But not only did the McCaughey septuplets -- Kenny, Alexis, Natalie, Kelsey, Nathan, Brandon and Joel -- survive infancy, they've grown up happy and healthy near Des Moines, Iowa and they celebrated their 16th birthday Tuesday.
Now sophomores in high school, the McCaugheys are "normal high school students." They want to get their drivers licenses (but dad, Kenny Sr., says they have to get jobs before they get cars) and have learned to stretch a middle-class budget for eight kids.
Bobbi McCaughey works as a para-educator, while Kenny Sr. has a job at a metal coating plant, working to provide for their eldest daughter, Mikayla, who is a freshman at Des Moines Area Community College, as well as braces for several of the septuplets and medical care for Alexis and Nathan, who both have forms of cerebral palsy.
Six of the siblings are on the honor roll, all seven play in the school marching band, just three have cell phones and six are athletes.
But as normal as they seem, the McCaugheys have had cameras in their lives since before they can remember. It's made them self-conscious, and they say they weren't sad to see some of the attention fade.
"People that we go to school with, we’ve grown up with them," explained Natalie, who said she was glad they've eased into a normal life. "So they don’t look at us any different."
In 1997, the McCaugheys underwent fertility treatments, but declined to undergo selective reduction.
"Early in the beginning we had tried to be careful and plan because knew that something bigger and better was going to come along," Bobbi McCaughey said.
Now their children are looking towards their futures. Brandon plans to go into the military, while Kenny Jr. is considering construction. Alexis and Natalie want to teach, while Kelsey is looking into cosmetology. Nathan wants to go into science and Joel likes computers.
"I’m just hoping these next two years, the kids really find their wings," Kenny Sr. said, "and they find what god wants for them."