A woman on Monday gave birth to eight babies, only the second time in history octuplets have survived more than a few hours, doctors said.
The mother gave birth to six boys and two girls weighing between 680g and 1.474kg, doctors at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center said. The hospital had scheduled a Caesarean section for seven babies, but doctors were surprised when an eighth came out at 10:48am.
“My eyes were wide,” Dr Karen Maples said, explaining her reaction to the last birth.
Doctors said the babies were born nine weeks premature but are in stable condition. Two newborns were placed on ventilators and a third needs oxygen.
Hospital officials would not release any information about the mother, including her name, condition or whether she used fertility drugs. They did, however, say she planned to breast feed all of them.
The mother checked into the hospital in her 23rd week of pregnancy and gave birth seven weeks later. All eight babies will probably remain in the hospital for at least two months and the mother should be released in a week, Maples said.
The world’s first live octuplets were born in March 1967 in Mexico City, but all the babies died within 14 hours, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
The US’ first live octuplets were born in Houston in 1998. They were three months premature and their weights at birth ranged from 312g to 765g. The tiniest infant died of heart and lung failure a week after being born. The surviving siblings — girls Ebuka, Gorom, Chidi, Chima and Echerem, and their brothers Ikem and Jioke — turned 10 last month.