That indescribable joy you have when the much anticipated for, happens finally. May 27, 2020 will go down in history as a day of joy for US-based wife of 26 years, Mrs Bunmi Olugbodi who gave birth to two bouncing baby boys at the age of 54.
The most fascinating aspect of Bunmi’s moving story was the fact that the first time mom who resides in Atlanta, had to travel down all the way from America to have her IVF done in Nigeria.
And after she had tried several options without the desired result and having waited for so long, she was not put to shame because her secret tears were eventually wiped off forever.
Recently, City People caught up with the new mom on Zoom where she opened up on her past experiences, the IVF process and why she had to travel down to Nigeria to have the IVF done here.
Below are excerpts from the interview, Enjoy.
How does it feel to be a mother at 54?
I thank God for what he has done in my life because I didn’t know that I can become a mother again. I have gone to several hospitals even here in America. In fact, there was a time a doctor asked me ‘do you think you can still have a child? No way. I told him ‘I rebuke it in Jesus name. You are not my God, you are not the one that created me.
The lord that created me told me that there shall be no bareness in his house, so I went back home. I didn’t feel down or moody when I got home. I am always happy because I have hope in God. I told my husband that I wanted to adopt a child after sometimes and he asked if that was what I wanted, I said yes. I said I am tired of treatment.
A lot of things have entered into my womb because I want to have a child, I don’t want to do any fertility treatment again and he said if that was what I wanted, it was okay by him. Somebody then introduced a place to us and we started attending the class after paying one thousand dollars to purchase the form.
On the last day of the class, a lawyer came to tell us that we will be given a baby but we will first have to disclose our identity to the parents of the baby and that they will be coming to visit us and that when they want their child back, we are going to let them have it.
I said after paying a lot of money, and he said yes and that it is according to American law. We were about 20 couples in the class and they gave us a consent form to fill. I asked if I could go and fill it at home and the lawyer said yes. We left and my husband and I were in the car for about 30 minutes without talking. After a while, he asked me if I still wanted to adopt and I said I don’t know.
When we got home, I cried, talked to God and said I was sorry for trying to help myself. My husband now reminded me of what his brother’s wife has been telling about Nordica and I said I don’t want to do any fertility test again that he should leave me alone.
Again, my brother’s wife called me and started talking about her friend, Aunty Ranti Olojede, she said yes and encouraged me to go to her husband’s clinic and I consented. One thing I like Nordica about is the fact that you don’t make the full payment at once. After receiving calls from different Nordica staff members, I started making my payments in installment before coming down to Nigeria. I really thank God for what he did through Nordica.
Looking at your fertility journey both here in Nigeria and over there in America, what differences did you note in the service rendered in both countries?
There are a lot of differences. Even before coming down to the US, I have attended a lot of hospitals in Nigeria for treatments. The attention I and care I received at Nordica is second to none. Every morning, a nurse will come and ask if I have taken my medications but here, if you like you take your medications and if you like don’t take it, they don’t care.
At Nordica, they put in all their efforts to get a positive result here, they will just tell you they are trying. Even before start, they will tell you it is 50-50 so that you don’t sue them and they will make you sign the consent form before they start the treatment with you.
You said before you decided to try IVF again, you have tried several options. Can you share some of those experiences with us so that those who are facing similar challenges can be encouraged?
First and foremost, I did HSD test. It is a very painful test and I did it more than 20 times. I have done a lot of tests and passed through so many things that at times when I remember, I cry but the IVF I did at Nordica was my first.
What other attempts did you make to have a baby before the IVF at Nordica?
I have done a lot and I have forgotten many of them because it’s been a long time but I didn’t do IVF. I have done a lot of treatments. I went to one hospital at Ogba in Lagos, I will not mention the name, I was taking fertility treatment there and I was taking drugs from them.
There was a time they gave me some drugs and I couldn’t stand up, eat or even move and a lady living with us had to go and call my brother’s wife and at her arrival, she inspected the drugs and screamed. She said it was a type 1 diabetes drugs that I have been taking without having diabetes.
I had to stop using the drugs immediately but I collapsed the following day and was hospitalized at Ifako-Ijaiye General Hospital. I nearly died from that experience but I thank God today, it is all history.
How long have you been married and what challenges did you have that lead to infertility?
My dear brother, I have been married since 1994 that was 26 years ago…
And you never had any child or pregnancy in-between?
No child but I had one pregnancy but I miscarried it. The challenges… hmmm; in every family, after marriage, they expect the couple to come and announce that they now have a baby. There was a radio interview I had about a month ago where a lady asked me a question and I told her that it doesn’t mean anything if your mother-in-law who is a woman like you mock you for not having a baby after one year of marriage.
If Peninah didn’t mock Hannah, God may not remember her. But because Peninah did, she was forced to pray and God remembered her. I told her that you don’t have to react negatively to your mother-in-law, just go to your closet and pray. Some of my friends called me barren and even came to tell me that they will take me to a herbalist but I told them I was waiting for God’s time which is the best.
They will mock you, people can say anything to you but if you have God, call upon him. As my dad used to say that some people will have their children in the morning, some in the afternoon and others in the evening. What God said is that there shall be no bareness in my land.
Back to how the whole IVF process went. What was the journey like for you from the beginning till the end?
I was so happy because if you are happy with a decision, something positive will come out of it. My journey to Nigeria was so enjoyable it was as if God has already given me my baby. On my way, I told God that he was going to use Dr. Abayomi Ajayi and his team for me and he did. I was talking to God in prayers and mentioning his name. I never had any negative thoughts.
You seem to be a very religious person because you have been mentioning God all through our conversation. Did you at any point in time go to the church to pray before taking the decision to try IVF?
I attend redeem church and here we watch Holy Ghost service. Anytime I’m watching, I used to say God, I use Pastor Adeboye as a point of contact to my life because he used to talk about his family a lot. Here in America, I carried my Pastor and his wife along, my brothers are pastors and I carried them along too. They were praying for me then. I don’t think God opposes IVF because he is the one that gave them the inspiration to discover the technology.
So what do you have to say to those who have been waiting for so long but still doubts too whether IVF works or not?
Number one, Luke 1 verse 37 says for with God, nothing shall be impossible, there is nothing God cannot do. Number two, my dad always said some people will have children in the morning, some in the afternoon and others in the evening and that God’s time is the best.
My number three is that if you are trusting God for the fruit of the womb, don’ fight anyone, don’t keep malice with anyone, even if someone mocks you because you don’t have a child, you don’t have to fight back because you can’t fight your battle all by yourself. Only God can fight your battle for you.
Number four, put your trust in God before using any medication. Even if you try IVF without faith in God, the IVF is going to fail. You have to believe that God has been using these fertility experts for people and he must use them for you. That is my own belief and if you see people having children or doing well, rejoice with them.
I’ll like to ask, how circles did you have before you finally got pregnant and had the babies?
You must have waited for about 26 years before having these priceless jewels. Was there a period in time when you had pressures from your in-laws or immediate family members?
My in-laws are wonderful people. I thank God for them and my husband. My husband is not just a husband but my father. Any time I’m down, he would encourage me and ask if I thought I was as old as Sarah in the bible who had her first child at 90 and that there is nothing God cannot do. My family are awesome too. They kept praying for me. I thank God for all of them.
The first time you held your babies in your hands, what was going through your mind?
My brother that 27th of May, immediately the Dr gave me the first baby and announced twin ‘A’, what came out of my mouth was (sings in Yoruba ‘ibite sin mi de, me ma mo p emo le de be, mo yin o logo o). Where you have accompanied me to, I never thought I would be able to get there, I give you the praise.
A minute after, he announced the arrival of the second twin and I said to God be the glory. Everybody including the white doctors started singing with me. I was so happy that I started shedding tears of joy. Even up till today, if I look at those babies, I still find it difficult to believe that I carried them in my womb and gave birth to them.
Did you have the babies by natural birth too?
At 54? It was C/S but my doctor said he wanted me to feel the pain of motherhood so he said I should carry the babies to term. He said normally, he was supposed to take them out at 36 weeks but he allowed me wait till they were 38 weeks before conducting the C/S. I give glory to the almighty God because I didn’t even feel any unusual pain till the morning of May 27th when I started feeling somehow and I was rushed to the hospital.
Where your feelings or symptoms different from those who got pregnant by natural intercourse?
Well, I don’t know but what I noticed was that I wasn’t feeling pregnant because I drove to and from work every day, a distance of about 30 minutes. The only thing I noticed was that when I left Nigeria after the implantation, I had a short nap in the plane and in the process, I felt a sharp pain like a menstrual cramp but I told myself that I was already pregnant and that nothing was going to change that.
Before the end of the two weeks waiting period, I already knew that I was pregnant and I never felt anything for about four months. I was so strong, agile and active. There was no morning sickness or any other negative symptoms till the 2nd of January when my doctor placed me on bed rest. And I was on the bed rest till I was delivered of the babies.
You have had medical treatments in Nigeria and the US, what can you say about the field of medicine here in Nigeria, are there any positives to take home?
Yes, I will start with Nigeria. When I went to see my physician that I am going for IVF, he said at your age, and I said yes. I told him I needed to do some tests and he introduced me to a lab specialist with over 30 years of experience. The first thing that came out of the doctor’s mouth is ‘I know they’ve discouraged you and I said yes.
He said about two weeks ago, he helped a Nigerian of about 62 years with delivery. He emphatically told me to go to Nigeria to do the IVF and not there in America; a white doctor in America said that. My experience in Nigeria was totally different from what I had in America.
At Nordica for instance, the nurses are very friendly and concerned about their patients. There was a time I forgot to take my medications and my nurse just came in around 10 am to ask if I had taken my drugs that morning. If she had not asked me, I might not remember to take it. It is not so in America, they will never call you to ask you to take your drugs so the difference is clear.
While you were waiting to conceive, was there a moment that affected your relationship with your family and the people around you?
No. but some of my friends mocked me. People really mocked me but never from my husband, in-laws and my siblings.
After your delivery, what were the reactions of the doctors and other medical staff around you there in America?
After my second baby came out, my doctor told me that do you know that you have fibroid and I said no. because I did series of tests here in America and in Nigeria too and it was not discovered. At Nordica, I did ceroscopy and it didn’t show that I had fibroid.
The doctor told me that I had a very big fibroid and that the children were sitting on it. That was why I had bleeding during the pregnancy. So they had to carry out another surgery for the fibroid to be taken out.
After the second surgery, the doctor said ‘these children are miracle children. I asked him what he meant and he said despite all the bleeding throughout the pregnancy and during delivery, they are still hale and hearty, I was told I lost about four litres of blood.
He said that was his first time of seeing a big fibroid and twins inside the same womb without the fibroid being discovered and the children survived. So I give glory to the almighty God.
You have had two wonderful babies and you are now more than convinced that IVF works. Are you still planning to have more?
Laughs. I pray that the almighty God will answer them but for me, this is my Ebenezer. No…
How would you encourage those who have been waiting for a long time to have children too?
They should have faith in God and also go to the hospital to check themselves because the bible says faith without work is dead. I can recommend Nordica to anybody. That is my simple word of encouragement to them. They should always follow the advice of the doctors and nurses strictly and also explore.
For example, before the implantation, I went on Google to check what I will be eating and all, I wrote everything down because I knew I won’t repeat the same exercise after the implantation. I saw pineapple, avocado, brown rice, etc. and I started eating them.
People talk about IVF being expensive in Nigeria. Is that so? What’s your own experience?
Well, it is cheaper in Nigeria than America. The only difference is that the government can help you pay through insurance here and you pay later at the end of every month. More so, here, they are always very careful so that you don’t sue them but in Nigeria, you people are wonderful. You really tried.
Finally, was there a way this whole IVF process changed your lifestyle?
No, I am still the same Bunmi, I still have the same power, the same knowledge, the same strength.