Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Eight, count em, eight babies were born to a secret mother at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center in Southern California this week.
This is the 2nd live-born set of octuplets in the U.S. and they are all doing well, according the the hospital spokesperson. The six boys and two girls weighed between 1 lb 8 oz. and 3lb 4 oz. When you multiply that times 8...well it is a lot of poundage!
They expected 7 babies and the 8th was a surprise. I guess they all jumble up on the ultrasound.
The babies are in the newborn ICU (NICU) of course, in incubators. They will need to be hospitalized for many weeks to grow and develop. If they all survive, they will be the first known live octuplets in history.
It hasn't been disclosed, but it is likely these babies were the result of fertility drugs. It is very unusual for high multiple pregnancies to occur naturally. Fertility drugs stimulate the ovaries to produce many eggs and if they are all fertilized and implanted, it can be highly risky for the mother and babies. For that reason, many mothers are faced with the decision of selectively reducing the number of fetuses. For women who have undergone the emotional trauma of infertility, this is a heartbreaking and difficult decision. Do you risk the lives of all the babies and risk having no child? These are the painful aspects of the infertility business that no-one talks about.
Fortunately, it looks like these 8 have a pretty good chance. They are feeding and also receiving supplemental tube feeds. Most importantly, they are all breathing without respirators, which means their lungs have developed enough to live. They have good weights and the work that goes on in NICUs to stabilize and save these tiny infants is truly amazing.
It looks like "Steve and Kate plus 8" might have a competitor.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 10:49 PM