When blessing turns burden, she got more than she ever bargained...

•  The quadruplet on their hospital bed

The joy of every married woman is to be blessed with the fruit of the womb and to have safe delivery nine months after. But that is not the case with Mrs. Patience Obi, who is having her fourth delivery since she married her heartthrob, Friday, 10 years ago.

 Mrs. Obi was on February 10, delivered of a set of quadruplet, three males and a female, at Ibrahim Afolabi Memorial Hospital, Asaba, Delta State. She had, had three children before now, although only one is surviving. The surviving child, eight-year-old Chinonso, is in primary school.

 Sitting forlorn with a hand resting on the hospital bed, her countenance told her story. Her melancholic state suggested that she got more than she ever bargained for. The blessings she received had evidently turned a huge burden for the distraught woman as she kept thinking how to take care of the latest arrivals. “I thank God for His blessings,” she muted in smattering English, fighting hard to suppress her emotions, “but I was not expecting this.”
 Her expression suggested that that she was being overwhelmed by thoughts of problems.

 Indeed, her heart was heavily laden with burden and she needed assurances that the yoke would be made light as soon as possible. Her condition was a typical case of a very poor Nigerian family, living from hand to mouth. For it was evident that they could hardly afford three square meals a day. But there was Mrs. Obi, a garri seller now with four more mouths to feed.

 Her condition could melt a heart of stone. Her husband Friday is an apprentice bricklayer, who augments his paltry income operating a commercial motorcycle called okada. The case of this poor family is made worse with their eviction an uncompleted building they were occupying before Mrs. Obi went into labour on February 9. Words reached her in hospital that they had been chased away from the place they called their home by their landlord who is now working on completing the building. They had lived in the property for some time now without the permission of the property owner. Labourers working on the house were said to have allowed Friday their colleague to be living in the yet-to-be completed building.

 Friday is said to be from Utagba-Unor, while Patience is from Kwale both in Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta State. Their family needs help from Nigerians to stay alive. Mrs. Obi’s garri business took a nosedive last month following the controversial withdrawal of subsidy on premium motor spirit (pms) by the Federal Government. She was one of those caught napping by the January 1 announcement of total subsidy withdrawal. The little capital she had kept to continue the business after the yuletide was not enough to continue with her business as prices of commodities began to skyrocket. She therefore had to divert the little money to taking care of her health as a pregnant woman.

 According to her, when she was told last November that a scan revealed that she was pregnant with a triplet, she wept for lack of money to raise the new addition to her family. “When I was pregnant, I was told that I would give birth to three babies; then I started crying because we don’t have anything; we didn’t have any money - nothing at all,” she lamented as she spoke to Daily Sun. “Before I came to the hospital, we were already having problems in the uncompleted building where we were living. It was here in the hospital that I was told that the landlord had begun working on completing the building had throne our things out,” she added.

 Such was the plight the couple. At the moment, they have no home to lay the infants when they are finally discharged from the hospital where their medical bills is accumulating every passing day. Chief Medical Director of the institution, Dr. Afolabi Abdul Razaak told Daily Sun that the medical bill was in the region of N20, 000. However, he added that the hospital management “would write-off the bill as our contribution to the up-keep of the babies.”

 According to Dr. Afolabi, the woman was delivered of the babies without any complications; both mother and the babies would be discharged from the hospital any moment from now since they were in perfect condition. He said what was delaying their discharge was the fact that the hospital management was waiting for responses from the state government, adding that appropriate government departments had formally been informed of the development.

 “The media are aware of this and we thought it wise to formally let government know by writing to the appropriate quarters. We initially wrote to the state Ministry of Health but they directed that we should forward our letter to the office of the First Lady of the state. We have done that as well. We have also forwarded a letter to the wife of the deputy governor. The government needs to do something about this case because it is not easy to take care of those infants. We can’t just allow them go like that without assurance from the authorities that the infants would be taken care off. Should they leave the hospital without such assistance, it might just be the end of the story,” Dr. Afolabi feared.

 Recalling the Obis’ journey to earning triplets, Dr Afolabi said the scan results conducted in November last year actually indicate that they couple were to have a set of triplets. “She came initially in November to do a scan; then we discovered that the woman was carrying a set of triplets and notified her. “When she arrived here on the night of February 9, she was already in labour. Because she was having some contraption, we planned to allow her deliver all by herself. The following day, she was having a little bleeding; we had to give her drugs to stop bleeding and help her in the contraption.

 “Then, we took her to the labour room where she delivered the first baby, a male at 5:30pm. The second baby delayed a little in coming out, so the nurses had to call my attention. The second baby, a male came out at about 5:58pm. The next one was a female; she came out at 6:05pm. The first, second and third babies came out head first. “After taking delivery of the third child, we thought it was over and in an attempt to remove the placenta, the membrane bulged again and we noticed that there was a fourth baby. That one, a male came out with its legs at 6:10pm,” Dr. Afolabi explained.

 The Medical Director appealed to the general public to come to the aid of the couple so that they can take care of the babies, noting that “her husband is an Okada rider, the woman is selling garri in the market. We are still appealing to people to assist them because it is not easy to take of those babies.” Friday expressed happiness that his family was doing well in the hospital with the kind assistance of members of the public who have been coming in with various gifts since the news of the delivery broke.

 He expressed appreciation to those who have so far responded to their need and further called on the state government, lawmakers, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), corporate organisations and other well-meaning individuals to come to their aid. Mrs. Patience Obi can be reached on 08107438876.
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