Surviving Octuplets Born for Second Time Ever

Doctors thought there were only seven but found eighth baby during delivery.

ByABC News via logo
January 27, 2009, 8:24 AM

Jan. 27, 2009 — -- After she gave birth to seven babies, a California woman -- and the massive 46-person team of doctors that was assisting the birth -- thought she was done.

But one last baby, perhaps hiding behind the others, had other ideas.

When the baby popped out Monday at 10:48 a.m., the woman, whose name the hospital did not release, became the second ever to give birth to surviving octuplets -- six boys and two girls. The last baby came five minutes after the first was born, the LA Times reported.

"It was a shock, especially finding the eighth baby," Dr. Karen Maples of California's Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center said. "My eyes were wide."

The babies were born by Caesarean section nine weeks premature and ranged from 1 pound, 8 ounces to 3 pounds, 4 ounces. The woman was carrying 24 pounds of baby.

The hospital's delivery team, which was spread out in four delivery rooms, ran each baby from the mother into another room and then ran back for the next in a bizarre relay race that successfully brought eight new lives into the world.

Two of the babies had to be put on ventilators, but have since been taken off. Three still require minimal breathing assistance.

"The babies are doing actually very well," Dr. Mandhir Gupta told "Good Morning America." But Gupta said the hospital is still watching the babies closely for additional breathing problems.

According to Gupta, the mother plans to breast-feed the babies once they are big enough.

The babies reportedly are expected to stay in the hospital for around two months and the mother could be released in as little as a week.

"When the first baby came out, it was crying and kicking, which was very good," Gupta said. "That made the anxiety go away for all the team members."

The delivery team had been planning for a seven-baby birth for weeks.

But seven babies -- 28 arms and legs -- later, one more surprise was waiting: There was another baby yet to come.

When the team learned of the eighth baby, Maples said the mother asked, "Where was it, Dr. Maples? Where was it hiding?"

"The baby seemed to be quite high in the uterus, perhaps behind another baby," Maples told "GMA" today. "I said, 'There's one more baby here, are you ready?' The team was."

Maples said the team handled the surprise birth "without missing a beat."