The McCaughey Septuplets Turn 21

The first set of septuplets to survive birth are celebrating their 21st birthday.

Newborns asleep in the Hospital
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The first set of septuplets to survive birth are celebrating their 21st birthday.

The McCaughey septuplets made headlines back in 1997 when they became the world’s first set of surviving septuplets. They were born to Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey nine weeks premature at a Des Moines, Iowa, hospital. They have one older sister Mikayla, who is now married with a child. People all over the world rejoiced in the septuplets’ survival, and the seven children were featured on the Today Show just a couple days after their birth.

According to Today, the septuplets are still close and are each finding their own individual paths in the world. “I think that we’re all becoming very independent and finding our different talents and different skill sets,” Kelsey McCaughey, the fourth-oldest of the siblings, said. “It’s cool to celebrate this different milestone.”

Kelsey, along with siblings Natalie, Nathan, Joel, and Alexis, are currently attending college. They were offered a scholarship to Hannibal-LaGrange University in Missouri shortly after their birth. Kelsey is majoring in public relations, Alexis in early childhood education, Natalie in exercise science, and Joel and Nathan in computer information systems. “Since they were very young they’ve had varied interests,” Bobbi told Today. “They still have a very close bond to one another, but they also enjoy doing things with their friends and also exploring those different activities and different classes.”

Though excited about college, the septuplets admit the change was startling at first. They had grown up in Iowa their entire life and hadn’t yet had the opportunity to experience what life was like in other areas of the world. “It was definitely a culture shock for sure,” Kelsey said about going off to college. “Growing up in Iowa for 18 years, we didn’t really know any different. It was a difficult transition to be away from our parents and be outside of Iowa, but I think that we all did welcome it and just really created new friendships and met new people in a new environment.”

While five of the children went away to college, two of them opted for a different path. Kenny Jr. is currently living at home while attending a vocational school in the area. Meanwhile, the second youngest, Brandon, is serving in the U.S. army overseas.

The seven children have been able to live relatively normal lives, the media frenzy having died down when they were young. Their mother says she and her husband still get recognized fairly frequently, but the children have changed so much that they are not often recognized. The family is looking forward to celebrating the seven birthdays on Wednesday in a close family gathering.