A blessing has become a challenge for Dr Edet Ekpo, an obstetrics gynecologist with the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH, whose wife, on Monday, January 9, gave birth to quintuplets after ten years of marriage without a baby. He says he is beginning to feel the bite of having five children at a go. The birth of the quintuplets is believed to be the first in the history of Cross River State and in the UCTH. Ekpo father of quadupulets “We were planning for one baby at a time or three at most, but five came at the same time.
Now, we have got more than what we prayed for and I am beginning to feel the bite because if a test is to be conducted, it has to be for five; if you have to buy anything, it is for five. In this period of recession, it has not been easy”. Edet, from Akpabuyo in the southern part of Cross River State, and wife, from Obubra in the central part of the state, said they were living peacefully as a couple even without a child but had hope that, as Christians, a baby would one day come along to complete their joy. “I was ordained a pastor in my former church 15 years ago where I also served as music director and so, with that faith, I knew that one day we would have a baby to make our joy complete as a family”.
He said the family was yet to give the children names because he did not have access to them to avoid infection, saying nobody apart from the mother, only medical personnel treating them were allowed into the room the babies were kept. “I do not have access to them for now but I have been told I need to hire an experienced nurse and four other people to assist in the upkeep of the children and where would such money come from? That is why I am appealing for help”. According to him, his mother-in-law was on hand to assist but her effort would be grossly inadequate when the children get home as more people and facilities would be required to bring up the children.
As to whether the couple would have more children after the quintuplets, the medical practitioner retorted, “No, no, no,” but would pray for other families without children to have their own children too. We are okay with these ones. Actually, we wanted a maximum of three children but now we have five; they are enough, in fact more than enough”. When the children were newly delivered, the doctor was ecstatic that he finally had become a father after ten years of childlessness and told our reporter:
“Five children at a go; I want to thank God almighty, He’s a faithful God. The first time in the history of Cross River State, the first time in the history of UCTH. God has been faithful as we have concluded the first phase and doctors have confirmed that the babies are kicking. “We are entering into the second phase and I know it’s not going to be easy but I solicit for support from all well-meaning Nigerians, all my friends and well-wishers”. The Ekpo’s quadupulets Dr Linda Ayade, wife of Cross River State governor, who visited the mother and babies, expressed delight as this was another first in the state’s history which, according to her, is a sign of good things to come in the state and country at large. Ayade congratulated the mother for opting for professional services of birth rather than going to traditional birth attendants. She made a donation of one million naira to the couple and another five hundred thousand naira to the medical experts who delivered the mother of the children successfully.
The state Commissioner for Health , Dr. Inyang Asibong, congratulated the father of the babies who, in spite of the tension and expectations during the period of the pregnancy, was steadfast as it has been a long wait for the couple. Asibong thanked the obstetrics and gynecology team for their professionalism and also the pediatrics team who will be taking over to ensure the babies stay healthy. The governor’s wife and Asibong also made a donation of an incubator machine to the hospital.