The world’s only living nonuplets turned one this week.
The babies, born to a Malian couple, marked the milestone on May 4, 2022. As they celebrated, they also claimed the Guinness World Records title for the most children delivered at a single birth to survive, says the website. (There are only two other recorded instances of nine infants to a birth – none of whom survived for more than a few hours.)
Their father, Abdelkader Arby, was quoted as saying by the BBC: "They’re all crawling now. Some are sitting up and can even walk if they hold on to something."
He added that he was happy to see “all the babies in perfect health”.
These kids – five girls; Adama, Oumou, Hawa, Kadidia and Fatouma; and four boys, namely Oumar, Elhadji, Bah and Mohammed VI – were born at 30 weeks’ gestation to then 25-year-old Halima Cissé.
The pregnancy was hard on Cissé, whose belly with the amniotic fluid and all the babies at one point, estimate doctors, weighed 30 kilos.
Carrying to term – over 37 weeks – was ruled out because of the risks to Cisse’s health, but when she had a C-section at 30 weeks, she almost died anyway because of blood loss. She had suffered a haemorrhage in her uterine artery.
“Giving birth to one child is hard enough but having nine is unimaginable,” Cisse was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. “As the babies were coming out, there were so many questions going through my mind. I was very aware of what was going on and it seemed as if there was an endless stream of babies coming out of me.”
When the kids were born, they were underdeveloped; some had no digestive tract, others had immature kidneys and livers. All were immunodeficient. Their birth weights were between 500g and 1 kilo. UK-based Daily Mail added that the babies were on a ventilator for the first five months of their lives.
They are currently still living near the Moroccan Ain Borja Clinic, where a team of specialists can keep a close eye on them. The hands-on staff have made a huge difference to those early days of parenthood, says Arby.
“The nurses help with the nappies — that is not really my area,” Arby was quoted as saying by The Times. “They have been bottle-fed since the beginning following the recommendation of the doctor. What kind of person could breastfeed nine babies at the same time? They are all very different, which is entirely normal,” he said.
The kids are on a special nutrient-dense diet to ensure healthy growth. And that’s just all well – after all, the world is invested in these miracle babies.