Jabulile and Augustine Buthelezi from Sunward Park in Boksburg had the shock of their lives when they arrived at Botshelong Hospital in Vosloorus to deliver three babies and left with quintuplets.
The quintuplets, one boy and four girls, are the fifth quintuplets to be born in South Africa since 1960 and the third since 1994.
Siyanda, Sibahle, Simosihle, Silindile and Sindisiwe Buthelezi were born after 1pm on September 6, just 15 minutes apart through a C-section.
The only boy, Siyanda, arrived first and was closely followed by two sisters, Sibahle and Simosihle.
“After we had the three, we were confident that we had completed everything, but as the last two were coming out we were overwhelmed,” said neonatal ICU unit manager Thelma Nkonzo.
The Buthelezi family’s paediatrician, Dr Olivia Matabane, said the obstetrician in the delivery room was preparing to clean Jabulile’s uterus when the fourth baby came out.
“We started making a joke ‘Don’t close in the fifth one’ and indeed he said ‘another one!’ and that was it,” she said.
Almost immediately, Silindile and Sindisiwe came into the world, leaving their parents and the medical staff flabbergasted.
The doctor who delivered the babies, Dr Moeng Pitsoe, said emotions were running high in the delivery room. According to him, Augustine felt so overwhelmed that he needed to take a seat after Silindile was born.
“It was emotional when the fourth and fifth babies came out, it was overwhelming,” said the doctor.
The babies were born at 30 weeks, making them about six weeks premature.
All five of them had respiratory distress because their lungs were premature, but they are now breathing on their own and are steadily gaining weight.
“We still have to observe them even through they are out of the oxygen,” said Nkonzo.
Matabane said she was surprised that the babies came out weighing more than 1kg especially because they were born premature.
The hospital said it was too early to tell when the quintuplets will be discharged.