Ghanaian couple living in New York City, Amin and Akosua, both 59 years old welcomed their first child on Saturday, 15th July, 2017 after waiting for almost 40 years!
Akosua Budu Amoako gave birth to a full-term 7lb 4oz boy on June 15 at Bellevue Woman’s Center in Niskayuna, near Albany. Budu says she and her husband started trying to have children after they married 38 years ago, but eventually stopped trying after she discovered she had a blocked fallopian tube that made natural pregnancy almost impossible.
Isaiah was delivered by Dr. Kushru Irani at Niskayuna’s Bellevue Women’s Center. Amin and Budu first consulted Irani after learning their church leader’s 60-year-old wife back in Ghana, their homeland, had given birth to triplets after receiving fertility treatments.
Budu then decided to undergo in vitro fertilization at an Albany-area clinic using her husband’s sperm and a donor egg.
Their doctor, Dr Kushru Irani of Niskayuna’s Bellevue Women’s Center, said he tried to dissuade them from trying IVF at first. ‘I said everything that I could to discourage them by discussing the many risks,’ he told the Union.
But the Ghanaian couple who are both medical professionals and well aware of the odds against post-menopause childbirth, maintained their stand.
‘Budu was pre-diabetic and suffered from some hypertension. I was concerned about the strain pregnancy and delivery would put on her heart. ‘But they were very calm, determined and had clearly thought about this a long time. ‘Once a patient makes a medical decision, it is my duty as a doctor to do my best to care for them and keep them in good health. You compartmentalize your worries so you can keep the patient’s spirits up.’
“As a doctor,” he said with a smile, “sometimes you have to say a prayer and chill.”
Irani referred them to the CNY Fertility Clinic’s office in Latham. Amin said the entire process, from initial screening to successful fertilization, cost $20,000 and took about a year.
“We knew it would be expensive,” Amin said. “We saved money for the treatments and the delivery, then planned for the child’s financial future.”
After Amin’s sperm was paired with a donor egg, Imani began guiding the couple through the most unusual pregnancy he’d experienced in the 39 years since he completed his Albany Medical Center residency.
He told Budu it was crucial for her to eat well: cut out dairy, “bad” fats and sweets; take fish oil and vitamin D3; consume plenty of greens, nuts and water. He urged her to meditate and do deep-breathing exercises to keep her blood pressure down.
Budu insists the diet was fairly easy, since she does not like sugar. Irani was amazed that she did so well, and said her pre-diabetic symptoms have largely vanished.
Irani recalls one scary moment when Budu’s legs became swollen, causing him to worry she might face heart problems. Tests revealed her heart was in good shape, but her work as a hospital respiratory therapist required her to stand too much. Irani advised her to start her maternity leave.
The baby was named after his father, Isaiah Somuah Anim. He is doing fine, as is his mother. ‘We haven’t gotten much sleep, but I feel fine and I think he already knows our voices,’ she told the Times Union. ‘When he’s crying sometimes, my husband will call from work and Isaiah will hear his voice through the phone and calms down and stops crying.’
Older Ghanaian couple welcome first child after 38 years of marriage. Photo credit: timesunion.com
Currently a single-income household, the couple has felt sticker shock at how expensive diapers and baby food can be. There are longer-term concerns unique to their situation — such as imagining what it will be like when they are in their 70s and Isaiah is a teenager.
They want to arrange for their son’s life to be as happy as he has made theirs.
“There are additional needs to prepare for in the child’s life when parents are (older),” Amin said. “We’ve updated our wills, and discussed with extended family — aunties, uncles, cousins, closest friends — about how he will be raised and cared for in case something should happen to us.”
Those are, of course, the sorts of arrangements that new parents of any age would make. Because as Budu and Amin point out, no one knows how much time they have.
The Ghanaian couple came to the United States in 2005 and are now naturalized U.S. citizens.