When Halima Cissé broke the record of having given birth to nine babies at the same time, Dr Youssef Alaoui’s goal was simple: to ensure the safety of the mother and the babies.
Alaoui, the director of the private clinic in Morocco where Cissé gave birth, told the story of the remarkable birth and survival of the nine babies in an email interview with TODAY Parents.
“This is a first for the whole world. “
“At the Casablanca Ain Borja clinic, we’ve seen all kinds of complicated medical situations, but I have to say that the birth of non-tuples… it’s a first for us,” he told TODAY Parents. “This is a world first, and we are proud to have had this extraordinary experience thanks to our medical and technical expertise. “
Cissé, 26, was first hospitalized in her home country of Mali, where doctors performed ultrasounds and worried about the chances of the fetuses surviving.
As soon as Cissé arrived, Alaoui and her team were able to extend her pregnancy by five weeks before she gave birth at 30 weeks. A typical pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, but higher-order multiples are usually born earlier and have complicated medical needs. In total, 10 doctors and 25 paramedics took care of the patient from her arrival until delivery.
“We were a team of three resuscitators, three anesthesiologists, two gynecologists, three neonatologists, (and one) catheter, not to mention the midwives and our extraordinary team of midwives and neonatal ambulance attendants without whom nothing would have been possible. possible, ”he said. “Ms. Cissé was 25 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to our clinic and our team was able to extend her pregnancy to 30 weeks.
But at the birth – expecting seven babies – the doctors were shocked.
“The preview we got from the ultrasound made it look like there were only seven, so you can imagine our surprise when we discovered nine during the delivery,” Alaoui said. “Fortunately, this didn’t bother us, since we have one of the largest neonatal intensive care units in Morocco. Our teams were ready to welcome these children into the world and provide them with the best possible care. “
Alaoui said while shocking, it was just another day in the office for his team of medical professionals.
“In our job, you have to know how to manage stress and nervousness,” he said. “We keep an eye on the babies, but we can safely say that we have accomplished our mission. “
The five girls and four boys weighed between 1.1 pounds and 2.2 pounds at birth. Only two other sets of non-tuple births have been registered since the 1970s, but the babies all died within days.
The previous multiple birth world record was held by California mom Natalie (Nadya) Suleman, who gave birth to eight premature but healthy children in 2009.
As for Cissé and his family, Alaoui hopes they can return home soon.
“The mother is very healthy,” he explained. “She is no longer in danger and we wish her and her babies a speedy recovery. We are still watching some babies who are still quite fragile. God willing, I think the family will be able to return to Mali in a few weeks. “
The Associated Press contributed to this article.