Mr Luka Bot Balewa and his wife, Nyarum, recently had quadruplets in Bauchi State after 15 years of marriage without a child. Balewa tells ARMSTRONG BAKAM about the ridicules he faced during their long wait for children
Your wife recently gave birth to a set of quadruplets, how do you feel?
It was the work of God.
How long have you been married?
We got married on December 4, 2004, and since then we had been hoping to have a child. It is natural that when you get married, there will be an expectation that you will start having children. After it didn’t happen in two, three, four years, we were thinking that it would happen by the time our marriage was five years. But strangely, it didn’t happen.
What steps did you take?
I took several steps. I knew that the first person to go to was God so we kept praying and sometimes fasted, believing that God would give us a child. But we didn’t just pray and fast, we also contacted medical facilities. We kept going to the hospital to see if there was any medical reason why there was no conception. We visited several facilities starting from where I work – Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital, Bauchi.
There was a time that we were referred to a consultant, Dr Mellah, who was coming from Gombe then. My wife also visited the Federal Medical Centre, Gombe. From there, we went to Jos University Teaching Hospital, Plateau State several times. We met with some consultants there and did a series of tests and so many investigations. We have also been to a private clinic in Kaduna because so many people have been there and had testimonies of how God did it for them. Sometimes after one or two years, you would feel tired and then decide to rest but even while doing that, you would be getting so many suggestions.
What did the results say?
There was no medical problem suggesting that we (my wife and/or I) would not be able to have a child. We looked at it as probably the wish of God. In all the investigations, there was no day that they told us that because of this or that reason, we would not be able to have a child. There was no time they told us that.
Were you mocked or put under pressure to have a child?
Let me say something before I answer that. I did not get married on time. I got married in 2004 but I had been working since 1983. I remember that even before I got married, people often asked what was wrong with me. They asked: Is he a normal person? Is he well? They wanted to know if I was impotent. The worst situation was if you befriended a girl and didn’t sleep with her.
Some people came specifically to test me. I didn’t even know this. In the workplace, my colleague said she sent one of my friends because they were eager to know whether I was straight. The lady came to my room but up till today, my colleague has refused to tell me the lady’s name. She came to my room, displaying, but for such things, if your mind is not there, you will not even bother about them. That gave people the impression that possibly I was not potent.
That was before I got married. When I got married, the problem was compounded with childbirth issues. So I have heard many stories of people calling me impotent. Several people would tease me by saying, “Wetin dey happen?” (What is happening?) “Up till now, nothing?” I had so many challenges. Sometimes I just laughed them off.
Was there a particular approach you eventually took that made your wife to conceive?
We were going from one health facilitate to another. Finally, we went to a fertility clinic but it was not the first fertility clinic that we had been to. It was after visiting the fertility clinic that we had success.
At what point did you know that your wife was going to have four children?
The doctor at the clinic told us that he was sure that two of the eggs would survive. He was not sure that the other two would survive. Then as God would have it, we were told that she was two months pregnant. But we decided to keep it to ourselves; if you have had many disappointments, you would not want to announce that your wife is pregnant. So we didn’t share the story (with people).
How do you feel being a father now?
First, I feel happy because I appreciate God. This is the handiwork of God. I’m happy that God is close to us. Sometimes, you may feel that He is far away. I feel so happy that He has blessed us finally, not because we have children but because He is God. I studied theology at Gindiri Theological Seminary and decided to become a part-time preacher of the gospel apart from doing normal secular work. I asked God how He wanted me to preach because if His word says that no one should be barren, and I was barren, so how would I preach the word? In the course of my work, I should be able to encourage people facing that kind of challenge. But He has proved to me that He is God.
Quadruplets require a lot to take care; are you prepared for it?
You just reminded me of what the Chief Medical Director at Bingham University Hospital, Jos, said. My wife delivered our babies on July 3, 2019, when they were just seven months so they were born by caeserean section. But before then, the CMD had told me that by the time my wife would deliver the babies, I would be dealing with five patients.
I couldn’t realise the meaning of the statement until now that they are here. It has not been easy; aside from breast milk, they consume one tin of formula daily. It has not been easy for the mother.
How are you going to cope as a retiree with four babies?
I just retired and for now, God has been helping us. We have been living at the mercy of good Samaritans. A lot of people hear our story and say, ‘please give me your account number’. And that is apart from those giving us diapers, food and other things. I have just retired and have yet to receive my gratuity and pension. But God has been faithful.
A lot of people have advised me to meet with the wife of the governor (Governor Bala Mohammed). Some advised that I should write (to the governor or his wife) but I don’t want it to look like I am begging but truly, I am not finding it easy. Even if it were to be only one child taking formula with breast milk, it would not be easy let alone four. If formula alone could be taken care of, I would thank God. Whatever the governor feels that he can do to assist us is welcome.
How is their health?
For now, we thank God but initially, it was not easy. Initially, we found it difficult to deal with jaundice. After transfusion and surgery, the mother had anaemia. She had blood transfusion about five times but now we are grateful to God because they are doing well. You cannot rule out minor ailments but regarding health, they are doing well.
God has put those who mocked us to shame – Wife
Nyarum Bot Balewa, who recently had quadruplets after being married for 15 years without a child, tells ARMSTRONG BAKAM about her initial struggle
Did you at any point lose hope that you would still have a child?
No, I always believed that God would do it at the right time. I believed that everything was possible with God so I believed in Him.
If you look back at the period between 2004 and 2019 when you desperately wanted a child, can you recall some of the hurtful things people said to you?
All those things happened in the past. People said many things, but it is someone that had a delay in having a child that knows how painful it is. People just talk as if it is easy to have a child. Since they have children, they think anyone can just have one. I heard many nasty things people said concerning my situation. I give God all the glory because He has put them to shame.
When you conceived, how did you feel?
At first, it was difficult for me to believe that the test was positive, that I was pregnant. But with time, I gave God the glory for doing it. I was so happy; I can’t explain how happy I was at that time. God that gave them to me will take care of us. Everything is according to His plan.
Taking care of these babies is not easy as you have heard from my husband and he is not working; he is now retired. We have other children with us who are in school. It is not going to be easy. What I am saying is that if it is possible, I am appealing to the government to give me employment. I have a Diploma in Environmental Health. If I can get a job, I will be able to help my husband in taking care of the children.