Everlyn Namukhula was well aware that hers was not a regular pregnancy. The first ultrasound had revealed twins, the second unearthed a third foetus. So when the 28-year-old woman from Esisokhe village was wheeled to the Kakamega County General Hospital maternity ward on Tuesday, she expected triplets.
That was to still to make a huge family considering she already had four other kids, including a pair of twins. Six hours later, however, she brought forth not three but five new lives.
“Niko na wengine wanne, sasa nimezaa watano, wote wanakua watoto tisa (I have four other children, now I have given birth to five, all totaling to nine),” she told reporters from her hospital bed.
The quintuplets, two boys and three girls arrived shortly after 10pm after a long day that began as a routine pre-natal check at the Navakholo sub-county hospital. The babies were born within an interval of five minutes.
The hospital’s nursing officer in charge of the new born unit Josephine Shikhaya told People Daily three babies each weighed 1.5 kilogrammes at birth, one weighed 1.4 kilogrammes while last weighed only 900 grammes.
“Two children are in the incubator and three in the nursery. Those in the incubator will stay with us until they are mature enough to leave,” she said.
Medical journals indicate most recent quintuplet births result from assisted reproductive techniques such as fertility enhancing drugs or in-vitro fertilisation.
However, these are modern conveniences alien to Namukhula and her husband Gilbert Nanzushi, 38, both casual workers and who join a now 32-year-old Jacinta Akinyi from Homa Bay, who also gave birth to quintuplets in 2017.
Namukhula, nevertheless admits there have been cases of multiple births in both her husbands and her family’s side.
“Besides mine, my mother in-law has a set of twins and so do a number of my uncles,” she says, adding that carrying that many number of fetuses was no mean task.
“I was very tired by the 12th week; I walked with a lot of difficulty. By the fifth month, I could hardly do any work or move. My belly was monstrous. I had no doubt I was carrying twins but an ultra-sound indicated triplets,” she said.
She says she is happy for the bundles of joy but is worried she may not adequately care for them.