Hospital officials today released the names of the seven children born a week ago to a 30-year-old English teacher, and said the mother was too weak to make the announcement.
Tes Pane, obstetrical nursing director at Saint Joseph Hospital, said Patricia Frustaci felt "badly" about canceling a news conference this morning.
"She is still extremely, extremely exhausted and has to use oxygen when she has to talk for any period of time," Pane said.
One of the septuplets was stillborn and another died less than three days after their birth here May 21.
Although all five surviving babies remain in critical but stable condition, Dr. Carrie Worcester said today that all but one "have made incredible improvement."
Until today the babies had been identified by letters, in order of birth.
Pane said Frustaci and her husband, Sam, 32, an industrial steam-equipment salesman, have discarded plans to name the infants in similar alphabetical order.
Pane said the parents reached a final decision on the names Sunday evening.
The infants' names are: Baby A, Patricia Ann; Baby B, James Martin; Baby C, Stephen Earl; Baby D, Bonnie Marie; Baby E, Richard Charles; Baby F, David Anthony, and Baby G, Christina Elizabeth.
Patricia, Stephen and Richard are in the best health, while Bonnie has improved somewhat, and James is given only a 50 percent chance of survival.
David, nicknamed "Peanut," died of lung and heart failure. Christina was stillborn, apparently because of the mother's high blood pressure, a common occurrence in multiple births.
Pane said Sam Frustaci, who had promised to attend today's news conference, was working at his office and trying to make funeral arrangements for the two deceased infants.
She said she did not think that the parents' absence had anything to do with their contract with People magazine for an exclusive story on the births.
No set of septuplets has been known to survive infancy. There are at least six surviving sets of sextuplets in the world, but no more than five children born to one woman at the same time ever have survived in the United States.
Worcester, the neonatologist supervising the care of the Frustaci babies at Childrens Hospital of Orange County, said the three strongest babies were doing so well that "there is no reason for me to believe they do not have a full chance to develop" into normal children.
Bonnie, she said, had not improved in the last two days but was doing better than James, who is "significantly sick."
Early problems with the babies' livers and heart ducts had eased, she said, but all five still suffered from hyaline membrane disease, a respiratory condition that can cause lung collapse if breathing is not aided through artificial respiration.
James' lungs, in particular, are "very stiff," Worcester said.
Although some of the babies have regained weight after an initial, expected loss, none has exceeded birth weight and none weighs more than 1 pound, 12 ounces, Worcester said.
She said that, even with good improvement, none will leave the hospital before mid-August, when they would have been born if their mother had been able to carry them to full term.