My Five Children
Posted On Tuesday, August 16, 2011 by Busisiwe
All the stories Iâ€™ve read have a happy ending....
In 2002 I met my future husband, JB, funny, loving, kind and honest. I fell pregnant in April 2003 at a grand age of 24 - never ever having been on any contraceptive. I was more scared of having disappointed my parents than at actually being pregnant- I loved it - I wanted the baby!!! Naively, we thought all would go well, all we had to do was wait 9 months, and hooray we are parents. Though unprepared, we went on to prepare for the new arrival, attended antenatal clinics and all. But at 20 weeks, while at work, I felt excruciating lower abdominal pains, called the ambulance and was taken to hospital and unfortunately I miscarried. No medical explanation was given, all I got was 'its normal' 'it sometimes happens'... It hurt, but we learnt to accept it and move on.
In 2004, we decided to try again, and in February we conceived. Nothing was left to chance; I consulted our GP who referred me to a well known gynae in our city. Alas at 19 week, the same thing happened. I was admitted at a private hospital where I was given a drug to induce labour, a few hours later I gave birth to my baby boy. The hospital had a policy of incinerating still born babies; I never got to bury baby, have a tombstone laid .... I was later told the miscarriage was due to a urinary tract infection.
As a woman, I felt like a failure; failing to be a part of the God-given gift of bringing children unto this earth. I cried myself to sleep so many nights, I was disheartened and depressed. Advice on what to do came left right and centre. On the breadth, some blamed me for having done something wrong. My performance at work deteriorated. I began to even blame myself and at one time wondered if life was worth living when all it brought was pain. As you know children are a vital part in a marriage in the African culture. Some of you might understand the insults, the naming, and the scolding that comes from the in-laws when no grandchildren appear in the picture.
My husband and I decided to take a break for a while until in January 2006 when I conceived our 3rd child. Our GP was consulted, referred to an ob/gynae, went under a barrage of test and like someone said, felt like a guinea pig, but for a baby I was willing to do anything. All the visits to the doc and test did not reveal anything. Because of the previous history of miscarriage they advised on a Shirodkar stitch which was inserted at 11 weeks. At around 22 weeks I started to gain some weight which I thought was normal baby weight. My gynae checked my BP and it was normal and told me not to worry, just make sure you rest and not exert yourself. At 27 weeks, on a visit to the gynae, he was shocked at how big I was, weighed me and sent me straight to hospital. He got me frightened because he did not explain much. To me, it was like Iâ€™m going to hospital for overnight observation and then back home the following day. Urine and blood samples were taken to determine protein levels. This was my first time to hear the word - proteinuria!! The next morning when I weighed in I had gained 3kgs overnight. The doc straight away said we have to operate you NOW to save your life. This is the time I heard of PRE-ECLAMPSIA; the dreaded and deadly disease. It was shocking news, earth shattering to say the least. To make things worse, my husband was working out of town that week, there was nobody to hold my hand. My baby girl Elaine Thandeka Moyo was born 7 October 2006 with a weight of 710g, the smallest preemie to be ever born at Mater Dei Hospital. She was so tiny, her chest was hollow (not fully formed even though I was injected with the drug Surfactant), and little limbs the size of my little finger, fragile. I cried, there was no hope she would survive the night, all hooked up to so many machines.
She fought for her dear life. I spent three months at hospital feeding her, changing her trying to bond with her. Her lungs were so underdeveloped she became dependant on oxygen. I lived a life that was purely focused on her, I became like a resident of the hospital.Â I lived a life that I never knew existed. It taught me patience and resilience. I would get disheartened when one of the other mothers were discharged with their babies. Some came and went, leaving me with my baby Thandeka. Finally on the 3rd of January 2007 we were discharged with a weight of 1,7kgs. I was so excited with taking our baby home and being away from the hospital environment. Not all was rosy at home. Preemies forget to breath sometimes and especially my girl since she spent a lot of time on oxygen. We were in and out of the Pead's rooms for the coming till she succumbed and left us on the 25th of February 2011. I was devasted, my husband more than me. Again we were robbed of the chance of being parents.
Â All hope was not lost. I found strength in the word of God, my family and especially my husband. In 2008 we decided to try again. Again at 20 weeks symptoms of pre-eclampsia started to creep in. My gynae had earlier prescribed Methyldopa a drug to control BP. On a visit to the doc my BP reading was 160/120!!! I had a splitting headache that just wouldnâ€™t go away even after taking the prescribed medication. I went into a seizure. My husband and young sister witnessed the whole episode. They say I was convulsing and frothing in the mouth, my husband actually shed tears (a sight Iâ€™ve never seen)! I do not know much of what happened in the next two days as I was unconscious and in ICU. My first question when I came to was â€œWhereâ€™s my baby?â€Â Pre-eclampsia had struck again taking my 4th child, my daughter! I lost two days of my life, as I do not remember anything from the time of the seizure to the day I came to. I could not see my visitors due to temporary blindness â€“ fortunately I can now see though short-sighted, and walking once it gets dark is a feat and have no balance. My right leg was paralysed, but with the help of physiotherapy I can now walk. What is more frustrating to deal with is the loss of memory and reduction recollection speed.
I told myself no more! I went on the pill as advised by my gynae. Candida became an issue. Every three week to a month I was the doctorâ€™s complaining of thrush. My GP explained that pills were a contributory factor in that they added glucose which aided in multiplying the Candida and advised that I change my contraceptive. All the other options were thrown for various reasons, so he suggested we stop and try for a baby again. My husband refused point black fearing for my life. As a woman, my motherly cravings were running riot considering I was now 31 years old. I managed to convince my husband though he was skeptical. So in late January 2010 I conceived. All precautions were taken, the visit to the doc bi weekly, BP drugs prescribed, supplements as well. But alas at 21 weeks on the 16th of June 2010 I was operated AGAIN to save my life. My blood pressure was at 174/140!Â My baby girl was gone â€“ I was left holding nothing AGAIN!!!!
Emotionally damaged, physically damaged â€“ I see the scars of the 3 operations everyday and they are a painful reminder. Who to blame â€“ me, the doctors, God, who?? Who to turn to for help? I do not know. Is there hope for someone like me? Several women die every day because of preeclampsia. I am very fortunate to be alive and well... I shed tears for the loss, lack of care from our health officials, lack of education on the disease. I thank my husband.
The word of God says, â€˜No weapons fashioned against us shall prosper â€˜,Â and I think â€“ when will my day be???
From one mom to another
Posted On Thursday, August 25, 2011 by Amanda
I am so sorry for your losses.Â I too have lost a baby to this unexplained PE. I can't imagine how you are feeling but after reading your story a piece of scripture came to mind.
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."
I am adding you to my prayer list.
Posted On Wednesday, October 12, 2011 by Busisiwe