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Surviving Houston Octuplets (Originally Nine) Turn 10 years Old - HISTORY

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Author Topic: Surviving Houston Octuplets (Originally Nine) Turn 10 years Old - HISTORY  (Read 230 times)
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« on: December 21, 2008, 10:55:33 am »

From left, Ebuka, Echerem, Jioke, Chima, Gorom, Chidi, Ikem and Favor, the surviving octuplets born to Nkem Chukwu, right, and husband Ikye Louis Udobi, not pictured, Celebrate their 10th birthday, Saturday Dec. 20, 2008
in Houston, Texas.

( AP Photo/
Houston Chronicle,
Eric Kayne)

                                            Surviving Houston octuplets turn 10 years old

Juan A. Lozano,
Associated Press Writer
Dec. 20, 2008

As the cake candles flickered, relatives and friends singing to seven surviving octuplets on their 10th birthday Saturday had to pause and consider after "happy birthday to ..."

They continued, "... dear everyone. Happy birthday to you!"

The five girls and two boys, part of the world's first set of octuplets born alive, stood behind their large, square cake half vanilla and half chocolate and blew out the candles with gusto, their days as preemies on respirators far behind them.

All seven girls Ebuka, Gorom, Chidi, Chima and Echerem, and their brothers Ikem and Jioke were born three months prematurely in December 1998 at a Houston hospital. Their weight at birth ranged from 11 ounces to 1 pound, 11 ounces.

On Saturday, they acted like most children at a birthday party, eating cake and pizza, laughing, and running around with their 6-year-old sister Favor.

Their mother and father, Nigeria natives Nkem Chukwu and Iyke Louis Udobi, said they are astonished and grateful that their children have grown up to be healthy and active kids who are now in the fourth grade.

"It's amazing. It's wonderful. It's just a miracle," said Chukwu, who had used fertility drugs.

Saturday wasn't really a birthday for Ebuka, who was delivered first on Dec. 8. The other seven arrived 12 days later. Odera, the tiniest at 10.3 ounces, died of heart and lung failure a week after being born.

Fran Jacoby, a family friend, said she is amazed how big the children have become. She was part of a small army of volunteers who helped the family the first few years.

"They were so tiny. Echerem had a hard time eating. They are all so healthy now," she said during the small party, held at a Marriott hotel.

Also at the party was Chukwu's mother, Janet, whose son-in-law called the 73-year-old matriarch "the commander."

Family and friends described how Janet Chukwu set up assembly lines when the children were smaller, to feed them. She also helped design a color system for their clothing during the week: red on Monday, maroon on Tuesday, yellow on Wednesday, light blue or pink on Thursday, and their school T-shirts on Friday. She also leads the kids in prayer at morning and at night.

"Janet can be strict, but at night they all want to go to her room," Jacoby said.

During the party, whenever the children would get unruly, Janet Chukwu would say something to them in a language from her native Nigeria, and they would quickly calm down.

"Once she talks, they know it's serious," Nkem Chukwu, 37, said.

The kids agreed that Ebuka was the best student and Ikem was the messiest eater. Chima is the tallest, and all the kids pointed to her when asked whom the boss of the group was.

"She helps a lot with Grandma," Echerem said.

Shy at first, the kids quickly opened up and at one point even helped hold a microphone for a local television station cameraman as he interviewed one of the siblings.

The family still lives in a six-bedroom home in the Houston suburb of League City that was donated to them. The kids get shuttled around in a 16-passenger van.

Nkem Chukwu said that raising all her children has been rewarding. Her husband works as a respiratory therapist, and she "has more than a full-time job" as a stay-at-home mom.

"We have great help. My mom has been wonderful," she said. "What everyone should know is that God has been our strength, our support," Nkem Chukwu said.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2008, 11:27:11 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2008, 11:05:31 am »

                                                        Chukwu octuplets

The Chukwu Octuplets were a set of octuplets born in December 1998 in Houston, Texas.

They consisted of six girls and two boys, and were as follows:

Chukwuebuka Nkemjika (Ebuka) - weighed 690g (22 oz.) at birth

Chidinma Anulika (Chidi) - weighed 760g (24.4 oz.) at birth

Chinecherem Nwabugwu (Echerem) - weighed 800g (25.7 oz.) at birth

Chimaijem Otto (Chima) - weighed 730g (23.5 oz.) at birth

Chijindu Chidera (Odera) - weighed 320g (10.3 oz.) at birth

Chukwubuikem Maduabuchi (Ikem) - weighed 500g (16.0 oz. at birth

Chijioke Chinedum (Jioke) - weighed 810g (26.0 oz.) at birth

Chinagorom Chidiebere (Gorom) - weighed 520g (16.7 oz.) at birth

The first of the octuplets, Ebuka, was born on December 8, 15 weeks premature.

The remainder were born by Caesarean section on December 20, 13 weeks premature.

The smallest of the octuplets, Odera, died on December 27, a week after birth.

The octuplets were conceived with the aid of fertility drugs.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2008, 11:06:37 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2008, 11:09:05 am »

                                 Octuplets get names; dad gets unwanted publicity

 In this story:
Smallest baby improves slightly
December 24, 1998

-- The father of the world's only surviving octuplets faces a domestic assault charge in a September domestic dispute involving his pregnant wife and her mother.

Assistant District Attorney Danny Dexter said Wednesday that Iyke Louis Udobi, 41, faces up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine if convicted. He allegedly scuffled on September 21 with Janet Chukwu, his 63-year-old mother-in-law, after threatening his pregnant wife, Nkem.

The trial date is set for February 8.

Udobi's lawyer, Rick Castleberry, denied the charge.

"He's completely innocent," Castleberry said. "These are bogus charges."

About the time the family's legal problems were made public, the parents announced the names of their six girls and two boys. Previously, the infants had been referred to by letters of the alphabet.

Their new names were chosen in the Ibo tribal tradition, a major ethnic group in Nigeria. Both parents are U.S. citizens, but were born in Nigeria and are members of the Ibo people.

"We want to honor God and celebrate His gifts to us in the names we give our eight children," Udobi said in a written statement.

The children all share the surname Louis. Their given names are listed, followed by the English translation and the child's nickname.

Baby girl A: Chukwuebuka Nkemjika ("God is Great"); nickname Ebuka
Baby girl B: Chidinma Anulika ("God is Beautiful"); Chidi
Baby girl C: Chinecherem Nwabugwu ("God Thinks of Me"); Echerem
Baby girl D: Chimaijem Otito ("God Knows My Way"); Chima
Baby girl E: Chijindu Chidera ("God Has My Life"); Odera
Baby boy F: Chukwubuikem Maduabuchi ("God is My Strength"); Ikem
Baby boy G: Chijioke Chinedum ("God is My Leader"); Jioke
Baby girl H: Chinagorom Chidiebere ("God is Merciful"); Gorom

Smallest baby improves slightly

The smallest baby, Odera, made a slight improvement Wednesday, enabling doctors to reduce the amount of oxygen she was getting by ventilator from 100 percent to 80 percent.

"This is the type of small, steady progress we hope for in the NICU," said Dr. Leonard Weisman, chief of Texas Children's Hospital's Newborn Center.

"However, with babies this premature and this small, the pendulum can swing the other way and back again in a matter of hours," Weisman warned.

Doctors like to see no dramatic changes in babies as premature as the Chukwu octuplets because, they say, the infants need time for their lungs and hearts to develop and their bodies to strengthen.

Specialists say slow, steady improvement helps prevent internal bleeding in the babies' brains.

"We think by minimizing wide swings in their vital signs, minimizing a lot of their stress, we can minimize that event which we have very little to control," Weisman explained.

Odera is also suffering from a heart problem common to premature infants. Doctors say she will have to fight the hardest to survive.

Ebuka, the oldest, is the only baby now breathing on her own and eating formula.

Her five sisters and two brothers born Sunday by Caesarean section are moving around and being fed intravenously, but are still on ventilators.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2008, 11:16:54 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2008, 11:22:36 am »

No dramatic change is good news, octuplet doctors say
The octuplets' doctors hold a news conference Tuesday RELATED VIDEO
CNN's Bill Hemmer talks with CNN's Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen about premature births
Windows Media 28K 56K
CNN's Greg LaMotte reports
Windows Media 28K 56K
                                          Mom may leave hospital on Wednesday

December 29, 1998
Web posted at: 11:31 a.m. EST (1631 GMT)
In this story:

Upbeat ultrasound
Mother 'making steady progress'
Related stories and sites

HOUSTON (CNN) -- The seven surviving babies from what had been the world's only living octuplets spent a quiet night and showed no evidence of bleeding into their brains, a common concern in premature births, doctors said Tuesday. Their mother, while still weak, was recovering well enough so that she could be released from the hospital on Wednesday.

One of the eight babies born to Nkem Chukwu and her husband, Iyke Louis Udobi, died Sunday. The other seven remained in critical condition on Tuesday.

Three of them -- Ebuka, Ikem and Gorom -- remained on ventilators to assist their breathing. The other four were breathing with the help of supplemental oxygen, but without the need for a ventilator.

Pediatrician Dr. Patti Savrick has the latest on the seven surviving babies.
(179 K / 15 sec. audio)

(322 K / 29 sec. audio)
Gorom, the last baby out of Nkem Chukwu's womb during a December 20 Caesarean section, is recovering from abdominal surgery.

Odera, a girl born weighing just 10.3 ounces, died Sunday morning after failing to beat the odds
against lung and heart failure.

The remaining five girls and two boys ranged in birth weight from 1 pound to 2 pounds. Doctors said it takes about two weeks for all newborns to add more weight.

Upbeat ultrasound

Dr. Patti Savrick, the babies' pediatrician, said doctors were encouraged because there had been no dramatic change in the babies condition in the previous 24 hours.

"The babies all had a quiet night last night, which is really what we want. To us, 'quiet night' and 'no news' is good news."

"We have a very long, slow, gradual process of improvement in front of us," she said. "When you have big news (in cases involving critically ill patients), it's almost always bad."

Because the babies were born more than two months premature, doctors said there was concern about intraventricular hemorrhage -- bleeding into the brain. However, both Savrick and Dr. Leonard Weisman, chief of neonatalogy at Texas Children's Hospital, said the babies had normal head ultrasounds.

Bleeding would have indicated the babies were vulnerable to future developmental problems such as cerebral palsy, Savrick said. She added the babies could still have problems but have cleared an important hurdle.

The octuplets' first names, listed in the order the babies were born:


Born December 8

Girl: Chukwuebuka Nkemjika ("God is Great"); nickname Ebuka (uh-BOO'-kuh)

Born December 20

Girl: Chidinma Anulika ("God is Beautiful"); Chidi (CHEE'-dee)

Girl: Chinecherem Nwabugwu ("God Thinks of Me"); Echerem (CHER'-um)

Girl: Chimaijem Otito ("God Knows My Way"); Chima (CHEE'-muh)

Girl: Chijindu Chidera ("God Has My Life"); Odera (oh-DARE'-uh) Died December 27

Boy: Chukwubuikem Maduabuchi ("God is My Strength"); Ikem (EE'-kem)

Boy: Chijioke Chinedum ("God is My Leader"); Jioke (YOH'-kee)

Girl: Chinagorom Chidiebere ("God is Merciful"); Gorom (GORM)

Each name -- from the tradition of the Igbo (pronounced EE-bo) tribe, a major ethnic group in the parents' native Nigeria -- translates to a specific attribute or act of God.
Weisman said the infants' survival odds now could be generally estimated at about 92 percent, up from earlier estimates of 85 percent. Bleeding in the brain is expected in about one in four babies at the octuplets' size and stage of development, he said.

Mother 'making steady progress'

Chukwu's obstetrician, Dr. Brian Kirshon, said the 27-year- old mother, who is in stable condition at neighboring St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, was weak but "making steady, solid progress."

"I'm anticipating that she will be discharged (on Wednesday)," he said.

The mother has been able to touch her children, but because of their delicate condition, she can not yet hold them, doctors said. It will be several months before the babies can leave the hospital.

The family, which has received gifts, cards and letters from around the world, said there was only one correct address for sending future correspondence. Hospital officials gave that address as:

Chukwu Family Fund 6900 Fannin St. Suite 440 Houston, Texas 77030
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« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2008, 11:26:26 am »

                       Chukwu octuplets greet new year in critical but stable condition

January 1, 1999
Web posted at: 6:37 p.m. EST (2337 GMT)

HOUSTON (CNN) -- The seven Chukwu octuplets who survived into the new year were reported in critical but stable condition Friday at Texas Children's Hospital.

Three of the babies -- Ebuka, Gorom and Ikem -- are still breathing with the help of mechanical ventilators. But the other four -- Echerem, Chidi, Chima and Jioke -- are now breathing on their own. All are being fed intravenously.

The eighth octuplet, a girl named Odera, died last Sunday after suffering heart and lung failure. At birth, she had weighed just 10.3 ounces.

The octuplets' parents are Nkem Chukwu and her husband, Iyke Louis Udobi, both Nigerian-Americans who live in Houston. The babies were conceived with the help of fertility drugs.

In what doctors called a medical first, Ebuka was born on December 8, while the seven remaining children were delivered by Caesarean section on December 20.

Chukwu was released from the hospital Wednesday.
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