I felt my words killed my baby – Mother
Proverbs 18:21, Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
This is the summary of what Helena believes happened to her when she lost a baby she endured great discomfort before delivery.
After enduring seven months in the hospital bed to ensure her baby was safe during her pregnancy journey, Helena went home without a baby, she shared with Dromo baby, an online platform dedicated to sharing the tales of pregnancy and parenthood.
Helena’s doctors prepared her for a Caesarean Section (CS) after she had complained of severe stomach pains which turned out she was in labor.
“When my mum came, I told her about the pain, and she was like why don’t I tell the doctors. But I didn’t want to because every day they were on my case and I felt I was becoming a nuisance. I didn’t want to become a nuisance. So, she was like okay.
“Then she said I’m leaving so if I feel any unusual feeling, I should let the doctors know. In the evening, around 9, the pain was unbearable. So I walked to my doctor’s station and told him there’s a pain in my stomach, and I don’t understand. So they were like ah, this pain has been there since morning and you didn’t call anyone even when you have our numbers?” she narrated.
She delivered at 8 months, but that was amid fears she could lose her baby girl.
According to her, though she was not expected to deliver at that time, her doctors insisted she had to undergo a CS immediately.
“On Thursday morning at about 3am when I woke up, the pain had started again. This time, it was worse than before. So this time, I texted my doctor, and he called others to come and check up on me. I called my mum also, and she rushed to the hospital. When she came, she asked me to take a shower. After she asked me to eat something but I refused.
“The doctor came and asked that they do a scan. Then he said Helena, the baby is coming, but this time, there is nothing we can do about it. We have to take you away for CS”.
She said at this point, she broke down in tears, but her doctor calmed her down and assured her she was going to be fine.
A difficult pregnancy
Helena, who was a first-time mum at the time had complained of pains in her leg which had caused swelling of the entire leg.
She told Dromo Baby her doctors had diagnosed her with clots in her leg, a situation they feared could deteriorate and lead to her death, hence their decision to keep her under surveillance till she had delivered.
That surveillance went on for seven months inside the hospital, a long period that had a toll on her psychologically.
When her joy was short-lived
On the day Helena was wheeled to the theatre for the CS, all the odds were in her favor.
Her surgery was a success.
According to her, her baby was healthy, and all the medical professionals who jointly performed the surgery could not have been any happy for her.
“They (medical professionals) told me it was a girl, and I was so happy. Everybody started saying congratulations, congratulations. Then, I started crying. Before, I wanted a boy because I had always wanted a big brother. So I wanted my girls to have a big brother. But when it was a girl, all thoughts of wanting a boy vanished. My daughter was here. She was pretty. I was so happy,” Helena said as she smiled from ear to ear.
Her newfound joy was then whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit ( NICU) for further examination.
But after undergoing a successful CS, Helena lost her baby girl.
“On Saturday, I was fine a bit so I could go and see her. When I went to see her, her breathing was weird. You could see chest rise and drop,” Helena said in a trembling voice.
Tears had started gathering in her eyes as she made frantic efforts to continue the interview.
“The nurse told me that baby is doing well, but she is not breathing well. They didn’t like the way she (baby) was breathing. She said she’d be here and so we should keep hopes alive and keep praying. I had gone there around 8 AM so at about 10 AM, I decided to go and visit the baby again.
“When I got there, a doctor pulled me aside and said baby’s heart rate keeps dropping. We’re doing everything [we can]. We are putting her on oxygen. We’re pushing things down her throat. We’re trying to make her breath well, but it’s not encouraging. Psych yourself for anything. At this point, I started crying,” she narrated as she fidgeted with her fingernails as an attempt to hold back the tears.
Unable to keep the sad news to herself, Helena called her husband to “hurry and come and listen to what they (doctors) are saying”.
“He came, and he was NICU for a while. He came back to my ward, and I asked him, babe, what is it? Then he said she’s dead. Then I asked him what he said, and he said baby is dead. I told him my baby cannot die just like that. I have spent seven months in the hospital. I have black black marks all over my body because of the baby,” Helena said as she cried uncontrollably.
According to her, her husband consoled her assuring; everything was going to be alright. But that did not stop her from grieving.
Her mother had also visited her at the hospital when the news was shared with her. Not even the attempts from her could calm Helena.
Being at the hospital for seven months, it was normal that all the medical professionals had struck an acquaintance with Helena.
She said the doctors and nurses took turns to visit and grieve with her after the news of her daughter’s demise got to them. Others who had not heard her tragic story, shed tears when the information later got to them.
But Helena believes her baby died because of some mean things she told her doctor during her pregnancy.
“Sometimes I blame myself because I think whenever I said I’m tired and I wanted the baby to come out, I think it was my fault. I think it was my fault that the baby died. There was one time I went for a scan and I told my doctor that I don’t think I like my baby much. And it was because if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be in the hospital for seven months.
“And then the doctor told me that it’s not the baby’s fault. If not for baby, I don’t think you would have survived it. If the baby wasn’t there, I’m sure the clots could have moved. So let’s just say it’s baby that is saving your life right now. You can’t hate baby,” she said.
Helena said when she sits to reflect on her experience; she concludes that “because of what I said, the baby died. Maybe she felt she wasn’t wanted that’s why she decided to go,” she said with a trembling voice.
Journey back home
After months of staying in the hospital, Helena had no baby to show.
Apart from the pain, she could not get over; she also wondered what society was going to say about her.
She was discharged on Monday amid tears and tons of questions on her mind.
She told Dromo baby that “when I sat in the car, I started crying again. I was like Mummy, I’m going home without a baby. What are we going to tell people? Everybody saw I was pregnant and now, I don’t have a belly. Where’s the baby to show for it?”
Her mother quickly told her “it does not matter. What matters is that you are fine. Baby is gone, but you are alive and it means you can have more babies”.
While trying to stop her tears, Helena added that her mum had asked her to stop crying over her dead baby warning that her continuous grieve could prevent her from giving birth again.
Another attempt at getting pregnant
In December, Helena experienced another joy of being pregnant. She told her husband she had missed her period.
She tested positive after a pregnancy test was conducted.
While sharing her experience, she said she was determined to see this baby through and vowed to do all within her power for the second baby to survive.
“I was having fun with it actually. Then three months came. I had gone to open the gate for my husband, and blood just rushed out of me. Then I told my husband that I think I had miscarried. He rushed me to the hospital, and the doctor said I don’t think you had a miscarriage. Your cervix is not dilated. I think it’s just blood, but we need to deal with it,” she said with so much excitement.
This second pregnancy also came with its challenges compelling Helen to stay at home for months. She was eventually laid off from work during the banking sector clean-up.
There were joyous moments she experienced during her second pregnancy.
“I could eat whatever I wanted to eat. It was a fun pregnancy. My sister was going to get married around that time, so I was going out on errands with them because my doctor said I was fine to move around a bit.”
At 35 weeks and a day plus, Helena delivered a baby boy.
“When they took the baby out, everybody was saying congratulations; it’s a boy. I was so happy.”
“I gave birth on a Friday and on Saturday, I went to see the baby in NICU. He was fine, and I was assured he would be fine, but he was on oxygen,” she said.
After a few days at NICU, Helen and her baby were cleared to go home.
“The doctor said ‘this baby can go home and I was like huh? We can go?” she said with so much joy and laughter.
“I screamed hallelujah! I called my husband to come. I called my mum and told her baby is coming home.”
She advised new mums and pregnant women to be cautious and not take slight body changes for granted.