My pregnancy was hard and my baby born premature. In the first three months, the morning sickness was unbearable and I couldn’t even take a bus without vomiting.
I was nauseated all day and would vomit early morning and in the evening. I lost weight and looked pale and sickly. It finally cooled off at four months and thankfully the rest of the months were okay. So after this rough start, I had no idea that yet another rough patch was coming! Kendrick was born premature at 30 weeks. Yes 30 weeks!
Baby Kendrick is three and a half months now. When I think back at where we have come from, three and half months is a miracle. I really love this boy. Actually – when I fast forward into the future and I see my little man growing up, I would want him to know that my love for him will forever be constant.
Times change, life changes but my love will never waver since I loved him even before I saw him.
The doctor recommended that I be admitted immediately
It all began on a Sunday when I had visited my mum to spend time with family after church. When I was about to leave, I felt some wetness. I didn’t pay too much attention to it until the wetness increased. On checking, I found that I was discharging a lot of water. I asked mum if this was normal as I was 26 weeks pregnant at the time.
She was worried but told me to observe and let her know. I got to my house and the water continued to come out and it had begun to leak onto my dress as well. I called my mum and we went to nearby clinic where they checked if my cervix had dilated. They confirmed that my cervix was still closed but my water had broken. They gave me some medicines to stop labour. When i was back home the problem still persisted. I had planned to give birth at Mbagathi Hospital and so the next morning my brother drove me there. I was told to do a scan and it indicated I had severe oligohydramnios. The doctor recommended that I be admitted immediately. The doctors consulted and decided that the best option was to buy time till I at least got to 36 weeks. In their calculations, I had to stay in hospital for almost 3 months.
I learnt that every birth story is unique
This plan however didn’t work and the water continued to come out until one day when I went for a scan at 30 weeks, it showed I had dilated 2cm and that the amniotic fluid was at zero. It is then that I was rushed to the theatre and I got my precious baby boy. You see, I never really got to experience labour seeing that I had an emergency C-section. I wonder how it would have been and I would truly love to know how it feels to have a baby not born premature, with labour being normal. During my stay in hospital I saw many women in labour, and I learnt that every birth story is unique.
He couldn’t breathe welL
After Kendrick’s birth at 30 weeks, we were transferred to Kenyatta National Hospital since Mbagathi didn’t have the facilities that he required. He couldn’t breathe well; his lungs were not well developed. So for a whole month, after every 3 hours, I’d go upstairs to where he was, carefully nursing my C-section wound to feed Kendrick. Every day had its challenges. In the beginning, he was on oxygen for a week. He couldn’t do without it. Then after two days of life, he had jaundice, which was persistent and he stayed on phototherapy for a week. That was hard for me since his eyes were covered and he couldn’t see. He’d cry trying to remove the covering on his face. Thirdly, he couldn’t breast feed so I’d express milk and feed him using a tube. Having one’s baby resident in the Hospital nursery makes one have jitters every day. Sadly some babies wouldn’t make it through and die, and there are times I’d get scared of going there because I didn’t know what to expect…
We needed extra care
We thankfully got discharged, and unlike normal baby discharges, we needed extra care. I had to keep Kendrick warm all through. This was quite difficult considering it was cold and raining at the time. I had to make sure he took his formula, vitamins and body builder medicine. I am thankful for my mum as we went to her place and she has helped a lot with the baby. We also had to continue doing kangaroo mother care till he was three months. I loved these times when we’d have skin to skin bonding. (Currently he is too big to fit well in my chest plus he can’t stay still, he wants to see everything and so having him on my chest has him scratching and attempting to stand)
I learnt that as a mother you make sacrifices
As a first time mom, this experience was very challenging and I learnt that as a mother you make sacrifices. I stayed in hospital for two months for the sake of my son. I also learnt how to appreciate life. Never to take it for granted. I remember the women in Hospital would say, “mtoto si nguo utaomba mtu” (A child is not clothing, you can borrow someone else’s). The experience also helped me to know who my friends were and that made me become a better person to my family and friends. I have found that motherhood comes with its own challenges, and you have to adjust. People who’ve been there before me know better and so I am always ready to listen and get to use what is applicable to my child and what is not. Every child is different.
We’ve had some scary moments in the past
Challenges? Yes, we’ve had some scary moments in the past where Kendrick couldn’t breathe, his nose would block. That was frightening and I always ensured there was someone to watch over him, and that we had nasaline drops in the house. We are thankfully past that. I also googled and saw that it mostly happens to children who were born via C-section. Another challenge has been this persistent cold he got while still in the nursery. It goes and comes back, but the doctor says it’s normal. The milk challenge has also dogged us. Even with eating and drinking lots of fluids, I just don’t seem to have enough milk for my son. I therefore had to make a hard choice and put him on formula milk after consultations with the doctor. He is doing pretty fine though. I’m thankful about that.
Challenges aside, love how calm Kendrick is. He loves to bathe and get his massage. It’s funny how whenever his grandma massages him, he is usually busy watching TV as he smiles, yet my two year old niece would always cry during the same massage. He’s also put on weight, and from 1.43Kgs three months ago now we are at 4.5Kgs. I love it that he smiles, laughs and throw his arms and legs around. He is such a happy baby.
Some mothers say we spoil him
The support from my family has been amazing. They all love him. I am a single mum and while in hospital for the two months, my mom moved my things back to her place. We are now all in the same place and he is close enough to my family members. He is always around uncles and aunts who love him. He also has great grandparents who really love him. Some mothers say we spoil him by always carrying him when he is awake or crying, but seriously they grow too fast and soon he won’t want any cuddling.
Learn to sieve through the information you receive from fellow moms
My message out to mothers is that we should never judge others. Children are different and every mom has the interest of their child at heart. While in hospital some women would make motherhood look like a competition, and make other moms feel bad – like you were not good enough for your child. In the same spirit too mothers should be open to learning.
Learn to sieve through the information you receive from fellow moms and realize that not everything is good and not everything is bad too. Just choose what works for you.
My Kendrick, having been born premature, is indeed a miracle. I would like to encourage all mothers out there who have gone through risky pregnancies – and those whose babies may be born premature – to hang in there and take each day as it comes with the support of family and those that you love.
Kendrick coming into our lives has made our lives that much more worth it.