Children are the joy of marriage, especially when they come earlier. It gladdens the heart and makes couples enjoy the fruit of marriage.
But when a delay in getting kids continues more than expected, the reverse seems to be the case.
That is the situation Adeboye Adeoluwakishi Taiwo and his wife Ajibola went through. They spent 17 years in agony, pains, sorrow and psychological trauma while expecting their own children. Alas! It came, in a miraculous way as God beautifully embarrassed them with sextuplets.
In this interview with The Guild’s editorial team (Bimbo Ogunaike, Emeka Ibemere and Ada Dike), Taiwo, a police officer, tells a tale of their miraculous delivery of sextuplets.
As an African, you must have gone through pressures from your family and in-laws, who might have suggested that you get a child from another woman. How were you able to weather the storm and waited till the arrival of your sextuplets?
We have been married for that long; our families for long have been expecting us to have a child. Of course, one thing I believe is that God alone gives children, no man can.
Some people were asking me to teach them how to ‘fire’, and I told them that if I knew how to fire, I would have scored long time ago. As an African man, there have been a lot of pressures but, I thank God for one thing I didn’t succumb to pressures.
I want to tell people to think very well before they get married and when they are married to a lady, there are a lot of things that are attached to it.
In Africa, a man goes to women first, propose to her, then she becomes his wife. Thereafter, she wants a child and he would not be able to have one. He should be concerned. He might think she has a problem; none of them might have any.
I did not give my family chance to mount pressure on me because they know the level of love I have for my wife, so to tell me to do something else is not easy for them. They were not bold to tell me and I made them to know that my wife is my wife while my siblings and my mother have different positions in my life. Everyone of them would be loved according to their relationship with me.
From my in-laws’ side, they couldn’t mount pressures on me and because they knew that we are flowing well, there was no much pressure as to tell her to leave me. But, from outside, some people would look at me and wonder if I am a man. Some might have calculated that we have been working for so many years and they had not been able to attend naming ceremony in my home.
Ladies were mounting pressure on me, but I used to let my wife know because of the nature of my work. I used to see my wife as my younger sister which I never have. So anytime internal pressure arises within me, I would ask myself: supposing my brother in-law comes to me and say, my younger sister who happens to be his wife is unable to have a child, I should advise him, would I say, go ahead and put her away? Of course, I will be reluctant to tell him to go ahead. So if I would be reluctant, then I won’t break my wife’s heart. That has kept me going.
During the 17 years of waiting for the fruit of the womb, was there any time you thought of considering some options like adopting a baby or getting a child from another woman?
Anytime I feel like impregnating a lady, I wasn’t bold, probably because I was a church boy. This is because I thought of what people would say if they hear it. I tired, but I wasn’t bold to do that, even though there were a lot of opportunities for me to do so since my wife lived far away in another state. Nothing would have stopped me from marrying a second wife, probably, God wanted to glorify Himself through me that was why He didn’t allow me to do that.
When the issue of childlessness comes up, people seek for alternatives like traditional prescription such as herbal medicines because of their African background. Did you or your wife resolve to any of the options, maybe out of pressure?
We did not take any traditional prescription because we were scared that we might have children that would make us to be sacrificing to some people or some things.
We lost count of drugs or injections we received while we were waiting on God for the blessing of the fruit of the womb.
As an African and in this part of the world, it is believed that when there is an issue of childbearing delay, people relate such to spiritual attack. Did that apply to you and your wife during the waiting period?
As an African man, I did not consider that because I am a Christian. I believe there is God. Most of the time, my thoughts used to tell me that I will have a child, but another thought would remind me that I am getting old. I didn’t completely rule out the fact that some people might be somewhere behind the delay. I also believed that, at the right time, somebody that created all of us would overpower them and grant us breakthrough which eventually happened.
For someone who has been married for 17 years, how did you feel when you found out that your wife was pregnant?
The pregnancy test that we did confirmed that my wife was pregnant. We were like, “Let us see. Are we sure? Is it pregnancy?”
The arrival of your sextuplets of three boys and three girls is symbolic, going by your name, Taiwo. How did your family and friends including that of your wife receive the news?
After their arrival, I remembered my father’s case. He had the first child (male) and waited for 30 years before having the second child. He had six children –three males and three females.
My maternal grandfather also had six children –three males and three females, so I don’t know whether having three males and three females in my family is mere coincidence or from our gene.
I was born into the family of late Chief Samson Adeleke Taiwo at Ishaga Quarters in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
I went to schools -primary, secondary and university. I am married with 17 years in marriage and my only wife is Ajibola Taiwo. We wedded 17 years ago and we have been living happily together, though, at times, the career may take me, a little far from home, but being a good woman, she has been faithful and that has kept us going as husband and wife.
It took a journey of close to nine months before your wife was able to be delivered of sextuplets. At what point in time did you know that your wife was carrying six children in her womb and the identity of the sexes?
We were looking at it. I think pregnancy of such number was not allowed to get to nine months, anyway. We had a scan around January and the ultrasound revealed four. I was happy. What I was thinking was that if ultrasound revealed four, at least one would be alive. While I was happy that I was expecting at least a child, my wife with medical experience was unhappy knowing the implication of the number of gestation. It was a mixed feeling to her.
Her pregnancy was the only proof that I am potent, that is why I was happy. My wife can cover me up if I am impotent but every other person can know that I am potent through her.
We were going till January when a medical doctor, Aimakhu of University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State, told me that this is a multiple gestations, adding there was a possibility it is more than four. He called me as a man and asked me whether I love my wife and I answered in affirmative. He said, “If you love her and want her to be alive, do everything you can to let her get proper medical attention for this number. Wherever you think she can get proper medical attention, take her there.”
But, when I met my friend, Dr. Wale Adejumo, he advised that we go to the United States of America because of my wife’s age, which is 47, her stature and the number of foetus.
We started thinking of what to do. I sold my car –Toyota Corolla Sport I used to cruise with and some other things. Friends came to my rescue too. I was able to gather enough money to make the trip. She was taken to the US in order to save her life. She was there till she was delivered of babies on May 11, 2017. God gave us six babies – three boys and three girls!
Doctors were able to tell us the foetuses sexes. They got the sexes of five –three girls and two boys. They were not sure of one of them but told us it’s a boy towards the end of delivery. I never really cared anyway.
At that level, child is child, and to me, probably that is the mentality of men, I prefer girls. If the six of them were girls, I would be very happy. If you dress small girls, they would look beautiful.
Secondly, girls take care of their parents. Boys take care of their parents in cash while girls do it in cash and kind. I thank God He regulated it that way.
Throughout the period of her pregnancy, I believed in God because it got to a level I told the doctors that I love her and suggested they delivered her instead of me to lose her because she was between life and death. The babies covered all her body and displaced her intestine and stomach.
Anytime I looked at her I suggested we do something. But thank God she is a very strong woman. The last time I asked her whether we could do something about it, she rejected it and said she had gone far. She suggested we allowed them to mature before they were delivered.
I started praying because that is all I could do. On the day of delivery, God proved to us that He is the owner of the ‘gun and ammunition’. 40-person team at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, Richmond was involved at the delivery of my sextuplets.
When my wife heard the cry of the children, she said to me in Yoruba, “they were all crying,” and I answered: “They must cry”.
Also, when they were delivered, because of the number I was expecting something tiny. I thought I could cover each of their heads with my palms, but when they came, I discovered that my two palms could not cover the head of each of them. I asked, “In this womb?” For me, if anybody wants to convince me that there is no God I won’t listen.
If anybody is waiting for the fruit of the womb, no matter his or her religion, if he or she believes that God will do it, He will do it. If a couple is looking for the fruit of the womb, there should not blame each other.
Usually, when news such as that of the arrival of your sextuplets breaks, on social media, it makes rounds such that forms different position and opportunity to extort. Did you direct people or groups to solicit for funds on your behalf, because there was information alleging such?
There is one thing I want people to know. If God can give a man like me six children, it is like He is giving me an assignment. I believe He would be able to take care of the children whichever way he wants.
People reacted differently. I learnt that some people have been going about trying to use the happening to raise and collect money from people which I am not party to.
I read on the social media that somebody was saying that we have money that was why we went to the US to go and deliver the babies. Not that we have money, if we had a house that can cover such a trip, we would have disposed it.
When they told me the likelihood of what it was going to be and I converted it to naira, I knew I won’t be able to pay it but, I believe that God is in control. Where would I get 500 million naira from?
Some men normally run away when they hear that their wives were delivered of multiple babies. Did you run away?
I want to stand by my responsibility that is why I won’t run.
Has government, organisations or individuals come to your aid? Have you appealed to any of the listed for assistance, because catering for such numbers of babies might require support from outside?
No? Up till now, no government has come to our rescue, but we hope God will use whoever He wants to help us.
I won’t refuse if anybody, organisations or the government want to help us. If it is possible to have a foundation for these children, I would be glad. I will not refuse if help comes from anywhere.
Being a police officer, has the police authority reached out to you in terms of financial support and permission for you to visit your family abroad?
The first thing I want to beg police authority for, is to please assist me by giving me the chance and period that is needed for me to join my wife in the US and help take care of the babies. For instance, it is not easy to take care of a baby not to talk of six children.
My wife alone is with the six of them now in the US. I would say that, if I am not giving enough time to stay with them, psychologically, I wouldn’t be that effective. I need time to be there and assist my wife throughout the period of nurturing the babies to the stage that we will be able to bring them home.
Of course, if we are bringing them home, I have made a research, we need six adults, to hold them while the plane is taking off or landing.
I implore the Nigeria police to give me leave that will go for months. If I am allowed to go for that, I will go and concentrate. By the time I return, I will be refreshed and be more committed to my duties.
I have applied for leave and I hereby thank my boss, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Owoseni. I met him with the Assistant Commissioner of Police (Admin) and he was so happy. He asked me to go and apply, that he would do everything possible to ensure that I am being given the opportunity to go and see the children. To be sincere, it is not two or three months we are talking about here.
The Nigeria Police is my constituency. I have spent 26 years in the Nigeria Police service. I joined the force when I was 22 years of age. I was 48 years old last April. I have put in my youthful strength to the service of the Nigeria Police and service to humanity. So I would be glad if the police authority and the Nigerian Government assist me financially.
Are you the first couple to have sextuplets in that hospital?
Yes, we are the first to have sextuplets there. The last they had was quintuplets 16 years ago. The hospital published the story shortly after my children’s birth. We are the first to have sextuplets in Virginia.
I want to appreciate Dr. Suzanne. When we got into the US, I thought it was like Nigeria where one would just walk into a hospital. They were asking us for insurance, but when Suzanne heard of multiple gestation, the compassion for another lady came upon her. She decided to first save my wife’s life and the babies. We walked into that hospital free, and up till now, we have been treated without asking to pay money. I appreciate it.
Indeed, your story is an interesting one. As a Christian, what section of the Bible can you link your story with?
The only character that I can relate my story with is Abraham in the book of Genesis. I was getting old, so I was careful to tell people my thought that I would have a child.
Abraham tried getting children from somewhere but God still blessed him through Sarah. Sincerely, I was trying to get a child but God did not make me comfortable to do that. I was scared. I remembered God told Abraham that he would not be able to count the number of the children he was going to give him.
Even if I can count my own children, God has embarrassed me and I believe it is like that of Abraham.