Buthelezi quintuplets kept mom guessing

Gauteng parents of five babies were expecting triplets

16 September 2018 - 00:00 By JESSICA LEVITT

If Prudence Ndlangisa still battles to tell her babies apart, she has the best excuse. Actually, she has five.
Ten days after she gave birth to quintuplets via a planned C-section, Ndlangisa and husband Joe Buthelezi have their work cut out.
"Sibahle cries a lot and Siyanda is the boy. Sindisiwe was born last and is the smallest of them all," their proud mom rattles off.
The little Buthelezis - Siyanda, Sibahle, Simesihle, Silindile and Sindisiwe - are only the fifth set of quintuplets born in SA since 1960. Their birth is even more remarkable as they meet all of the critical success factors for longevity and are the first set in the country to be breathing on their own after five days. They are gaining weight steadily.
Ndlangisa and her medical team at the Clinix Botshelong-Empilweni Hospital in Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, were expecting triplets right up until the day of her C-section, when babies No 4 and 5 arrived. Even her medical team was surprised.
Dr Moeng Pitsoe, the lead physician attending to Ndlangisa, said initial scans showed four babies.
The fourth baby was not present in later scans, leading doctors to believe it was a case of a vanishing twin - a normal occurrence with multiple babies.
During the C-section, which was done when Ndlangisa was 30 weeks pregnant, a drug is given to moms after birth to cause the uterus to contract and expel the placenta.
"The anaesthetist jokingly said: 'Make sure we have no baby No 4.' I went to deliver the placenta and came across a baby's head. The anesthetist then said: 'Make sure there's no No 5.' And there was."
Pitsoe said dad Buthelezi was so emotional in theatre that he "had to sit down".
"Three is a lot but they had prepared for that. So when No 4 and 5 came, he almost collapsed," Pitsoe said.
Mom, meanwhile, was calm. "I had to force myself to relax," she said.
Ndlangisa's journey began in February when she went to Pitsoe because she was battling to fall pregnant. He prescribed her ovulation-induction drugs and 10 days later she was pregnant.
Buthelezi has twins from a previous marriage and Ndlangisa has a child from a previous relationship.
"We bought some clothes and bottles when we found out about the pregnancy. I knew I was having one girl and one boy. The third baby kept hiding so Dr Pitsoe said it would be a surprise," said Ndlangisa.
The new mom said she had no nursery prepared for the babies. She had expected them to stay in hospital after they were born and had planned to buy three cots while waiting for their release.
"We have a room where we were going to put the cots, but now that there are five, there is no space."
Ndlangisa was released four days after the C-section. She visits her babies every day and is awake every two hours pumping her breasts for milk.
"It's been difficult to leave them. I know they are being looked after, but I think about them all the time and wonder, are they OK without being checked on by Mommy?"
Despite the life-changing additions to the family, Ndlangisa is confident in her ability as a mom. "We moms are born like this. No matter how hard the job is, or how hard things are, we handle it. You don't decide how to handle five kids. If they come, you handle it."
When three babies were on the cards, Ndlangisa had arranged for a child-minder to live in the house with them. Now that there are five, the plan changes completely.
This is where Pitsoe and the hospital have stepped in. A trust will be set up to help the family on their new journey. "These children are special. They are the first quintuplets in Ekurhuleni. They've got to eat. They've got to dress. They're got to go to school," he said.
Ndlangisa is determined to put on a brave face. "It's a big thing. It doesn't happen to everyone," she said.
The babies are expected to be released by the end of October, or once they each weigh 2kg.
As for her growing family, Ndlangisa is satisfied: "It's the first thing I thought when baby four and five arrived: 'I'm done now. I'm fine.' "..

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