Nehamen said in his report that the depression was not related to her back injury, but stemmed from "the powerful and uncontrollable emotions associated with her pregnancy -- both the fear that it would end and her elation that it might be brought to fruition and she would realize her dream of having a child."
Another doctor disagreed and diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder.
After the baby was born, the emotional roller coaster continued. This time, she was by turns elated and despairing -- and also terrified that the baby would be kidnapped or injured. "My husband or my mother has to take me almost everywhere," she told one of the doctors.
Despite the separation from her husband in 2000, they attempted at least one reconciliation after the birth of the first baby. They split again, but did not divorce until January 2008, court records show.
Her back injury grew worse as the result of a traffic accident in 2001, which occurred on the way home from a doctor's appointment, she reported. Pregnancy hadn't helped either, doctors said. At one point, she said, the pain was so intense, she couldn't lift her 3-month-old infant.
She later told a therapist that the baby "certainly has helped my spirits."
"I have a child," she said. "That's the most wonderful thing in life."
Doctors declared her resilient and strong, though one did question her "capacity for psychological insight."
Over the next several years, Suleman had five more children, including a set of twins. According to her mother, Angela Suleman, and the NBC interview, all of them were fathered by the same sperm donor and conceived through in vitro fertilization.
She also went back to school, earned a bachelor's degree in child development and began pursuing a master's degree in counseling at California State University at Fullerton.
Then, last year, with more embryos still frozen, she decided she wanted "just one more girl," her mother said.
Instead of one more baby, doctors told her she was pregnant with seven. She carried them for 31 weeks, declining prevailing medical advice to reduce the number of embryos.
On delivery day, the surprises kept coming.
She had eight babies.
Now the woman who said it was her dream to have a large family has 14 children.
Times staff writer Catherine Ho contributed to this report.