A mom set a world record by delivering 9 babies. Her stomach weighed 65 pounds during pregnancy.

·3 min read
Paediatrician Dr. Msayif Khali examines with a stethoscope one of the nine babies protected in an incubator at the maternity unit of the Ain Borja clinic in Casablanca, Morocco, Thursday May 20, 2021, two weeks after Mali's Halima Cisse, 25, gave birth to nine healthy babies
Dr. Msayif Khali examines one of the nine babies protected in an incubator at the maternity unit of the Ain Borja clinic in Casablanca, Morocco, May 20, two weeks after Mali's Halima Cisse gave birth. Abdeljalil Bounhar/AP Photo
  • Halima Cisse of Mali says her nine babies were conceived naturally.

  • Until just before the delivery, she thought she was having seven babies.

  • The four boys and five girls are doing well, though they remain in the NICU.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A 26-year-old mother from Mali is speaking out about her record-breaking family more than two months after her nine infants were delivered at a hospital in Morocco. The woman, who also has a 2-year-old daughter, said that the nonuplets were conceived without assistance.

Halima Cisse and her husband, Kader Arby, 35, received the surprise of a lifetime when they learned they were expecting high-order multiples, completely naturally.

At first the couple was told that they were having seven babies, and doctors warned that there was less than a 50% chance of all the babies surviving. Cisse went to Morocco for better medical care, and it was there, minutes before the May 5 delivery, that she found out she was carrying nine children.

"It was a total shock when I found out that I was having nine babies because I thought it was going to be seven," she told The Daily Mail.

These are the first nonuplets in the world to survive birth

There are only two other recorded cases of nonuplets in the world. One set was born in Australia in 1971, and all babies died within their first week out. The other set was born in Malaysia in 1999. All the babies died the day they were delivered.

A Guinness World Records representative told NPR that they have yet to officially verify this record and that "the wellbeing of both the mother and babies are of top priority." The previous record was held by Nadya Suleman, also known as "octomom," who gave birth to eight babies in 2009.

The care of both babies and mom was so complex it required them to move to Morocco

According to the BBC, Cisse was admitted to the hospital at 25 weeks of gestation and the medical team taking care of her was able to delay the birth of her babies until 30 weeks. Ten doctors and 25 paramedics were involved in the birth of the premature babies.

The nonuplets include four brothers (Mohammed, Bah, El Hadji, Oumar) and five sisters (Hawa, Adama, Fatouma, Oumou, Kadidia). They join their older sister, Souda, who is 2.

Cisse said that she was still recovering from the pregnancy and a difficult delivery, according to the Daily Mail. Her stomach alone weighed about 65 pounds, and the cesarean delivery was complicated, with lots of blood loss that left her weak. The babies, who weighed between 1 and 2 pounds at birth, are all still in the neonatal intensive-care unit.

"Giving birth to one child is hard enough, but having nine is unimaginable," Cisse told the Daily Mail. "It's astonishing the amount of work that is involved in looking after them."

For now, Cisse has all the help she needs in a team of 35 care providers. The government of Mali is footing the bill for the family's care, which is estimated to cost more than $1 million.

The couple has a three-bedroom house in Timbuktu, Mali. Arby works as a sailor in the Malian navy. The logistics of being parents to 10 children are daunting, but for now Arby said he's focused his wife and nine new family members doing well.

"There are a lot of things to work out about the future, but for now we are just focused on looking after our babies and getting them home," he told the Daily Mail. "The big concern for me is not the size of my house, how many rooms we have or money, but making sure that my wife and children are OK."

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