Meet the World’s First Surviving Set of Septuplets — 20 Years Later!

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There are certain moments in life that make you stop and say, “Wow.” For Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey, that moment arrived when they made history together. The McCaugheys would give birth to the first surviving set of septuplets. Not only was it a rarity for the McCaughey septuplets to survive birth, but it was even rarer that they would grow up to be healthy adults.

Today, we are going to check in on the first surviving set of septuplets — 20 years later!

Meet the McCaughey Family

Our story starts with Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey celebrating their first child on January 3rd, 1996. Bobbi and Kenny were beyond thrilled to welcome their first little miracle to the world, their daughter named Mikayla Marie. Only this miracle wasn’t what they had anticipated, but we are sure that you knew this already!

Overcoming Major Hurdles

While countless children are born every year, the pregnancy announcement of Mikayla stood out as a particularly miraculous occasion. Bobbi had been born with a pituitary gland that hadn’t functioned correctly, thus leading to fertility problems. For Bobbi to get pregnant with  Mikayla in and of itself was a miracle! Fortunately for Kenny and Bobbi the miracles weren’t stopping anytime soon.

Seeking Treatment Leads to Success

When you yearn after the idea of becoming a parent, being told that you have fertility issues can be devastating. After receiving fertility treatment via Metrodin, Bobbi, and Kenny would be stunned by the effectiveness of the therapy. When Bobbi and Kenny went to their next regular check-up with their physician, something amazing would happen.

Septuplets Arrive in Style

When the doctor finished performing his checkup of Bobbi, the news that he would unveil was almost impossible to believe! Where the family had anticipated an update on their lone daughter, the doctor had found seven children growing inside of young Bobbi McCaughey! From fertility issues to a surprise announcement of septuplets… Who could have imagined?!

Going Viral Around the Country

When the news broke that the McCaughey family was expecting septuplets, the local media was quick to grab the story. It didn’t take long for Bobbi and Kenny to find themselves under intense public scrutiny. Suddenly, support was pouring in from all over the community! As it turns out, Bobbi and Kenny would welcome this support!

Incredible and Life-Changing Events

In the span of a month, the McCaughey family went from fertility issues to announced septuplets. Donations from local supporters would include a 5,000 square foot house as well as many services, free food from Kraft, a van, and even diapers! 

Bobbi and Kenny never could have anticipated such support!

Arrival of the Birth

Anytime that your loved one gives birth, you are right to feel an influx of emotions. For Bobbi and Kenny, their concerns were focused on the health of their children as well as that of tiny Bobbi. The McCaugheys would end up welcoming their septuplets to the world on November 19, 1997 — a full nine weeks early. The birth took place via C-Section and each child was delivered within six minutes of the next.

In the blink of an eye, the birth was finished!

Seven Adorable Babies

Holding your firstborn child can be life-changing. How about holding all seven of your newborn children? Bobbi and Kenny would welcome four boys and three girls to the world. T hey were named, in order, Kenneth Robert, Alexis May, Natalie Sue, Kelsey Ann, Nathan Roy, Brandon James, and finally little Joel Steven.

Do you think they had trouble coming up with so many names?

National Media Attention

The McCaughey family hadn’t sought out public scrutiny, but they certainly weren’t going to turn it away! The McCaughey family would meet with a pair of U.S. Presidents before landing a cover issue of TIME  andNewsweek. Did we mention that Oprah Winfrey would also host the McCaughey family for a show?!

Unfortunate Health Complications

While the very likelihood of survival was slim, the McCaughey family was thrilled when their children all arrived with full health. Unfortunately, this would not hold true. As with many premature babies, health complications would eventually arise. young Alexis and Nathan would both be diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a condition that impacts coordination and movement.

Still, despite this devastating reveal, the McCaugheys were truly lucky that their children even survived.

Overcoming Their Conditions

Nathan and Alexis would have to navigate childhood with a walker to overcome their cerebral palsy. With that being said, Nathan decided early on that he was going to walk. Nathan said, “It’s just been getting better and better.” While Alexis has taken heart from her brother’s success, she has decided to keep using her walker. 

Nowadays, Alexis competes in beauty pageants specifically for children diagnosed with special needs.

Retreating From Public Scrutiny

While the McCaughey family enjoyed attention and support from the public, they eventually decided to pull away from the public eye. Bobbi would stick to sharing birthday updates, assuring their followers that her children were living full and fulfilling regular lives.

Mountains of Diapers

Shopping for diapers when you have twins can be a lesson in going bankrupt. Can you imagine shopping for diapers when you have seven children? For a look at life as a mother-of-seven, Bobby and Kenny would average nearly 42 drinking bottles per day for their children. When did they have time to do anything?

Becoming Self Reliant

While it can be hard to afford life when you have seven children, that doesn’t mean that you can’t figure it out. For Bobbi and Kenny, becoming self-reliant was one of their keys to success. The McCaughey family keeps a fruit and vegetable garden on their property to cut down on expenses. They even host buffet-style dinners to ensure that everyone can eat!

Revisiting the Septuplets With TLC

After peeling away from the limelight for several years, the McCaughey family would open their doors to TLC on December 28, 2010. The occasion marked the septuplet’s 13th birthday. The event would be covered by TLC and released under the moniker, America’s Septuplets Turn 13. The kids would have to blow out a combined 91 candles!

Graduating High School

Even though the McCaughey septuplets had been born into fame, they didn’t let their surreal life get in the way. The septuplets would attend and graduate from Carlisle High School in Iowa back in 2012. Can you imagine how much attention this large and unique family would get?

Time to Work

As soon as the McCaughey kids were grown up and graduated from school, Kenny would impart upon them the importance of work. Kenny Jr would reveal to NBC News that his father had done everything to prepare them for life. Kenny Jr said, “We were taught if we want something, we have to work for it.”

Future Goals and Life Aspirations

It shouldn’t surprise anyone to hear that the septuplets have their own dreams and goals. Kelsey wants to study music in college while Alexis wants to become a teacher! Nathan has an interest in science that he would like to eventually explore, too!

No matter how large the family grew, they still faced all the same challenges that the rest of us faced.

Meet Joel and Kenny Jr

For Brandon, Joel, and Kenny Jr., life in the future has very varied paths. Joel wants to specialize in computer science while Kenny Jr. has been fascinated by the construction industry. Brandon would be the lone person in the family to turn to a life in the military!

Emboldened by their supportive parents, the McCaughey septuplets are attempting to secure their own futures in life just like the rest of us!

Passing on Reality Stardom

Born into a life of fame, it would have been easy for the McCaughey family to chase a life of reality television stardom. with that being said, the McCaughey family decided early on that this wasn’t the life that they wanted. According to Kenny and Bobbi, they just wanted their kids to grow up normal and healthy.


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