For 17 years, Ajibola and Adeboye Taiwo tried to have a child but had no luck.
Until now — times six.
Ajibola Taiwo gave birth to sextuplets this month at a Richmond hospital, and doctors said the three boys and three girls, along with their mother, are doing well. It is the first time sextuplets have been born at VCU Medical Center, officials said.
On Thursday, the babies were still in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. Their mother was released last week and is “very involved” in the babies’ care, hospital spokeswoman Shira Pollard said.
The babies were born at 8:26 a.m. May 11 with the help of a 40-person medical team. Ajibola gave birth at roughly 30 weeks and delivered by Caesarean section, officials said.
The babies range in size from 1 pound 10 ounces to 2 pounds 15 ounces. In a statement, officials said the infants, whose names were not released, “are doing well and continue to thrive.”
Pollard said the medical team treating the sextuplets has not revealed when they will be discharged from the hospital.
She said the parents and doctors are not talking with the news media at this time.
In a statement, Ajibola said she hoped “for the smallest of my six children to grow up and say, ‘I was so small, and look at me now.’ ”
The hospital released photos of the newborns and their smiling parents. In one, mom Ajibola and dad Adeboye are holding two of their babies against their chests as they practice what hospital officials called “kangaroo care,” or skin-to-skin contact.
The couple, natives of western Nigeria, had tried to conceive a child for nearly two decades. They were described as being “overcome with joy when they saw four heartbeats” at their first ultrasound in November, officials said.
But no one realized until January during another doctor’s appointment that the couple would be having two more.
“I was excited,” Adeboye said in a statement from the hospital. “For the first time, we were expecting.”
Hospital officials said that for privacy reasons they would not release where the couple live.
Delivering that many babies was a challenge, with months of planning and pre-delivery drills, the hospital said. Their medical team included experts in fields such as labor and delivery, social work, nutrition and cardiology.
They worked with the mother, providing support and encouragement, according to Ronald Ramus, director of VCU Medical Center’s maternal-fetal medicine division.
“It’s not every day that parents bring home sextuplets,” he said. Their mother, he said, was “eating, sleeping and breathing for seven.”
The medical team also planned for months with delivery drills.
“A typical labor and delivery shift includes one, perhaps two premature births, usually with time in between,” Susan Lanni, medical director of labor and delivery and a maternal-fetal specialist at VCU Medical Center, said in a statement. But with this pregnancy, “we had to coordinate with our colleagues in the [neonatal unit] for six premature babies to be delivered simultaneously.”
Sextuplets are rare. In 2015, there were roughly 4 million live births in the United States, and 24 of those were quintuplets or higher-order births, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.