A Nigerian Woman Tried To Conceive For 17 Years. Then She Had Six Babies All At The Same Time

Image: Allen Jones/Virginia Commonwealth University

For some people, there are few things more rewarding in life than building a family with their partner. However, for countless couples across the world, that particular desire can’t be fulfilled for reasons completely out of their control. And Adeboye and Ajibola Taiwo could certainly attest to that.

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Ajibola and her husband, who are from Nigeria, first toyed with the idea of having children together almost 20 years ago. Unfortunately for them, they found it difficult to conceive at that time. Undeterred, the pair didn’t give up their hopes over the next few years, but the situation remained the same.

Image: Facebook/Adeboye Taiwo

During that period, Ajibola and Adeboye went down several different avenues to change things, spending plenty of money along the way. But despite trying treatments such as in-vitro fertilization, better known as IVF, she still couldn’t get pregnant. However, in November 2016 that all changed when the couple received some life-changing news from their doctor.

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Following an ultrasound, Ajibola discovered she was pregnant with quadruplets. Then some two months later, she and Adeboye were then informed that she was carrying six babies instead of four. With that in mind, the mother-to-be went on to deliver her sextuplets prematurely in May 2017 at the VCU Medical Center.

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Around the globe, many couples choose not to have children together. However, there are plenty more willing to take that next big step in their respective lives, regardless of the challenges ahead. Sadly, though, that enthusiasm sometimes isn’t enough to realize a prospective parent’s dream.

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Indeed, there are millions of people who struggle with their fertility, leaving them with a few options. While some might decide to adopt a child instead, others could opt to try out certain treatments to help them conceive. On that note, Nigerian duo Adeboye and Ajibola went with the latter option.

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Close to two decades ago, married couple Ajibola and Adeboye decided to add a new face to their family. But despite their best efforts, the former couldn’t get pregnant. As time progressed, they didn’t allow that setback to dissuade them from trying again, with the pair looking at different fertility treatments.

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By going down that route, Adeboye and Ajibola ended up spending nearly $140,000 over the next few years, with individual IVF treatments costing over $8,000. Keeping those costs in mind, the prospective dad explained why they continued to pursue a solution to the problem. In his opinion, the pair had a duty to keep trying.

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“We paid other medical tests outside the IVF,” Adeboye told the Naija Standard Newspaper in May 2017. “We keep spending money regularly without looking back during the [last] 17 years.” He continued, “We did all [the] medical tests, as such when people [asked] us…”

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Meanwhile, Adeboye began to feel some unwanted pressure from his relatives during that period as well. Indeed, it was suggested that the Nigerian’s family might have started pushing him to split up with Ajibola due to her fertility issues. However, he refused to buckle, reiterating the love he had for his wife.

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“The issue [of divorce] would have come up, but I never permitted that to happen,” Adeboye continued. “I made it known to [my family] that I love my wife so deeply. So they were extremely careful not to bring in bad suggestions my way because they know our faith in God and trust in the Lord Most High.”

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Adeboye added, “I assured them that my wife, Ajibola, would surely give birth to [a] baby for me at God’s own time and in His season.” He wasn’t the only one to feel the pressure at that time, though. For Ajibola, her pregnancy troubles had made her social life suffer.

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With that in mind, Adeboye recalled one moment in particular that upset his spouse. He told the newspaper, “There was a day [Ajibola] visited her friend’s house. The moment her friend saw my wife, she covered her womb with cloth thinking my wife wanted to take her pregnancy away from her.”

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Following that incident, Ajibola then received some words of encouragement from her husband. Adeboye added, “When my wife got home and she told me [what had happened], I assured her not to worry. [I said] that God will surely give us our own child.” And after years of frustration, their prayers were finally answered in November 2016.

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At that point, Ajibola visited her doctor for an ultrasound appointment alongside Adeboye. And while there, the prospective parents discovered that she was pregnant with four babies, much to their delight. But in January 2017 the couple’s lives took another interesting turn after they visited a hospital in Richmond, Virginia.

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Adeboye and Ajibola attended an appointment at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Medical Center during that period, as the pregnancy started to come along. Before long, they discovered that the latter wasn’t actually carrying quadruplets, despite the previous ultrasound results. Instead, she was pregnant with six children, otherwise referred to as sextuplets.

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Unsurprisingly, the big news shocked Adeboye, but it didn’t dampen his enthusiasm. Indeed, following 17 years of disappointment, he and Ajibola were getting what they wanted. The dad-to-be said in a press release on the hospital’s website, “I was excited. For the very first time we were expecting.”

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Throughout the years, there have been many notable births in different countries across the globe. And when it comes to sextuplets, the first reported case in the U.S. occurred in September 1866, as a woman named Minnie Bushnell welcomed six children into the world. The delivery itself took place in Chicago, Illinois.

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Sadly, only four of Minnie’s sextuplets survived the first 12 months, with the other two babies passing away at various points. Off the back of that, there were some additional cases in England over a century later. However, much like before, some of the children died not long after their birth.

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However, in January 1974 a couple made history in Cape Town, South Africa. At that time, a woman named Susan Wilson gave birth to her six children, known as the Rosenkowitz sextuplets. Thankfully for the mom and her partner Colin Rosenkowitz, all of the babies survived their youth.

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As a result of that, the Rosenkowitz siblings were the first sextuplets on record to all survive infancy. In turn, the six children became very famous over the next few years in South Africa, with that historical tag continuing to follow them around. Meanwhile, there was another fascinating aspect to this particular story.

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Unlike Ajibola, Susan was already a mother prior to the birth of her sextuplets, having delivered two other children. But at that stage, the latter then started some treatment herself, as she looked to get pregnant again. However, the couple hadn’t intended to conceive six babies at that point.

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Meanwhile, after the birth of the Rosenkowitz sextuplets in 1974, there were four more reported cases across Europe over the next nine years. From the Netherlands, to Belgium and Italy, these stories continued to capture the imagination. But one really stood out – the Walton sextuplets, who entered the world in 1983 in Liverpool, England.

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Just like the Rosenkowitz siblings did a few years previously, the six Walton children made some significant history. They weren’t just the first surviving sextuplets in Britain, but they were also the only all-female set in the world at that time. On that note, the girls subsequently attracted a lot of attention.

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“When we started our first day of school, there were photographers and people outside the gates,” Hannah Walton told U.K. newspaper The Mirror in April 2014. “That’s different isn’t it? When I’m in the opticians all the old ladies come in and ask questions. They want to know what we’re up to.”

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Following the arrival of the Walton children in the 1980s, several more sextuplets were born in the decades after that. And in 2017, Ajibola was due to join that growing list, as she continued her preparations at the VCU Medical Center. But thankfully, hospital staff offered her plenty of support for the testing times ahead.

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“Delivering sextuplets requires a coordinated team effort, including many hours of planning and simulation,” read a press release on the VCU’s website. “The Taiwos’ medical team included experts from maternal-fetal medicine, labor and delivery. [There were also experts in] nursing, anesthesia, respiratory, neonatal medicine, social work, nutrition, cardiology and chaplain services.”

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Despite having all those people on hand, though, certain aspects of the coming delivery required a bit of practice. Doctors arranged for Ajibola’s c-section to take place in May 2017, around 30 weeks into her pregnancy. With that in mind, the six babies would enter the world premature, so staff needed to act fast.

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“The team quickly assembled to begin prenatal management and delivery planning, including pre-delivery drills and resuscitation exercises,” the VCU’s Susan Lanni said in the press release. “A typical labor 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.”

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As Susan continued to prepare her team, her VCU colleague Ronald Ramus then spoke about another important factor. For his part, he focused on the support system surrounding both Ajibola and Adeboye during the pregnancy. In his mind, parents expecting six children at once need that kind of bond with the hospital staff.

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“We’re going through this extraordinary journey together with the family,” Ronald said. “It’s not everyday that parents bring home sextuplets. [Ajibola] was eating, sleeping and breathing for seven. A lot of the support and encouragement we gave her to make it as far as she did was important – and one of the biggest contributions we made as a team.”

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With all the pieces in place, Ajibola awaited her c-section, scheduled at the hospital for May 11, 2017. Incredibly, 40 hospital staff chipped in during the procedure, as they looked to safely deliver the sextuplets. By 8:26 a.m. that morning, they had successfully delivered all six babies.

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As for the sextuplets’ condition after the cesarean, the VCU had some positive news. The hospital press release said, “The babies ranged in weight from one pound, ten ounces to two pounds, 15 ounces. All six are doing well and continue to thrive in the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU’s neonatal intensive care unit.”

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With that in mind, the neonatal intensive care unit’s medical director shared his thoughts following the birth. The successful procedure clearly delighted Russell Moores, as he credited the 40-person team at the hospital. In addition to that, he also provided an update on the children.

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“This is an amazing medical accomplishment that would not be possible without the outstanding coordination of our obstetrics and neonatal teams,” Russell said. “While our level four NICU cares for the region’s most critically ill and premature babies every day, it’s humbling to help the Taiwos’ new family survive and thrive. Given their prematurity, they are doing exceptionally well.”

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However, Russell also offered Adeboye and Ajibola some words of reassurance regarding the future health of their children. He added, “Should they require subspecialty care, we have all that they could need at [the] Children’s Hospital of Richmond.” As for the new parents, they shared their thoughts on the situation after the delivery.

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Adeboye was particularly pleased, believing that their patience was finally rewarded off the back of 17 years of frustration. Meanwhile, the father directed most of his thanks in one direction. “I am so short of words,” he told the Naija Standard Newspaper. “I am so grateful to God.”

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“For almost 20 years, we have been trying, trying and failing,” Adeboye added. “But God finally said yes, it was time for our fervent prayers built on faith to be answered. God deeply surprised us. There is absolutely nothing he cannot do at all, only if we put our trust completely in Him alone.”

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Meanwhile, Adeboye also shared his appreciation for the hospital team who helped deliver the sextuplets. Just like Ronald Ramus previously hoped, the support system had a significant impact on him and his wife during their time there. Alongside that, Ajibola revealed one of her dreams for the future as well.

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“I hope for the smallest of my six children to grow up and say, ‘I was so small – and look at me now,’” Ajibola said in the VCU press release in May 2017. “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.”

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