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Calif. Octuplets' Mom's Veil of Secrecy Vanishes

Calif. Octuplets' Mom's Veil of Secrecy Vanishes

This image provided by NBC shows Nadya Suleman, left, speaking with Ann Curry in New York on Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009. (AP Photo/NBC, Paul Drinkwater)

John Rogers / AP

February 05, 2009

She told a doctor who conducted a psychological evaluation for a workers’ compensation claim that the first birth was “the most wonderful, best thing that’s ever happened in my life.”

Suleman said all her children have been born through in vitro fertilization, with sperm donated from a friend. The first six range in age from 2 to 7. The octuplets are doing fine, said officials at Kaiser Permanente’s Bellflower Medical Center, where they were born Jan. 26.

According to the state documents, which were released to the AP following a public records request, Suleman was injured Sept. 18, 1999, when a riot involving nearly two dozen patients broke out in the women’s ward of the Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk.

As she was helping other staffers restrain a patient, a desk thrown at her by another patient hit her in the back. It caused damage to her spine and left her complaining of headaches and intense pain throughout her lower body for years.

She attributed it in part to the breakup of her marriage to Marcos Gutierrez, whom she had wed in 1996. She told a psychiatrist the bouts of depression she was suffering as a result of her injury were unfair to her husband.

“I don’t want to keep bringing him down. I want him to move on with his life,” she told a psychiatrist.

The couple split in 2000 and divorced last year. Gutierrez has not returned calls to phone numbers listed for him, and his divorce lawyer, Roberto Gil, declined comment.

Suleman has come under criticism from TV and radio commentators, bloggers and others who accused her of irresponsibly having more children than she appears prepared to care for. Some say she had the octuplets to cash in with a TV or book deal.

Although the two publicists she hired last week acknowledge she is reviewing such offers, one of her friends said Suleman simply loves children and didn’t get pregnant for profit.

“She’s not even interested in that right now,” said Jessica Zepeda, who lives down the street. “It’s funny and sad in a way, there’s a lot of people saying really negative things and they don’t know her.”

Suleman’s mother said she expects people’s opinions to change now that her daughter is going public.

“She’s a very likable person,” Angela Suleman said Wednesday. “She’s basically normal except for this obsession she’s always had with children.”

She’s also a good mother, Angela Suleman said.

Her daughter, who was born in Fullerton, studied to be a psychiatric technician after graduating from a high school in La Puente in 1993.


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