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    Septuplets Born in D.C. Hospital Critical But Doing Well

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    "It was almost like launching a rocket ship in terms of the teamwork,'' said Dr. Richard Goldberg, hospital vice president.

    Subramanian agrees that a lot of preparation was required for the birth -- not just in terms of technology, but in preparing the parents for the awesome responsibility of taking care of seven babies.

    The father also attended the delivery, doctors said.

    Babies born with similar birth weights have an 85% to 90% chance of survival, Winkel said. However, he said these figures apply to single or twin births and additional risks are associated with septuplets.

    He would not talk about the chances all seven would survive. "We'll have to take one day at a time,'' Winkel said.

    The number of births of five or more babies in the U.S. has almost doubled since 1989 -- reaching 79 in 1998 -- largely because of infertility treatments that can have the unintended effect of causing multiple births.

    The seven babies born to Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey in Carlisle, Iowa, recently marked their first 3 1/2 years. Three have health problems.

    The babies will likely be in the hospital seven to nine weeks. The mother could be released in four or five days.

    Doctors said the babies did well on a scale measuring their overall condition. Apgar scores, which range up to 10 for the best, measure heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, reflexes and skin color, and are taken one minute and five minutes after birth.

    The babies' scores ranged from seven to nine, doctors said.

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