From the Washington Post. Full Story
There are days when life for Adwai Malual looks like an endless wheel. Already she has lived through much: growing up in Sudan as war tore apart her homeland, discovering in the midst of it that she was pregnant, coming to this strange land of America.
Then, weeks later, she gave birth to quintuplets.
Now, in a small, crowded apartment in Laurel nearly two months after the babies' delivery, Malual's life is dominated by another kind of chaos. It begins every day at 3 a.m., as she wakes up to take over feeding duties from her mother, visiting from Sudan. One by one, she tends to her five babies in 40-minute shifts. By the time she has changed the last one's diaper, the first is crying for food again. And so it goes for 12 hours straight, until she hands them off to her mother so she can sleep for a little while before waking do it all again.
Life is now confined to this second-floor apartment and to the most basic of human needs: eating, peeing, pooping, burping and sleeping.
"I am grateful for the blessings in my life," the 28-year-old said recently during a rare break from her babies. "And I am tired."
All day long, her mind alternates between those two states. She thanks God for the people -- many of them complete strangers -- who donated diapers, time and money to help her through her grueling first few weeks out of the hospital. Then she prays for some way to survive the weeks ahead.
She is living, for the most part, a borrowed life. Much of the babies' clothing is donated. The two cribs they sleep in -- three in one and two in the other -- are hand-me-downs, as is the changing table. Soon, the quintuplets -- already a handful -- will learn to crawl and then walk. Getting a babysitter to watch all five, let alone a job that would cover that cost as well as her children's growing needs, will be difficult.
Even before her babies were born, Malual had started worrying about these things. As she lay in the Annapolis hospital, her doctors warned her to focus on her health whenever her blood pressure and nausea started rising. And in recent weeks -- as she has fed, changed and rocked her babies -- she has found herself facing those worries again. The future looms ominously as she struggles each day to keep up with the present.
The difference now, she said, is that she faces such fears with the proof of miracles in her arms.
"These children are blessings from God," said Malual, who comes from a family of a devout Christian. "He brought them to me, protected them through all that time. So for the future, I think I must live day by day. God will provide."