‘My joy, pains caring for quintuplets’
Fifteen years on, mother recounts travails, seeks financial assistance for children’s education
Fifteen years ago, The Guardian reported what was then strange but real story of a mother in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, who gave birth to a set of quintuplets (five children).
It was a case of mixed feelings of joy, anxiety and apprehension as family members, friends celebrated the delivery of the children but they were scared of how the children would survive and how to get the needed financial wherewithal to take care of the three girls and two boys, Ebube, Goodness, Ebuka, Onyinye, Fechi, and Ifeanyi.
Fifteen years after, The Guardian, came in contact with them, now secondary school students. The five adolescents have survived the turbulence of childhood.
Their mother, Mrs. Julie Nwankwo, is a secondary school teacher in Oredo Girls’ Secondary School in Benin City. She is from Orumba South Local Council of Anambra state.
Narrating her story to The Guardian, Nwankwo said the delivery of the quintuplets came to her as a surprise; as such expectations were alien to the family.
She disclosed that her team of medical doctors at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) told her of the multiple babies but to her, it was not a reality, hence she carried three pregnancy scans at three different laboratories to ascertain the number of babies, which all three scan confirmed to be multiple babies.
She said at five months into the pregnancy, she was totally unable to move from place to place, which forced her doctors at the UBTH to recommend her for bed rest until her delivery.
Her major concern was to have safe delivery with mother and babies hale and hearty. “I just wanted to give birth safely to the babies. That was just my daily prayer throughout the pregnancy.”
Asked how the upkeep of the children has been, she said: “I was not thinking about their upbringing. My main concern then was to come out the maternity ward hale and hearty with my babies all alive.”
She eventually had the quintuplets by a team of medical experts in the UBTH through Caesarean Section (CS). Appreciating the efforts of well-meaning Nigerians, philanthropists, as well as the team of doctors who attended to her at the UBTH, she poured encomiums on the management of the hospital for writing off the bills during her four-month stay in the hospital.
On the challenge of caring and providing for the kids, she admitted: “Life has not been easy for us. If not for the other children I had before the quintuplets, who helped me with house chores, it would have been extremely difficult for me to cope with all the babies.”
The five children are now in senior secondary school and the elated family is counting their blessings. “We have been trying hard but still need help to provide quality education for the kids,” the mother said, adding that insufficient fund remains a challenge.
She, therefore, solicited for financial assistance for the education of the quintuplets to enable them fulfill their destinies. “Education is the best legacy we can give to the children,” she said.
“Each time we buy uniforms, we buy a pair each for the five and including every other thing. Whatever that is needed to be bought must be in five pieces.”
The eldest of the siblings, Ebube Nwankwo, said she was thankful to her parents for not abandoning them at birth. On behalf of my other siblings, I thank our parents for this love towards us,” she said.
Appeal for financial assistance for the quintuplets can be made to the mother account at Zenith Bank, Nwankwo Julie: 2004288750.