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Octuplets Father: 'I'm Blessed'

Still guarding the privacy of his wife and eight children, the octuplets father Iyke Louis Udobi met reporters on Thursday.

"I'm o.k.. I'm o.k... I'm o.k.. I'm blessed," said Udobi.

However, the youngest of the week-old babies underwent abdominal surgery Saturday, hours after one of her brothers experienced breathing problems.

The six girls and two boys remained in critical condition at Texas Children's Hospital, but pediatrician Patti Savrick said all were ``coming along very well.'' Four of them were breathing on their own Saturday. The other four required ventilators. The mother is stable and improving.

"The main preoccupation right now is the health and the well being of my kids and my wife," said Udobi.

No pictures have been released yet, but the octuplets are no longer babies "A-through-H." They are called Ebuka, Chidi, Echerum, Chima, Chijindu Chidera, Ikem, Jioke, and Gorom.

Chijindu Chidera, nicknamed Odera, born under 11 ounces, is the smallest and weakest. She is said to be the size of a Beanie Baby and is considered to be the least likely to make it because of her low birthweight.

"I'm very optimistic about the 7 babies excluding the small baby and sort of guardedly optimistic about her. She has done better than we expected thus far." said Pediatrician Dr. Patty Savrick.

Seven of the babies were delivered by caesarean section Sunday, 10 weeks premature. Odera, whose Nigerian name means "God has my life," was born naturally Dec. 8, twelve weeks ahead of schedule.

They ranged in weight from 11.3 ounces to 28.6 ounces at birth, but have not been weighed since because doctors do not want to disturb them.

All the babies are on ventilators to help them breathe, but doctors will try this weekend to see if all but Odera can breathe on their own. If so, it will be a significant milestone in their fight for life, they said.

Unlike the McCaughey septuplets, whose wholesome story captured hearts and kept America pacing for weeks through the pregnancy's final stages, the octuplets' story seems to have some troubling elements.

The father was charged 3 months ago with assaulting his mother-in-law during a fight with his wife. Authorities said on Wednesday that Udobi, 41, had been arrested on a domestic assault charge in September. He faces trial on Feb. 8 and up to a year in jail if convicted.

``The family had problems, but we have worked through them,'' Udobi said. ``The family is together ... everything is okay.''

His brother-in-law, Oni Chukwu, agreed and said their entire family, scattered from Texas to Europe to Nigeria, would help raise the children.

"The family had problem. Has gotten over it. And, like every family, that's the best hope," said Chuckwu.

And for now, the family is united behind the eight tiny fragile hearts beating in the Houston hospital--"What do I think? Glory be to god. Glory be to god. It's perfec," said Udobi.

--and the hundreds of diapers a week that await them if all goes well.

Reported by CBS News Correspondent Jim Axelrod