Eight is Enough

Octuplets born in California 2009

In the News

Eight is Enough

Cute name for a sitcom, but just imagine this special delivery–eight babies born in five minutes?

-Mary Beth Sammons

Octuplets' doctorsWhile a team of 46 specialists worked itself into a tizzy delivering seven babies who came out kicking and crying, imagine the surprise when an eighth, “Baby H”, popped out.  “Lo and behold, we were surprised to see a Baby H,” said Dr. Karen Maples, chief of service for obstetrics and gynecology at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center, who led the team at the California hospital. “All of the babies seem to be stable.”

But here’s my question: How long will the mother stay that way? And, what does this do to the ratings for Jon & Kate Plus 8?

Imagine breastfeeding eight babies? (According to more-news-than-we-need-to-know reports, Mom’s intention to do so has been confirmed). Applying suntan lotion at the beach, and then bathing the sticky, sandy bodies? Can eight kids squeeze into a tub together? Wiping up vomit times eight during a bout with the flu? Eight parent-teacher meetings in one night? Riding shotgun while eight teens–six of them boys–log the mandatory miles to get their driver’s licenses? Funding six tuxes and two prom dresses, mani/pedis and up-dos for prom? And that’s not even factoring in college. Or diapers.

Dr. Nancy SnydermanThe docs who welcomed the world’s second live-born set of octuplets are dazzled with delight. But, I’m paying close attention to the wise words of NBC’s chief medical editor, doctor and mom Nancy Snyderman, who described the womb squeeze this way to Matt Lauer, “That’s like having 10 babies in a studio apartment.” Ouch!!! A little too close for comfort for this mom of three.

While anchors on multiple stations queried Tuesday morning: “Do you think she used fertility drugs?” (Hard to believe in this economy people get paid for this level of intelligence), Dr. Snyderman cut to the umbilical-cord chase: “Of course, let’s clear that up.” She went on to say that the body is typically not designed to house eight fetuses, thus the reason headlines don’t scream “octuplets” every day. She also explained that selective reduction, a common practice in fertility treatments that reduces the number of fetuses, is often employed to prevent such large births. Dr. Snyderman was quick to acknowledge that the reduction practice “rings the bells and whistles for those who call that an abortion.”

On another serious note, Dr. Snyderman raised an interesting point concerning the health risks that could very well lie ahead for this Southern California set of many sibs. Unlike the doctors in the delivery room, Dr. Snyderman was a little less optimistic about the prognosis of these eight siblings, saying that their low birth rates–between 1.8 ounces and 3.4 ounces – leaves them susceptible to multiple maladies from seizures and asthma to developmental issues.

Barring all that, the news today was exciting and awe-inspiring–so much so that later in the day, Angie and Brad released photos of the seven-month-old twins. Always out to steal the spotlight, aren’t they?

Well, in the spirit of trying to help out a fellow time-pressed mom, I already checked, and the tab button on J.Crew’s Crewcuts web site does, in fact, allow you to order in quantities of eight. Phew.

 Photo Source 1, 2

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