ALEXANDRIA, Egypt – A day after giving birth to septuplets, a 27-year-old Egyptian woman said Sunday she's only seen her babies on television and hopes to hold them and name them soon.
Ghazala Khamis was still hospitalized after giving birth a day earlier to four boys and three girls. She said she is "very anxious to see them" and to breast-feed at least some of them.
"I saw them on TV. They are very cute," she told The Associated Press from her hospital bed in the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria.
"I am just waiting to hold them in my arms and breast-feed them," she said in a weak voice. "I don't know if I can do it to all, but I will try."
Her husband and other relatives are brainstorming names, said Khamis, who took fertility drugs to conceive in an effort to produce a son. She is already the mother of three girls, ages 7 to 11.
The family lives in Beheira, a northern province on the fertile Nile River delta where, like much of rural Egypt, sons are preferred to daughters.
The newborns, who weigh between 2.3 and 4 pounds, are being kept in incubators but appear to be healthy, said Dr. Emad Darwish, who delivered the babies Saturday at El-Shatbi Hospital.
He said three remain at El-Shatbi while the other four have been sent to two other hospitals in Alexandria "because we do not have enough incubators."
"They are doing well, but they still need a lot of care," Darwish said.
Khamis was also in good condition, he said, after receiving a blood transfusion because of bleeding during a Caesarean section.
Darwish said he decided to perform a Caesarean at the end of the woman's eighth month of pregnancy due to pressure on her kidneys.
The babies' father is a farm worker who earns about $4 a day when he is employed, which is usually only a day or two each week, said Khamis' brother, whose name is Khamis Khamis.
He said Egypt's health minister has promised to give the babies free milk and diapers for two years, but the family is still worried about the long-term financial burden of feeding and taking care of a total of ten children.
"What they need most is a dwelling to live in. I hope the government will give them an apartment," Khamis said.
"With the help of Allah, they will make it, but I think it will be difficult," he said.