The world’s only nuptials – nine babies born at the same time – are “in perfect health” as they celebrate their first birthday, the father told the BBC.
“They are all crawling now. Some are sitting and can even walk if they hold on to something,” said Abdelkader Arby, an army officer from Mali, a country in West Africa.
The children are still in the care of the clinic in Morocco where they were born.
Arby said their mother Halima Cissé, 26, was also fine.
“It’s not easy, but it’s great. Even though it’s tiring at times, when you look at all the babies in perfect health, [em uma linha] from right to left we were relieved. We forgot everything,” he told the BBC.
He has just returned to Morocco for the first time in six months, along with his three-year-old daughter Souda.
“I’m thrilled to be reunited with my entire family – my wife, my kids and myself.”
The babies will only have a small birthday party with the nurses and a few people from the building where the family lives, Arby said.
“Nothing is better than the first year. Let’s remember this great moment that we are going to live.”
The babies broke the Guinness World Record for most children born in a single birth to survive.
Before the birth, on May 4, 2021, Cissé was flown to Morocco by the Malian government for specialized care.
Multiple births are risky, and mothers with more than four fetuses at a time are advised to terminate some in countries where abortion is legal.
There are also risks of babies developing health problems due to premature birth, such as sepsis (widespread infection) and cerebral palsy.
Ms. Cissé and the children currently live in what their father described as a “medicalized apartment” that belongs to the owners of the Ain Borja clinic in Casablanca, where the babies were born.
“There are nurses who are here, in addition to my wife, who help take care of the children,” Arby said.
“The clinic has given them a menu that tells them what they should be eating at all times – night and day,” he continued.
The babies, five girls and four boys, were born at 30 weeks, according to Malian Health Minister Fanta Siby. They weighed between 500g and 1kg, Youssef Alaoui, medical director of the Ain Borja clinic told AFP news agency at the time of birth.
They were born by cesarean section.
The boys are called Mohammed VI, Oumar, Elhadji, Bah, while the girls, Kadidia, Fatouma, Hawa, Adama and Oumou.
Each has a unique personality, said the father.
“They all have different personalities. Some are quiet, while others are louder and cry a lot. Some want to be held all the time. They are all very different, which is totally normal.”
Arby also thanked the Malian government for its help.
“The State of Mali has prepared everything for the care and treatment of the nine babies and their mother. It is not easy, but it is beautiful and comforting,” he said.
They don’t know Mali yet, but they are already very popular in the country, said the father.
“Everyone is very excited to see the babies with their own eyes – their family, friends, our village, the whole country.”
He also has a message for couples who are trying to have children: “I hope God blesses everyone who doesn’t have children yet – that they can have what we, the parents of marriages, currently have. It’s beautiful, a real treasure.”