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WATCH | Buthelezi quintuplets' mom: 'It was so emotional'

14 September 2018 - 06:00 By Jessica Levitt

Prudence Ndlangisa had been battling to fall pregnant when she approached Dr Moeng Pitsoe at the Clinix Botshelong-Empilweni Private Hospital in Vosloorus earlier this year to help her.

She was prescribed ovulation induction drugs, and 10 days later she was pregnant – except she got more than she bargained for: she was expecting triplets, possibly even quadruplets. The fourth baby had initially appeared on scans but was later not visible, leading doctors to believe it was a vanishing twin.

It was only during a planned C-section at 30 weeks pregnant that mom, dad and medical staff realised there were two more babies.

Ndlangisa and her husband, Joe Buthelezi, had been told to expect one boy and one girl. The gender of the third child could not be determined at the time, so they decided to leave it as a surprise. But on September 6 there were even more surprises in store – four girls and one boy: Siyanda, Sibahle, Simesihle, Silindile and Sindisiwe.

The Buthelezi quintuplets at the Clinix Botshelong–Empilweni hospital in Vosloorus.
The Buthelezi quintuplets at the Clinix Botshelong–Empilweni hospital in Vosloorus.
Image: Masi Losa

“It was emotional. When the fourth one came, I was so emotional. Not that I didn’t want her, it’s just that I didn’t know,” Ndlangisa told TimesLIVE.

She has been discharged from hospital and now makes the daily trek to visit her babies, whom doctors say should be released by the end of October. “I am up every two hours pumping breastmilk for the babies. It’s been difficult and emotional, and I can’t wait to dress them,” she said.

Pitsoe, Ndlangisa's doctor, said he wanted the babies to each weigh 2kg before being discharged and was confident they would all leave happy and healthy.

Only five sets of quintuplets have been born in South Africa since 1960; three since 1994. But these are the first quintuplets to meet critical success factors for good health and longevity, with all the babies now breathing on their own and gaining weight steadily.

The hospital has said it is establishing a trust to help the family with the unexpected cost of having five children. “They’ve got to come home to a great situation in an environment where they can be looked after by everybody,” said Pitsoe. 

As for more babies? The proud mom said she was done for now.


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