Octuplets born 'screaming and kicking'

A woman gave birth to eight babies, only the second time in history octuplets have survived more than a few hours, doctors said.

The mother gave birth yesterday to six boys and two girls weighing between 1 pound, 8 ounces (680 grams) and 3 pounds, 4 ounces (1.474 kilograms), doctors at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center said. The hospital had scheduled a Caesarean section for seven babies, but doctors were surprised when an eighth came out at 10:48 a.m.

"My eyes were wide," Dr. Karen Maples said, explaining her reaction to the last birth.

Doctors said the babies were born nine weeks premature but are in stable condition. Two newborns were placed on ventilators and a third needs oxygen.

Hospital officials would not release any information about the mother, including her name, condition or whether she used fertility drugs. They did, however, say she planned to breast feed all of them.

"She's a very strong woman, so she probably will be able to handle all eight babies," said Dr. Mandhir Gupta, a neo-natologist who cared for the infants.

The mother checked into the hospital in her 23rd week of pregnancy and gave birth seven weeks later. All eight babies will probably remain in the hospital for at least two months and the mother should be released in a week, Maples said.

The world's first live octuplets were born in March 1967 in Mexico City, but all the babies died within 14 hours, according to Encyclopedia Britanica.

The United States' first live octuplets were born in Houston in December 1998. They were three months premature and their weights at birth ranged from 11 ounces (312 grams) to 1 pound, 11 ounces (765 grams). The tiniest infant died of heart and lung failure a week after being born. The surviving siblings — girls Ebuka, Gorom, Chidi, Chima and Echerem, and their brothers Ikem and Jioke — turned 10 in December.

Their Nigerian-born mother and father, Nkem Chukwu and Iyke Louis Udobi, said they are astonished and grateful their children have grown up to be healthy and active. Chukwu is even happier to hear another mother successfully accomplished the same feat.

"It's a blessing, truly a blessing," Chukwu told The Associated Press. "We'll keep praying for them."

Forty-six hospital staff and four delivery rooms were used for the latest octuplets' births. After one baby was born, staff rushed the newborn into another room and waited for the next, the hospital said. But despite weeks of preparation, doctors did not expect the eighth child.

"It is quite easy to miss a baby when you're anticipating seven babies," said Dr. Harold Henry, chief of maternal and fetal medicine at the hospital. "Ultrasound doesn't show you everything."

Doctors said they repeatedly conducted practice sessions on the deliveries and were well prepared. Gupta said the woman was given spinal anesthesia and could hear the babies as they came out.

"When the first baby came out, he was crying and kicking," Gupta said. "That eased the tension in the operating room because the first one came out healthy."

Dr. Richard Paulson, director of the fertility program at the University of Southern California, said octuplets born premature could face serious health risks, including breathing problems and neurological damage. The mother also has an increased risk of hemorrhage, Paulson said.

"It's a risky decision to try to have all eight babies," said Paulson, who had no role in the delivery. "I would not recommend it under any circumstances, but I respect a parent's decision."

For people who use fertility drugs, the vast majority of births — 80 percent — are single babies. Among multiple births, the most common are twins, Paulson said.

Paulson said the latest births likely resulted from the use of fertility drugs and not in vitro fertilization.

"When you hear about someone having octuplets, it's almost always the case that they took fertility medications and not IVF," he said.

It's easier to control the number of births through in vitro fertilization, which involves combining egg and sperm in a lab dish and transferring the embryo into the uterus. Fertility drugs induce or enhance ovulation and couples often opt for selective reduction, in which women carrying multiple fetuses reduce the number of viable fetuses to two.

The Bellflower medical center is about 17 miles (27 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker