Today, we have yet another article by a fellow Kenyan mom with an interesting experience on her journey to/through motherhood. Read Dr. Fridah Miyayi’s story – on losing her twins, fighting for her marriage, finally getting pregnant again…successfully giving birth…. and getting unexpectedly pregnant again.
“In the month of October 2009, me and my husband started dating. Come November, we seemed to know what we wanted. Too fast right? Wrong! We had it all figured out. Now my dream was going to come true- or so I thought. A stable man in my life, and kids – exactly what I had always wanted. Kids and a husband.
We were still not ready yet as we were getting to know each other but we pretty much seemed very comfortable in this relationship. Things moved fast. He had taken me to many events where he had introduced me to family members (brothers and sisters), his kids from a previous relationship, he had taken me to his village where I met his mother and other relatives.
Come January, we were very ready to have children. Mark you at this stage none of us had been talking marriage, maybe because we thought it was automatic. We, however, were talking kids.
We stopped all means of contraception and started trying. And come February, my period came. I cannot tell you my disappointment. Because my husband had kids from a previous marriage –a wonderful son, 12 years old at the time and beautiful daughter 10 years old at the time, it was to my advantage since there was absolutely no pressure from him.
Come March, I missed my period for a day. I was very excited. I bought a test kit and sadly, it tested negative. But then, I was still hopeful that maybe it was too early to turn POSITIVE. Then on the second day, my period came. Frustration started kicking in, frustration that went on for another three months when my period would come. Eventually I stopped trying because it was becoming depressing.
One time I traveled to the village without him. There, some church priests started asking me questions as to why am not conceiving or is it because I was not interested in children? But my reply to them was that that: “I am very interested but time has not come”. Such questions however only built my frustrations further since now I was conscious that everyone was watching and waiting, which made me very anxious. At some point I even got a question like “Was I on the pill for too long in my maiden life?” This was very frustrating, coming from pastors and priests.
Anyway, we had a tendency to travel to the village every fortnight. So on the next travel, I remember the car hitting a pothole and I had a sinking feeling in my lower abdomen. While on earlier travels I’d complain about my chest, this time I felt something strange. So when we reached Kisumu, I asked to stop by a chemist as I needed anti–histamines. He of course had no idea that I was planning to buy a pregnancy test kit. When we got home, I was anxious but decided to wait till morning to test since its best done with morning urine.
Come morning, I went to the loo. But it was a single line- Negative. Oh boy! But I remained hopeful since my period was not yet there and I was not yet late. That was Saturday. On Sunday we drove back to Nairobi and on Monday morning, I literally chased him away while trying to hold in the urine so that I can test. I was scared if I told him I was taking the pregnancy test he would talk me out of it since he saw I frustrated I was getting.
So I peed in a container and dipped the test strip. Two lines! POSITIVE!
I did not believe it. The first person I took the phone and called was my father. Then I called my to-be mother in-law. She was ecstatic. She asked if I have told my sweetheart, and that is when I realized I had not even called him to tell him. I hang up and call him. And all he said in his usual cool, calm and collected self was “Congrats Baby. Dinner on me”
I was over the moon with happiness. At last it was happening. I was gonna be a mum!
Being the medic that I am, started myself on folic acid and decided that I was going to do an ultrasound at three months. All went well; I turned 12weeks on September 7th. I had just started a new job at my place of employment. On September 7th I had an afternoon shift which started at 2pm. My sweetheart woke up, got ready for work and left at 9am. I was left lazing in the house, lying down on the sofa wearing a bright purple gown. Then I suddenly felt something wet In between my thighs. I looked down and found a blood stain. I went into panic.
I counter-checked with tissue and found I was bleeding. I called my sweetheart in panic and crying. “BABY PLEASE RUSH HOME AM BLEEDING!” And he was on his way home. I took a shower quick, dressed up and called my Boss who asked me to o to my place of work (hospital) to have myself checked. But I advised that since I lived next to a hospital and since an ultrasound would be required, I would do the ultrasound done first then go in with it. As I waited to have ultrasound done, I felt a gush of warm fluid. I went to the loo and it was clear fluid. I knew instantly it was amniotic fluid.
The ultrasound was finally done and it showed an open cervix with my “two babies still alive. TWO!! I was carrying twins!
I was in heaven, praying and praying hard for all to be well. I headed to hospital where my gynaecologist admitted me as I was already contracting. I was in so much pain…but he half sedated me and I was on medication. I was in hospital for two and a half weeks on strict bed rest. My life changed with lots of medication, ultrasounds that were required daily and no movement at all with staying in that lying position with an elevated pelvis.
I was finally discharged to be on bedrest for the whole month as we monitored the progress. I was very hopeful things would be fine. The only problem was work and with the bedrest being indefinite we could not tell for how long I would need to be on it. So I quit.
Everything in the house was done by my sweetheart, from cleaning me, clothes, utensils, the house, cooking, mixing my medicines etc.
October 7th, a month down the line, we went for an ultrasound. The previous day I had started feeling movements, as in the babies moving. That was another exciting phase, but at night I felt jittery movements I did not sleep. I was worried. Ultrasound on 7th October showed twin 1 had succumbed. The waters drained such that there was nothing left for its survival. I was heartbroken. I knew I am keeping the pregnancy for the sake of the other twin. All relatives both my side and my sweethearts’ side called us and on finding out status, all had one thing in common, they did not want me to keep the pregnancy anymore.
9th October, my sweetheart and I, after a long discussion opted to terminate the pregnancy since I started to actively drain waters and bleed. My life was now at risk. We spoke to the gynae who agreed. I checked into hospital on the 10th October. My blood haemoglobin levels were low at 8, there was no fetal heartbeat, meaning my twin2 had also succumbed. I was induced, laboured crazily for 6 hours and finally delivered my two dead baby boys, Tyrone and Tyresse. YES, I named them. I held them, took photos of them, spent enough time with them and finally let go. My sweetheart was with me all this time. And he encouraged me that we will try again. Inwardly, I was thinking “which again?” Pregnancy has been the worst thing that ever happened to me. I am never going back!
Placenta number 2 had attached itself strongly it had to be removed manually, what pain!
I was kept there for observation and discharged the following day. I was given some medicines. When I reached home I broke down badly. I cried and cried and my sweetheart held me in his arms. My boobs were painful and engorged but not draining anything. This was October 11th. This was the day I was to give in my resignation letter to work, but then again why resign if the reason for resigning is no more? I called my boss who was very empathetic and gave me time to heal promising me my job once I was ready for work. That was at least good news.
My sweetheart took me to Mombasa the next day, for two reasons:
1. My parents are based there and he knew seeing them will make
2. He knows I love the beach, swimming, the weather was fantastic, and he needed me in a better mood.
So off to Coast, we check into a hotel. Then we go swimming, camel riding, beach walks… All was well till the night. We went to sleep happy, but in the middle of the night I woke up. I found the whole upper beddings wet – with breast milk! My boobs were now draining. I went into more depression. I started crying, almost an hour of weeping. My poor sweetheart did not know what he could do or say. Just held me close and let me cry. At some point, he made a joke hoping it will cheer me up. He said, “My baby, you are such a mother, a perfect mother, you have breast milk that will feed both me and the kids!” Now that was a very successful joke. I burst laughing in my tears.
And he held me closer, whispering we will be fine and that he will never leave me and he will always be by my side.
We drifted back to sleep with him and me in cuddles. Morning came, I was eating poorly, he made a trip to my dad’s place. I was so happy to see him, then later we went and saw my mum, drove to her farm, seeing the animals and actually choosing what I wanted slaughtered, being spoilt is the word. I felt like a baby.
Evening came and he took me out dancing. He knows I love dancing so he took me out. I had a lovely time.
When we came back to Nairobi he would check on me by calling, telling me sweet nothings, having dates for dinner. November I got a call from my boss saying I can start work in December. I resumed work in December. Things had been bumpy between us in December, after I got ill-treated by his family after the loss of the twins.
January I conceived. I did not know whether it was good or bad news; my emotional wounds were still very raw. I did not tell my sweetheart that I was expecting. I was not sure we will be together by the end of it all.
Come Valentine’s, I was taken out for dinner.
After a few days I let the cat out of the bag. He was his usual self. Congratulated me. I was however not as ecstatic as the previous pregnancy. One night I just decided that am having my baby and it is not to blame for what am going through. At work I was seeing how women are desperately trying to conceive. I remembered how I had tried so hard in the beginning. I changed my whole attitude.
My baby became very positive. I decided I had to have my eyes wide open. I had to be very cautious, I had to be alert incase of any problem. I had to catch it on time. Funny this time when I went for ultrasound I went early, and I hoped it was NOT twins. I don’t think I was ready to handle it emotionally. It was a singleton. I was happy. All went well…I was counting down the weeks.
Week 20 I went for ultrasound. It was a BOY. I so wanted a girl, but this boy was very welcome. Come week 21, I went to work as usual, it was 10am. I suddenly felt a gush of warm fluid. ”NOT AGAIN” I thought. I started weeping on the spot. My colleague found me in that very spot crying, sobbing, I could not even utter a word. She took me to the emergency room, because she could clearly see where I was holding – my abdomen. In a few she finally got me to say what was happening. They called my gynae, but I knew too well what was coming. I knew the drill damn too well. I knew they needed to do blood and urine tests, do an ultrasound and be started on fluids. Ultrasound showed all was well with baby but I leaked from an outside water pocket. Also showed I had a short cervix meaning it was going to give way once the pressure builds up, and that was going to be very fast since gravity was not on my side.
Now medically I knew you stitch the cervix at 14-16weeks. I was already 21 weeks.
My gynae came in, talked to me, reassured me and explained the too familiar chance of 50-50. I agreed to go to theatre we try stitch this cervix. By the time I was getting to theatre by ambulance, it was midnight. My sweetheart and brother in law were waiting for me in the room I was to spend the night in. My gynae had left, all was well. I literally took it a day at a time from there. Resumed work after two weeks and the struggle continued.
I was on and off sick-offs, due to threatened abortion, pre-term labour. All this time I had not checked that my expected due date (EDD) was 10th October 2011. I was in shock. Not 10/10/11. That was the anniversary of my twins. I refused. I called my gynae , asking if we can have the baby last week of September. My reasoning was since it was caeserian it was fine after 36weeks. We agreed on 22nd September. It was falling on a Thursday. I don’t know what commitment befell my doctor but he had to re-schedule for Friday 23rd. I agreed. Later when I reached home is when I realized it was actually my sweethearts birthday mark you his whole family, only one brother knew I was expecting and he too kept it a secret.
I saw his mother when I was a month to delivery. I delivered a handsome baby boy 3.06KG at 36weeks 1day, Terrell Wendo Faraja . That was the greatest joy in my life. And that was the beginning of good things. My in-laws now wanted friendships, I was skeptical.
All the same things were now better between me and sweetheart.
Then came the nausea, am wondering…. Perhaps its breastfeeding, that’s the only thing I was experiencing for the first time. Little did I know that it was a second baby on the way. Now this was exciting but not exciting. This was both good news and bad news. My first born Faraja was not yet even 12 weeks. I took two tests and they were both very POSITIVE. That meant that I was going to have a second caeserian in under a year. My sweetheart was actually laughing at me, hugging me and calling me super fertile woman.
All he said amidst my panic was, “Baby, you are having MY baby. It is very welcome. We will cross the risky parts when we get there.”
That was the statement that got me back on track. I looked at Faraja and immediately wanted a second one. I was very hopeful it was a baby gal. But all the same deep down I knew it did not matter. I was scared since I had not forgotten the first pregnancy incident at all. Well, this time we were not taking risks.
I knew I had a short cervix.
I knew I had a bad obstetric history hence have to be prepared in advance.
So when week 14 reached, we did not wait for a gush, we went straight to theatre and stitched the cervix in preparation. And then the countdown started. One week down every week. At 27weeks again hell broke loose. I started having contractions. At first everyone thought it was Braxton hicks but it was not. I was sure of it. I decided to go have the gynae check it. And true to it, when he felt them he confirmed my worst fears. They were contractions. I was now again on bedrest and lots of medicines. I refused admission, my memory of it was not very good, and in that I mean the first pregnancy.
Slowly I counted the weeks. I was on and off sick-offs again. Come week 35, things were now too much on me. I was still working. I went to my gynae and was put on bedrest till I deliver, a week and a day to go. And that is what I did. Aug 4th, 2012 I delivered a beautiful baby girl, Ylana Imora Fahari.
This journey of being a mother has been a long one, one full of nightmares, but instead of wallow in self pity as I watched others become mothers, I made it my reason to live, I made it my career, I made it my sole ambition, and I have emerged a conqueror. I am now a proud mother of two lovely babies, and finally a wife to my sweetheart. My in-laws have come to terms with the fact that I am there to stay. My fight for my marriage – I was the victor.
I tell my friends, my patients, friends of friends….. It is all about what you want. It’s all in the mind. It’s a fight to have what you desire most. Jump the potholes, slow down at the bumps and take them at an angle, carry an umbrella for the rainy days, wear boots on the muddy days but once you know what you want…. THAT IS your destination. I look at my kids, Faraja and Fahari and my husband Peter and I see how I reached my destination. Identify yours and start your journey there. Remember there is no two ways about it. You either WIN or WIN!!! “
NB: This article was originally published in Supamamas, an events and info hub for Kenyan moms.