‘I‘ve not only hung my boots, I have thrown them out’
By Okorie Uguru and Wale Adepoju 15/01/2012
The duo of Okorie Uguru and Wale Adepoju were at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba to witness an unusual send off.
The neo-natal ward of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba, Lagos, is not used to conducting send off ceremonies for discharged infants born in the hospital.
However, last Thursday that tradition was broken. The reason? This is no ordinary time and such a time deserves special treat. The Shofunlayo quintuplet delivered in the hospital on December 16 last year are ready to go home hale and hearty.
As a prelude, five baby cots lined side by side, and the quintuplet were brought one after the other and placed inside the cots. They were cute in the cloth and caps on their heads.
Bundles of joy
All around, doctors, nurses and every one in LUTH engaged in one way or the other in nurturing the Shofunlayo quintuplet since they were born were beaming with smiles. One could understand. It was the first time that such high number of multiple births would be delivered in the hospital and all would survive. That was the reason the management board of the hospital gathered, not only to bid the children goodbye as they returned to their parents’ home, but also came with gifts for the children.
LUTH’s message for the proud parents Mr. Wale and Olayemi Shofunlayo was that the doors of the hospital was opened to the family whenever there was need for any check up without any protocol.
Although one could see in his disposition the façade of an expert who has seen it all, the eyes of Professor Godwin Olu Ajayi, a professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology still betrayed excitement and happiness. Ajayi and his assistants monitored and saw to the nurturing of the babies right from the womb and delivered them safely.
Ajayi, who is also President of Society of Perinatal Medicine of Nigeria (SOPMON), speaking about the quintuplet and their welfare said: “It is actually for me a very joyful moment that we have this type of delivery here. We, right from the beginning thought that it was four, but on the day of delivery, the Almighty God told us that he was wiser and better than all. The parents must have been budgeting for four but now they are five. I immediately I left the operation theatre, I had to call the husband and told him the number of children. And what was going on in my mind was that this is a blessed country yet, the government does nothing for us.”
According to him, in 2002 a similar case had to be referred abroad when around 20th week it was discovered the pregnant mother and father were AS (sickle cell carriers). Further tests showed that the expectant mother was also carrying a virus. The medical team was unsure whether the pathogens have the touched the placenta and done any harm. After several considerations the mother had to be sent to the United States of America where she eventually delivered in New York. After the delivery the Mayor of gave the children citizenship of the US and provided the parents with a house and nanny.
However, for the Shofunlayos, parents of the quintuplet, it has been a long journey that the hospital chapter has closed on a positive note. Last Tuesday was exactly six months, 184 days since the mother left her home and the hospital became her temporary abode. The couple is now looking forward to taking care of their children in the comfort of their home. Before the birth of the quintuplet, they had only a male child.
Looking to a bright future
While the husband is a little reticent on having another child, Mrs. Shofunlayo was categorical: “I have not only hung my boots, I have thrown them out of the window.”
To Mr. Shofunlayo the prospect of catering for these children does weigh him down: “I am really very happy for what God has done for me. I ought to have had more than one child before now, but it was not possible so God decided to compensate me for the delay by giving me a quintuplet. I am very sure he will give me the wherewithal to take of them. I am just so happy.”
He added: “I have taken it as a responsibility. Even before now if I had been spending too much in other areas, I have put a break so that I would be able to meet up with my responsibility and also put more efforts in my job.” He does not however rule out receiving any assistance if offered especially from the state or federal government.
Talking about his experience, he said: “We always go together, even coming to LUTH I brought her. I was happy. The issue of children for us had been delayed. So, if God wants to compensate me for that, why not. At a point to ease herself was a Herculean task, I had to assist. It was not easy at all. At a time she had bed sore because of lying for a long time in one place. I felt so much pity for her. Most of the times, I had to help her by massaging her stomach.”
Shofunlayo is disappointed that all the tiers of government had not deemed it fit to identify with his family and LUTH on the medical success recorded. He said: “I expected to see representatives of both the federal and state governments come to identify with us. We all know that this thing that happened is not a thing that happens every day and it certainly will go down in the records. This is a federal hospital and I am sure the Minister of Health is aware of this breakthrough. We are not asking him to give us anything, but he could through the Medical Director of the hospital communicate with us. There is no acknowledgement that such a thing happened.“
Professor Edna Iroha, a professor of Paediatrics, who spoke on the success the hospital has recorded with the quintuplet said: “The birth of the children is special. The normal thing is usually one two, three, but when it goes beyond that, I mean it is something big and special in a way. I tell you what you haven’t asked. There is a certain amount of weight that the uterus can’t carry beyond that, the baby must come out; about three kilogram, a little over four. But in this case, five of them and none weighed less than one kg.
“We are talking about six kg or more. How she managed for that length of time, it is a miracle. You would have thought that that the five of them by the time the total weight is approaching four kg, she would pour them but surprisingly they stayed on and you can relate survival to weight. The bigger you are in terms of weight, the more likely their survival and in terms of gestational age, the longer they stayed there, the higher their weight all things being equal, the mother is feeding well, the placenta is able to deliver that nutrient from the mother to the womb.”
On whether the mother being at her prime, contributed to the success of the birth Iroha said: “It has some contributions. The earlier in life you have your babies, the better the chances of those babies surviving both in terms of gestation, the size and then the absence of abnormality. So, the age of the mother contributes a lot.”
The babies have been in incubators since they were born. However, two of them are now big enough to be weaned off the incubator and their temperature outside it is stable.
Iroha has advice for potential mothers faced with such multiple conception. According to her “ One thing that I will say, looking at this mother, is that she got to the hospital, she had bed rest and she delivered in the hospital unlike the ones they have transferred to us in the past, babies born in another hospital and then transferring that to the specialist institutions and by that time they would have lost some time. These babies would have gone very cold, their respiratory problems would have worsened but these ones came out and they were handed over to us, next to the incubators. It was just a matter of seconds and minutes. So, I think that contributed. So, if anybody is going to have a premature delivery, whether one or five, it is better done in a facility or in an institution where the facilities and experts are available”
For LUTH and the Shofunlayo family, it is an idyllic story that ends well.
from punch newspaper(nigeria)
You are here: Home / Health / We spend N.4m monthly to feed our quintuplets – Mother
We spend N.4m monthly to feed our quintuplets – Mother
January 25, 2012 by Motunrayo Aboderin
Mr and Mrs Shofunlayo with their quintuplets
MOTUNRAYO ABODERIN spent a day at the Ijede home of Mrs. Olayemi Shofunlayo, the 30-year-old woman who gave birth to quintuplets last month and in this report she highlights the challenges the family has been facing nursing the five children.
The journey to the Number 35, Peace Avenue, Unity Estate, Ijede, Ikorodu home of Mr. and Mrs. Olayemi Shofunlayo last week Tuesday was eventful. Though the road was dusty and bumpy, the serenity of the area bears testimony to the peace that reigns in the estate. Residents were hospitable as most of them gladly directed our correspondent who was visiting the area for the first time to the house. The house itself bears testimony to the fact that the family is just like an average Nigerian family hustling to survive. Sparsely furnished, the three-bedroom house located on a plot of land is devoid of the conveniences that one would see in opulent environment such as Lekki and Victoria Island. But the occupiers are living in peace.
The mother of five warmly welcomed our correspondent to the house. Mrs. Shofunlayo, who appeared weak and sleepy, introduced our correspondent to some of her relations who had come to help her nurse her five children. After the introduction, the woman narrated the challenges she and her husband, Wale, a self-employed lawyer had been going through nursing their five new born babies. Though the interview was intermittently disrupted by the babies’ cry for attention, Shofunlayo revealed a story that was woven in pains and pleasure.
“Nursing a baby is challenging how much more nurturing five children at the same time, my sister it is not easy but I’m not complaining because it is a good stress,” the woman, who was delivered of the quintuplets on December 16 last year, opened up
THE PUNCH had reported the delivery of the five babies, which occurred on Friday, December 16, 2010. It was Mrs. Shofunlayo’s second delivery and also the first quintuplets recorded at LUTH.
The quintuplets were successfully delivered through caesarian operations. They are now at the family home located at Ijede, Ikorodu.
However the shock of starting with a set of quintuplets and the demands of nurturing them has yet to strain the joy of the new mother.
Asked how much she spent in a month on her babies, Shofunlayo said her family spent nothing less than N.4m. She added that this could increase as the fuel price hike had affected the prices of all consumables and baby products.
She said, “While I was on bed rest, I bought some baby things which cost about N380,000. That was in December before the Federal Government increased the price of petrol. Most of those things will finish at the end of this month. That means I have to go to the market again and with more money. It’s costing my husband so much, but it is worth the investment. These are my babies and they deserve the best.”
Breastfeeding the babies is another challenge for the new mother of five. However, in spite of the strain that this would impact on her, Shofunlayo maintained that she would endure the hardship for the sake of her children.
She said, “I have to struggle to feed the five babies one after the other until they fall asleep. I spend all the day breastfeeding them. When I’m feeding one, that’s when another wakes, and another. The first day after I was discharged was very challenging; I could not sleep throughout the day till the next morning. My eyes were so heavy. I was tired.
“I later devised a means to make life easy for myself. While the babies are asleep, fill their bottles with breast milk, and then mix it with baby formula. So far, things have been going well. But breastfeeding is just a fraction of what a baby needs. At that tender age, they cry for attention.”
But Shofunlayo said that her mother, mother-in-law and sister had been providing the needed assistance. “I thank God for my family. They have been by my side. I can’t imagine going through this journey alone. But I still hope to hire house helps later,” she said.
However, if breastfeeding the babies is difficult, raising money for their daily upkeep is tasking. The mother is presently jobless while the husband, Wale, is a self-employed lawyer. But according to the woman, the family is coping by the grace of God
Recalling the years she was still trusting God for a child, Shofunlayo said that they were years of pain. “Yes, they were years of pain but I thank God for He has wiped off her tears and that is why I described the present stress I’m passing through as a good stress,” she said.
However, Shofunlayo said that she was not pleased with the response of the Lagos and Federal Government, noting that nobody had visited the babies from the two sides.
She added, “No representative from the Lagos State Government visited me at the hospital. It is not right. I’m sure they heard but chose to ignore us. I’m not asking them for money, they would have at least paid a courtesy visit. If this had happened in some other states, I’m sure government officials would have come to check on the welfare of the babies.”
But in spite of the state government’s silence, Shofunlayo said that so many well wishers including non-governmental organisations, private companies had been strong pillars of support for the babies.
She said, “I have also been getting calls from people asking me to send the account numbers of my babies. People have been of great support. I thank God. He has not left me stranded.”
Speaking on the welfare of her babies, Shofunlayo said that they were all in a stable condition.
“The last boy is so fair like me, and the other girls look like their dad. They took the shape of his face,” she added.
She said that the birth of her quintuplets had brought an unexpected publicity to her family, one she would never have envisioned. “When the first media house visited me at the hospital, I thought that was going to be the end, but it did not stop. Even Cable News Network and CNTV, a Chinese Television station paid me a visit. I was baffled.”
On the popular Ogunsanya quadruplets, who just bagged Master’s degree from the same university in the United Kingdom, Shofunlayo congratulated them and their parents. She said they must have spent fortunes before the quadruplets could attain that academic heights
“I just had my babies for less than two months, and I know that we have spent lots of money. So now, hearing about the story of the parents who trained four children up to Master’s level is mind-blowing. You can’t begin to imagine the amount of money those parents would have spent on those children. I salute the parents. Train a child up to secondary school level is no joke; talk less of Master’s level.