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Giving Birth in Kenya: “Why any Pregnancy Complication must be Treated like an Emergency” Winfred Mbathe’s Story

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Winfred Mbathe.

I love drawing inspiration from people’s stories, and I always reckon that if they inspire me so much, then they may inspire other people as well. Hence the reason why I expanded the content of this blog to not only featuring my own motherhood experiences, but the experiences of other moms as well. Today, I bring you the story of 25-year-old Winfred Mbathe Muthui, a young mother of one and university student. I got to learn of Winfred’s story through one of the Kenyan ‘mum’ Facebook groups I’m in, and later followed it up with her. We met for coffee a few Saturdays ago, and this is her story.

Just after delivering her daughter on 7 December 2012, Winfred immediately knew that something was wrong. Her baby didn’t cry as was expected.

“Why isn’t my baby crying,” a desperate Winfred asked the nurses. But the nurses were busy working on her newborn to give her much attention.

Related: “How I Survived Preeclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnancy)” -Helen Njoroge’s Story

About five minutes later, the baby let out a faint, barely audible cry. She was immediately taken to the newborn unit and placed on oxygen.

While Winfred had enjoyed a relatively smooth pregnancy, things had suddenly started going wrong a few days to the birth. At 39 weeks pregnant, she had experienced an excruciating headache and when she went to the clinic, she was informed that her blood pressure had spiked. She was put on medication for this.

A few days later, she went into labor and proceeded to the public hospital where she’d planned to deliver her baby. Unfortunately, the nurses were on strike! Winfred was advised to seek services at a nearby private health facility, which she did.

Bleeding while in Labor

There, her high blood pressure level was found to be quite high, and she was immediately admitted. She would then endure four days of labor, being induced in between, amidst fluctuating blood pressure. But still, the baby wasn’t coming. They decided to refer Winfred to yet another private hospital –this time a better-equipped one.

“By the time I got to the hospital, I was bleeding. My blood pressure was also very high. I couldn’t feel my baby moving, and neither could a heartbeat be detected. By then I had fully dilated and was told to push. When I delivered my baby Angel Ndanu, she didn’t cry as was supposed to happen. I immediately knew that something was wrong,” remembers Winfred.

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Maryanne W. Waweru 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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