Last week, 19 months after being born, the world’s first surviving nonuplets arrived home in Mali.
As they prepared to leave Morocco - where they were born and had been living – we paid them a visit to see how they’re getting on.
“It’s not easy to put them to sleep all together. We cuddle them so they can sleep; they really like cuddles to sleep,” their mother, 27-year-old Halima Cissé, revealed.
While there, we awarded the nonuplets with their Guinness World Records certificate for being the most children delivered at a single birth to survive. Their father, Abdelkader Arby, will have to hold on to it for now.
The previous record was held by eight babies born to Nadya Suleman (USA) aka "Octomom" in 2009.
“We started with seven, and Allah blessed us with nine,” Abdelkader said.
At first, doctors in Mali thought that Halima was carrying seven children, however, after the Malian government flew her to a specialist clinic in Morocco, two more were discovered.
The five baby girls and four baby boys were born prematurely via Caesarean section, 30 weeks into the pregnancy. Each baby weighed between 0.5 – 1 kg (1.1 - 2.2 lb).
Nonuplets are extremely rare: until the arrival of the Cissé children, there were no recorded cases of nine babies from a single birth surviving for more than a few hours.
Due to the risks associated with births of this nature, Mrs Cissé and her nonuplets remained in the care of the clinic in order to be monitored. They lived in a specially-equipped flat where a team of nurses were on hand to help at all times.
“We had to treat the mother before it was too late, to make sure there was no post-partum haemorrhage,” said Dr Rochdi Talib, President Director General of Akdital, the clinic operator.
“Thank God, we had the technical resources and highly qualified medical and para medical staff; 32 people worked on this.”
Both parents are extremely thankful to everyone who has helped their young family. In addition to their new nonuplets, the couple have a four-year-old daughter named Souda.
“We thank the medical corps of Mali and the Akdital group for accompanying us during our stay here in Morocco. And the nurses who accompanied us morning, noon and evening continuously,” said Halima.
Abdelkader added, “We also thank, after the Almighty, the authorities of my country Mali, who put everything in place for the follow-up and expenses.”
Now settled into their home in Mali, the family are looking forward to their future.
“We are proud, it’s something exceptional. The family is known worldwide, it’s a great thing.” – Abdelkader Arby
Photography and videography by Abdellah Azizi