Parents of quintuplets rely on the Catholic faith in daily challenges
When Patricia Eze jokes, “I have a full house,” she’s not talking about a poker hand. On June 25, 2020, she delivered quintuplets to Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland.
These five babies – Chimdi Louisa, Chimezie Lauren, Chinanu Lisa, Sopulu Basil (the only boy) and Chisom Leslie – would be the first quintuplets born in the hospital’s 58-year history, according to Holy Cross Health.
Patricia and her husband Basil Eze, both from Nigeria, are also the parents of a 5-year-old daughter, Chinna. Their family marked a special milestone on April 25 when the quintuplets were baptized at St. Matthias the Apostle Catholic Church in Lanham, exactly 10 months after their birth.
Father Canice Enyiaka, also from Nigeria, baptized the babies as they were held by five godmothers, most of whom wore colorful traditional African headdresses and dresses.
“Today I have the pleasure to introduce to you the new members of this Catholic community, the quintuplets,” said the priest, who repeated their names, as the congregation applauded and applauded.
Before and after mass, parishioners approached to congratulate the family, and many held up their cellphones to take pictures of the babies, treating them almost like rock stars.
About 15 minutes before mass, Basil Eze pushed the babies down the main aisle of the church in a stroller for six, with his big sister Chinna sitting in a back seat. In keeping with safety protocols for masses during the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the congregation wore face masks and sat at social distances.
“Today is a very special day. I am delighted, “said Patricia Eze after mass.” I am so happy. I didn’t expect so many people to celebrate with us. And noting that babies don’t cry at all when they are baptized, she added, “Children are happy too!”
In phone interviews, parents explained how their lives had changed this year.
Basil Eze, noting that three of the babies weighed just over a pound at birth while the two smaller ones weighed less than a pound, noted with pride that the five babies now all weigh between 17 and 19 pounds.
“They are fine! They are crawling backwards, ”he told the Catholic Standard, the archdiocesan newspaper in Washington.
“Every day that you wake up it’s new to babies. They change every day. They are doing new things, ”said his wife.
Basil Eze, who arrived in the United States in 1981 and received a journalism degree from the University of Nebraska, now works for the United States Department of Labor.
The couple married in 2012 in Nigeria and their daughter Chinna – who is now a pre-kindergarten student at Saint Matthias the Apostle Academy – was born in 2015.
When the couple learned they were going to have multiple births last year, Patricia said she was initially afraid to wonder how she was going to do this.
Her husband agreed, noting, “The thought of having more than two was scary.”
Patricia Eze had a difficult pregnancy and the doctors told them that if she gave birth after 24 weeks, the babies would have a better chance of survival.
“A month before their birth, we saw a fifth heartbeat. Baby Chisom was hiding behind his back! Says Basil Eze.
The quintuplets were born at 25 weeks on June 25 and were treated by doctors and nurses in the neonatal intensive care unit at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring.
“They were so small,” said Basil Eze.
Patricia Eze congratulated the teams of doctors and nurses at the hospital, saying, “The NICU is great. They are great people… They took care of my babies. They loved them so much.
The five newborns initially needed help breathing and feeding. “They had all kinds of hits. They were wired everywhere, ”their father recalls.
Two months after their birth, Chisom and Sopulu, the last two born, were able to return home. Three weeks later, their sister Chinanu was able to join them there. Meanwhile, Chimdi, who had been transferred to Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital at Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, returned home in October, and Chimezie, who was being treated at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, joined her family in November.
“It’s pretty good that they didn’t come home at the same time. We would have been overwhelmed, ”said Basil Eze.
Pat Schratz, director of the Academy of Saint Matthias the Apostle, said the school has organized a diaper drive for the family and parents have made donations. Parishioners also brought diapers, clothes, and gifts, and family friends set up a GoFundMe page – https://bit.ly/2SsKjq3 – to help cover the costs of babysitting.
Patricia Eze is grateful for the help of her mother, Virginia Ezenwa, who lives with them, saying, “She gave me all the support I needed… She was there for me. She encourages me to be strong.
Parents have seen their babies show different personalities from birth and continue to show these differences every day.
They also said that their Catholic faith helped them cope with daily challenges.
Patricia Eze said, “We are doing it by the grace of God. God has been so faithful.
Caring for the five babies “is a lot of work,” her husband said.
He described the quintuplets as “miracle babies” and said he expects a lot from them.
“The glory of God will guide them in whatever they choose to do in life,” he added.
On the day of the baptisms, Father Enyiaka underlined that it was the World Day of Prayer for Vocations in the Catholic Church, which, according to him, does not only consist in emphasizing vocations to the priesthood and to religious life, but also a special day for raising the vocation. of marriage and family life, as seen with the Eze family.
After Mass, he said that what touched him the most was “to look at these little faces and how they represent this gift, this love of God”.
When asked what she thought of her siblings, the older sister replied, “I think they’re awesome!” before running away, while people gathered around parents and babies after mass.
Zimmermann is editor-in-chief of the Catholic Standard newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington.
Category: Featured, News from the United States and the World