Parenting children is an accomplishment a lot of women dream of – but being a mother of 14 gives a whole new meaning to the concept of motherhood. Now, Nadya Suleman reveals the truth behind the choice that changed her life for good.
Nadya had her life sorted – or at least, that’s what she thought. After marrying Marcos Gutierrez in 1996, the couple was ready to take the next step in their relationship and bring children into the world. But then, something unexpected happened.
“They’re Not My Kids”
After taking a series of tests and approaching different doctors, they found out Marcos was sterile. They discussed several different alternative solutions to their problem, but the heartbreaking news of Nadya’s and Marcos’s inability to have children was too much – and it tore them apart. The last straw was when Nadya suggested they try in vitro fertilization (IVF), Marcos simply would not hear of it. He objected to the idea so strongly that he declared brazenly that were she to go through with it – they are done.
All Alone In The World
Nadya had to take a close look at her life and consider all options with a heavy heart. Suddenly, she realized there was only one thing she ever wanted more than to find her one true love – to bear children and call them her own. With great pain, she decided it was time to end things with Marcos. After their separation, Nadya went ahead with the IVF treatments, but it didn’t go according to plan.
It Was The Better Choice
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a decent solution for women who wish to get pregnant, but are unable to do so the natural way. When conceiving a baby the way babies are usually conceived is out of the question, technology and modern medicine step in. Through “assisted reproductive technology,” artificial insemination is implemented. This way, the egg and sperm are brought together and have an easier time developing outside of a woman’s womb and with the guidance of a certified physician.
In order for a successful IVF to take place, the woman must have her eggs removed from her body. Then, a selective process takes place in which the most viable or healthiest eggs are inseminated in a laboratory dish. Post-fertilization, the cells of the egg are divided and then everything is all set to be inserted back into the woman’s body. Once the embryo is transferred to the woman’s uterus, the pregnancy proceeds naturally from there.
The More The Merrier
Since IVF does not have a 100% success rate and the procedure is very expensive to begin with, many women and their doctors prefer to “play it safe” and use several eggs. That way, if one fails during the fertilization process, there’s a good chance another will stick. IVF is also very time consuming and exhausting, all of which combined, create a rather hostile environment for the eggs. Therefore, it’s often recommended that, just like in this case, the more eggs used – the better.
She Knew The Risk
To avoid the disappointment of trying out with one and having it flunk out, Nadya agreed with her doctor when he suggested they try fertilizing and placing multiple eggs in her uterus. The risk was clearly established before – Nadya was well aware of the fact that is common for IVF to result in multiple babies. Still, she could not care less. She knew what was at stake, but when it came down to it, all she really wanted was to be mother.
Only The Beginning
One of the common side effects of IVF is the development of twins or triplets. Nadya was always a special girl, and this case was not any different. On the day of her doctor’s appointment the unbelievable was revealed – Nadya was in fact pregnant with a baby boy. A year later, Nadya went through the same process and gave birth to a girl. Suleman then continued with the IVF treatments, and consequently became pregnant three more times, including one set of fraternal twins, making a total of six offsprings.
Lucky Number Fourteen
After her IVF treatments resulted in six children before 2008, Nadya decided she needed more infant love in her life. As if six kids were not enough, she made the crucial call to undergo the IVF procedure one more time. Similarly to last time she wanted to get pregnant, Nadya was inseminated with several fertilized eggs again – but this time around, she became pregnant with eight children. This was a new challenge for her, but there was no stopping the invincible Nadya.
Show Me The Money
Before she was titled Octomom, Nadya Suleman worked for a state mental hospital in 1999. She claimed that she suffered a back injury during an inmate riot, and thus went on to collect over $165,000 in disability payments. Nadya then used the money mention to help pay for her first several IVF treatments that produced her first six children. Few are aware that Nadya has a bachelor’s degree in child and adolescent development from California State University, Fullerton, and that she was studying for her Master’s when she became pregnant.
Week Of Doom
After 9 months of carrying 8 babies around in her body, Nadya’s body reached record breaking dimensions. She tried to stay as healthy as she could, which proved to be successful when her octuplets were all born healthy and managed to live past the “week of doom.” The term refers to the reoccurring, tragic phenomenon of octuplets dying after less than a week, because it’s a very risky pregnancy. Nadya’s octuplets were the first ones to live past that first week – and beyond it.
Nadya’s healthy newborns were such a revelation, she instantly became a walking marvel in the medical community. Doctors from all over the world wanted to take a closer look at the woman who made the impossible possible, and so she gained an enormous amount of attention all around. Hearing of her giving birth to 14 babies in total, the news were not well received by the people of the state of California. Indeed, not everyone was overjoyed with Nadya’s eight-life wonder…
The doctor who performed the treatment was a man called Michael Kamrava. Later, it was revealed that the doctor implanted Nadya with a dozen embryos, which is why she was impregnated with so many babies. Of course, there was no way of finding out how many eggs would be accepted into her womb. Additionally, Dr. Kamrava implanted many embryos in her body at her request. Still, the state of California revoked his medical license, charging him with “repeated negligent acts, for an excessive number of embryo transfers.”
The state of California called Dr. Kamrava’s actions an “extreme” departure from the standard of care. Kamrava was also found guilty of gross negligence in two other cases, including his treatment of a woman on her late 40’s who became pregnant with quadruplets after he implanted seven embryos. Her pregnancy was “rocked with complications,” according to the medical board. The complaint said the doctor should have referred Suleman to a mental health physician after she repeatedly returned to him for treatments shortly after each of her pregnancies.
Realizing The Risk
It is typically recommended implanting no more than two embryos for women under thirty-five and no more than five for women over forty who have more trouble getting pregnant. Nadya’s children – six boys and two girls born nine weeks premature – all went home after an extended stay in the hospital, but were miraculously all born healthy. Right after her children were born, Nadya went home, did her research and resolved to hire the Killeen Furtney Group to handle her public relations.
Shortly after the firm got hired by Nadya, they started receiving death threats for assisting the woman who chose to give birth to multiple children, after having six apparently was not enough. This was revealed on Larry King Live – Joann Killeen went on the talkshow and admitted – “the number of death threats that came into our office, both by e-mail and voice mail, we had to make a decision about what was in the best interests of our own personal safety and that of our firm.”
Terrified For Her Life
Elaborating further, Killeen explained that since Nadya does not have an e-mail account, the threats did not harass her to the same extent as they harassed Killeen. Asked to give examples of some threats, Killeen said – “they’ve said to me that I should be put down like an old dog, I should be paralyzed, my client’s uterus should be ripped out, she should be put on an island. I mean, Larry, I don’t know what’s happened with America.”
Violence Outside Her Home
Nadya herself received death threats, too. Despite not having an e-mail, those who opposed her actions knew where she lived. The day she brought her seventh baby home from the hospital, a large number of people arrived on her doorstep. Her mother, who lived in the same house, was very distressed and attempted to help her daughter make her way through the raging crowd – but then one of the protesters threw a baby seat through her car window.
Jealousy Is Ugly
While it may seem odd to some that people felt so negatively about her pregnancy, evidently much of the outrage stemmed from the fact that Nadya had six children already. There is a significant amount of people who undergo risky IVF treatments yet still, disappointingly, have no luck and are unable to conceive children. Being desperate for at least one single child, it can be rather cruel to watch a woman use what little sperm donations are available and become impregnated with not one, not two, but fourteen different children.
It’s Our Money
Killeen explained the rage behind the protests: “I think they are frustrated by a lot of things. When the news came out that Nadya was receiving some state disability from an injury and that she was trying to rehab and find a new career and go to school and she also had children at the same time, I think the taxpayers just absolutely flipped out and said, you know, we’re paying for this and we’re not getting our own fair share of government services.”
Fame Versus Family
When asked about her feelings towards the fury frenzy, Nadya told People magazine – “I don’t get much sleep, about two or three hours a night, but I’m continuing to move forward with my life and trying to be the best mother I can be.” What enticed the crowd’s bitterness even more is the fact that Nadya hired the PR firm right after the birth of her children. Many saw it as a publicity stunt and resented Nadya for giving interviews to magazines.
For Love Or Money
Her frequent appearances on various media platforms contributed to the perception that she had these fourteen children only to become famous. It did not matter how many times she denied these allegations – Nadya was perceived as an attention seeking woman with messed up priorities who was there to make fun of the barren and use up all the tax payers’ money. Once an image like that was formed, it was only a matter of time until Nadya would find herself all alone.
Hated For Her Lies
She continued to make appearances on different shows and gave interviews, claiming the reason she got pregnant repeatedly was because she simply loved children so much. She also stated that the embryos used in the pregnancy were left over from previous treatments and she didn’t want them to be destroyed. However, statements from her doctor have contradicted that counter response, which made her sound like an untrustworthy individual many had claimed attested to the fact she should not be responsible of children.
Minutes Of Fame – Lifetime Of Shame
Nadya was a single mother that was still in school. Having 14 children is a heavy financial burden even on the wealthiest of parents, so something felt funny about her willingness to take on such a hefty obligation for the rest of her life. This only added fuel to the fire and suspicions that she had selfish reasons for giving birth to these children – to gain fame and use her children’s presence as a catalyst for that fame.
Nadya has chosen Biblical names for all eight of her octuplets, calling them Noah, Jonah, Jeremiah, Josiah, Isaiah, Makai, Nariyah, and Maliyah. Additionally, all of the children mentioned have the same middle name: Angel. On the other hand, no explanation was provided for why the mother chose to spell their last names Solomon, whereas hers is still Suleman. But then again, an explanation was also not given as to why she altered her own first name from Natalie to Nadya, either.
Seeing Into The Future
Nadya was definitely basking in the media attention. In February 2009, only one short month after giving birth to her children, she gave an interview with Ann Curry. Not long after, Nadya sat down for an interview with Dr. Phil as well. While she was on his well publicized show, attorney Gloria Allred read a list of complaints regarding Nadya’s ability to care for that many children. Unfortunately for Nadya, those claims later on proved to be correct.
Damned If I Do, Damned If I Don’t
The New York Times reportedly came for a quick visit while a film crew from the British division of Eyeworks was on hand to film Octomom: Me And My 14 Kids. While they were there, Nadya confessed to Times that she hated having TV cameras around. “I’m damned if I do what I need to do with the media to support my kids, and I’m damned if I don’t. If I don’t, I can’t take care of them…”
Damaged The Entire Family
“I made these choices out of the midst of being in survivor mode,” Nadya went on. “I think 99 percent of people would have made the same decision.” A member of the film crew informed Times that when they first began to shoot at their house, Nadya’s kids would stand by the windows and shout “Go away! Go away!” Presumably, this was done because the children thought the filming crew was paparazzi. This goes to show the damage fame has caused the entire family.
Broke And Alone
Only 3 short years after the Dr. Phil episode, Nadya’s name was found and featured on almost every other magazine. She managed to make headlines again, but this time with the report that she was completely broke and was on welfare. It didn’t take long before all the “I told you so’s” started raising to the surface. Many had predicted Nadya would have a hard time providing for her family, particularly considering she was on her own.
A Million In Debt
No one cut her any slack for being a struggling single mom – as far as the general public was concerned, Nadya brought the troubles on herself the minute she underwent the IVF treatment the second time. There was no way of hiding it. Nadya was receiving public assistance from the state of California to help with her 14 kids and declared personal bankruptcy along with a reported a debt of more than $1 million.
Child Protective Services Came
Rumors started flying about how she was spending money on luxuries for herself, while completely neglecting her children and their needs. Those rumors reached the ears of child protective services who showed up at Nadya’s doorstep to investigate, but all that was found were dirty diapers and food remains scattered around the floor. Although not the cleanest of surroundings the services hoped to find, the slightly neglected environment was not found to be unsuitable for children.
Kicked To The Street
Her children were happy and healthy, despite having to occasionally use a training toilet outside the house because of some faulty plumbing, and other minor issues in the home. Child protective services might not have minded, but the owner of their house begged to differ – in 2013, Nadya was accused of breaking the terms of her lease and she was forced to vacate her rental home. Once moving out, the landlord was contacted by the press and was asked about the condition of the house, which he claimed was filthy.
Home Sweet Home
The house Nadya bought after giving birth to her octuplets was auctioned away in 2012. Indeed, Nadya defaulted on a loan, but she was relentless and tried to do everything in her power to save the house and roof that was over her children’s heads. Nadya even filed for bankruptcy with hopes that it would delay the auction at the very least, but unfortunately, a judge dismissed her case when he learned she never completed the paperwork necessary. Since then, Nadya went off to live in rental houses.
Adult Film Actress
Feeling completely helpless, Nadya resulted to star in an adult film titled Octomom Home Alone. It was a movie starring just her with no male actors, but that did not help out with her image. She also released some music and appeared in another musician’s music video, but the adult video generated much more income, so she pursued a career dancing at gentlemen’s clubs. At one point, she had to check herself into a treatment center in Los Angeles for anxiety and stress.
Nadya Suleman’s adult film, Octomom Home Alone, although widely agreed upon that was highly inappropriate considering the fact the woman featured in it is a mother of 14, was hugely successful. In fact, the film, although an acquired taste, won the 2013 AVN Award for Best Celebrity Adult Film Tape. Just to put things in perspective, this particular award is the adult film industry’s equivalent of an Oscar. Although Nadya winded up regretting her decision to star in such a film, it was a big hit.
Sued And Fined
Since she was constantly being examined and judged by the public eye, it didn’t take long for the state of California to check into her current occupations and notice that Nadya had failed to disclose $30,000 in income generated from her movies and dancing. Pleading no contest to the charges, she received 200 hours of community service, 2 years of probation, and a costly fine. Her lawyer announced that with support from friends, she’d already paid back the welfare system.
Celebrating the birth of her eight children, Nadya, who now goes by the name Natalie, invited Inside Edition magazine to see her home and ask some of the most intrusive questions others no one else dared to ask. The birthday bash was a significant one, seeing as how six of her boys and two of her girls turned eight-years-old simultaneously. Makai, Josiah, Isaiah, Jonah, Maliyah, Jeremiah, Nariyah and Noah seemed over the moon with their party, but it was Natalie’s expression everyone was examining.
One thing was particularly noticeable on the kids’ birthday party – the type of food served. Natalie seemed very proud to discuss her children’s newest dietary adjustment and lifestyle she was applying for herself as well. Apparently, Natalie and her fourteen kids are now on a vegan diet, meaning they do not eat any form of meat or animal products. As for the kids, they did not seem to mind that much, as they dined on plenty of various veggies and cheese-free pizzas.
Food For Thought
People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals paid Nadya Suleman $5,000 in 2010 in order for her to endorse spaying and neutering for pets. Already being on a vegan diet with her children, the organization found the perfect way to lure Nadya in to support their cause – they promised to provide a month’s supply of vegetarian hot dogs and hamburgers for herself and her family. Not one to pass on a quick buck, Nadya was quick to respond with an enthused “yes.”
Hates Her Nickname
Natalie admitted to not being fond of her tabloid-given nickname, “Octomom.” Although she understands it might seem phony to speak negatively of her moniker considering she has benefited financially from using it in the past, it is something Natalie rather leave behind. Natalie explained the name does not define who she is: “I never coined the term Octomom.” When asked why she promoted herself using the name she opposed to, Natalie explained that it was “out of desperation. I shamefully embraced the character (in order to provide for her family)”.
Fight Her Way To The Top
Not many people know that Nadya launched a boxing career in 2011. Although it was short-lived, Nadya explained the reason she stepped into the ring with a chain of D-List celebrities was that she needed the money. Among her opponents was “Long Island Lolita” Amy Fisher, who’s name received great fame after she shot her older lover’s wife in the face. Nadya beat Fisher to the punch but took a serious pounding from Philadelphia radio personage Jen Posner.
Asked about her withdrawal from fame and the adult film industry, Natalie said she felt as though she was alive again: “As ‘Octomom,’ I was the walking dead. When I woke up and I went back to my roots, my helping profession, and my kids, we were struggling financially, but it didn’t matter. I never felt so free and so happy in my life.” Natalie has since picked up a job she adores as a part-time family therapist.
Telling Her Kids Everything
Natalie might have abandoned her past, but it still comes back to haunt her. Her kids are very aware of the less than calculated choices she made when she was younger. As it turns out, Natalie makes sure not to shy away from the person she was and is currently trying to be. “I’ve always engaged in open, honest communication,” said Natalie, “There’s no topic that can’t be discussed. I’m very open with them about my past.”
Regrets Her Decisions
More than anything else, Natalie explained the worst decision she had ever made was working for the adult film industry: “I definitely regret that 100 percent. At the time, we were in foreclosure, we were about to be homeless, and it allowed us to move into a rental, but of course, I do regret that more than anything.” Bravely moving on from her errors, Natalie chooses to have a more positive outlook at life: “I learned. It validated and reinforced who I am not.”
One Thing She Will Not Put Up With
Another mature observation made by Natalie was far from expected – instead of making excuses for the bad calls she made in the past, Natalie believes her media portrayal caused others to view her in a certain way. Therefore, as she explained, she does not blame people for judging her character. On the other hand, Natalie was very clear about her opinion of those criticizing her mothering ability: “I do everything. I don’t have any help. I’ve had no nanny since my eight were about 2.”
Who’s The Father?
Nadya was married from 1996 to 2008 to Marcos Gutierrez, who as was mentioned earlier, was not about to have “test tube children,” since he viewed it as unnatural and ungodlike. However, not one man has ever been publicly identified as the father of any of her children. Suleman has admitted the man in question was definitely not her ex-husband, but actually, it was a friend who donated the sperm. Through his donation, 60 embryos were created, and many have been implanted in her.
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In 2009, a guy wearing all black with a trench coat, sunglasses, hat, turkey baster, and three test tubes appeared outside of Nadya Suleman’s house. As though his entire ensemble and sign that read “I am the real Octodad” in capital letters were not enough, the test tubes he had contained some sort of clear liquid. However, as it turns out, apparently the anonymous guy is no other than a starting rapper called “Smooth E,” who was desperately trying to promote a song he wrote about Nadya “Octomom” and her 14 kids.
As for her current lifestyle, the mother of fourteen said it 100% focuses on her kids leading full, healthy and happy lives. Yes, that might not leave much room for her personal life, but her priorities were set straight once backing down from the spotlight: “With regard to dating, that’s just not realistic. I devote my whole life to my family, and that’s the least I could do, because there’s only one me and 14 of them. I have to give all my energy and all of me to my kids.”
Nowadays, Nadya tries to stay under the radar. Her children have grown enough to develop a conscience of their own, which could contribute to the reason behind the media leaving her alone, too. There were reports about her starring in several reality shows, amongst them Celebrity Big Brother, but mostly were revealed to be baseless rumors made up by tabloid magazines. These days they seem to be trying to live life as a normal family, with Nadya’s children being her first priority.