- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 14, 2001

The first set of septuplets on the East Coast was born Thursday night at Georgetown University Hospital. The five boys and two girls were delivered roughly seven weeks early and as a matter of routine will be listed in critical condition for a few days, doctors said.
Their mother is expected to be released in a few days.
Eight doctors and dozens of nurses delivered the seven children through a Caesarean section from 11:25 p.m. to 11:28 p.m. The babies weigh about 2 pounds each and are 13- to-14 inches long. Doctors said the babies will remain hospitalized for seven to nine weeks.
The Muslim mother, who wishes for her family to remain anonymous for now, was admitted to the hospital for closer observation about a month ago.
The parents have chosen names for the babies. But to maintain their anonymity, they are being called "Babies A through G."
The father was in the delivery room and did not leave his wife's side until he knew she was out of danger, even as the babies were whisked away right after birth to the neonatal intensive-care unit. The medical team reported that six of the children were put on ventilators and that the other child required only minor help for breathing. One was given Dopamine to help control blood pressure.
Dana Adamson, hospital nurse manager, said the family was relieved after the delivery.
The mother was not allowed to see her newborns until yesterday afternoon but was given photographs of the babies after the operation was over.
"She saw their pictures, studied them deeply and cried and clutched them to her breast," she said.
The births required a lot of preparation and numerous staff members.
"It was a big addition, but we can handle it," said Chief of Neonatology Dr. Siva Subramanian, adding that the 25-member neonatal unit can handle 44 newborns at a time.
Dr. Mutahar Fauzia — the mother's community physician in Arlington — learned of the septuplets when they were dots on an ultrasound and referred her patient to Georgetown because of the complexity of the case.
She said the mother used fertility drugs to induce ovulation to become pregnant.
She said everyone was shocked to find out the family was having seven children.
"I said, 'God, please help me' and He did," she said. "The family was filled with fear and hope."
The survival rates of septuplets are hard to track because they are not common, but doctors said everyone is doing well.
"But we are not out of the woods yet," said Dr. Craig Winkel, head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The only U.S. septuplet birth in which all the children survived occurred more than 31/2 years ago. On Nov. 17, 1997, seven children were born to Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey in Des Moines, Iowa. Three of the children still are being treated for long-term medical complications.
"The evidence is pretty good that multiple-birth babies are at a much higher risk for health problems. I think it's important that while we wish for the best for the family and the mother and we can see it as an advance in medical care, it should not be seen as a success story. No one sets out to have seven kids," said Sean Tipton, a spokesman for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Dr. Mark Evans, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at M.C.P. Hahnemann University in Philadelphia, who has helped more than 4,000 patients with multiple births, said the possible health dangers should not be overlooked.
"There has never been a completely successful septuplet procedure. Period. End of story. There is no reason that this will be any different," he said.
Regardless of possible medical complications, doctors noted the parenting struggle that lies ahead for the couple.
"Their lives are going to be pretty crazy right now. Some of the children will probably end up with some complications," said Dr. Florence Haseltine, a founding member of the Society of the Advancement of Women's Health Research. "Can you imagine taking care of seven children? What if one of them has colic? My heart — having survived taking care of a child — goes out to them."
The bill for the family's hospital stay is expected to be close to $1 million.

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