Czech Republic: Roma quintuplets get arson threats, their supporter gets hacked
The first quintuplets to be born in the Czech Republic are doing well and were transferred today to a less intensive care unit of the hospital. They will be able to go home in roughly one month.
Doctors at the maternity hospital in Prague's Podolí neighborhood, where the quintuplets were born on 2 June, made the announcement to the press today. The children will remain in incubators and will be fed through intubation in their stomachs.
The mother of the quintuplets, 23-year-old Alexandra Kiňová, is also doing well. However, she is afraid of the racist responses to the birth of her children, including threats of arson attacks.
"The development of their state of health is very favorable," said Petra Šaňáková, speaking on behalf of the head physician in the neonatal department. The children are no longer receiving infusions, but after they are moved to the new unit the infants' breathing and heart rates will continue to be monitored.
The children are being fed their mother's milk. They receive a dose of between 20 - 30 milliliters every three hours.
"The application of the feeding is being done through a special probe, because these children have developed their suckling reflex. The probe is introduced into the abdominal cavity, specifically into the stomach," explained the maternity hospital's deputy director, Ladislav Krofta.
In order for the children to learn to drink normally, health care workers are trying to also give them milk "on the pinkie". All of them are reportedly doing roughly equally well, but their mother has revealed that the biggest eater is evidently a boy, Alex.
The four boys of the quintuplets - Deniel, Michael, Martin and Alex - weighed 1 214, 1 318, 1 340 a 1 050 grams at birth, respectively, while daughter Tereza weighed 1 250 grams. "Four of them have already made it back to their birth weight," Krofta told the Czech News Agency. After being born, it is normal for infants to lose weight slightly.
Doctors are reportedly not certain yet which children came from a single egg and which are twins from two eggs. Their mother, however, can already tell them all apart.
"In the beginning it was complicated, three of them are very similar," the mother told journalists. She goes to visit them as often as she can.
At the moment the mother is mainly dealing with expressing her milk every three hours. She says her children are very good and almost never cry. "They are normal babies, just a little smaller than usual," she said.
Doctors say the mother should be able to go home with the children in roughly one month. They will publicize more information about the quintuplets once they are released from hospital.
Love and understanding vs. racism and threats
On the one hand the Romani family is receiving messages of love and understanding, while on the other hand racists are cursing them and threatening them with arson attacks. Many people have decided to help them and are sending all kinds of things to the young family.
"Some people have helped us a great deal. Many things have been sent to us, about 15 boxes' worth. People are sending mainly baby clothes, dishes, toys, etc.," Antonín Kroščen, the quintuplets' father, told news server Tn.cz.
The Czech-Moravian Association of Clubs of Twins and More has already raised almost CZK 100 000 to aid the quintuplets' mother. The Central Bohemian municipality of Milovice has also assigned the family a larger rental apartment. The unit is 112 meters square and has three rooms, a separate kitchen, a hallway, a separate toilet and separate washroom.
The new family, however, is afraid to move into this new apartment because both the grandparents and the parents are receiving racist threats, in some cases very dangerous ones. "This isn't just envy. My mother doesn't want to read the letters to me anymore. Someone has even threatened to attack us like they attacked little Natálka in Vítkov. Nothing gets through to me here, we are safe in the maternity hospital, but I am afraid of what will happen once we move into that first-floor apartment. We have already agreed to have special unbreakable sheeting put in the windows," Alexandra Kiňová told news server Novinky.cz, adding that she has decided to protect her children by forbidding people to photograph them.
"Every mother wants to protect her children, so even though I regret the decision, no one will be allowed to see them. Maybe once they have grown a bit more or go to first grade," the quintuplets' mother told news server Novinky.cz.
Kiňová also revealed to journalists that she had received a letter in which someone offered her CZK 300 000 for one of the quintuplets. "One mother wrote to me that if I were unable to take care of them all, she would buy one child. She said she is wealthy and that she could take care of it. She offered me CZK 300 000 and said I would be able to stay in contact with the child. At first I couldn't believe it, then I understood that she was serious. I would never give up any of my children, not for anything in the world. What a crazy proposal," said the horrified quintuplets' mother.
Backer of the family also attacked by racists
The racist hysteria around the birth of the Romani quintuplets has gone even further than that. Blogger Markéta Demlová, for example, didn't like how some people were weighing in against the mother of the quintuplets online and wrote about it in her blog on iDNES.cz.
Her article, headlined "I'm not a racist, but... prams for free?" became an internet hit after six days and has been read by more than 200 000 people. While similar articles are usually sought out by people looking for something to criticize, readers have expressed massive appreciation for this one. The "karma" of the article, which is the way readers express appreciation for content on iDNES.cz, has received 49.5 points out of a maximum of 49.9.
"I saw a petite, smiling girl who had no idea what was in store for her. Instead of respecting her for carrying the children to term, people started spewing these horrible reactions at her just because someone donated a pram to her and the town hall awarded her a larger rental apartment," Demlová, who herself is a mother of four, told news server iDNES.cz when asked what inspired her to write her article.
"We have these five infants who are having to live in incubators, but these people already claim to know this far in advance that they will all become parasites one day. They are complicating the children's futures in a terrible way," Demlová warned.
The racist response to the article came rather quickly. On Tuesday an unidentified intruder broke the password on the blogger's email account and got into both her blog and her Pay Pal account.
The hackers posted a hateful, racist contribution to Demlová's blog. "It never occurred to me that someone would do something like that to me, it has startled me. However, I would write it all over again," the shocked blogger told the Czech daily Mf DNES.
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