Giving birth to one or even two premature babies is hard enough, but to bring six into the world at once is a miraculous feat.
But, that’s exactly what Ajibola Taiwo did when she gave birth to three boys and three girls at 30 weeks.
She and her husband, Adeboye, welcomed their sextuplets into the world on May 11, 2017, after having struggled to conceive for 17 years and having spent over 50 million naira ($213,000) on procedures including in-vitro fertilization, reported the Naija Standard Newspaper.
Adeboye told the Standard that there had been pressure on him to divorce his wife and marry a different woman because of their difficulties getting pregnant. “I made it known to them that I love my wife so deeply,” he said. “I assured them that my wife, Ajibola, would surely give birth to baby for me at God’s own time and in His season.”
The sextuplets were born on May 11, 2017. There are three girls and three boys.
The couple, who are originally from Nigeria, was aided during the birth by a team at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU in Virginia.
According to a hospital press release, a 40-person team worked tirelessly to bring the babies into the world. The infants, whose weights range from 0.7 to 1.3 kilograms, are currently being cared for in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.
A nurse comforts one of the sextuplets with a crocheted octopus.
“A typical labour and delivery shift includes one, perhaps two premature births, usually with time in between. We had to coordinate with our colleagues in the NICU for six premature babies to be delivered simultaneously,” Dr. Susan lanni, the hospital’s medical director of labour and delivery, said in the press release.
Sextuplets are extraordinarily rare. Canada’s first recorded set of sextuplets were born in 2007. According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, of the almost four million births in the U.S. in 2015, only 24 of them were quintuplets or other higher order births.
But multiple births of this number can come with a host of complications. The babies need to be delivered early, often at 30 weeks or sooner. There are health risks for the mother, and children from pregnancies with four or more infants often have much lower birth weights.
Skin-to-skin contact between the mother and the babies helps them form healthy attachment.
The good news is medical advances have made the chance for a healthy life a reality for many multiples.
That certainly seems to be the case for the Taiwo sextuplets, who are thriving in the hospital, according the the press release. The parents and hospital staff have formed a deep bond through the emotional experience.
“The medical team is excellent in medicine and hospitality,” Adeboye said in the statement. “We are far from home but the medical team is our family. That is what got us this far.”
Ajibola has been discharged from hospital, but the couple is staying involved in their children's care in the ICU.
Ajibola echoed her husband’s positivity, adding that she hoped her children might grow up to one day work at the Children’s Hospital.
“I hope for the smallest of my six children to grow up and say ‘I was so small, and look at me now,’” she said. “I want my kids [to] come back to VCU to study and learn to care for others with the same people who cared for me and my family.”