Mum and dad of 16 kids, Christi and Dave Cason love having children so much – they couldn’t wait to have a 17th baby.
While some parents struggle with one or two, the couple were thrilled to be expanding their already huge brood, and even used fertility medication to help them conceive.
Christi and Dave, who have nine boys and seven girls, aged 23 down to 2, would love to have 20 children in total.
‘Each baby is different. There is always the excitement of who will they look like, what will their personality be like, will they have blonde or brown hair?’ says Christi, 41.
‘I don’t think I’m addicted to pregnancy. We just never felt that our family was complete.’
Christi and Dave, 45, a telecoms engineer, went through 20 months of heartache, including suffering two miscarriages, before falling pregnant with the help of the fertility drug Clomid.
Christi, who is a master at stretching Dave’s £50,000 a year income, decided she wanted a 17th baby just five months after youngest Nathaniel, 2, was born.
But sadly, despite falling pregnant within three months, Christi lost the baby just before her 12-week scan.
The couple, from Lake Elsinore, California, tried again for a year without success, then, in September 2012, Christi’s GP suggested she take Clomid, which stimulates the hormones necessary for ovulation.
‘We were desperate,’ said Christi. ‘We really wanted another baby and had never had any problems conceiving in the past.
‘The biggest age gap between any of our other children is only 22 months.’
Just three months later, in November 2012, Christi was overjoyed when she fell pregnant. But tragically, just three days before Christmas, she miscarried again at nine weeks.
Although devastated, Christi and Dave were determined to try again.
Christi also believes her health has improved, meaning she may have ovulated this time, even without help.
‘I feel really positive for the future,’ she adds. ‘I think if we try for an 18th baby I might not need any medication.
‘Labours are always pretty easy and I never get morning sickness. I love seeing the bump grow and feeling the first kick.’
As well as looking forward to number 17, the couple are also celebrating becoming grandparents for the first time, after eldest daughter Jessica, 23, gave birth to baby Jaedyn, and Christi will be babysitting while Jessica is at work.
Christi and Dave, who also have Chad, 21, Dalton, 20, Austin, 18, Bailey, 16, Gage, 15, Kaylee, 13, Harper, 12, Emma, 11, Rebekah, 9, Trevor, 8, Walker, 7, Morgan, 6, Laura, 5, Sawyer, 3, and Nathaniel, 2, say they did not have a big family for religious reasons – but simply because they love having one.
‘I hope people don’t judge us. We know we can afford 17 children and all the children get loads of love and attention,’ says Christi.
The couple’s day begins at 5am, when Dave leaves for work and Christi starts the chores and preparing waves of children for school.
The family produce three to seven loads of laundry per day, and get through at least two boxes of cereal, two gallons of milk and a loaf of bread.
Dave’s $80,000, (£50,000) salary covers the family’s $1,300 a month mortgage for their five-bedroom home, $1,600 month food bill and $1,900 bills and expenses.
‘Even though we can’t afford vacations, with a big family there are always so many other things you can do to have fun,’ says Christi.
Despite their hectic schedules, the couple still make time for date nights and even go away for weekends while the older children babysit. Christi said making time for each other was essential to keep a marriage strong.
‘Dave and I always make sure we have time for each child individually,’ says Christi. ‘All the kids love to snuggle up to us and watch TV in the evenings. Weʼre all very close.’