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20 Years After the Septuplet’s Birth

On November 17th, 1997, something unique happened in Des Moines Iowa, which had never been recorded in human history. A set of Sextuplets (seven siblings) was successfully delivered to the McCaugheys. Kenni and Bobbi McCaughey’s story was quickly picked up by international media as everyone wanted to know the unique challenges and experiences that sextuplets would bring to a ‘normal’ American household. This slideshow follows this unique story from the time of birth, until adulthood.

The first born – happy couple (Kenni and Bobbi McCaughey)

Kenni and Bobbi McCaughey had their first born daughter, Mikalya, born in 1996. The birth was a miracle in itself since Bobbi suffered from pituitary gland issues which made it almost impossible to successfully conceive. Looking to expand their family, they underwent fertility treatments to facilitate the birth of another child.

Surprising News

Before their first ultrasound, the McCaugheys were excited to learn that the fertility treatments had worked and that their family would soon be expanding. But by just how much was something they didn’t realize until this moment. The sound of so many heartbeats in the silence of the hospital room—“it was a lot to take in,” remembered the McCaugheys. Before they knew it their whole life would be changed forever.

The Pregnancy

To their surprise, they learnt that not only were the fertility treatments successful, Bobbi now had seven growing embryos in her womb. Despite the fact that no other set of sextuplets had ever been successfully delivered, they refused to undergo selective termination and decided to see the pregnancy to full term. With the story being picked up by multiple news outlets, this led to some criticism of ‘selfishness’ on their part by putting all embryos in danger.

The Birth

On the 19th of November, the McCaughey’s doctor decided to deliver the children via cesarean section – six months early – to optimize their chances of survival. All seven children were successfully delivered, albeit underweight at the time. The couple now had seven new additions to their family, four boys (Kenny Robert, Nathan Roy, Brandon James, and Joel Stephen) and three girls (Alexis may, Natalie Sue, and Kelsey Ann)

It Takes a Village

As media attention increased around the miraculous birth of the first surviving septuplets in history—seven babies at the same time—even the hospital staff enjoyed a moment of fame. Before a bank of reporters and microphones, they gave a collective cheer to celebrate. Someone reportedly quipped that, while “it takes a village to raise a child,” ushering septuplets into the world takes a small city!

The Septuplets

With a media circus surrounding them, Bobbi and Kenni finally took their new children home and started planning on how to raise their unique family.

5. Media Coverage

The media couldn’t get enough of the McCaughey sextuplets. Their home was constantly surrounded by local, national and international media outlets seeking to get a glimpse of the family. They even made the cover of Time magazine and Newsweek.

Balloons and Bodyguards

Though Bobbi and Kenni report that they gave relatively few interviews, they also remember that it was not uncommon for paparazzi and other visitors to slip into their backyard, hoping to get a glimpse of the septuplets. So great was the media attention that the local police, in order to ensure the family’s peace and quiet, stood guard outside the McCaughey home. With balloons.

6. Celebrity Status

Their new found celebrity also got them an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show on the sextuplets’ first birthday. The parents got a call from President Clinton, and later on, a visit from President Bush.

Mommy time

With eight children to attend to, the McCaughey parents were more than outnumbered! In her weekly journal, Mom Bobbi described trying moments when it seemed like there was “always at least one child crying.” She recalled feeling both “terror and joy,” but never regretted the decision to keep all seven babies rather than choosing “selective reduction.” “They’re my children, and I just wanted them,” she told People magazine.

7. The Kindness of Strangers (and friends)

While everybody was mesmerized by their story, they also recognized the financial challenges of raising eight young children. The McCaughey’s were showered with gifts which ranged from a 5,000 sq ft home, a lifetime supply of diapers and a new family van.

The Family Car

It was easy to spot the McCaughey family van because it came adorned with a bow and detailed with the names of each child and their parents. But did it come with carseats? The McCaugheys realized it was time to buckle up for a lifetime of adventures. Traveling with eight children was just one of the many new frontiers they would face as a family.

Unique Challenges

These acts of charity were well timed as the sextuplets tore through more than 50 diapers and a similar amount of milk bottles daily. The family had to shop in bulk for food, clothing, and toys to minimize costs. Simple tasks such as taking their children for a stroll required the use of customized, heavy-duty strollers.

Fascinated by the everyday

Media attention tended to focus on how the family coped with everyday tasks, like feeding eight toddlers. Challenging (and messy!) as they might have been, these moments were part of ordinary life for the McCaughey family, who met each one with characteristic good humor. Their upbeat attitude became an inspiration for parents everywhere. After all, if they could manage mealtime with eight, surely the rest of the world could make family dinners work, too….

9. Joint Birthdays

With seven children sharing a birthday, joint birthdays were a nightmare to organize. Luckily, the family had a good home dynamic which made it work.


For any parent, bedtime is not an easy hour, but for the McCaughey’s it was a nightly challenge, despite this idyllic feature photo from Better Homes and Gardens. Though they shared rooms by necessity, the siblings got along well. Looking back, they remember that “even from a very young age we all had different interests.” Nevertheless, they all wanted the top bunk.

How’s That for a Lullabye?

What’s bedtime without some good night songs? Various artists, including Geoff More, Cindy Morgan, Ginny Owens, Chris Rice, and Kathie Lee Gifford came together to compose an album of soothing lullabye music in honor of the McCaughey septuplets. Even parents Bobbi and Kenni contributed a duet, “Tis So Sweet.” The song expressed their gratitude for the amazing gift of septuplets. And perhaps also for the peace and quiet as the last one dropped off to sleep….

10. Hanging out

Despite the unusual nature of the family, the kids still had a relatively normal upbringing. They had a large yard to play in, and they maintained a very healthy and active lifestyle.

A symbol of hope?

Like his predecessor, President Bush also found an inspiring American symbol in the McCaughey septuplets. After September 11th, the country needed a wholesome image to restore faith in the land of liberty and opportunity. Against all odds, these seven children had survived and grown into a beautiful, promising blond brood. Now, if only the leader of the free world could get them all to look at the camera!

Not Twins…Septuplets!

Though they were all born within six minutes of each other (that’s right—six, not seven!), the septuplets were not identical, a fact they have had to explain repeatedly. Of course, this didn’t stop their parents from dressing them in the same clothes. “We didn’t really have a choice” recalled the McCaughey’s. Was it difficult for their older sister to be the odd one out? “Not at all,” says Mikayla.

Fit that on the Fridge!

Despite their extraordinary number, the McCaughey family celebrated the ordinary accomplishments of each child—their first drawings and writings. The septuplets would go on to become good students who enjoyed school. And the good news for the young siblings was there was always an extensive audience at home for their latest works. The only challenge was finding space on the family refrigerator for all of them!

Opening Presents

Buying, wrapping, and opening presents with eight children? Needless to say, moments like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and of course The Birthday were “big” in the McCaughey household. But how to keep track of which box belongs to whom? That didn’t seem to matter in the heat of the moment. Used to opening presents together, the septuplets continue to celebrate their miraculous birthday as a family.

Mealtime at the McCaughey’s

Organizing meals for a family of ten (the sextuplets, their elder sister, and the parents) was another challenge. Meals had to be made ‘buffet style’ where every person serves themselves. This was the norm for all three daily meals. The family also maintained a vegetable garden to reduce the costs of feeding their kids healthy meals on a daily basis.

Further Challenges

Two of the sextuplets, Nathan and Alexis were diagnosed with cerebral palsy early in their childhood. Luckily, this did not come with any cognitive issues (and Alexis went on to graduate as one of the top students in her high school class). While Nathan later learnt how to walk on his own, Alexis required mobility assistance.

Seven from Heaven

Challenging as it was to raise eight children, the McCaugheys were unflagging in their belief that the birth of the world’s first septuplets was a miraculous gift. With help from Greg and Deborah Lewis, they chronicled their lives, and the importance of their faith, in the book Seven from Heaven, which went on to become a book club bestseller.

High School – The Teenage Years

In 2012, the sextuplets joined Carlisle High school in Iowa. They were all notably very active in the various clubs and activities that the high school offered. While all of them joined the school marching band, each of them had their own set of interests that they explored. Some of the activities that the sextuplets enjoyed include soccer, cross country, the cheer squad and the debate team. They also performed very decently academically.

Financial Independence

One of the challenges of having eight teenagers was that the family was not in a financial position to meet all their individual needs during their teenage years. This required the McCaughey children to become responsible for their financial independence. To buy electronics, comics, and other items that all teenagers take for granted, they had to get jobs within the community. This is something that they undertook with gusto and enthusiasm.


In 2016, the graduating class of Carlisle High School included seven siblings. This was a huge achievement for the McCaugheys and was a testament to the exceptional upbringing that Bobbi and Kenni had given their kids. While all the sextuplets achieved decent grades, Alexis stood out by graduating with honors as one of the top students in her year. This was a bittersweet moment, as it marked the beginning of adulthood where the sextuplets would each find their way independently in the world.


After high school, each of the sextuplets had to chart their own career path, beginning with college. The Hannibal-LaGrange University in Missouri offered all of them a fully funded scholarship to join the school. Natalia, Nathan, Kelsey, and Joel accepted the generous offer and joined the University.

Kenny and Alexis chose to remain in Iowa and join the nearby Des Moines Area Community College while Brandon chose to fulfill his lifelong dream by enlisting to join the military. With adulthood, the sextuplets have chosen to keep their personal lives much more private.

University Life

The septuplets described college life as “culture shock” despite the fact that five of them chose to attend the same university together. What did each major in? Kelsey chose public relations, Alexis gravitated to early childhood education, Natalie selected exercise science, and Joel and Nathan decided on computer information systems. It seems like no coincidence that all of these majors are arguably areas related to the singular nature of their upbringing.

Turning 21

Despite their desire for privacy as they go on with their separate lives, the family made headlines again recently as the septuplets turned 21 on the day before Thanksgiving. As they had since day one, the siblings gathered at the family home to give thanks together and share the festivities. No more fighting over cake…or even the champagne. “We’re not only siblings, we’re best friends,” one told a TODAY reporter.

The Next Generation

And there is more to celebrate: older sister Mikayla gave birth to her first child, Becham, making the McCaugheys grandparents for the first time. Bobbi notes that “the love for them is same but the responsibility is so different.” As grandparents, caring for just one who goes home at the end of the day is strikingly different. And does Mikayla have plans to have more? If so, she’s not saying….

The Real McCaugheys

As the public checks in again with the septuplets at this milestone, parents Bobbi and Kenni have downsized to a three-bedroom, turning over the family home to a ministry for young mothers. Other siblings are engaged and may soon follow Mikayla in starting families of their own. 21 years later, the McCaughey family remains an inspiring testament to the power and possibility of the American family.


Other Septuplets?

Since the birth of the McCaughey septuplets—the first surviving septuplets—in 1997, five other sets of seven babies have been born. In 2010, the McGhee gamily welcomed septuplets and posted this photo that, like many of the McCaugheys family poses, went viral. Why the fascination with septuplets and with families like the McGhees and the McCaugheys? Is it modern science? Safety in numbers? Or is it perhaps the promise of a family “built on love.”


Google’s HeAR AI: A Future of Diagnosing Diseases with Sound

Danielle S



Google is making strides in the world of artificial intelligence (AI), particularly with a system that could revolutionize how doctors diagnose diseases. Imagine a world where your cough could be the key to an early diagnosis of illnesses like COVID-19 or tuberculosis. Google’s AI, known as Health Acoustic Representations (HeAR), is a step towards this future.

HeAR has been trained on millions of audio clips that capture a wide range of human sounds, including coughs. This massive collection of sounds is what sets HeAR apart. It allows the AI to learn and identify the unique characteristics of different respiratory diseases.

Traditionally, doctors diagnose diseases based on symptoms, tests, and sometimes, the sounds of a patient’s cough or breathing. However, this method can be subjective and limited by the doctor’s experience. Google’s AI system aims to make this process more objective and accurate by using machine learning. This means that the AI can improve its diagnostic abilities over time, learning from the vast array of sounds it has been trained on.

Dr. Yael Bensoussan, a laryngologist at the University of South Florida, points out that while supervised learning in medicine has its benefits, such as clinical validation, it’s often restricted by the availability of annotated data sets. HeAR’s approach overcomes this by learning from a vast and diverse set of sounds, not limited to annotated or labeled data.

In the near future, this AI could assist physicians in diagnosing diseases more quickly and accurately. It might even help in assessing lung function, providing a valuable tool in managing and treating respiratory illnesses.

The development of HeAR by Google represents an exciting advancement in the use of AI in medicine. It showcases the potential of machine learning to enhance diagnostic processes and improve patient outcomes, making it a fascinating development in the field of medical technology.

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Ron Post: The Dallas Man Who Brought Health Care to Millions

Amanda J



In Dallas, there’s a man named Ron Post who made a huge difference in the lives of millions of people needing health care. His journey began 45 years ago when he saw something on the news that changed his life.

Post and his wife were watching a report about Cambodian refugees fleeing to Thailand from the Khmer Rouge’s “Killing Fields,” where about 2 million people died due to starvation, overwork, and execution. One image struck him hard: the frail body of a teenage girl, which reminded him of his own daughter. This moment touched his heart deeply, and he felt a strong call to take action.

“I believe God put it in my heart that I was to raise up a medical team, and I was to help them,” Post said. And that’s exactly what he did. Although he was a Dallas-based business owner with no experience in medicine, Post’s determination was unstoppable. Within just two weeks, he managed to raise $250,000 and gathered a group of 28 volunteers. Together, they traveled to Thailand to offer their assistance at a refugee camp.

That act of kindness and determination was the start of something much bigger. The organization he founded, Medical Teams International, has grown significantly over the years. Today, it helps around 3 million refugees across eight different camps, providing them with the medical care they desperately need.

But Medical Teams International didn’t stop there. They expanded their services and now operate 13 mobile dental clinics, reaching about 25,000 people every year. These clinics travel to different locations, offering dental care to those who otherwise might not have access to it.

Ron Post’s story shows how one person’s compassion and drive can lead to extraordinary achievements. From his initial heartfelt response to a crisis far from home, he built an organization that continues to provide vital health services to millions of people. Medical Teams International stands as a testament to what can be achieved when someone decides to make a positive change in the world.

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A Purr-fect Ending: How Paradise, California, United to Find Dundee the Cat





In Paradise, California, a community came together to find a much-loved cat named Dundee, who had survived the devastating 2018 Camp Fire. Dundee’s adventure began when his owner, Suise Heffernan, took him to the vet. After the appointment, she stopped to get pet food, locking her truck with Dundee inside. But when she returned, the truck and Dundee were gone.

Surveillance footage from a nearby store showed someone breaking into the vehicle and driving off with Dundee still inside. Heffernan was especially worried because Dundee has a thyroid condition and needed his medication.

The whole community of Paradise stepped up to help find Dundee. After four long days, their efforts paid off, and Dundee was found. Heffernan had adopted Dundee in 2018, just before the Camp Fire. She lost her home, a barn, and hundreds of acres of timber in the fire. Despite being displaced, Dundee transformed from a feral cat into a warm and cuddly companion.

One community member pleaded, “Just return the cat! Trucks can be replaced, and anyone living on the ridge has lost so much already.” Heffernan shared her agony over not knowing Dundee’s whereabouts, a feeling she knew all too well from losing another cat in the Camp Fire.

Heffernan and her friends, along with independent volunteers, continued their search. Finally, on Saturday, they received a call from someone who had Dundee. A group drove to Chico that evening, where Heffernan was reunited with Dundee, who started purring immediately.

Heffernan expressed her gratitude for the community’s support: “There’s something about the people – they just come together and they are there for you. I just can’t even imagine the hours that people that I’ll never meet put in on his behalf. It is so appreciated.”

This heartwarming story showcases the power of community and the unbreakable bond between humans and their pets.

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Texas Zoo Fits Grasshopper with Miniature “Neck Brace”

Amanda J



In a remarkable display of veterinary ingenuity, a grasshopper at a Texas zoo was fitted with a miniature “neck brace” after experiencing a unique health issue. The grasshopper, a stick-like breed known as a Peruvian jumping stick, recently underwent a common process for insects: molting. At around six months old, these grasshoppers shed their exoskeleton, allowing for growth. However, this particular grasshopper faced a challenge after molting.

According to a recent zoo blog post, the grasshopper had a weakened area around part of its body resembling a “neck” due to a crease in its thoracic region. This crease caused its head to flop backward when climbing upwards, as these grasshoppers spend most of their time in tree branches.

To address this issue, zookeepers developed a miniature neck brace to temporarily support the insect’s neck in a neutral position while its exoskeleton hardened. The brace was created using a sterile Q-tip shaft and microspore tape to secure it. This innovative solution allowed the grasshopper to continue its normal activities without further injury.

The zoo emphasized the importance of providing exceptional care to all its animals, regardless of their size. “Whether it’s a mammal, reptile, bird, or even insect, all of our animals receive extraordinary care from our veterinary team, no matter how big or small it may be,” the zoo stated.

This story highlights the dedication of zookeepers and veterinarians to the well-being of all creatures in their care and showcases the creative approaches they take to ensure the health and safety of even the smallest residents.

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The Incredible Journey of Ullr: A Dog’s Survival After an Avalanche





In a story that sounds like it’s straight out of a movie, a dog named Ullr, who had been missing for almost a year, was finally spotted alive and well. Ullr, a mix of Border Collie and Rottweiler, had been living in the wild all by himself after surviving an avalanche. For Jacob Dalbey, Ullr’s owner, this news was the light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel.

Jacob Dalbey’s world turned upside down on March 17, when he was caught in an avalanche near Chair Mountain while skiing with friends. The terrifying incident left Jacob seriously injured and hospitalized, and tragically, one of his friends did not survive. Amidst the chaos, Ullr, who was with them, ran away from the avalanche site. Rescue teams later found dog tracks leading away from the debris, sparking hope that Ullr had survived.

For 341 days, Jacob never gave up hope of finding his beloved pet. He set up trail cameras and left food in various locations, hoping to lure Ullr into view. And then, on a day that seemed like any other, the unimaginable happened. Ullr was captured on a trail camera not once, but two days in a row. “After 341 days, 11 months to the day…it has happened,” Jacob shared on his GoFundMe page, a platform where he had been updating supporters and raising funds to aid in the search for Ullr.

The joy and relief in Jacob’s message were palpable as he thanked his friends and supporters for their unwavering belief and support. “Knowing you believe in us really means a lot,” he wrote, acknowledging the tough journey and the difference their support made.

Jacob’s next steps are focused on bringing Ullr safely back home. In the meantime, he has asked for the community’s help in keeping an eye out for any signs of Ullr, including pawprints, barking, or sightings.

Jacob’s harrowing experience during the avalanche, where he was buried under the snow for over three hours with a broken hand and frostbitten fingers, adds a layer of awe to Ullr’s survival story. Jacob’s determination to dig himself out and survive mirrored Ullr’s own fight for survival in the wild.

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