Octuplets are born to Nigerian natives Nkem Chukwu and Iyke Louis Udobi. Chukwu (27) enters the hospital in early October and remains confined to her bed for six weeks, lying immobile in an extreme incline with her head tilting downwards in order to reli eve pressure on the fetuses. At this point, because the womb is so crowded, doctors are unable to discern the exact number of children within, yet it is obvious that they are all underdeveloped and appropriate methods are taken to forestall labor. After the birth of the first and largest infant, the other seven children are discovered. The weight at birth for the octuplets ranged from 11 ounces to almost two pounds. The survival rate for the infants is estimated at 85%. News topics will primarily cov er the first month of the infants' lives, as they struggle to overcome the odds of surviving multiple and premature births.
98.12.08 - The first of the octuplets (a girl) is delivered naturally twelve weeks premature at St.Luke's Children's Hospital in Houston, TX.
98.12.20 - The remaining seven are Cesarean births. Approximately 30 medical personnel are involved in the 45-minute procedure, which includes transfer of the infants to Texas Children's Hospital. The infants are referred to as babies A-H.
98.12.21 - Chukwu undergoes surgery to stop internal bleeding, which occurs as a side effect of the drugs that she used to forestall labor.
98.12.22 - The eldest child is breathing naturally without the help of a ventilator. The remaining seven are still on oxygen-providing support.
Recovering from her surgery, Chukwu is moved from the intensive care unit to a private room within the hospital.
At a press conference, Dr. Leonard Wiseman, Texas Children's chief neonatologist, estimates that it will cost $250,000 per baby to get them healthy enough to go home. The infants could remain hospitalized for up to two months.
The smallest infant, "Baby E," is diagnosed with an acute heart problem common to premature babies. The abnormality is called patent ductus arteriosis, which is a defect of the ductus, a short blood vessel connecting to the pulmonary artery and the aorta . Usually the opening closes a few hours after birth, but often in premature babies it doesn't. The ailment sometimes requires surgery, but due to the extremely fragile nature of the infant, weigh just over 10 ounces, she will be treated with medicine.
98.12.23 - The babies are finally named! Their new names were chosen
in the Ibo tribal tradition, a major ethnic group in Nigeria. The children
all share the surname Louis. Their given names are listed, followed by
the English translation and the child' s nickname.
98.12.28 - Odera dies of heart and lung failure at 3:23 am. Her condition deteriorated significantly yesterday when doctors moved her from a conventional ventilator to an oscillator, a machine that blows air into the lungs at a faster pace. The oxygen l evel in her blood remained poor and her heart began to fail. Despite medications and chest compressions by physicians, she could not be revived.
98.12.30 - Four of the infants are breathing on their own. They are now expected to remain at the hospital for at least three months.
Chukwu is heading home after being in the hospital for the aforementioned time period.
99.01.03 - All of the surviving octuplets are breathing on their own. All exept Gorom, who is still recovering from surgery, are receiving small amounts of their mother's milk to supplement intravenous feeding.