There have been famous multiple births in recorded history: quintuplets, sextuplets, septuplets and even octuplets. But a Malian woman recently gave birth to the first surviving set of nonuplets.
Yes, that’s nine babies at once, and the kicker is she thought she was having seven babies. Halima Cissé, 25, gave birth to five girls and four boys on May 4 in a Moroccan hospital where she’d been sent to receive special care for her high-risk pregnancy.
Two of the children had gone undetected during ultrasounds. Cissé reportedly laughed when she heard she had delivered two extra children.
Video footage from the hospital in Casablanca where the nonuplets were born showed the tiny infants moving little limbs while being cared for in incubators after their birth at 30 weeks. The footage comes from news channel France 24.
The nine babies were born at 30 weeks gestation via cesarean section after Cissé went into labor. The nonuplets aren’t out of the woods yet, as each baby is between just 1.1 pounds and 2.2 pounds and are on breathing machines. They are expected to remain in incubators for two to three months and need to be able to breathe and breastfeed on their own.
Cissé received a blood transfusion after hemorrhaging during the delivery but is said to be doing well. She and her husband, Kader Arby, also have a daughter who was born in 2019. Arby stayed back in Mali with their oldest child while Cissé was moved to Morocco.
The Guinness Book of World Records said that the current record for most living births in one pregnancy is held by Nadya Suleman, who had eight children in 2009 and was dubbed “Octomom.”
BBS Terefayina shared a photo of a medical professional listening to the babies’ heartbeats.
Mali’s Minister of Health and Social Development shared an official statement about the record-breaking births along with a photo of three of the babies in an incubator.
“On behalf of the Government of Mali, whose outpouring of solidarity was evident in the diligent management of this medical transport, the Minister of Health and Social Development wishes a long life to babies and mothers,” the statement said.
The Malian government has been helping Cissé and her children with medical care including moving her to Morocco for more specialized care.
A Reuters report mentioned that people in Mali have been “fascinated” by Cissé and her pregnancy.
Mali’s Ministry of Health and Social Development put out a Facebook post about the delivery. It notes that Cissé has been hospitalized since mid-February, first in Bamako, the West African nation’s capital, and then in Morocco.
The nonuplet’s father said that Malian officials and even the country’s president called to congratulate him.
“God gave us these children. He is the one to decide what will happen to them. I’m not worried about that. When the almighty does something, he knows why,” Arby told BBC Afrique.
There have been two other reported sets of nonuplets, the first in 1971 in Australia and the second set in 1999 in Malaysia, but none of the babies survived.
Congratulations to this record-breaking family!