When Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey had their first daughter in 1996, they probably didn’t know what was next in store for them.
Two years later, they’re celebrating the birthdays of their septuplets on Oprah.
Bobbi McMaughey gave birth to the first-ever surviving septuplets on November 19, 1997.
Bobbi, who had been dealing with infertility after the birth of the first child, was taking hormones to combat it. They tried in vitro fertilization, and once they learned they would have seven kids, they wanted to keep all of them. The family at first had a lot of media attention, but then have stayed out of the public eye for the majority of the children’s lives, often granting interviews only around the time of the children’s birthday.
Oprah said herself she was a little overwhelmed having all seven babies on the show, but the McCaugheys said they were handling it.
“We have a system of about 35 volunteers every week,” Bobbi said during the 1998 interview. The parents seemed to have no doubt that they were ready to be the best parents they could be.
It had never been easy for the family. Growing up, two of them, Alexis and Nathan, suffered from cerebral palsy. The McCaughey’s also had luck on their side—the seven-bedroom house that they lived in was donated to them and they received many other gifts and donations.
This hasn’t stopped Kenny and Bobbi from teaching the children the correct morals, though—that you should work hard and shouldn’t expect to get things for free.
“I gave them the cold, hard truth slowly,” Kenny told the De Moines Register. “No way could I afford this house on my salary. If you want something, you have to work for it.”
And that’s exactly what they did.
All seven of the children graduated from high school in 2016. Now, they look towards the future.
The kids all have dreams of their own ranging from teaching to computer science, and they have already started the steps towards their futures.
Four of them—Kelsey, Nathan, Joel, and Natalie—were accepted to Hannibal-LaGrange University in Missouri, reported Associated Press reported. The same school offered all seven children free tuition, shortly after they were born. While one of the boys, Brandon, chose to enlist in the U.S. Army, Alexis and Kenneth chose to attend Des Moines Area Community College, which is close to their home.
They’re were excited to be setting off on their own, but would miss each other’s companionship.
“I feel like I am starting my life,” Kelsey told the De Moine Register. “But they are my best friends. When you need someone to talk to, they are there to help you.”
No doubt they will stay close as they move into adulthood and Bobbi and Kenny get used to having an empty nest.
A 2015 interview with TODAY had Bobbi emotionally looking back on her and her family’s lives.
“So many things have happened. The memories, the joys, the heartaches … but it’s where its gotten us today, and its very special.”
When asked by KCCI News about advice for future parents, Bobbi stated how kids survive on structure, and that is the key to both the parents and the children being happy.
When Kenny was asked about advice, he simply said, “Have one at a time,” with a big smile on his face.
Watch the TODAY interview below: