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AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN

Kansas Sextuplets Raise Hometown Population by 50 Percent

Aired April 8, 2002 - 07:51   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And babies make seven. On Saturday, Sondra and Eldon Headrick of Rago, Kansas added to their family in a big way, giving their first-born, Aubrianna, six new brothers and sisters, Ethan, Melissa, Grant, Sean, Jaycie, and there is Danielle with a purple hat on. The three boys and three girls are the first sextuplets ever born in Kansas.

Sextuplets would make headlines anywhere, but as Michael Herzenberg of station KWCH reports, they come from a town that is so small that the population is about to increase by a whopping 50 percent.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL HERZENBERG, KWCH CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There is a cliche about small towns: If you blink, you will miss them. But if you slow down and drive the speed limit through Rago, the trip will last 21 seconds.

While you are here, listen. People are talking.

FLOYD KREHBIEL, RAGO RESIDENT: And we have been talking about the sextuplets. We have been kind of worrying about them.

HERZENBERG: Everett Tile (ph) was born in Rago. He has lived here all his life.

KREHBIEL: I imagine probably the people around here will get some of them, take them over some stuff like they usually do when people have babies, at least they used to. There ain't been any babies born in Rago for quite some time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's going to be a riot, especially when they get to be two years old.

HERZENBERG: The Krehbiel's raised their family in Rago, and like many other residents, are retired. They have watched their town grow old too. Like much of rural America, the action left with the small farmers. The grain elevator is only open during harvest now, and the train doesn't come here anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most all of that is (UNINTELLIGIBLE), even our post office is no longer there. So it has really gone downhill.

HERZENBERG: But the Krehbiel's have been busy praying for their neighbors, the family they go to church with.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a miracle. It's a miracle.

HERZENBERG: A miracle that may benefit the town as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least we're going to be on the map, people are going to hear about Rago.

KREHBIEL: If they stay here, it will mean more kids will go to probably Kingman (ph) High School, and some of them might be basketball players or football players. You know, that always helps. It will about double the population actually.

HERZENBERG: And residents are hoping the new children will pump new life into their community.

Michael Herzenberg for CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And this morning, all six babies are said to be doing well. Joining us now from Wichita, the Headricks' doctors, Dr. Van Reid Bohman and Dr. Katherine Schooley, from the Via Christi Regional Medical Center -- good morning and congratulations.

DR. KATHERINE SCHOOLEY, VIA CHRISTI ST. JOSEPH MEDICAL CENTER: Thank you. Good morning.

DR. VAN REID BOHMAN, VIA CHRISTI ST. JOSEPH MEDICAL CENTER: Good morning.

ZAHN: So, Dr. Bowman (sic), if you would, bring us up to date on how all of the babies are doing.

SCHOOLEY: I think the babies are doing beautifully. They are at 31 weeks gestation. They are all very nicely grown. Four of them are requiring a little assistance with their respiratory system. The other two are doing very beautifully. One of them is even on feedings already.

ZAHN: Really?

SCHOOLEY: Yes.

ZAHN: So what does that mean, Dr. Schooley? How long do you think they will be hospitalized?

SCHOOLEY: Well, they will probably be hospitalized for an additional four weeks or so to reach full maturity, so that they can go home.

ZAHN: I guess what is so surprising or what was so surprising to the Headricks was the size of these babies, Dr. Bowman. They were a pretty good size for this stage of the pregnancy, weren't they? They all came in about three pounds? BOHMAN: They were very good sized. We did a lot of planning and preparation to get these babies as big as we possibly could, knowing that the bigger the baby, the better they would do after they were born. And these babies are actually about the size of a singleton at this gestational age, which is very good.

ZAHN: Wow! They were very lucky indeed. Dr. Bohman, as I understand it, when delivery time came on Saturday, it was a little bit of a surprise to the Headricks. What made you decide that was the time to bring these babies into the world?

BOHMAN: Well, we were doing some routine testing on the health of the babies, and we found that one of the babies was a little stressed, and so we opted at that point to proceed with delivery. And we mobilized the teams. Anesthesia did a marvelous job and doing a great job there. And Dr. Schooley put her team together, and then I brought my team in, and we delivered these babies, and everything went just as great as possibly they could go.

ZAHN: And, Dr. Bohman, as I understand it, at one point in her pregnancy, Mr. Headrick was advised perhaps to even abort one or two of the babies to give the other ones a stronger chance at survival. Were you with her at that stage of the diagnosis?

BOHMAN: Yes, I was. We talked extensively about that issue, and she was very desirous to carry these babies on, all of them, because she felt very strongly that she could get a good outcome to this pregnancy, and you know, she did it.

ZAHN: She's got to feel incredibly relieved.

BOHMAN: Oh, not only her, but her husband, all of her family and all of the doctors, the whole hospital here is just very ecstatic that things are going so well.

ZAHN: And, Dr. Schooley, you said it's a good sign that one of the babies is already feeding. What is the long-term prognosis for all six of them?

SCHOOLEY: I think their long-term prognosis is really excellent. I don't have any indications that any of them are going to have any difficulties through their growth and development from here on in. I am very pleased.

ZAHN: Well, you must be, and I understand there are a bunch of volunteers standing by in Rago to help take care of these babies. We just did a story on how the population of the town has just doubled with the birth of these six...

SCHOOLEY: That's right.

ZAHN: ... six healthy children. Well, again, congratulations, Dr. Schooley and Dr. Bohman, we appreciate your sharing the Headricks' great news with us this morning.

SCHOOLEY: Thank you. BOHMAN: Thank you very much.

ZAHN: And I think you probably all deserve a rest after that 40- person team came in and did what some perceived as the impossible. Again, take care -- thanks for your time this morning.

BOHMAN: Thank you.

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