A couple from Richmond, Virginia, gave birth to sextuplets earlier this month. Ajibola and Adeboye Taiwo had tried to have a child for 17 years, but no baby came along.

Ajibola gave birth to sextuplets on May 11 at a Richmond hospital, and doctors said in a statement that the mother is doing well, along with the three boys and three girls. The hospital said it is the first time sextuplets have been born at VCU Medical Center.

Ajibola gave birth to sextuplets on May 11 at a Richmond hospital. Image credit: Allen Jones / VCU Medical Center / The Virginian-Pilot
Ajibola gave birth to sextuplets on May 11 at a Richmond hospital. Image credit: Allen Jones / VCU Medical Center / The Virginian-Pilot

The babies were still in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit on Thursday, and although the mother was discharged last week, she said she’s “very involved” in the babies’ care, according to hospital spokeswoman Shira Pollard.

The sextuplets were delivered at 30 weeks by C-section

The six babies were born at 8:26 a.m. on May 11, and a medical team of 40 was needed to deliver the sextuplets. Ajibola gave birth at almost 30 weeks and delivered the babies by Caesarean section, said hospital officials.

The smallest baby weighed 1 pound 10 ounces and the largest weighed 2 pounds 15 ounces. In the statement from the hospital, officials said they are doing well and continue to thrive. Pollard noted that the medical team in charge of the babies’ care has not revealed when they will be discharged from the hospital. She added that the new parents are not talking to the media right now.

“[I hope] for the smallest of my six children to grow up and say, ‘I was so small, and look at me now,'” said Ajibola in the statement, according to The Washington Post.

Along with the statement, the hospital released photos of the newborns and their parents. In one of the photos, dad Adeboye and mom Ajibola are carrying two of their babies against their chests, as they are practicing what hospital officials called “kangaroo care,” or skin-to-skin contact.

Delivering the sextuplets required pre-delivery drills and a 40-person medical team

The new parents are natives of western Nigeria and had tried to conceive a child for almost two decades. They finally conceived last year, and officials noted they were “overcome with joy when they saw four heartbeats” at their first ultrasound, conducted last November.

However, during another doctor’s appointment in January, the couple was informed they’d be having two more babies.

“I was excited,” said Adeboye Taiwo in the hospital statement, according to The Washington Post. “For the first time, we were expecting.”

Ajibola and Adeboye Taiwo. Image credit: Allen Jones / VCU Medical Center / ABC News
Ajibola and Adeboye Taiwo. Image credit: Allen Jones / VCU Medical Center / ABC News

Hospital officials noted that for privacy reasons they would not reveal where the couple will live. Officials said that delivering so many babies was a challenge, even though the hospital prepared for months and conducted pre-delivery drills with the couple. The medical team assigned to deliver the sextuplets included experts in areas such as labor and delivery, social work, cardiology, and nutrition.

The team worked with the mother and provided her with support and encouragement, said Ronald Ramus, director of the maternal-fetal division at VCU Medical Center. According to Ramus, it’s not every day that parents have sextuplets, and the mother was eating, sleeping and breathing for seven. The medical team at VCU Medical Center also planned for months with delivery drills.

“A typical labor and delivery shift includes one, perhaps two premature births, usually with time in between,” said Susan Lanni, medical director of labor and delivery and maternal-fetal specialist at VCU Medical Center, in a statement, as reported by The Washington Post. “We had to coordinate with our colleagues in the [neonatal unit] for six premature babies to be delivered simultaneously.”

‘Octomom’ gave birth to eight children at once using IVF treatment

Giving birth to sextuplets is exceedingly rare. In 2015, there were around 4 million live births in the United States, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24 of those births were quintuplets or higher-order births.

According to Guinness World Records, the record for more babies delivered at once belongs to Nadya Suleman, who in 2009 gave birth to eight children. Suleman became famous around the world, as the California native gave birth to six boys and two girls at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Bellflower, California. The babies had been conceived through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment and were nine weeks premature when they were delivered by C-section.

The “Octomom,” as she became known, had been pregnant before using IVF treatments, and asked her doctor Dr. Michael Kamrava to transfer all the remaining embryos into her uterus at one time. At the time, the norm stated that a woman was to receive two or three embryos at the most. However, a further investigation discovered that Kamrava had transferred twelve embryos, which prompted the Medical Board of California to revoke his medical license in 2011.

Source: The Washington Post