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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iowa Mother Gives Birth to 7 'Miracles'

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The seven little McCaugheys were reportedly doing well Thursday morning -- astonishing doctors who say the day-old septuplets' size and condition is "virtually unheard-of.''


The babies born Wednesday to Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey - four boys and three girls -- are only the second set of septuplets ever born alive and if they live, would be the first to survive.


"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 the NBC television network'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. "I would ask that all believers across the world join us in praying for Bobbi and for the babies that their health will continue and only improve,'' the babies' grandfather Bob Hepworth said announcing the birth.


The children were in serious condition Thursday morning -- 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 Thursday morning that their mother 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.


Hepworth and his wife, Peggy, also on "Today,'' said they were still numb Thursday morning. Mrs. Hepworth described their son-in-law coming out of the delivery room and giving a thumbs-up sign, at which point the family's pastor began leading a waiting room full of family and friends in prayer and song.


"We are very grateful to the Lord for the way he has provided for us,'' said Hepworth, noting how the family has been offered everything from free diapers to a new home.


Medical experts have said that the cost of hospital care could range between $325,000 to $650,000.


The pregnancy of Mrs. McCaughey, who was taking the fertility drug Metrodin, had long been known in the family's tiny hometown of Carlisle, a bedroom community 15 kilometers outside Des Moines. But friends and neighbors there kept the secret from the outside world for months.


Once news began trickling out, the 29-year-old seamstress and her 27-year-old husband, a billing clerk at an auto dealer, found themselves the center of worldwide attention.


Doctors could not determine if any of the infants were identical. Mrs. McCaughey was in her 31st week of pregnancy, at least three weeks beyond the point doctors consider viable for fetuses. A typical pregnancy lasts 40 weeks.