I have said this before here, and I will mention it again today. When I was growing up, I thought that getting a baby was all sugar and spice, beautiful roses, dandelions and daisies and the sweet smell of jasmine. That was until I began the motherhood journey myself and over the last five years, I continue to be hit with the harsh reality that my thinking was so naive, almost a fantasy.
A successful pregnancy and childbirth is not a guarantee. Not for anybody, no matter who you are.
While I had indeed heard of childbirth complications before, in my mind, yes they happened, but unfortunately, they happened to women in rural areas, slum areas and other low income groups. Mainly women who did not have access to quality healthcare. Or any healthcare at all, actually.
Today, I know of a countless number of women who have lost their lives in top-notch hospitals, women who were under the care of the who’s-who of gynaecologists in the country. Women for whom money was not an issue. But they did not survive the pregnancy and childbirth experience. Some of their newborns did not survive either. For a long time, I did not understand this, and I cannot say that I understand it today either, because I can’t fathom how in this day and age, we still lose women as a result of pregnancy or childbirth. My writing, reading, research, experience and discussions with fellow women, husbands, mothers, nurses and doctors has taught me that MOST maternal deaths are preventable. I say most because I understand that some are not preventable. But MOST are.
I write this today because I’ve just come across a blog post that I must share with you. It is written by a young stylish mum who is just coming to terms with the reality that she almost lost her life while giving life to her beautiful son Ayden. She writes:
“One morning at 3 am at Nairobi Hospital, the nurse brought Ayden to my room to breastfeed and I could not get up to feed him because of a sharp pain in my right side. I shouted in pain and she returned Ayden back to the nursery and called other nurses for help. There was nothing much they could do so they called my gynaecologist who called a senior doctor who ordered am given painkillers until morning. The pain had lessened but the senior doctor feared there was something really wrong.
On Sunday morning I was in excruciating pain and he ordered I go for an X-ray and this when he discovered there was something seriously wrong, my mum was on her way to the airport when she was asked to cancel that flight and rush to Nairobi Hospital as I was scheduled for an emergency surgery. I had just gone through c section surgery and now this. 10am and I was rushed in for the surgery which was conducted by Dr M.R Khan to be honest I owe this man my life and also Prof. Ogutu as he was the one who noted the issue due to a past incident.
I made it out alive and was taken back to my room, I was now not allowed to see my child as he was at risk of getting infected. In 5 days my situation was getting worse as I developed blood clots in the lung and one evening at 5pm I was rushed into HDU (High Dependancy Unit) I thought this was it I was dying but 2 days in God saved my life because in all honesty I was not going to make it out alive and the doctors facial expressions kind of told me this was really bad. I believe my family’s prayers and in that point my mothers prayers saved my life as I came out alive. I remember in HDU we took pictures and my mum asked me one day to share with people what I went through part of the reason I started this blog is to create awareness about child birth complications.
I had heard of child birth complications but only in the media and it was mostly women in rural areas who had no access to good medical centres yet here I was in a top hospital with top doctors yet I had complications that is when I knew life is really unpredictable. Well I moved back to my private room and instead of recovering positively things were getting worse. Every night I had fever and my temperature was always 40 degrees and one day the doctor or rather my surgeon asked I have an MRI test done and this showed that I had water retained in parts of the body…..” Read the entire narration of ‘young stylish mum’s near-death experience here.
Indeed, there is no guarantee in life. What can help though, is having adequate knowledge and information about pregnancy and childbirth, which also needs to be accompanied by a good healthcare system. Hence, I will keep writing about maternal health on this blog.
Did you experience any pregnancy or childbirth complications yourself? Would you like to inform other mums about what you learnt, if only to help save the life of another woman? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll help tell your story.
top photo credit: Africa Knows