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Miracle? Nuts! She's a serial opportunist.

When unmarried, unemployed Nadya Suleman gave birth to octuplets, the media called it a miracle. I prefer to call it a travesty against motherhood and a slap-in-the-face of every real mother in America. Initially I thought the woman was simply nuts. She isn't. She's shrewd. She's also an opportunist who, I believe, deliberately and with much forethought and planning, created a scenario that would make her an instant celebrity—for the next 21-or-so years as the world watched—and paid to see—her children grow up like the Dionne Quintuplets who were born in Canada on May 28, 1934 (and not like Canada's first sextuplets, whose very premature births occurred between Jan. 6-7, 2007. Their live births was hailed by the media as a "miracle." Within a week the dream became a nightmare. Two of the babies died in their incubators. The other four needed blood transfusions to save their lives. When the parents, who belonged to the Jehovah's Witness, refused, the babies were taken from the them by the Canadian government.) Not all baby stories are gushy goo-goo stories that make woman want to have babies. Some end like that one. Others develop like this one.

When the news of the successful live birth delivery of the eight Suleman babies hit the airwaves on Jan. 26, 2009, 33-year old Nadya Suleman became the instant celebrity she knew she was meant to be. Visions of sugar plums and megabucks had to be swishing through her mind. It was, after all, only the second time in US history that octuplets survived their births. Once again, the media acclaimed it "a miracle." Reporters from all over God's creation flooded Kaiser Permanente's Bellflower Medical Center on Rosecrans Avenue in Bellflower, California for a photo op and an interview with the world's latest mega-mom.

Suleman reportedly claimed that she did not decide to hire a publicist until after she left the hospital on Thursday, Jan. 26 to keep a promised free interview date with TV journalist Ann Curry of NBC's Today program. In point of fact, it appears that she actually hired her publicist, Michael Furtney of the Kileen Furtney Group while laying in her hospital bed shortly after her doctors confirmed that she would deliver at least seven live babies. Lucky 13. (She already had six at home.) From the gitgo Suleman appears to have had book and endorsement deals in mind—and perhaps even a TV show like the Gosselin family's reality show, "Jon & Kate Plus Eight" on The Learning Channel [TLC] or the 19-member Duggar family's TLC program, "17 Kids And Counting." The Dugger program also airs on the Discovery Health Channel [DHC].

Commenting about Suleman when facts about her began to surface, Cooper Lawrence, author of "The Cult of Celebrity," noted: "If you want to find a way to be famous and to be, in your mind, a celebrity, there's lots of ways to go about it. If you're not a good singer and you can't write books, go have babies."

Over a handful of days, as the veil of secrecy about the new mega-mom started to lift with the release of information about Suleman, the wannabe celebrity went from being viewed as a somewhat traditional-untraditional mom—married with children with a "surprise in the oven"—to a divorced, out-of-control, over-baked fruitcake (with far too many nuts) welfare mom sans husband with no means of support who had babies by IVF because she wanted a large family. She said it was because she was an only child of dysfunctional parents. According to her "dysfunctional" mother, Angela Suleman, who was dutifully taking care of her daughter's current brood of six as she prepared to pop eight more out of the oven, told reporters that she was not supportive of what her daughter did, noting that her daughter was obsessed with having children but a problem with her fallopian tubes getting "plugged up" meant that "luckily, she couldn't." Nadya Suleman had three miscarriages before resorting to IVF. "She's a very likable person," Angela Suleman said about her daughter, "...She's basically normal except for this obsession she's always had with children."

It may not have dawned on Mega-mom that she could have as many children as she wanted one-at-a-time. But, you don't become an overnight celebrity that way. Because she had successfully used IVF previously, there was no sound medical reason to have six fertilized embryos implanted except that Suleman planned to become a news-celebrity and make millions of dollars from celeb-appearances and for writiing books (that someone else would ghost write in her name). The normal procedure is to insert one or two embryos—never six and certainly never eight. Fertility experts acknowledge that two of the six fertilized embryos that were implanted split, causing the sextuplets to become octuplets in the womb.

The question of why a just-divorced welfare mom would do that remains unanswered. So, likewise was the question of who would perform this procedure on a woman who lacks the financial wherewithal to pay for it? Until Monday, Feb. 9, that is. The question was by Los Angeles TV station KTLA which found some 2006 TV footage of an interview they did with Dr. Michael Kamrava afer Suleman told NBCA that she had her procedure done at the tony West Coast IVF Clinic on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. KTLA filmed Kamrava treating Suleman in 2006. Kamrava, 57, acknowledged she was his patient but refused to make any statements other than to advise those inquiring to "..watch the news." Kamrava is a well-known and much-respected fertility specialist who is also known to be a physician who is not opposed to trying controversial procedures.

Suleman was determined to give birth to all of the babies she was carrying. She showed up at the Bellflower Medical Center in her 12th week for her first prenatal exam. Kaiser Permanente doctors advised her that trying to carry eight babies would be harmful to her and her babies, and advised her to have a selective reduction. Suleman refused. One of Nadya's friends, Jessica Zepeda, said she was convinced Nadya didn't do it to profit from it, but only because she loved children. "She's not even interested in [money] right now," Zepeda said even though all of Suleman's actions suggest otherwise. "It's funny, and sad in a way, there's lots of people saying really negative things, and they don't know her." And, while Suleman's mother believes the opinion people have of her daughter will improve once Nadya's story become public, the opposite is more likely to be true. Another friend, Allison Frickert, said Nadya couldn't wait to become a mother. It was, she said, "her number one goal in life."

While Nadya Suleman claimed she lived with depression all of her life because she was an "only child," and that fostered her obsession to have children, among the 300 or so pages of documents released to the Associated Press, was a statement suggesting that not only was her family life not dysfunctional, she had a happy, well-adjusted childhood, carried above-average grades in school, had many friends, was a cheerleader in high school and had very loving, supportive parents.

Suleman is now an unemployed, divorced woman. She married Marcos Gutierrez in 1996. The couple was divorced in 1999. He does not appear to be the father of any of his former wife's children although she gave birth to her first six children before their divorce was finalized. Suleman uses several aliases over the years, calling herself Natalie Suleman, Natalie Gutierrez, Nadya Gutierrez and Nadya Doud. (Suleman's father periodically used the name Doud.) According to Suleman, she married Gutierrez only to make him eligible for a US visa so he could become a legal alien resident in the United States.

The Associated Press reported State documents show that in 2002 Nadya Suleman began receiving disability payments that ultimately totaled slightly more than $165 thousand. The workers' compensation settlement was for a back injury she sustained during a riot at a mental health facility where she worked as a mental health technician in 1999. That wasn't enough money to care for, or feed, her six children—or to finance the in-virto fertilization of her new brood. But it was apparently enough to finance her divorce from Gutierrez. The disability payments, which amounted to about $530 per week, were made to Suleman over a period of 6 years, beginning in 2002 and ending in 2008.

It's not known who supplied the sperm for the Suleman octuplets. The sperm donor for four of her first six babies was a man named David Solomon. Suleman's mother reported that she was told that the sperm donor was the same person for all 14 of Nadya's babies. However, an examination of those birth certificates reveals that his date of birth is different on each of them, and they also indicate he was born in Israel or California suggesting he is a made up person. Suleman does not list a father on the birth certificates of her twins—her 5th and 6th babies. They were her first multiple embryos transfer.

The one question that puzzles me most about the Suleman story is: why does a normal, functional woman who can apparently get pregnant the old-fashioned way opt, instead, for the clinical approach of child-bearing? I guess that unless Suleman writes a book, I'll never get the answer to that puzzle. But then, even if she does, I won't because it's not a book I'd buy. Well, once again, for whatever it's worth, you have my two cents on this matter.

 

Just Say No
Copyright 2009 Jon Christian Ryter.
All rights reserved
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