Nadya Suleman, aka Octomom, took the world by surprise in January 2009 when she had an exceptionally high number of children alone – eight to be exact – in one pregnancy. In addition, the methods used by Nadya and her doctor to get her pregnant raised many questions. Many criticized her for deciding to deliver so many children while others loved her. One thing is certain: America simply could not turn the eyes of Nadya Suleman and her growing family away. Read on to learn more about her story and what she and her family have become.
1. Big dreams
Nadya Suleman has always dreamed of having a big family. An only child born of immigrants – an Iraqi father and a Lithuanian mother – Suleman wanted to have many children. Her biggest dream was to one day start a family of her own and develop very strong bonds with her future children.
What Suleman didn’t know was that in his quest to have a large and happy family, something completely unexpected would turn his life upside down. It was an event that no one could have predicted and that would prove both miraculous and controversial.
2. Travel to the maternity ward
Nadya Suleman’s journey to motherhood began as an adult. Shortly after graduating from high school in southern California, where she grew up, she embarked on her quest to start a family as a single woman.
She also intended to go to university like many others of her age, but for Nadya, the call to become a mother always reigned supreme. But as the old saying goes, sometimes you have to be careful what you want. Young and, according to some, naive, Nadya would get what she wanted.
3. His first love
In her early twenties, Nadya Suleman met Marcos Gutierrez, a production manager. He must have been a particularly charming production manager because she felt an instant connection with Gutierrez, a deep and meaningful connection. Both fell very deeply in love.
From the beginning, of course, Nadya made it clear that having children was of the utmost importance to her. And that didn’t seem to be a problem at first, because Gutierrez was also interested in being a father.
4. Dangerous work
That same year, Nadya Suleman married Marcos Gutierrez, obtained a Bachelor of Psychiatric Engineering degree from Mount San Antonio College and began working at the Metropolitan State Hospital, a psychiatric facility in Norwalk, California. Working with mentally ill patients is rewarding, but not a simple task. And it would turn out to be as tiring as it sounds for Nadya.
Family life may have been his primary goal, but a meaningful career has always been part of his plan as well. Unfortunately, something intense happened in this establishment.
5. Catastrophic strikes
September 18, 1999, was the day the disaster struck the psychiatric facility where Nadya Suleman worked, and she found herself in the middle of it all. Twenty patients started a riot, and the dedicated Nadya intervened. During the chaos, one of the patients turned on a wooden desk and landed on Nadya’s back.
She suffered from a herniated disc and filed a Workers’ Compensation claim for $170,000. It was enough to help him get out of it for a while. But as you will soon learn, the injury was the last thing on Nadya’s mind at the time.
6. A deferred dream
The injury caused by Nadya Suleman’s work affected her ability to work and caused her a lot of distress and physical pain. The compensation she received helped her get by, but there was a bigger problem to solve. Throughout all this and before, Nadya was facing a challenge that threatened her legacy.
She and her husband of three years, Marcos Gutierrez, had been actively working towards Nadya’s dream of starting a family. They tried to have children over and over again, but it didn’t work. The next step was to consult a doctor to find out what was going on.
7. Bad news, bad news
After consulting doctor after doctor, Nadya Suleman and Marcos Gutierrez received advice on how to design better. They were determined to have a child, and as such, both took all the necessary steps, as requested by various doctors. Even after all this, they still haven’t had a chance. The constant failure began to lower Nadya’s morale.
It was so frustrating for her that she became depressed. Finally, they learned the hard truth. It wasn’t that they were doing something wrong, it was that Gutierrez was just sterile. What were they going to do? When they realized that the old method would not work, the two began to discuss different options.
8. In vitro fertilization (IVF)
Nadya Suleman insisted on it with her husband. She really wanted to have children, and if they couldn’t do it the traditional way, they would have to settle for an alternative method – at least, that’s how Nadya saw it. Her husband disagreed. Their different feelings on the issue were beginning to separate them.
The straw that broke the camel’s back for Marcos came when Nadya suggested the in vitro fertilization (IVF) method, a procedure by which an egg is fertilized outside the body, usually in a test tube. If she went through with it, Marcos would warn her that he would leave her.
9. An impossible decision to make
The experience left Nadya Suleman with an impossible decision – stuck in the middle of a fierce struggle between her love for her husband and her lifelong dream of having children.
It wasn’t easy, but Nadya ended her relationship with Marcos Gutierrez in 2000 and decided to have children through IVF. She was excited to finally get the process started, but things didn’t go exactly as planned for Nadya, the new divorcée.
10. Nothing is free
In vitro fertilization is not a particularly complicated process, but although it is becoming more and more popular, it does not have a 100 percent success rate. Another reason why this process is not yet widely adopted by the general public is that it is a particularly expensive operation. However, this did not discourage Nadya.
Medical experts generally recommend including several eggs during IVF.
11. The risk is worth it
The other factor Nadya Suleman had to consider before starting the procedure was the fact of completely changing her life. By placing several eggs in the mother’s uterus, IVF opens the possibility that more than one egg may pass through the fertilization process, which means that the mother could give birth to more than one baby.
Nadya was not afraid of the prospect at all. His motto was, it seems, “the more the merrier, the more the merrier”.
12. Welcome, baby Elijah!
The possibility of becoming pregnant with more than one child is not always considered a risk – for someone who is expecting twins or triplets, for example, this can be a useful tool. Nadya Suleman did not necessarily expect this, but the results of her IVF were really amazing.
The operation was a success and in 2001, Nadya had her first child, a lovely boy named Elijah.
13. Several babies!
A year after the birth of her first child, Nadya Suleman had a daughter named Amerah. IVF worked so well, and Nadya’s thirst for children was not yet quenched. Her experience was so positive that after a while she decided to continue the treatment, only to find herself with fraternal twins and two other children – six in total!
14. A surprising decision
In 2008, Nadya Suleman moved from being a single mother of six children to be a national celebrity. Her six existing children were not enough for her and she turned to the doctor who had supervised all her procedures, Dr. Michael Kamrava, for another IVF treatment.
Nadya had six eggs left from her last treatment that were still frozen. She didn’t want them to be wasted. So she wanted Dr. Kamrava to implant them all at the same time!
15. Six other babies?
Although Dr. Michael Kamrava initially hesitated to accept Nadya’s request, he eventually implanted the remaining six eggs. Nadya was categorical and persistent.
Kamrava injected the woman with 12 eggs. That’s 10 more than the recommended maximum of two!
16. Octuplets on the way
Dr. Michael Kamrava’s implantation of so many embryos is unprecedented and represents a radical change from standard community medical practice, but Nadya Suleman did not regret it at all. Turns out Nadya got pregnant with eight children at a time.
But would Nadya be able to give birth after having done it six times before?
17. Successful delivery
Very quickly, the moment of truth came for Octomom. The pregnancy went well and all her octuplets were born safe and sound.
In fact, the Octomom octuplets were the first octuplets to be born alive, and to remain alive one week after their birth.
18. A new beginning
The pressure of the spotlight certainly affected Nadya Suleman, and when she finally recognized it, she decided to deviate from it. The caricature she became was so different from what she really was that she no longer recognized herself. She needed to make some changes in her life to be a better mother for her children and live a happier life.
When she did, Nadya Suleman changed her life in a quite impressive way. She started by changing her first name to Natalie, just as a symbolic gesture. Then she finished her university studies. She then began working part-time as a family therapist. What about the children?
19. The children of today
Nadya Suleman’s octuplets are now 9 years old and doing well – especially in the food industry. All of them follow a strictly vegan diet and seem to love it. It is not something that is necessarily easy to do for a child who constantly dreams of chocolate and candy.
The children’s mother, now known as Natalie Suleman, said she was open with her children to talk about her adventure. She believes that it is healthy to be a straightforward parent. Everything she has done since she became a near celebrity, as bizarre as it may seem to some people, has been for the good of her children,” she said.
She believes that this lifestyle is the key to a healthy home and shares with her fans the Instagram account she created, called the Solomon family. The page also shows what she did as a mother of 14 unemployed children.