Woman gives birth to octuplets

Doctors tell of the surprise eighth baby as mother gives birth to octuplets

You may have thought twins were a bit of a challenge, well spare a thought for the American woman who gave birth to octuplets yesterday.

The unnamed mother had one surprise too many when she was expected to deliver seven babies, but five minutes after her seventh newborn arrived, an eighth healthy baby arrived at the hospital in California.

In total, the mother gave birth to six boys and two girls, requiring a whopping 46-strong team of medical staff at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Centre to assist with the Caesarian delivery.

In a press conference afterwards Dr Karen Maples said: ‘My eyes were as wide as saucers,’ as the eighth child appeared. ‘We just went on and delivered the babies.’

Dr Maples confirmed all the newborns were in a stable condition in the neonatal intensive care unit, but that two of the babies needed help to breath with ventilators and that the mother was ‘doing well’.

The octuplets weighed between 1 pound, 8 ounces (680 grams) and 3 pounds, 4 ounces (1.474 kilograms).

The babies were born nine weeks prematurely over a five-minute period and on arrival were initially identified by the letters A through to H.

‘We decided to proceed with the delivery in anticipation of seven babies. We had done some drills, some preliminary dry runs,’ said Dr Maples, who had been looking after the mother since the first trimester.

‘Lo and behold, after we got to Baby G, which is what we expected, we were surprised by Baby H.’

The hospital refused to disclose whether the mother had undergone fertility treatment, which increases the chance of multiple birth.

She is not alone, however. In 1998 29-year-old Nigerian Nkem Chukwu gave birth to the last set of octuplets to have survived in Houston, Texas. One baby died a week after birth, but the remaining seven celebrated their 10th birthdays in December.

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