Septuplets' mom goes home
Second baby weaned off ventilator
November 23, 1997
Web posted at: 7:24 p.m. EST (0024 GMT)
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) -- Four days after giving birth to the
world's first surviving septuplets, Bobbi McCaughey went home
from the hospital Sunday.
McCaughey slipped quietly out of the hospital, without media
attention. Hospital officials said she wanted her departure
to be private. She later walked slowly and unaided into the
family's home in Carlisle, a small town about 10 miles from
Also Sunday, another of the babies, Joel, was taken off of a
ventilator and upgraded to fair condition.
Shortly after the babies were born, Joel, who made his
entrance into the world last, slipped into critical
condition, suffering from blood loss. But he recovered from
that setback and Sunday became the second baby to begin
breathing completely on his own.
Kenneth, the first and strongest baby, came off his
ventilator Friday and took food orally for the first time
Saturday. The other five babies are listed in serious
condition and are still being assisted by ventilators.
"Last week, we had very high expectations for these babies,
and to this point, they have fulfilled all of those
expectations remarkably well," Dr. Robert Shaw, director of
the Iowa Methodist Medical Center, said Sunday on CBS's "Face
Dionne quints offer warning
But amid all the media hoopla surrounding the McCaughey
babies, the three surviving members of perhaps North
America's most famous set of multiples, the Dionne
quintuplets, warned the McCaughey parents against the perils
"Multiple births should not be confused with entertainment,
nor should they be an opportunity to sell products," wrote
Annette, Cecile and Yvonne Dionne in an open letter published
in the latest edition of Time magazine.
"We three would like you to know we feel a natural affinity
and tenderness for your children. We hope your children
receive more respect than we did."
The identical Dionne quints were born to a French-Canadian
couple in 1934 in Corbeil, Ontario. They were separated from
their parents for years and exhibited as a tourist
attraction, earning millions of dollars for the Ontario
Only three of the quintuplets, now 63, are still alive. They
asked Time to print their letter, saying their lives were
ruined by the exploitation they suffered.
The Dionnes warned the McCaugheys to "beware" of those who
would "seek to exploit the growing fame of these children."
"If this letter changes the course of events for these
newborns, then perhaps our lives will have served a higher
purpose," they wrote.
McCaugheys deluged with offers
The McCaugheys have been deluged with offers to sell their
story. Father Kenny McCaughey said the family is considering
some of the offers as a way to offset the cost of raising the
children, which would likely top $1 million by the time they
are grown. The family is reportedly being encouraged to get
But the McCaugheys, devout Baptists, insist they want to
maintain a degree of privacy and maintain a regular Christian
"I just want to live a normal life. I want these kids to have
a normal family life," Kenny McCaughey said.
On Sunday, about 100 members of the Missionary Baptist Church
in Carlisle, where the McCaugheys worship, gathered to
celebrate the birth.
"Our hearts are so full this morning, we can hardly speak,"
said the Rev. Henry Hepworth of Innisfale, Alberta, who is
Bobbi McCaughey's uncle.
"They're all delicate, but they are so perfect," Hepworth
said. "There's not a bent nose or squashed head in the
More than a dozen reporters scribbled notes through the
service, with reporters and camera crews converging on family
and friends afterward. The family appeared to be growing
weary of the media attention.
"We would like to get back to normal as soon as can be," said
Peg Hepworth, Bobbi McCaughey's mother.
Correspondent Patty Davis contributed to this report.