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“My Daughter Died Suddenly at Two Weeks Old. I Attempted Suicide Twice after That” Vivian Gaiko’s Story

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Vivian Gaiko

I believe that every one of us has a story to tell –a story that can impact the life of another person. This is what Mummy Tales is all about –telling tales of women, of mothers, of dads –stories that we can learn from, draw inspiration from, stories that help us see things from a different perspective, stories that heal, stories that help renew our faith in God.

 Today on the blog, I share the story of 26 year-old Vivian Gaiko. Vivian is a mother of two –a beautiful daughter –Princess Amani, and an adorable son, Ivan Lemayian. Amani is no longer with us. She left too soon. This is Vivian’s story, in her own words.

“My firstborn, Princess Amani was born on 2 April 2014. I delivered her after undergoing 12 hours of labor, only to have to go for a caesarean section after they found out that I had CPD (cephalopelvic dispropriation). CPD is when a baby’s head or body is too big to fit through the mother’s pelvis.

When I first laid my eyes on my daughter Amani, my heart melted with love. She was adorably cute and the best thing that had ever happened to me. I had even deferred a whole academic year just to be with her. I enjoyed every moment of being with her.

Vivian with her husband after her graduation last year.

Baby was Dehydrated

Two weeks after Amani was born, I returned to the hospital for my post-partum (caesarean) wound checkup, which is recommended by doctors. My daughter was checked first and after examining her, I remember the nurse telling me that my baby wasn’t okay. While she hadn’t been feeding a lot, I’d thought that maybe it’s because she’s a girl…there’s this myth that girls don’t feed a lot.

The nurses then took Amani and put her on drip -she was dehydrated. I remember the search for an UV line on her being so traumatizing. She was poked severally just to get a vein. She was so tiny -I really felt sad for her. I was also so stressed by all that was happening –it was all moving so fast such that when asked to express breast milk for her, I could barely get a milliliter.

We spent two nights in the hospital but there was no improvement on Amani. She remained on oxygen, and was feeding through tubes. On the morning of 18 April, my sweet baby girl started bleeding from the nose.

We sought a transfer to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH). There, they took the history and drew blood samples for lab tests. The tests request sheet was written ‘sepsis’. From my studies (I have a Bsc. Medical Laboratory Science and Technology), I knew this was a fatal condition where there’s an overload of bacteria in the blood. Newborns succumb to sepsis if it is not detected early since their immune system is not mature to fight the bacteria. Things weren’t looking good.

Vivian, with a picture of her and her daughter.

Amani Breathes her Last

At 7pm that evening, Amani was still on oxygen and a drip. All this time I was praying for God to preserve her life, even asking him to take mine instead. Thank God for my husband and my parents who were present all through.

At around 8pm, my baby girl started having an attack. Her heart stopped and despite the doctor’s efforts to resuscitate her, they weren’t able to bring her back. We never even got her lab test results. The day was Good Friday.

I started praying –praying that God would take my life and put it in her lifeless body. When we went home, I couldn’t sleep. I had such a hard time trying to understand that my daughter was no more. It just wasn’t making any sense. I prayed that she would come back to life on Sunday with Jesus (the resurrection). I steadfastly held on to that hope.

In the meantime, my family members were organizing for Amani’s burial for the following day (Saturday) at Lang’ata cemetery. I wanted them to wait until Monday, because I was hoping for my miracle on Sunday, but they said there was no need for waiting. The burial plans went on. During the burial, it was only my physical body that was there; the rest of me was absent.

The following day, Sunday, is when I was hoping my daughter would be brought back to life through a miracle…

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Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama is a Kenyan mum raising her two sons in Nairobi. A journalist, Maryanne is passionate about telling stories and hopes that through her writing, her readers learn something new, feel encouraged, inspired, and appreciative of what they have in their lives. Maryanne's writing focuses on motherhood, women and lifestyle. "Telling stories is the only thing I know how to do," she says.

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  1. I am so sorry that you had to go through that Vivian. I know that feeling too my dear…my daughter also had sepsis and she was in NICU for two weeks. The most difficult days of our lives…I also prayed that exact prayer when everything seemed hopeless…take me God before you take her life. I had started planning for ways of taking my life until miracles started happening and she got better. You are a strong woman, you survived and Amani is with her heavenly father and she will never be forgotten. I salute you…keep going strong mama.

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