According to the Center for Disease Control, the US infertility rate has fallen to its lowest point since record keeping began in the country; however, on average, 1 in 8 couples still have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy.
One Richmond, Virginia couple has been trying faithfully for 17 years to conceive a child. Ajibola Taiwo, a native of Nigeria, and her husband, Adeboye, refused to give up on their dream to become parents.
In January, their dream finally came true. Yes, they were pregnant - not with one, but with SIX babies!
"I was excited," said dad Adeboye Taiwo. "For the very first time we were expecting," he told Yahoo news.
The babies were born at Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU after a pregnancy that lasted 30 weeks and 2 days. The children, three boys and three girls, were delivered on May 11, 2017.
The tiny babies weigh between 1 pound, 10 ounces and 2 pounds, 15 ounces.
A team of 40 caregivers worked to deliver the sextuplets by cesarean section. The large team provided excellent maternal-fetal care. The hospital reports that mother and children babies are doing well.
Although Ajibola was released from the hospital on May 18, her babies will remain at the NICU until they are strong enough to thrive on their own.
"It's not every day that parents bring home sextuplets," said Ronald Ramus, M.D., director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at VCU Medical Center.
"Mrs. Taiwo was eating, sleeping and breathing for seven. A lot of the support and encouragement we gave her to make it as far as she did was important, and one of the biggest contributions we made as a team."
Higher order births like this one are quite rare in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 24 were quintuplets or higher order births were recorded out of 4 million live births in 2015.
"I hope for the smallest of my six children to grow up and say, "˜I was so small, and look at me now,'" said Ajibola Taiwo. "I want my kids [to] come back to VCU to study and learn to care for others with the same people who cared for me and my family."
You might have noticed that each baby is photographed snuggling with a crocheted octopus. These little cuddlers help to regulate their heartbeats, breathing and improve oxygen levels. You can learn more about them here!
Good luck to the new parents!