Helen Njoroge is a 28 year-old entrepreneur. She is the founder and director of Tenders Kenya, which is an online platform that provides information on all procurement opportunities in Kenya. She has also been recognized as one of the Top 40 Women Under 40 in Kenya (2015) by Business Daily for her role in Procurement. On the home front, Helen is a wife, and she also has a heartrending story of how she survived preeclampsia. This is Helen’s story:
“When I was pregnant and in my second trimester, the gynaecologist, during one of my antenatal clinics, mentioned that my blood pressure had gone up. She however ‘assured’ me that it was normal for the pressure to go up, and so I needn’t worry. I became even more at ease when she put me on medication, Aldomet.
“I’ll tell you when to worry,” she told me.
I was an expectant first time mother. What did I know? By the way I never even used to be concerned with the readings whenever my pressure was checked at the clinic. I was in the safe hands of a gynaecologist, is all I knew.
Meanwhile, my edema (swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, face and hands during pregnancy) had really worsened, to the extent that my workmates brought me a stool to be propping my feet up. I even upped my shoe size as I now had humongous feet. But I reckoned that swelling is normal in pregnancy, because even doctor Google said so.
One day, on the Saturday night of Easter 2014, I started experiencing discomfort and couldn’t sleep properly. The following night (Sunday), the discomfort worsened. I had a severe backache and couldn’t sleep a wink. I shared this with my husband and some friends, but don’t pregnant women always complain about their aching backs? So I thought, ‘let me just embrace this motherhood journey’.
The following day was a holiday (Easter Monday), and some friends came to visit. I was dead tired. They tried to liven me up, insinuating that it couldn’t be that bad. I told them it was bad. I even refused to escort them because I was feeling terrible. They insisted. That night, I didn’t sleep, for my back hurt too much. We turned the mattress, changed beds, slept on the floor, but nothing. The pain persisted.
My husband was travelling for work the following morning out of town, and as he left the house at 5am, I asked him to drop me at the nearest hospital -a private hospital in Nairobi. At the triage, the nurse informed me that my pressure was high, but I told her that I already knew about it, and that my doctor had told me not to worry about it.
The nurse then sent me to a see a doctor. I had a bit of acidity too, so the doctor gave me some antacids and sent me for tests: liver and urine tests. In the meantime, he prescribed an antacid (I can’t remember if he gave me some pain killers). I then told the doctor I’d go home, rest and come back for my results. Anyhow, I figured I’d still go to see my gynaecologist later in the day and update her on how I was feeling. So I returned home and slept.
Go to Page 2