BY SOLA OGUNDIPE
THESE are not the best of times for Mrs. Grace Omatie Tijani. The thirty-something-year-old caterer and mother of many children has many concerns. For several weeks, Grace, who hails from Batel in Delta State, has been on admission at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Idi Araba, Lagos.
During her stay at the health institution, precisely on October 1, 2013 – Nigeria’s Independence Day, she had the good fortune to be delivered of a set of quadruplets following a successful Ceasarean Section.
The babies, three girls and a boy – Oritsematosan, Oritsewenyimi, Tuoyo and Temisan, weighed 1.65kg, 1.45kg, 1.60kg and 1.50kg respectively, at birth.
The quadruplets are from Grace’s fourth pregnancy. Her first three pregnancies produced three boys – Farouk, Yusuff and Ishola.
Prior to becoming mother of the nation’s first set of independence quadruplets, Grace went through a major gynaecological surgery for removal of uterine fibroids. On one hand, her successful fibroid surgery and CS have brought joy and gratitude, but on the other hand, they have been a major source of concern.
“I need a helper,” she confessed to Good Health Weekly. “God should please raise a helper. We still have the bill of the operation to settle. My husband has been given the bill which is about N600,000. Yet the bill for the care of the quadruplets is stilll there. Now they are in the incubators and that costs money,” she stated.
Grace who is still recuperating from effects of the multi-foetal pregnancy and multiple birth at the Ward D2 at the LUTH, is at a crossroads about successfully mothering seven very small children without a sustainable source of income.
Source of income
Narrating her ordeal, Grace said: “I’m a caterer, I’m usually called out for cooking assignments, but I stopped work as soon as I got pregnant. Although I had three boys earlier, I got pregnant again because I wanted a girl. I did not set out to have seven children and initially I was so sad and depressed when I was told I was pregnant with quadruplets, but I later became encouraged and grateful. I just accepted it as God’s will.”
Continuing, she stated: “These children are a gift from God. I went througha lot to give birth to them, but I also have a lot to be thankful for. I went through severe pain, I really suffered. I had two surgeries, only the grace of God kept me.
“For now I am okay, although I need to do a few tests concerning my kidneys, but money is a hindrance. I need to do about six tests in all. But no money. My husband is trying his best, but we need assistance. a lot of assistance.
“For instance, I just did a scan and the doctors are saying there is a problem with my urinary system. Although there are series of other tests I need to do, but money is the hindrance. Lack of money is the hindrance. I need money to get better, money to feed, money to cater for my children, money to survive.
“I thank God my children are okay. I have not seen my older children since I came here. The y are with my mother .
While Grace is in agreement with the need for a better accommodation, she nevertheless sees money as key. “Of course we need a house. A house is important, but money is key. I know what my babies need. There are four of them. They need to be fed, clothed, and generally looked after. We need money first. My older children are still very small, they were forced to stop schooling when I got pregnant.
“My expectations, as I see it today, is for God to give me good health. God should not let my suffering over these children be in vain. I pray God should spare their lives.
“My husband has really tried within his ability. He comes and drops what he has, but I am the one who knows what the children need. He buys baby food for them because only one of them takes breast milk, and there is not even much of that to provide. To look after four small children is a big task and full time job. Looking after seven children is a career. But if it is what its going to take, I will do it to look after them.
“I’m begging anyone touched to please offer help. If I see help it will be much easier easy to carry on with them till they are older and less dependent. I pray not to give up these children to foster parents or for adoption. The thought has not even crossed my mind, it is not possible for me to give up these children.
* If you wish to assist Grace and the quadruplets, kindly contact the PRO, LUTH on +23418777845.