The dark side of the Octuplets birth

Octuplets Born in California Are Second Set in U.S. History

2009-01-27 10:47:58.536 GMT

By Thomas Penny      Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) — A woman gave birth to six boys and two girls at a hospital in California, only the second birth of

octuplets in the U.S., doctors said.

     The babies, who weighed from 1 pound 8 ounces (680 grams)

to 3 pounds 4 ounces, were delivered by cesarean section early

yesterday, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Bellflower,

California, said in a statement on its Web Site. They were born

nine weeks prematurely to a woman whose name hasn’t been released

by the hospital.

     Medical staff, who thought there were seven babies, were

surprised to find an eighth baby who hadn’t appeared on

ultrasound scans, they said at a televised news conference.

     “It’s incredibly easy to miss one baby when you are

anticipating seven babies,” Dr. Harold Henry, who helped lead

the team, told reporters. “Ultrasound doesn’t show you


     Henry said the birth, which involved a team of 46 people,

had gone “flawlessly.” The team had carried out a series of

“dry runs” in preparation for the delivery, with the last one

just minutes before the multiple birth.

     Each of the babies cried spontaneously after birth, a good

sign, the doctors said. The first 72 hours are the most critical

for the newborns, who were doing well, the hospital said. Two

were on ventilators, a third on oxygen and the rest were

breathing on their own, the Associated Press reported.

     The hospital didn’t say whether the octuplets’ mother had

used fertility drugs. She plans to breastfeed all the babies, AP

cited doctors as saying.

     “She’s a very strong woman, so she probably will be able to

handle all eight babies,” Dr. Mandhir Gupta, a neonatologist

involved in the birth, told the AP.

     Preliminary research shows it is only the second time

octuplets have been born in the U.S., the hospital said. The

first U.S. set was born in Houston in 1998. One died after a week

and the other seven have just celebrated their 10th birthday, the

AP said.

For Related News and Information: Search for stories on the octuplets’ birth: NSE OCTUPLETS Top U.S. news: TOP US

Top health care news: TOP HEA

–Editors: Heather Langan, John Deane To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Penny in London at +44-20-7673-2532 or

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Torday at +44-20-7330-7539 or



This story about octuplets being born in Ca. will be splashed around the papers for about a week, and, then when it’s old news, the celebrating will be over and the nightmare will continue for this family.  The nightmare began when they found out that more than two embryos “took” and the doctors began trying to persuade them to abort some of the babies.  They undoubtedly underwent tremendous pressure to have this procedure which the doctors have named “selective reduction”.  No fertility doctor wants to be associated with having produced an octuplet pregnancy.  His/her peers think he/she is an idiot right now.

Medical people know the death and damage that happen in these multiple pregnancies and they know the poor prognosis for these babies.  It is considered very bad form to implant this many fertilized ovum and, yes, this was a fertility experiment.  Prior to all this fertility nonsense, the maximum natural number of babies in utero was quintuplets and natural quintuplets were one in a million. 


The mother is very wise to let the hospital staff know that she doesn’t want them leaking information about her.  The press will sniff it out anyway and make the family’s life a goldfish bowl but, at the very least, she’s making the reporters earn their salaries.  Every aspect of this family’s life will be examined under a magnifying glass by people who will judge whether or not the parents are “good enough” but those same people will never offer one night of babysitting assistance.


Eight premature newborns is more than any family unit can handle.  Add to that a mother recovering from major abdominal surgery and you have to wonder how they will ever cope, let alone breastfeed.  At the best of times, with a new baby who is full term and a natural birth, the new parents are completely exhausted and overwhelmed.  I can’t even imagine how these parents will begin to provide quality care for all these children. These scenarios are well-known to be a recipe for child abuse.


So, when you read the dreamy-eyed nonsense in the newspaper about this event, think about the reality behind the scenes.  Know that fertility specialists are shaking their heads at the embarrassment that this has happened.  Know that these babies have a future that is compromised by being this small and this early.  Know that these parents are at high risk for a nervous breakdown in the next two years.  Demand that your local news agencies ask the difficult questions and do some fundraising to help this family with the astronomical expenses they are going to have.  Yes, the birth of a child is always a blessing but this story is not something that any sane person would want to have happen in their own family.



2 thoughts on “The dark side of the Octuplets birth

  1. Thank-you for your wise analysis of the realities behind this media sideshow, Gloria! Thank-you for highlighting the experimentation done to this woman and also for giving us a glimpse into what a strong woman she must be to have resisted the pressure to abort some of her babies.
    I really hope her local LLL groups are putting plans in action to help her successfully breastfeed all of her children.

  2. And the journalistic investigation has begun…it just came out today that this woman is already the mother of 6 other kids (including a set of twins), is “fairly young” and lives with her parents in a neighborhood of 2 and 3 bedroom houses. Yikes. I have no words for any fertility person involved in this kind of case.

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