Oru son’s death crushed us. We were hurting from penetrating pain. We were young (I was 22, my husband 25) and didn’t know how to deal with the loss. My husband traveled to our countryside home to bury our son. The pain was and is still immense. We were left with a physical scar and hefty bills (it took one and a half years to fully pay it) as haunting reminders of our dear son. My gynecologist, a believer in Christ, encouraged us and even assured us that I was fine to try for another baby after six months. My husband said not even within two years! The trauma was too much.
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In 2013 we tried for a baby but at six weeks, a heartbeat could not be located. At nine weeks we were painfully told there was no baby, just an empty embryonic sac; a condition called blighted ovum. The sac had to be taken out. It was devastating to hear that. I just kept hoping that something will happen and a heartbeat will be miraculously found. It is my sister-in-law (a medical practitioner) who prevailed upon me to allow the doctors do their duty.
In 2014, I started suspecting I was pregnant but then I had an unusual bleeding. I went to see a gynecologist in one of the leading and most reputable private hospitals in Nairobi. He advised that we should ignore the bleeding. He administered Clomid to aid conception. Four weeks later I confirmed I was pregnant. I decided I wasn’t going to see a gynecologist until after 10 weeks. I wanted to be sure that on my first visit, a heartbeat will be detected. When I went, at 10 weeks, the scan estimated my baby’s gestation at 14 weeks!! Now a new worry set in; I had taken Clomid while already pregnant!! I became paranoid! Clomid shouldn’t be administered to a pregnant woman! Talk of nature conspiring with misfortunes to throw the worst at you.
But the journey continued and at 18 weeks, my blood pressure was slightly elevated, prompting my gynecologist to put me on high blood pressure medication. I also bought my own pressure reading machine to be able to monitor my blood pressure at home. By the time I got home, the blood pressure was elevated -made worse by my own worry. Thankfully, the drugs appeared to manage the pressure. However, there were other complications. Our baby was not growing – Intrauterine growth restriction(IUGR). On Sep 1, 2014, an intra-uterine foetal demise (IUFD) was confirmed. My baby was no more. Those who have read from Chinua Achebe are familiar with the question; why should nature allow a man with elephantiasis of the scrotum to take on smallpox as well when thousands of other people have not had even a share of smaller diseases?
I cannot describe the pain. I was admitted to a medical unit rather than maternity to save me the trauma of seeing mothers with healthy babies. My experience at the hospital was traumatic. I was induced but the nurses did not monitor my progress. I had no experience of a vaginal birth but the nurses were not bothered. I delivered my baby alone with my husband in the room. He called the nurses but they ignored his calls. After a long wait, about 45 minutes, one of the nurses came by and said “Haijatoka yote, bado tu itabidi ungoje” (you need to wait for more time for the baby together with placenta to be out) and she walked away. Mark you this is in one of Nairobi’s top private hospitals. I was in that position for about one hour bleeding, tired, broken, shaken… in the company of my husband and our long awaited baby who was no more. It was a girl.
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My husband got our doctor’s cell phone number and called him. He arrived in less than 10 minutes. We have reasons to believe no one had let him know. I ended up in theater with a near-death experience. I had lost so much blood (remember that I have a rare blood group). As I lay there, I prayed fervently, asking God not to take me. Our first born son and my husband needed me. I may never overcome the trauma of staring at my pool of blood and our daughter who I wouldn’t ever hold, hug, kiss, hear her cry or laugh. I would look down and think I saw her move… so difficult to recount. Thank you God that you have given me the strength because, I don’t know how I have lived beyond that horror.
After this experience, God opened a job opportunity for my husband and I and we relocated from Kenya to the Cayman Islands. Five months after arriving in Cayman, I found out I was pregnant. I was not expecting it and was not ready. I went into depression. All the fears came back. It had just been 8 months since we lost our little girl.
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