Joys of birth that ended pain, shame of 4 miscarriages
Lydiah Nyanchwa, @lydiahnyanchwa
Dorcas Nyasuguta looks forward to walking her five-year-old daughter to school every morning. As she bids her daughter goodbye and hugs her, it’s a scene that would melt anyone’s heart.
Having lost four pregnancies, Dorcas who has been married for 11 years has come to appreciate her daughter whom she terms a miracle. “It’s tormenting what some women go through just to be called mother,” she says.
Dorcas got married in 2008. Two years later, she got pregnant. “My husband, Maxwell Maina and I were filled with joy,” she recalls. However, their happiness was short-lived. Few months into her pregnancy, she started bleeding. She was rushed to hospital where she was diagnosed with fibroids.
When complications occur
Professor Peter Gichangi defines fibroids as non-cancerous tumours found in the wall of a uterus. “Many women will experience no effects from fibroids during their pregnancy.
Complications arise mostly in expectant women in their last two trimesters and those who have fibroids larger than five centimetres,” says Gichangi, who is the Director of International Health Centre for Reproduction. The complications range from foetal growth restriction, placenta abruption, preterm delivery to miscarriage, among others.
Dorcas spent around Sh200,000 for screening and for an operation to get fibroids removed plus medication. But the baby was still safe in her womb.
“In rare cases, a myomectomy can be performed in women in the second half of their pregnancies. This procedure removes fibroids from the outside of the uterus or from within the uterine wall while leaving the uterus intact. Fibroids growing in the uterine cavity are left in place due to the possible risks to the foetus,” explains Dr Gichangi.
Two weeks after the operation, she started bleeding. “I knew this was not a good sign and called my husband to take me to hospital,” she recalls. However, it was too late. The couple lost the baby. That she had high blood pressure had made things worse.
Considering she had struggled for two years to get pregnant, Dorcas was broken. Her relatives stigmatised her. She had no say in family meetings since she hadn’t fulfilled her duty as a wife—to sire children. Her Christianity was her only pillar of consolation. Her husband supported her all through, though.
Oasis in desert
“I lost two more pregnancies. In one, the baby died in my womb. I had to undergo an operation for the foetus to be removed. For the other pregnancy, I miscarried because my womb was too weak to support the growth of a foetus,” Dorcas explains.
Dr Gichangi says a miscarriage may occur due to infections in the cervix, weakened cervix, among others. Other causes are genetic. A baby may die in the womb following incomplete development, amongst other issues, that may not enable the baby to live.
“For this reason, I recommend pre-pregnancy test. This is the check-up before conception to ensure a woman has the potential to carry a pregnancy to term,” says Gichangi, adding that it also helps in detecting conditions that might cause harm to the baby.
After losing the three pregnancies Dorcas had to be extra careful. So when she got pregnant the fourth time, she took every precaution. “I attended prenatal clinic every month and was monitored until I gave birth.
During that period, I was administered drugs that I took for seven months meant to strengthen my womb to support child development and growth,” she says.
Her daughter, Mary, was born a healthy baby in 2014. “Giving birth to Mary was the most joyful moment in my life. Those who looked down on me now praised me,” she says smiling.
The successful delivery made Dorcas realise that there were promising options to successful child bearing. So, the urge to increase her family continued. “After Mary, I got pregnant again all was well until seven months later when the baby died in my womb,” she says.
The fourth loss was traumatic. She had to seek help. She underwent counselling with support from her sister and other family members who stood with her until she recovered.
The last incident has left Dorcas with no hope or desire to get pregnant again. She has learnt to embrace her only daughter Mary. “Being a mum to my daughter is like finding an oasis in a desert. I know there are women who crave for children out there. I believe that with God and the new technology, they will finally find solace,” she says.