lot during this period.
Groceries had to be bought in abundance
Apart from changing diapers and buying milk, the parents had to do bulk purchasing when it came to the groceries. This was done to lessen the burden on the family budget. Unbelievably, their spending was equivalent to the average spending of 4 families in the USA. Bobbi bought 60lb of hamburgers seeing the family running short of it, which was completely normal for the lady.
Growing their own crop garden
In order to save as much as possible, the parents resorted to other unique ways such as growing their own fruits and vegetables in their household garden. Bobbi and Kenny have still kept the garden and do plantation on a daily basis so that they can feed their extremely big family. It went well for them as they managed to keep the grocery bill down.
Buffet meals every single day
As you can imagine, with 10 people to feed, mealtimes can become a bit hectic. According to the McCaughey family, the only way they can actually feed everyone at once is in a buffet style. Bobbi (usually with help from some of the kids) will dish up plenty of food, that everyone can then help themselves too. The family enjoys all sitting around the table together and talking about their days. We can imagine that gets quite loud!
Majority of the family on turning 13
When the McCaughey triplets turned 13, in 2010, TLC made a documentary about their lives so far and their thirteenth birthday. Ann Curry, from the Today show, had been following the septuplets’ story for most of their lives. It only made sense then, that she would be the one to put together the documentary which was titled, America’s Septuplets Turn 13. It aired on TLC on December 28, 2010, a month after the septuplets blew out their 91 candles!
Going to high school together, literally
The septuplets attempted to live as normal a life as possible, which meant going to high school – all together! All seven of the siblings attended Carlisle High School in Carlisle, Iowa in 2012. We can only imagine how much attention they all got on their first day of school – and how difficult it was for all of the teachers to remember all of their names! However, the McCaughey septuplets all did well in high school and proved themselves as individuals.
Getting jobs and actually growing up
Kenny McCaughey was keen to teach his children about the value of hard work when they attended high school. While the family would provide them with all of the essentials, if they wanted anything else then they had to work for it. Most of the septuplets got part-time jobs while at the high school, in order to buy themselves things like cell phones and tablets. “We were taught if we want something, we have to work for it,” Kenny Jr. once told NBC news.
Turning 16 together, yet again
When the septuplets turned 16, they all hit the headlines again. While they were good at keeping a low profile throughout the majority of their lives, there were some milestones that the rest of the world wanted to celebrate with them. It’s around this time that their father told them all they could get jobs, especially if they wanted driving lessons and cars. Buying 7 cars were probably out of the question for the already financially strained McCaughey family!
Teenage life for all seven of them
The press caught up with the septuplets again as they were enjoying their teenage life, with many admitting to being going through what most teenagers go through. Some were learning to drive, others had fallen in love and were in relationships. Having seven stroppy teenagers to contend with was probably something Kenny and Bobbi found difficult, but they never let it show in their interviews. In fact, they’ve always come across as a pretty perfect family despite their struggles.
A brother in the school band
The kids were pretty well behaved and kept themselves involved in high school, with all of them joining the school band! With all 7 of them playing together during halftime at football matches, they should have renamed it the McCaughey band… When the septuplets finally graduated high school, Bobbi told Today, “Everything is a last. The last marching band performance.” We have a feeling the mom of 7 was feeling quite nostalgic during that interview.
Keeping busy with activities and hobbies
It wasn’t just the school band that kept these kids busy, however. All had their own hobbies and kept themselves busy. Some took part in cross country, others were in the choir, one of them wrestled, another played soccer, and another one entered speech contests. You could say that their lives were always busy, even when the press wasn’t hounding them every moment of the day. Bobbi said of her busy children, “It’s fun to see the work pay off.”
On turning 18
As the septuplets got older, they started their own journeys into adulthood. The end of school was coming, and each wanted to become their own person. Their parents watched as each of the children started making decisions about what they wanted to do in the future. Some already had their own goals and aspirations, others weren’t so sure. Giving life advice to one child is hard enough, but helping out with 7 must have been difficult for Bobbi and Kenny. The septuplets turned 18 (and blew out 126 candles) on November 19, 2015.
Graduating high school
Then there was this moment which again made the family a headline for various newspapers. The event was the graduation of Kenny and Bobbi’s seven children from Carlisle High School in May 2016. It was a very emotional and nostalgic moment for them seeing their children in black and red graduation gowns “It’s sad to see things end,” Bobbi told Today, “but there will be lots of firsts coming.”
Goals and aspirations for each one
Interestingly, all seven of the septuplets have different goals and aspirations in their lives. For example, Nathan has a strong interest in science and is hoping to pursue a career in that field eventually. Alexis was the top of her high school and wants to become a teacher one day. Kelsey, the smallest of all the babies, has a passion for music and wants to continue to study it in college. Every single child, however, all has a goal for the future.
Different career paths for all siblings
As mentioned, each septuplet has a different goal and aspiration. Other than Alexis and Natalie, who both want to become teachers one day. Joel wants to work in a field to do with computer science, and Kenny Jr. has a passion for the construction industry. Each of the seven children has all made their own choices in life, along with the help of their parents and their older sister. And it’s interesting to see how unique each one is.
Free university places
When they were first born, the septuplets were offered an extraordinary opportunity – scholarships for the Hannibal-LaGrange University in Missouri. In fact, the State of Iowa offered them full scholarships to any state university of their choosing, too! Only four of the septuplets accepted the generous offer from Hannibal-LaGrange, however; Natalie, Nathan, Kelsey, and Joel. Each sibling is now studying to fulfill their aspirations.
Des Moines college
Both Kenny and Alexis decided that the best place for them was at their local college in Des Moines. Kenny Jr. is attending the college in order to carve out his career in the construction industry. Alexis, on the other hand, is learning all she can to become a teacher. She graduated at the top of her high school, despite battling cerebral palsy, but wanted to stay close to her home for further learning.
Joining the military
Brandon was very different from his siblings when it came to choosing their career’s path. He chose to join the United States Army as this was the thing he had been dreaming of since his childhood. He was so obsessed that he would purchase all the things related to the army from a very small age of three. It was for the exact reason that he made a decision of not taking a full scholarship.
Growing up nearing adulthood
The McCaughey septuplets are now 20-years old and realizing their dreams in their colleges and universities. Each has said they’ll probably not talk about their bizarre upbringing unless people ask so that they can pave their own lives without being a ‘talking point.’ Over the next two years, most of the septuplets will have graduated college and will be carving at their own adult life. The world’s first, surviving septuplets are doing more than just surviving – they’re thriving!
Real empty nesters
Now that all eight of their children are out of the house, the loving parents of the septuplets are still adjusting to the fact that they do not have seven to eight mouths to feed every day. In an interview given to NBC about the kids leaving the home, the parents say that while it may be easier now that the children have left in terms of groceries and toiletries, it is in some ways more difficult, as they worry for each of their children.
Against selective reduction
There is a movement in the United States which aims to get people to have fewer children. No, this does not mean they advocate for a one-child policy like in China, but that they advocate for people having more than triplets to terminate a few of the fetuses. However, despite the complexities of the arguments, the McCaughey family is against selective reduction, saying “Well, come to our house, and tell me which four I shouldn’t have had!”
When asked whether or not the septuplets would be sad to see each other go, they said they would miss each other, but all in all, they are not too worried. After all, they were around each other all day every day, and they are all ready to go out into the world and pursue their own careers and to write their own life’s stories. Additionally, they all have cell phones, and we are sure the family group chat will still be exploding.
Enjoyed growing up
For Kenny and Bobbi, it was a proud moment when their kids acknowledged the fact that they never felt as if they were not well treated. On the contrary, they felt extremely happy to grow in their big family as it meant that every time they had someone to play with. Honestly, believing in what they said it seems that they really had a fun time together.
Mikayla, the eldest sibling among the lot
Something that we wanted to know was whatever happened to the oldest McCaughey child, Mikayla? Well, as it turns out, she seems to be doing really well for herself. She is married and has had her first child. According to her social media accounts, she studied at both the Des Moines Area Community College as well as Arizona State University. She also seems to still have a very close relationship with all of her brothers and sisters. In fact…
Kenny Jr. the Carpenter
Nowadays, Kenny is deep into the carpentry business, learning how to do a lot more with tools than we ever could (do Ikea tools count as tools?). In fact, he has set about and built an entire kitchen table and benches for his older sister and her new addition. To be honest, it does not look bad at all. We would totally buy Kenny’s table if we saw it at Pottery Barn. He’s going to go far.
Kenny Sr. is keeping busy
Now, what is a man to do once he becomes an empty nester? He has finished rearing his children, they are all out of the house, and now he has all of this free time on his hands. Well, you can be like Kenny McCaughey, buy a motorcycle, and ride around the United States. According to his social media profile, it appears that Kenny has been going around everywhere. Most recently it appears he was at Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota.
Ranger Brandon in all his gear
When Brandon said that he wanted to join the United States Military, he did not make the decision lightly. He knew what he wanted. In the end, all of the hard work really paid off. Brandon is now a United States Army Ranger, and he is an expert in pistol shooting as well as carbine shooting. We must say, he’s looking quite slick in his uniform. We are all proud of you Brandon!
Kickin it with Kelsey
Kelsey seems to be enjoying her time at Hannibal – LaGrange University, doing everything from pumpkin picking and hanging out with friends – at least according to her social media page. It even seems as if she has a new beau. What’s college without at least a little bit of romance, right? Well, all we know is that she is definitely, absolutely finding time to study, so don’t worry Kenny and Bobbi!
Selling the house
Despite receiving their huge house as a gift, the McCaughey family is intending on selling their abode. The house was not on the market for a long time yet offers are already starting to flow in from everywhere. He may be wanting to sell his house since, due to its enormous square footage, he may have to pay a lot of taxes on it. But where will his (invariably) dozens of grandchildren stay?
Lexi is following her dream of learning and working in early childhood education. She seems to be having the time of her life doing it as well. At least, that is how it seems when one looks at her social media profile. It also helps that her sisters all get together decently often, so, at first glance, everything appears to be going really well for the young McCaughey. We wish her the best of luck as she continues her education!
Natalie seems to also be thoroughly enjoying her time in Missouri at Hannibal – LaGrange University. She seems to be doing a lot of work with her sister at their local child care center and having a great time with her friends. On top of all of this, it appears as if Natalie is an avid hiker, appearing in multiple photos with her father and her family on hikes around the State of Iowa and other places in the mid-west.
No reality television show
Many people could not digest the fact that the septuplets never featured on any television show, despite it being a common phenomenon with families this big. It was Kenny Sr. who gave a straightforward response to this saying that he wanted the kids to grow normally away from all the limelight and media. It was a firm decision as they had received a lot of offers to do so.
Twins for the septs?
A lot of people want to know – with so many brothers and sisters, will the septuplets be more likely to have twins then a single childbirth? Well, the answer to that is probably no. The septuplets were not born due to a crazy genetic coincidence between Bobbi and Kenny Sr. They did in vitro fertilization, fertilizing multiple eggs in the hope that at least one of them would become a child. Incredibly, every single egg fertilized became a child.
How much is their house worth?
The McCaughey home which is currently on the market is worth approximately $370,000, and if you are a big family, this house will definitely suit your needs. This 4800 square foot home has six bedrooms, several bathrooms, a finished basement, and a giant three car garage. And if you are more environmentally conscious, this house has a great solar rating, being rated a 71 out of 100. This house would be perfect for you and your eight kids.
Thoughts on Octomom
Another woman named Nadya Suleman is a single mother who now has 14 children – eight of whom were born at the same time. However, as opposed to the praise and help which was heaped upon the McCaughey family, Suleman has gotten death threats and derision in the media. Many people ask why especially given the fact that both families are so similar. It turns out one of the reasons for this discrepancy is because Octomom is a single mom.
When the septuplets were younger they were asked about each other. They were asked which one of them was the “class clown,” who was the most bookish, who was the most sporty, etc. While Kenny Jr. has maintained his role as the comedic relief of the family, the well-read title has passed from Natalie to Joel. Unsurprisingly, current United States Army Ranger Brandon was voted as the most stubborn and fearless.
Irish names are notoriously difficult to spell, let alone pronounce. For instance, many times when you see the letter “m” followed by the letter “h”, the sound that is supposed to be made is similar to that of the letter “v.” It turns out that the way that we have all been pronouncing the name McCaughey in our heads is different than what we would think the spelling would be. It turns out the name McCaughey should be pronounced as “McCoy.”
We all know that Kenny and Bobbi wanted their children away from all kind of media attention. It was because of this reason that they made sure that their children didn’t feature in any international newspaper. They had refrained to do any interviews since the time when their kids were 14 years old. It was only their graduation and 18th birthday that the family made some headlines.
The McCaugheys had a giant web of support. They had people from all over the community coming in to help take care of all of the children. All in all, there were 35 people volunteering their time to help take care of the kids, all of whom would work on rotating shifts of four to five hours. We can guarantee that Octomom certainly never had this kind of help. The McCaugheys sure are lucky!
Septs by the numbers
There are a few issues with being able to tell how much the McCaughey family used to spend a month raising their kids. They have a good amount of land, and since produce is expensive, they have to grow a lot of it themselves. But, we do know that they have two of nearly every appliance – two sinks, two washers, two dryers, etc. In fact, when the kids were at home, the family was doing 17 loads a week.
When the children were first born, two of them had to be tube fed – Natalie and Lexi. Lexi has a muscular disorder which made it difficult to eat, while Natalie had a form of severe acid reflux which caused her enormous pain anytime she ate. However, 20 years later, both of the girls are just doing fine, and they are able to eat anything they want.