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Sextuplets create T&T history (with CNC3 video)
It took three minutes for a team of 18 doctors to deliver the country’s first sextuplets—three boys and three girls—at the Maternity Hospital of the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex at Mt Hope, yesterday.
The 28-year-old first-time mother from central Trinidad was also reported as the first to have delivered sextuplets in the entire Caribbean. The babies were conceived after the mother used the fertility drug Clomid. The first baby was born at 10.10 am, said Prof Bharath Bassaw, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, at a press conference at the hospital yesterday.
The babies, not yet named, were at the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) up to late yesterday.
Bassaw said they may include a set of triplets, or possibly a pair of twins and four single babies, but doctors needed to look at the placenta to determine that. The Cesarean section took an estimated 40 minutes, which Bassaw said was “quite good.” “We got all six babies within three minutes, which was quite surprising to all of us as well. We had a cadre of neonatal staff,” he said.
The mother, whose name was not revealed, was given a due date of next Thursday, but because she was having difficulty in breathing, doctors decided to operate ten days early. Bassaw said the newborns had to be kept in ventilators and on drips for the next couple of weeks, after which they would be introduced to breast milk. Their birth weights range from one pound nine ounces to three pounds, and the smallest, who is a girl, would most likely do the best. “Because of the decreased growth that baby is going to be very tough,” Bassaw explained. “The female babies do better than male babies.”
Asked if all the babies would survive, Bassaw said he was optimistic, adding one positive sign was their weight. “We’re dealing with premature babies, although the weight was very good in terms of what we had actually expected but these babies are still quite fragile. “At this point they would be on the drips and ventilator to minimise the risk of infection. They have to be kept warm. We have to look out for jaundice. So there are a number of issues with them.”
He said the mother was in a critical condition and had to be monitored closely. If there were no signs of significant bleeding she would be listed as stable. Saying the experience was “difficult and stressful,” Bassaw said the mother was admitted to hospital in January. Asked if it could be risky for the mother to undergo another pregnancy, Bassaw said she was now at a higher risk for another multiple pregnancy. He said the mother said she wanted five children and her husband wanted six. “The father said to me he got all six in one go. He’s happy with the three boys and three girls.”
“We actually made the decision just after 7 am yesterday (Sunday),” Bassaw said. “Personally I felt as if I was back in school. He said Dr Shehenaz Mohammed, chairman of the North Central Regional Health Authority, put him on the spot to justify the delivery. After a meeting on Sunday which lasted several hours, measures were finalised to ensure there were no glitches.“We took her almost past 30 weeks. It was a lot, because of the hype about this pregnancy. The media coverage and also from outside. We were actually on test to show we could take this pregnancy and hoped we had a good outcome. “I got up at three this morning and I was just rehearsing the steps. My heart was racing, ” Bassaw said.
Mohammed, who also spoke yesterday, stressed the babies must be carefully monitored. “We have to take precautions with them, one of them being at risk of infection, and that’s why no one is allowed in the neonatal unit except the mother and the father. “They were born at 30-plus weeks, and they are not going to be out in a week or two.” She said before the delivery, social workers made visits to the family’s home to make an assessment for assistance. Saying the mother faced a long road ahead in taking care of six babies at once, Mohammed said psychiatrists would also be counselling the mother to ensure she was mentally prepared for the task. Nursing administrator Claudette Fraser Udika underscored the tremendous team effort of the medical staff and praised her counterparts from the Port-of-Spain General Hospital for their assistance.