A few weeks ago, my timelines were filled with the hashtag #GodHealDru. It was hard not to follow the conversation. I didn’t know Dru, but I got to find out that she was a beautiful 34-year-old mom fighting for her life at a Mombasa hospital as a result of pregnancy complications. Her story was so emotional, with the hashtag peppered with stunning photos of her pregnancy, her adorable three-year-old son and her husband. They were such lovely family photos, filled with great joy and happiness. It was so heartbreaking to learn that Dru was fighting for her life as she was in the process of giving life.
Shortly thereafter, photos of her newborn son accompanied the hashtag. Also blood appeals for Dru, who was now in critical condition. Soon, information that Dru was no more began being shared. The news was hard to swallow. I had so much hope that she would make it.
Now, whenever I learn of the news of a woman’s death –especially a death as a result of pregnancy or childbirth complications, it takes me to a certain place. A place so dark, a place full of apprehension. And to be honest, fear. A place where I get to better understand the fragility of life. One moment you’re celebrating life, celebrating forthcoming life, the next minute it’s all darkness. It sadly makes me deeply reflect on the saying that goes like: “A Pregnant Woman has One Foot in the Grave’.
So what happened to Dru, that led to her death?
Below, I share excerpts from Eunice Kilonzo’s narration of Dru’s story in the Daily Nation.
Druscillah Walowe Mngoda, popularly known as Dru, was wife to Dan Kinyanjui. Her husband says that on the night of Saturday 20 May, they arrived home after an awesome evening at a friend’s place.
“We went to bed, but at 1am she woke up complaining of heartburn. She wanted to brush it off, but when she threw up I immediately rushed her to Nyali Healthcare in Nyali, where we were ably assisted before being referred to Aga Khan Hospital for admission,” Dan says.
While at admissions, Dan heard the four words that would forever change the course of his life and that of his two sons.
Maternity Wing, Code Purple! Someone bellowed from down the corridor.
“I rushed there to find my Babe convulsing,” he says, using the affectionate name, Babe, to refer to his wife of six years. “She was in a fit and foaming, and once she was stabilized I signed the consent forms for her to go for emergency Caesarian section.”
Doctors told him the fit was indicative of high blood pressure complications during pregnancy, referred to in medical terms as eclampsia. If unmanaged, it could destroy the liver, kidneys and even the brain.
What Dru was going through was a severe complication of pre-eclampsia, a condition that affects some pregnant women, usually after the 20th week or the second half of pregnancy, or soon after their baby is delivered.
Also Read: Preeclampsia: All You Need to Know
Dru, who had celebrated her 34th birthday on May 13, and who had just walked into the hospital unassisted, was now motionless after a series of convulsions and violent shaking. Doctors surgically removed the baby — Dan named him Darrell — and, as they wheeled the little chap out of theatre, another team wheeled the mother into the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital. She had slipped into a coma.
In the morning the hospital made an O+ blood donation request. Dru required fresh platelets — the blood cells that aid in clotting — as her body was not producing any. This is because at this point the pre-eclampsia was progressing to a life-threatening syndrome called Hemolysis, Elevated Liver Enzymes and Low Platelets (HELLP).
Dru had suffered a brain aneurism — a bulging, weak area in the wall of an artery that supplies blood to the brain — due to the high blood pressure. That means the blood pressure was so high that it exerted a force against the walls of her arteries that was high enough to damage them and other blood vessels.
This damage restricted blood flow, leading to a swelling in the blood vessels in Dru’s brain and interfered with its ability to function, which explains the seizures.
Dan says the blood in his wife’s brain caused coning — the squeezing of the brain and brain stem through the foramen magnum (the hole in the base of the skull through which the spinal cord passes) as a result of swelling — which led to brain death. Eventually, Dru’s heart stopped.
You can read the full story at the Daily Nation. May God comfort her husband, her sons, her family, friends, and all those whom she touched. May God’s favor be upon the dear ones she has left behind.
I have previously written the stories of other moms who have preeclampsia experiences. Some survived with their babies, some lost their babies, while other moms like Claris did not make it while her son survived. You can read their stories in the links below, and share them with a friend to create more awareness about this dangerous pregnancy condition.
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