Mrs Temidola Ladeinde and her husband, Olukayode, who welcomed a set of triplets after 12 years of being married without a child, tell OLADIMEJI RAMON about her struggles and triumph
What is your name and occupation?
I am Temidola Ladeinde, fondly called EMATS by friends, and I’m a certified HR specialist. I love my job with passion.
For how long have you been married?
We got married in May 2009 – it’s been 12 years, seven months.
You have a unique story. You gave birth to a set of triplets after 12 years of being married. How exactly does this make you feel?
Like pinch me for real… I feel elated, grateful and privileged. Three beautiful goody bags in one shop, it’s amazing!
Did you at any point give up the hope that you will ever have your own babies?
Hmnnn… This is a tricky question. I won’t say I was strong throughout the journey; no. There were different emotions of faith and expectations but there were also moments of despair, helplessness and feeling overwhelmed. There were days of unhindered happiness and there were days of uncontrollable tears. But there was no month that I didn’t feel disappointed. I had reasons to give up but I never stopped hoping.
Delay in childbearing can put a couple under pressure from society. How exactly did you and your husband deal with that?
Sincerely, it wasn’t easy. First off, my husband shielded me a lot from societal pressure. There were outings and gatherings that we didn’t attend because I didn’t feel like it. There was even an occasion that we drove back home because I became hysterical on the way to the event. We talk and discuss a lot. We talk about everything and anything freely. We make excuses for people and we knew when to withdraw from any particular relationship. Nobody was more important than either of us to the extent of making us unhappy because of children. However, neither of us ever told the other, “I didn’t marry you because of children.” No, not once. We both love children and both of us always wanted to have our children. We remained resolute in our desire for children all through the years. We got tired but we didn’t stop trying.
There are plenty stories of couples who broke up over delay in childbearing. What kept your family going?
We have two common grounds: Friendship and God. We maintained our friendship in marriage. We respected our individual boundaries. We kept growing and developing in areas where we could. We both have unique relationship with God as individuals, as a couple and as a family.
At what point after your marriage did you begin to feel concerned about not getting pregnant?
Very early. I started seeking medical answers barely six months into our marriage. Based on observations, I just believe that it doesn’t take so much time to get impregnated. Also because of our status as Christians, we practised abstinence from sex during our courtship and were looking forward to being rewarded with pregnancy as soon as possible. So, for me, that we didn’t achieve a pregnancy within three months, it was concerning and we should seek help soon enough.
What kind of solutions did you seek and what were the outcomes?
We did all that is permissible by God and in line with our faith. We sought medical help from the simplest to the advanced (ovulation tracking, IUI and IVF). We went through both invasive and non-invasive treatments, including fibroid surgery. We consulted multiple doctors at different times in private and public practices. Initially, all indicators pointed at “unexplainable primary infertility” for many years. But as I kept growing older, few medical conditions started coming up: fibroid, endometriosis, low AMH, hormonal imbalance. Hmnnnn, it was a tough and rough journey. So much efforts, no single pregnancy. I’m not kidding, our triplets was my first and only pregnancy! God is awesome.
Did anyone at any point advise you to adopt a child?
Yes, I was advised to consider an adoption. I also attended some seminars where legal adoption was discussed extensively and encouraged as a viable option. And, of course, I gave it a try. I even started the process. I met good people who connected me with relevant departments in both Ogun and Oyo states. I got my husband’s consent to submit applications to both and I was ready to file for adoption at the two states’ ministries with the hope that one of them would be successful. Graciously, we were confirmed pregnant seven months after we considered taking the steps.
I have come to believe in legal adoption and I do not see it as meaning loss of faith nor of giving up on oneself.
What was the strangest advice that you received?
Interesting, it was someone telling me about how virile he is with impregnating women. I had just joined a new organisation and one of the employees that I met there (a non-Nigerian) unsuspectingly asked me of my marital status and subsequently boasted of how good his record is. He said to me: “If I were your husband, you would have been pregnant by now.” And on and on he went, telling me of his “fathering capability.”
In the course of your pregnancy did you have scans to know you were expecting three babies?
Of course, I did and it was three. Though, the doctor said we should do another to be sure they are not more than three. I responded by telling him, impossible! The second scan confirmed three.
Did knowing that you were expecting three babies at once put you under pressure?
It depends on what you mean by pressure. I was advised to stop working by our treating OB-GYN – including getting a second opinion to be on complete bed rest. For a career-oriented professional, that was huge. Even remote working was advised against. On a lighter note, it would have been expected that I should be eating for four people (including me), but the bigger the uterus the smaller the stomach felt.
You gave birth to your babies abroad. What informed that decision?
Well, we were advised to ensure that we sought quality medical services. It wasn’t easy. We didn’t have all the financial resources but supports came. It turned out to be a wise decision.
Things changed so fast, and the medical team sprung into emergency action. There were more than 15 specialists (including top consultants and heads of departments) in the theatre. They didn’t know me; it wasn’t based on connections and before making any financial deposits, our triplets were delivered and I’m awed at the goodness of God and impressed by the quality of professional services that we received. It was classified a high-risk pregnancy and one of the doctors named me “miracle mummy.”
What will you say to couples who are experiencing delay in childbearing?
When God is set, everything aligns. On this journey, seek medical help and by all means work with a fertility coach. While expecting, keep your marriage and don’t stop developing.
My wife wept, I was dumbfounded when test confirmed pregnancy – Olukayode
Please briefly tell us about yourself.
I am Olukayode Ladeinde. I am a broadcast Journalist, currently working as Head of News and Editorial at Radio Now, 95.3FM, Lagos. I am from Lagos State. I’m 42 years of age.
How did you meet your wife and what attracted you to her?
For brevity, we grew up in the same neighbourhood as teenagers but our first point of contact was in the church, Foursquare Gospel Church, Somolu where I was the leader of the teenage group. We grew up as friends, mentor-mentee kind of relationship, which later developed into dating, courtship during our undergraduate days and eventually led to marriage post-university.
I got attracted to her because of her brains and beauty and of course her tenacity for spiritual growth as a mentee.
You recently announced that your wife gave birth to a set of triplets after 12 years of being married without a child. How tough was it waiting for such long years?
Hmmnn, really tough! It is incomprehensible and unfathomable to think that my expectation of being a father within 12 months of being married turned out to be 12 years. Tough in the sense that there was no case of miscarriage, no case of ectopic pregnancy, worse still, doctors kept telling us after a series of tests that it was “unexplained infertility”. At a time, my wife was working in Port Harcourt – two weeks in and out of Lagos – and guess what, she flew into Lagos every month during her ovulation period on our bills just to achieve pregnancy. This went on for about six years. It was a huge sacrifice, especially on her part.
You don’t want us to go into the millions of naira spent on several failed assisted reproduction. Just for the record, no pressure from our immediate families. If there was any, maybe subtle pressure from extended families when we attended family functions and you’d hear all kinds of prayers and innuendoes but like my wife alluded to, I always explained it away and made excuses for such comments.
Were there some experiences or moments that stood out as unforgettable during those years of waiting?
Quite a few but I will mention one or two. The adoption saga after a back-and-forth with my wife that I am not against adoption but I’m not too comfortable with my first child being adopted. I explained that I was praying to God for twins and that I would adopt the third child but she prevailed on me to have an adopted child first and have the twins later. Reluctantly, a million naira had been deposited to begin the process but for some reasons, the process appeared shady and we threatened to escalate it to the governor of the state. Being a journalist, I had that access. The money was refunded fully. Yes, my wife was devastated with the truncated process. Miraculously, she took in two months after, and here we are, my heart desire of two boys and a girl happened. Let me save the second for another time.
Your wife said you both abstained from premarital sex as Christians. When she didn’t get pregnant on time, did you consider it a test by God?
Maybe not. Yes, sometimes, I tried to make a case with it when praying, by telling God that, “After abstaining from premarital sex, why are you denying me a child?” But His response would come like: “Your righteousness is like a filthy rag before me.” Then I returned to my regular prayer of asking for mercy. However, I feel I should stress this – God’s standard hasn’t changed on abstinence from premarital sex. Sometimes, that thought of regret pops up, that if you had got her pregnant before marriage, you would still obtain mercy but I chastised that thought by telling myself that “I will tell my story one day to encourage young people that God’s standard hasn’t changed.”
What was the weirdest thing anyone told you in those years of waiting?
I can’t remember because a lot of people didn’t know my status and my close friends hardly talked about it except to pray about it.
How did you feel on learning that your wife was pregnant and not just with one baby but with three at once?
There were two stages – the pregnancy test result and the scan result. For the pregnancy test result, we heard and saw the results together. I experienced the word ‘dumbfounded’. I had done rehearsals on what I was going to do, scream, carry my wife but it was a different ball game. I just kept cleaning her tears while I kept mute and was dumbfounded.
For the scan, I screamed because my wife called me to tell me that we were going to have a set of triplets. Then I became apprehensive wanting to know the sexes to confirm my expectation of two boys and a girl. Lo and behold, it was perfectly so – a boy first, followed by a girl and then a boy! Trust me, this is a dream come true.
While awaiting the arrival of the babies, what kind of preparations did you make as a father-to-be?
I didn’t do much, as expected because I had done babysitting for my cousin’s daughter as far back as 1997 when I left secondary school and so, doing it for my kids will be with so much fun and excitement.
Things are tough in the country, economically speaking. Are you anxious about the responsibility of nurturing and raising three children at once?
I may sound unrealistic but I’m not disturbed by their arrival. We will cross the bridge at every stage.
How exactly did you feel the first time you set eyes on the babies and carried them in your arms?
As my wife hinted, things happened faster than we planned. I was supposed to be in the labour room with her based on the EDD (Expected Delivery Date) but the CS had to be done earlier. I didn’t get to see and carry them until 13 days later, outside the country. The nurse and my wife barred me from touching them as I sighted them. They insisted I must wash up which I hurriedly did before carrying them. It was a lifetime experience.
What is the most important life lesson that this experience taught you?
The best decision in life is to serve God. Learn to trust God and never underestimate his power to do the miraculous