STORIES OF PREEMIE MOMS
Every pregnant mother expects to successfully go through the 9 months of pregnancy in anticipation of a safe delivery. However, this is not the case for every mother and definitely not for two of my pregnancies. In 2014 I lost a baby who was born prematurely. Back then, I did not know a thing about premature birth or if even how it occurred. Because of a spike in my blood pressure levels medically referred to as pre-eclampsia, my baby was born at 26 weeks and died the next day. I laid my eyes on him twice, at birth and death. In 2016, I had another premature delivery. When I started feeling pain I decided to go check with the doctor. It is here that he advised that the baby be delivered immediately at 33 weeks. During all this, I could not help but flash back to the baby I lost in 2014 under the same circumstances. I worried of history repeating itself. I was not ready to bury a second child. Even if it survived, I was not prepared to look after a premature baby. As I headed to the delivery room, I felt alone, anxious, hopeless, and helpless! As I was wheeled back to my room, the environment was quite galvanizing. My husband and our close family members beamed with smiles when they saw me. They complimented everything about the baby and chorused how beautiful she was. They told me everything was fine as the baby was well taken care of by the nurses who took her to the nursery and placed her in an incubator. My family continued to give me moral support and I was relieved for some time. I had even begun to see a glimmer of hope. Though I was hopeful, I pleaded with them to keep the news of the baby secret. The last time we told people about our other baby we lost him the next day, so I was trying to avoid a repeat of the events that happened when I lost my baby in 2014. The next day came and it was finally time to meet my rainbow baby. I was led into the NICU and watched her from a distance. She was the size of my palm. Her ears, nose and feet were so small. However, seeing my baby made me hit a new low. I wondered if I should give up or stay and keep fighting for my child. Three days passed and my baby was still alive! I cannot begin to explain the tension, anxiety and relief that came with each passing day with my baby still alive! I knew she was a fighter, and I was going to embrace motherhood no matter the circumstances. I decided to speak life upon my baby and believed she would leave the hospital. I walked to the hospital to visit my baby every day. I told her that she will live, she will make it, and she is the best baby in the world. She fed after every two hours and it is during this time that I bonded with and talked to my baby. I felt such a strong connection that I believed that she communicated back in her own special way.
I gave birth to my first premature baby in 2018. Having my first baby be a preemie was really tough for me to take in and handle. It was an experience that I did not want, but it did give me the opportunity to meet mama Isabelle from Mama Tulia. She was able to help me throughout my whole time in the hospital and even visited me at my home. Unfortunately, a few days later after I had been discharged from the hospital the baby died. This year during the lockdown, I was able to give birth to baby Ryan who was also premature. Baby Ryan was very tiny, weighing 1.5kg. We were in the hospital for two weeks. Every day I spent in the hospital was very scary. I started preparing myself for the worst since I had already lost my first baby because he was born prematurely. The moment I learned baby Ryan was premature, I called Isabelle and again she was there for me. Baby Ryan is now doing well and growing very fast.
I was having dinner with my sister just like any other evening. All of a sudden I fainted, collapsing to the ground. I was 7 months pregnant. My sister took me to the clinic where I used to go for my antenatal. They told us they don’t work on Sunday, so I was put in an ambulance and rushed to a big hospital. The doctor did a checkup and he told me that my blood pressure was very high and I was at a high risk of losing the babies if they didn’t do an immediate operation to remove them. I was taken into the operating room without really understanding what was happening. When I was conscious again, I was told I had given birth to premature twins weighing 1.3kg and 1.1kg. One week after being in the incubators, the older twin got a stomach complication that made him start vomiting. I bought some medicine to help him but the baby died. After losing my baby, I spent a month and three days in the hospital with the younger twin. During my time in the hospital, I was helped by Mama Tulia. I didn’t know anybody from the organization until Auntie Isabelle met me at the hospital. They gave me a preemie kit, money for medication and upkeep to use during my hospital stay. I am very thankful for Mama Tulia for providing what I needed, but I am more thankful to God for my babies and being able to bring a baby home even though I had lost the other at the hospital.
I got pregnant towards the end of 2019. 3 months into the pregnancy I started bleeding. The bleeding was not that consistent, so I never took it to be something serious. Since it was my first pregnancy I thought maybe it was normal. For a while I was doing well until I was 6 months along. When I was 6 months pregnant, I started feeling some terrible pain in my stomach. After a week of pain I decided to go to the clinic for a checkup to find out why I was hurting. Immediately after reaching the hospital, my water broke and it was time for me to deliver. I was rushed to a room where the nurse helped me deliver. To my surprise I gave birth to twins. I never went to a scan because I was only 6 months pregnant, so all along I thought I was only having one baby. The nurse told me that my babies had been born prematurely and I had to rush them to a big hospital. The older preemie was weighing 1.5kg and the other one was 1.3kg. We were sent by ambulance to Kawempe Referral Hospital. Reaching the hospital, we were immediately sent into the special care unit. 3 weeks into the special care unit, where the babies were on oxygen support, the oldest twin Kato died. To this day I can’t tell you why he died because he looked so much healthier than the oldest twin Wasswa. The hospital called my relatives and gave them the body and they went and buried him. I didn’t even bury my own son because I had to stay in the hospital to take care of his brother who was also in critical condition. Wasswa was on and off the oxygen support for a month. I spent 2 months and some few days in the hospital with Wasswa, the remaining twin. It was during this time that I met Isabelle. She had come to the hospital to visit the special care unit and she was talking to the other moms who also had premature babies. She hadn’t talked to me yet, but she was done for the day and preparing to leave. Then I saw a nurse talking to her and pointing at me. Isabelle then started coming towards me. We started talking and she told me she was from Mama Tulia. She told me all about what she does. I told her about my story, how I lost the twin and how the doctors suspected the remaining twin to have heart problems. That very day she paid for Wasawa to get a heart check. Since then she just kept helping me in different ways through her ministry Mama Tulia.
I was having irregular periods. I would go a month or two without having them and sometimes go three months without seeing them. Because of this I didn’t even know when I got pregnant. This time I went four months without my period so I decided to go to the clinic. When I was there they told me I was pregnant. Just a month after I found out that I was pregnant I started having abdominal pains and one day I couldn’t sleep because I was in so much pain. In the middle of the night, I decided to call a boda boda guy who took me to the clinic. Since it was so late in the night the clinic was closed, but we just kept knocking until the doctor finally opened for us. He gave me an injection to stop the pain, but before he was even done I felt the baby coming. He rushed and brought me a sheet and I gave birth. I asked the doctor if the baby was alive, but he told me the baby was dead and he placed the baby on the table. He helped me clean up and get ready to leave. He then went to wrap the baby up, but to both of our surprises the baby was still alive. I quickly sent the boda boda guy home and he came back with two bed sheets that I used to wrap the baby and we spent the night at that clinic. The baby was weighing just 900grams so early the next morning we left the clinic and went to a hospital. Upon arrival, the baby and I were immediately taken to the intensive care unit. The baby was on oxygen therapy for a week and spent 4 days in the incubator. I spent 3 hard weeks in the hospital, but I was encouraged by all the other mothers who had prematures just like me. In my second week I met Isabelle. She gave me a preemie kit and I joined Mama Tulia.
I never knew that premature babies and such tiny babies existed until I was in the NICU with mine. My husband and I got married in January of 2005 and in December we gave birth to our first born, Marjorie. Since then we tried to have another baby but ended up having 5 miscarriages. The loss of those babies were so painful. Two of the pregnancies made 8 months and the others 9 months, but the babies were all born dead. We tried to find out what kept causing this, but the doctors never gave us a conclusive answer. This year I was pregnant again for my 6th time. When I had just made 6 months into my pregnancy I started feeling terrible. I was experiencing the same symptoms I used to get before I had my past miscarriages. I would swell, vomit and feel very terrible. I wasn’t ready at all to lose another baby. I was so determined to keep this one alive even against all odds. So I went to the clinic and requested to have them take the baby out. The nurse told me I should go to a big hospital, so I did. After a few tests at the hospital, I was taken to the operation room and I had a C-section. When I gave birth to baby Jessie, he was weighing 1kg. For 3 weeks the baby was in the incubator and on oxygen machines. I was so scared for my baby and wondered if he was going to survive. When I was in the hospital my husband came to visit me, but on his way he was involved in a motorcycle accident and broke his leg. With all of this going on, I was really torn apart. My worst memories from the hospital took place during the night. Nights that I would see and hear other mothers crying and weeping after their babies had died. It was a very terrible experience. Some of my best and happiest moments were the first time I changed my baby’s diaper and breastfed my baby. These were my happiest moments because I wasn’t sure they would ever happen, but in these moments I knew my baby was growing into a healthy and normal baby.
My husband died in an accident when I was just three months pregnant. It was a very tough and stressful situation because now I was going through pregnancy alone. When I was 7 months, I was sitting home and suddenly blood started coming out of me. I decided to go to a nearby clinic and I was given some medicine that helped to stop the bleeding. The following day I went to a hospital for a checkup and to see if the baby was okay after the bleeding. The doctor told me my pregnancy seemed to be complicated and he suggested I should stay in the hospital for two days while he monitored my condition. I was not ready to spend two nights in the hospital, so that evening I decided to go home and come back early the following morning. As I was packing up to leave, the doctor came in and told me he found out I had a placenta praevia and they had to remove the baby immediately. That night I had a C-section and I gave birth to a boy. He was born at 7 months, but to our surprise he weighed 1.8kg at birth, surely that must have been God. We spent one week in the hospital and grew stronger and stronger each day. Though my baby was born in these strange and complicated times of the global pandemic, God has somehow provided for us in so many mysterious ways. He has truly shown us that He’s the father to the fatherless.