BY EBUN SESSOU
On Friday 23, 2011, the news of the Nigerian born quintuplets (five babies) who were born at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Idi-Araba, spread across the country. The news was not just for broadcast only but for people to know that such a wonder also takes in this part of the world.
The three weeks old babies born into the family of Mr and Mrs Wale Shofunlayo are still hale and hearty but they are still at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital where they are being taken care of.
At present, three of the children have been released to their parents while the other two are still under a close watch by the authorities of the hospital.
To this end, Saturday Vanguard decided to do a follow-up on the children and report how they are fairing at the hospital. Their parents, Mr and Mrs Shofunlayo didn’t leave no stone unturned on how the journey has been so far.
The father, Barrister Wale Shofunlayo, told Saturday Vanguard that the children are doing well. “What I can say is that the children are doing well although people wonder at their mother’s fitness. They even thought all the babies will not stay alive but I can assure you that they are stable.
“They are still at the hospital because of their weight .We were made to understand that within the first three weeks, the weight of the babies must be reduced for them to pick up again. Presently, three of the babies have been discharged but we don’t want to take them home until the other two are released to us.”
Speaking on the challenges he has been going through since his wife conceived till the time of delivery, he said, “I’m very happy to witness the miracles of God in my time. There are times I had to sleep inside the car under the tree in the hospital compound because of some circumstances that would require my presence.
There is nobody that is helping her in the hospital. My mum is an elderly woman as well as her mother who is taking care of our first child. I resume in the hospital in the morning before going to my place of work and I return at night when I close at work. So, the only thing I do is to sleep when I get home late.
“ Really,I wouldn’t count this as stress because that was my strongest point when I was in the university. I was used to trekking and reading was too difficult. So, it is a challenge. She feels for me especially whenever I am cooking.
“To say, I should account for every money spent during and after the pregnancy is nothing compared to what God has done in my life. And I know that God has been faithful to me by providing for the needs of the these children. And whenever there is need to carry out one test or the other, I make sure that things are done appropriately but I don’t keep data of whatever I’d spent because it is my personal responsibility but I know I’ve spent so much money.
“I will also tell you that a lot of people including my friends have been supportive and they are giving out of the love of God. I find it difficult to borrow money from anyone because I wouldn’t want to be turned down and at the same time, I don’t want people to think that I am using such advantage to get money unlawfully. But it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t appreciate a widow’s mite.
“And the way I look at it is that if God has answered me before now, I would have had at least four to six children and I will take care of them.
Surprisingly, there is no government official at local, state or federal level that has shown concern at all. I am not confronting anybody on this because it might not be part of their constitutional duties but at least, it should be appreciated. If such had happened in the advanced countries, it would been more celebrated than what is obtainable here in Nigeria”.
Asked what his expectations were when his wife conceived, he said, “When the pregnancy test was conducted, the doctor told us that the babies were four. From that time, I’d known that I had a duty and I must be prepared. Three of my friends told me how efficient LUTH is, so I thought it was wise to yield to the instruction. I had my first baby at the Lagoon Hospital but using LUTH for ante-natal for these children was God’s purpose.
“So, when my wife went for ante-natal at LUTH, we thought she was to go and come back home the same day. But the doctor on duty, Prof. Ajayi informed her that she would be admitted in the hospital. Even though we knew what it was to be on bed rest, we never thought it was going to be a long time. After two weeks, we requested to be discharged but the doctor said, it would be a longtime, precisely, until she delivers.
There and then, scan tests were always conducted on her to know the situation of the babies as well as the mother. And all the while, the doctors confirmed the babies were four until the day of the birth. But amazingly on that day, there was an additional one but I wasn’t scared. It would have been a different case if I was expecting one and found out that they were four.
Actually, I have prepared for four but I felt elated not because I was making a history but because I have known for long that God is wonderful, even from the time the pregnancy was conceived and at LUTH where the ante-natal was conducted. Challenges have been part of my life and I face it as much as possible.
There is nothing that comes as a surprise. As a human being, I might feel the pains but immediately, there is a spontaneous response from my inner mind and that is the strength as I look at the way forward.
“I have been married to my wife for eight years but we had our first child in March 2010, so the difference is less than two years. In the course of the delay, we took some fertility drugs but all to no avail. But, when God’s time came, we didn’t have any choice.
“The first time my wife heard the news, she was happy. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy for her to carry such a pregnancy, so the doctors also prepared her for the task ahead. And because of the understanding between the two of us, she knows that it is a task that must be carried out. And so, we saw it as something that would save us from so much stress especially having four babies at once.
“To say I am going to have another baby is the issue for another day because so many people have confronted me with the same question but I haven’t been able to give an answer. Religiously, no man has the ability to shut the door against the plans of God. So, if anything happens and there is every necessity to go back, then you are left with no choice. We pray that nothing bad happens, but for now, I am not thinking of having more babies.
“When my wife was on bed rest, some of the people in the neighbourhood thought we had divorced but I maintained my peace until the news went around. Before then, I’d called on both the landlord association and Igbobo-gbayegun Community Development Association, which I am the secretary and informed them about the development but they didn’t believe it.This situation has only made it possible for me to adjust myself to whatever position I find myself in life”.